Oh, unpredictable nature. Haven’t we come far enough that we can predict with accuracy what these giant 300-mile-in-diameter weather systems will do?
The answer is no.
There are just too many variables — wind speed at many different layers of the atmosphere, different moisture levels, different temperatures of water, and high-pressure systems hundreds of miles away are a few examples.
To understand hurricanes, we anthropomorphize (attribute human characteristics to) the storms, and thus, Dorian is lazy and slow. A dullard we can all be mad at together for … for what, not hitting us?
The possibility of Dorian directly hitting us was projected on Tuesday, Aug. 27. At the time, the entire state of Florida was in the cone of uncertainty. Dorian could hit literally anywhere.
At the very least, we were nearly sure to experience at least some effects of the hurricane. Runs on gasoline, propane and water started. By Friday, stores were being cleared of supplies, as projections showed Dorian’s earliest day of arrival could be on Sunday.
That continued until Saturday, Aug. 31, when Dorian began to track slightly eastward as it approached the Bahamas.
By Sunday, Sept. 1, Dorian wobbled slightly back to the west as it began to stall over the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane. Massive destruction ensued.
For us, this stalling pushed our timeline back even further, from arrival on Monday to arrival Tuesday night.
I mean, we didn’t know. We had to prepare for the worst. But we also had to mentally prepare for the best. And, everything in between.
There are multiple examples of hurricanes ruining our timelines and preparations — that’s why everybody had to prepare for everything.
In 2017, Hurricane Irma was originally projected to ride up the east coast — instead, it turned to the west, where people were far less prepared.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina was a hurricane, then a tropical storm, then a Category 5 hurricane, and then a Category 3 hurricane. By the time it hit New Orleans, it was a Category 1.
At first, it seemed like New Orleans was spared. But storm surge and rain continued, finally bursting the levees hours after the storm had passed. An estimated 80 percent of the city was flooded.
The point here is this: Anytime there is a possibility that a hurricane might hit us (an occurrence that is sure to happen, and with more frequency as temperatures rise globally), we have to prepare.
Part of preparing is also being mentally ready.
Prepare for the worst, and then relax. Because we don’t know — we just don’t know until it’s here, and it’s too late to prepare then.
If practice makes perfect, though, I’m pretty sure we’ll have the opportunity to weather a storm again.