At times I live my life around hurricanes, which is far better than dying by hurricane and not quite the same as living with a certain Gale. For the moment, powerful Dorian is presently confounding predictions but, with luck, may spare Florida and most of the North American east coast.
In honor of the moment, I promise not to be long-winded. For those who suffer mere tornadoes, here are actual tracking maps followed by what the hurricane categories mean.
|‘Smallish’ Hurricane Fran||Hurricane Tracking Example|
Hurricane Meanings and Actions
- Category 1 119kmph • 74mph • 64knots
- When cooking on the grill, you switch from paper plates to weightier melamine. You’re careful your new drone doesn't drift too far off course.
- Category 2 154kmph • 96mph • 83knots
- You bring beach towels in from the clothes line, assuming you live in a community that permits clothes lines. Peculiarly, many Florida towns and homeowners associations ban drying laundry outdoors in the Sunshine State.
- Category 3 178kmph • 111mph • 96knots
- Mow the yard. Think briefly about purchasing extra water, food, propane, and gas for your generator and your car… then decide to buy if the storm makes Cat 4. Chuckle about your timid neighbor who packs his SUV full of supplies and family and heads for Georgia or Alabama.
- Category 4 209kmph • 130mph • 113knots
- Reluctantly head to Costco for 400 gallons of water and discover the wretch before you bought the last three litres. Decide queue for gasoline looks too long. Buy beer.
- Category 5 252kmph • 157mph • 137knots
- Damn. Governor calls for evacuation. Your car’s tank reads ⅜ and your wife’s Volvo reads a quarter. Find the lawnmower where you left it in the back yard. Empty the fuel cans for mowing and then the mower’s tank itself into your car. Drain fuel from your motorcycle, your kid’s go-kart, weed-whacker, and chainsaw. Siphon wife’s vehicle. Your gas gauge now reads ¾, thanks to discovery of a gas can your neighbor left when they packed up and ran two days ago. Whoops! Electrical power goes out. You scramble to find your flashlights and then realize why batteries were on the shopping list. By candlelight, you grab a forgotten bottle of Zephyrhills someone opened and stuck in the fridge. Way in the back your wife retrieves a can of Tab she’s been hoarding. You load the unrefrigerated beer and depart with wife and child. The gate at the guard shack has blown shut, wrapping itself around a post. You squeeze past as it scrapes your car. Child wants to stop for restroom and food. Thanks to buffeting headwinds, your mileage drops to 14mpg. Every gas station has closed. Screaming child wants McBurgers. No restaurants remain open. Dodging debris, uprooted trees, and a sailboat in the road, you’ll make Gainesville and perhaps a little farther. And then you encounter a flying cow…
- Category 6 285kmph • 178mph • 155knots ?
- No such thing… yet. However, as climate change accelerates, so does the violence of cyclonic winds. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (actually a peculiarly numbered damage scale) does not define anything above a Cat 5 storm. Many experts believe it’s merely a matter of time before meteorologists are forced to include at least a Category 6 and possibly 7 if not switch to another scale entirely.