By DW’s Florida/Golf/Hurricane Correspondent
By DON WALKER/DesignatedContributor
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, otherwise known as NOAA, has released its revised hurricane forecast for 2020 and it does not amuse me in the least. Living here on the east coast of Florida, also known as the Space Coast since we launch rockets here from our back yards, the story I read in today’s online edition of Florida Today says the NOAA is calling, and I’m not making this up, “for a potentially ‘extremely active’ season that could use up the names on the 2020 hurricane list and go into the Greek alphabet.”
That can mean only one thing: That when kids aren’t in college, the Greek alphabet is there for the taking.
But seriously, we’ve already had one brush with a hurricane and it was just this past weekend. The hurricane, which shall remain unnamed since I was never able to correctly pronounce it – Isaias (the best pronunciation I could conjure was “I say yes.”) – skirted on past us as a tropical storm and then killed seven people and caused wind and flood havoc in other regions of the Carolinas and up through the northeast. That’s it. Over and done. We’re good on Hurricane Season 2020.
But now comes the NOAA fear mongering gurus with their crystal ball predictions, err, “forecasts.” They’re playing their annual El Nino/La Nina games and quite frankly I don’t appreciate it. How am I to plan a stay-at-home COVID-19 public health emergency vacation in the face of a “potentially ‘extremely active’” hurricane season? They’re calling for 19-25 more storms, of which seven to 11 (must have stopped at the 7-Eleven on the way to work that morning) will become hurricanes. Three to six of those are anticipated to become major hurricanes with winds topping 111 mph or greater. Now, you tell me, how do they predict such silly things, and who’s going to complain if their numbers fall woefully or even remotely short?
I liken this hurricane forecasting like I do a round of golf: I thought I’d shoot 100 in golf today, but I shot an 82. It would have been nice if it were a 72, but it wasn’t 100. A solid 82. Any complaints? Heck no, because it wasn’t 100!
If my face were an emoji right now, and that’s the first time I’ve ever typed those words, it’d be the red angry face emoji. That’s how you’ll find me during hurricane season and just about any time I hear from the hurricane forecasting soothsayers. As it stands, we’ve had nine named tropical cyclones this season already. Don’t even bother with grammatically challenging terms like “potentially ‘extremely active.’”
NOAA toys with our emotions. It calls for doom and gloom, but then labels these storms with names like “Sally,” “Teddy” and “Vicky.” Do they expect people to evacuate when their state shows up in the cone of uncertainty for cyclone “Wilfred?” By then, if we get to the Greek alphabet, then bring it on!
As for me? I say “yes” to no more hurricanes.