Friday, September 5, 2008
Here Comes Hanna!
Up to a certain magnitude, storms are just storms. Certain storms that form over the ocean are called tropical depressions, an interesting concept if you take it out of context.
But once a storm gets big and bad, it gets its own name. Meteorologists tend to say the names are given for convenience; transmitting information using only the latitude/longitude is cumbersome. OK. That makes sense, but doesn't explain why, in the Caribbean, hurricanes were named after the saints for hundreds of years before transmitting scientific information was possible. Hurricanes as saints? Wow. It boggles the mind.
There is something magnificent about these huge spiraling tunnels of clouds and the truly unbelievable winds and rains that accompany them. At a certain level of power, they do take on an energy that becomes more than a sum of its parts. I love seeing the satellite photos of them spinning their way across the Atlantic from their beginnings off the west coast of Africa. Wow.
We don't see the worst of the storms here in DC so it's easier for me to lapse into a kind of romantic awe of them. Usually we deal with what the weather people call "the remnants of ..."
Tomorrow the remnants of Hanna will sweep across DC, blowing loose leaves from the trees and providing us with some much needed rainfall. The storm is supposed to be dramatic but not destructive by the time it gets here.
I am very lucky to live indoors and far enough up the east coast to dodge the worst of the weather. It's thrilling to experience the drama and stature of the great named storms once they become "remnants." I look forward to tomorrow. Welcome Hanna!