That’s the word from Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. And now that the 2005 hurricane season has gotten off to a record fast start, his admonition is especially relevant.
Dr. Mayfield is referring to the tendency of the public to focus its attention on the narrow line defining the predicted movement of a hurricane core rather than the “cone” of possible movement of the storm system.
Mayfield also emphasizes that tropical storms and hurricanes are not discrete points on a map. Rather, they are sprawling weather systems that produce dangerous and damaging weather conditions in a belt sometimes 300 miles on either side of the center path.
A hurricane’s arsenal of potentially deadly weapons includes high winds, coastal storm surge, isolated tornadoes and inland river and flash flooding.
Popularly, “the Dog Days of Summer” refer to the hottest and most humid portion of the summer season—the period extending from early July into mid August. It’s a time of relative inactivity and stagnation, and even the weather seems to slow down. That’s certainly the case right now.
Jet stream winds, important because they steer air masses and storm systems and, broadly speaking, keep weather systems moving along, have shifted north into Canada. Computer models say that’s not likely to change significantly in upcoming days.
Locally, the atmosphere has become lethargic. The remnant remains of Hurricane Dennis have stalled over the Ohio Valley and are gradually fading away. Lingering showers, too, are dissipating. Hazy, warm and humid air now in residence will stick around, and grow even warmer this week as the hot July sun works on it.
“Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” That familiar assertion, usually credited to Mark Twain, was most likely written by his brother-in-law, Charles Warner, in an editorial in the Hartford Courant.
“But,” as former Chicagoan, Dr. Keith (“The Weather Doctor”) Heidorn has said, “it’s moot, because someone actually did something about the weather back in 1902. His name is Willis H. Carrier and he invented air conditioning.”
Air conditioners, humming in the warmth and humidity of recent days, will soon be humming more vigorously. It’s a testament to the warmth of air now in residence that afternoon temperatures are having no trouble climbing well into the 80s even under the clouds and showers associated with the remains of Hurricane Dennis.
The return of sunny days later this week spells more 90° weather for the city.