Friday, September 2, 2016
A still photograph tells you very little, really
The blue dot is me, or rather, it is where I live. See it there, just above Atlanta?
The storm system is Hurricane Hermine, the first tropical hurricane to make landfall in Florida in eleven years. In 2005 we had Dennis, Katrina, Wilma, and Rita. The year before that we had Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. You may not remember most of them, but surely Katrina rings a bell. Then, for eleven years, nothing. Well, there was "Super Storm Sandy" in 2012 that caused major damage in New Jersey and New York but its eye stayed at sea for most of its existence.
As a result, the weather people on television were going bonkers last night, way too bonkers, over a tropical storm that didn't even achieve hurricane status (sustained winds of 74 mph) until a few hours before it hit the mainland. Hermine is a Category 1 hurricane. By way of comparison, Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane.
Here are the categories of hurricanes:
Still, winds of 74-95 mph are nothing to sneeze at.
Last night Hermine came ashore. I took the photo of the Doppler radar this morning.
The first thing I noticed, being a resident of the southeastern U.S. and fairly familiar with hurricanes, is how small the eye of the hurricane has become, which usually means the storm is dissipating and on its way to becoming merely a tropical storm again.
But am I in danger? Is Atlanta about to get soaked? Do I need to batten down the hatches in anticipation of some high winds?
The answer is: It depends on which way the storm is moving, and you can't determine that from a still photograph.
If the storm came ashore from the Atlantic and is moving to the northwest (the upper left corner of the photo. for the geographically challenged), Atlanta and environs could be in for some very bad weather. Fortunately for us, however, the storm came ashore from the Gulf of Mexico, near Tallahassee, and has been moving to the northeast (the upper right corner of the photo). Therefore, kiddies, it is not Atlanta but the eastern coast of the U.S. that may receive lots of water and wind soon. Another possibility is that the storm will go back over water and strengthen again in the Atlantic. Where it may go then is anyone's guess. It is enough to make the most seasoned weather forecaster go bonkers.