Monday, July 18, 2022

it takes a pillage

The scene is inevitable.

In every murder mystery, the detective will assemble the cast -- usually in the parlor -- to reveal the who in the whodunit. Or, even more cleverly, as in The Last of Sheila, arranging them by name.

And, so it has been this season. The suspects blew in alphabetically: Agatha, Blas, Celia, Bonnie, Darby, Estelle.

Of course, those names are not the cast in a local Agatha Christie Revival. They are the string of hurricanes (and one tropical storm) that have slipped past Barra de Navidad this season.

From June to October, there seems to be at least one new storm being born in the Pacific off the coast of Central America. Most do not amount to much. They burn out in the formation stage. Even those that make it to hurricane or tropical storm status stay far enough out in the Pacific that we see only their tertiary effects. High waves. Some rain. Usually, not more than that.

However, if the pressure areas along the cyclone's path are just so (as Rudyard Kipling would say), we do get to feel one of Nature's shows of strength at its rawest. Last year's Hurricane Nora is a perfect example. A mere category one hurricane that, because of its path, caused a surprising amount of damage.

At the start of hurricane season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts whether each region's hurricane season will be below or above average. The Atlantic received the bad news of an "above-normal" season. The Eastern Pacific (our region) the seemingly-better label of "below-normal:" 10-17 named storms, 4-8 hurricanes, 0-3 major hurricanes.

Mother Nature has an impish sense of humor. The bytes in the NOAA press release were still damp when something unusual happened in the Eastern Pacific. Hurricane Agatha struck. And she was unfashionably early. Not waiting for the season to begin in June, Agatha arrived in May -- earning herself the title as "the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in May in the eastern Pacific."

For added novelty, the cyclone had formed in the Pacific and then crossed over into the Caribbean.

This may be the season for trans-storms. First there was Agatha. You may have noticed in the alphabetical list of hurricanes and storms that have already paraded past us, there seems to be a mistake. 
Agatha, Blas, Celia, Bonnie, Darby, Estelle. What is that extra "B" doing in the mix?

Bonnie was another exchange storm. But, she started in the Caribbean and then slipped across the isthmus into the Pacific before waltzing harmlessly past us completely oblivious to the fact that she was out-of-step with the other chorines and chorus boys. 

It is an odd year. I do not know what to make of NOAA's low-count prediction. The estimate was for 4 to 8 hurricanes. We have already had five (counting runaway Bonnie), and we are only six weeks into the hurricane season.

Fortunately, for our area, the effects have been minimal. Except for the fishers. The wave activity has played havoc with the local industry.

I enjoy the summers here. The heat. The humidity. Nature's power in storms -- especially, the thunder and the lightning. Surviving summers here is a reminder of how survival itself can be an adrenalin rush.

But weather is always a topic that draws me back to the keyboard -- when I can find a break in my walking routine. I will let you judge whether that is a good thing.

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