The Eye of the Storm by Bill Storie
It must be the time of year. Weather seems to be controlling our lives around the world.
We have seen massive flooding in Bangladesh and Houston, Texas. As I write, we are watching the largest hurricane ever in the Atlantic Ocean, barrel through the Caribbean. Winds levels are over 180 miles per hour and at the moment, Hurricane Irma is about the size of France !!
Then right behind Irma we are also watching Tropical Storm Jose build into perhaps a follow-up hurricane.
Living here in Bermuda, we are more than well aware of the impact of hurricanes. Fortunately, most of the Atlantic hurricanes seem to pass us by – maybe being a 21-square mile piece of land helps. Yet, over many years we have been hammered on numerous occasions.
For those of you who live in hurricane-free lands let me assure you that hurricanes are scary and unpredictable. As the storm approaches and the homestead has hopefully been protected, the increasing wind fury, usually accompanied by driving rain, starts to cause increasing concern.
The structure of the hurricane is the issue. The usual hurricane has an “eye” in its middle. The problem is that as the eye approaches the wind speed increases faster and faster. The peak level is right before the point when the eye passes over. Then silence. Silence. The eye has no wind inside. The wind level drops to zero. After hours of increasing wind, the apparent relief is welcome.
But. The other side of the eye has yet to come.
And when it does, the wind level starts at the highest level – it is simply the same wind velocity at the inner edge of the eye, only this time on the other side of the “circle”. It is slightly comforting that this time around, the wind will gradually decrease as the storm moves through.
The longest hurricane time lapse that I have experienced here in Bermuda, has been just over 12 hours. In other words, twelve hours of sustained high wind and rain. That’s bad enough as you can imagine, but once the storm has passed, the inevitable loss of electricity merely adds to the misery. The longest we have gone without power in our home are has been 220 hours – think about that. No light, no water, no cooking, usually in high heat, caused considerable anxiety. The garden had been destroyed (sometimes the roof gets whipped off). The physical impact, not to mention the psychological impact, cannot be over-stated.
So, as we watched the traumatic events this past week, and the potential issues later this week, we extend our hopes and prayers that everyone comes through safely and their lives can get back to some level of normality in the shortest time possible.
I’m sure the issue of climate change will arise in the corridors of power and in the rational and objective media. It would be useful if we, the public, could be shown a trusted report on the current and projected changes in climate and how it will affect our lives for the foreseeable future. Rather than have so-called experts spout nonsense about climate change solely for the selfish purpose of political gain, would it not be more appropriate to listen to objective, calm and fair analysis of climate?
By Bill Storie