Wednesday, April 14, 2021

blowing in the wind

We are barely half-way through April and the hurricane predictions for the Pacific coast of Mexico are out.

Well, why not? Hurricane season in Mexico runs from 1 June through 30 November. At least, those are the official dates. Storms are known to not be so calendar-minded.

So, with just a month and a half before the heavy weather season begins, what are the official predictions?

The first is that 2021 is likely to be a Goldilocks season. Not too many storms. Not too few. Just normal.

In numbers, as you can see by the chart, that means 15 tropical storms, 8 "light" hurricanes either category 1 or 2, and 3 intense hurricanes in category 3 to 5. The first two categories are the norm. And we may get by with one less high category hurricane.

All of that is academically interesting. The more important question is where those storms and hurricanes are going to go. And that is a much more difficult question to answer.

Most tropical storms and hurricanes in this part of the world are birthed in the Pacific off of the coast of Central America. They then head off in a northwesterly direction. For Mexico, that is good because of the southeasterly slope of Mexico's coast, most of the storms just wander out to sea and die down without touching land. But not all.

Depending on the weather patterns in the Pacific when those disturbances head north, they can be deflected a bit to the east. Too much deflection, and the disturbances will impact people on land. That is true even if the disturbance does not touch land. Our floods last year were caused by rain that was sucked into the tropical storm that passed by offshore.

There are far too many factors to accurately predict the path of storms that are themselves merely predictions. But that does not keep the meteorologists from making general predictions of which areas of Mexico could be most affected by this year's weather. And here it is.

There is nothing surprising about the map. Oaxaca gets hit with weather that does not make the left turn out into the Pacific. Jalisco and Colima (effectively us) gets hit when weather patterns deflect disturbances toward the coast. And poor Southern Baja gets hit directly by almost every disturbance that is a near-hit for Jalisco.

I enjoy the strength, the power, and the sheer theatricality of the summer storms here on the Costalegre. I am not so enthralled by the physical damage and extremely rare loss of life that they bring to these beach towns.

But the storms have no care for what I enjoy and what does not enthrall me. They are going to generate and die without a single concern for any of us. THey are the ur-lords of existentialism.

At least, we can be prepared for their arrival. For, that they will do.

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