Friday, October 2, 2015

Hurricanes and Rubber Duckies



The weather authorities keep telling us not to blame Hurricane Joaquin for the huge quantity of rain being dumped on South Carolina, possibly up to two feet by the time it finally, maybe, ends three or four or five days from now.

Okay, so Joaquin basically set up camp over the Bahamas, and last I checked was still a few hundred miles south of Miami. It hasn't moved up the coast -- and when it does, it is now projected to go hundreds of miles east of the coastline -- so maybe we should quit cursing WAH-keen.

So what is causing this mammoth, possibly one-in-a-hundred years, rainstorm? If we can't label it the Great Joaquin Flood of 2015, what will we be able to call it?

I have yet to hear or read a succinct, cogent explanation.

On one website, a pair of weather guys were trying to explain in terms of some rubber duckies in a bathtub creating all these swirls and combining with high-elevation moisture and being swept into the jet stream's upper atmospheric flow and then blasted into the Carolinas as though through a giant fire hose. I am sure they likened Category 4 Joaquin to those rubber duckies, so how can "J" be completely blameless? Another site referred to a kink in the jet stream. There is a big blocking system that will (supposedly) steer Joaquin out to sea. Or two -- a big high pressure and a big low pressure system. Oh, and now a huge low has developed over Georgia that will pump another 8 to 12 inches of tropical moisture into this region through this weekend and into Monday.

Swell.

Did I mention we haven't had a full day of sun for two weeks now?

Anyway, the explanations are clear as all the real turf in a football mud bowl, right? Yeah, just about that clear. By the way, Notre Dame versus Clemson tomorrow at Clemson could well be a classic mud bowl. I'm just glad I'm going to watch from home and not try to drive to the game.

Even if a hurricane is not mainly responsible, this storm made me mindful that I need to get up to date on emergency preparations. I spent part of the afternoon refilling water and Coke bottles that I was going to take to recycling (good thing we saved the tops) and storing them in the garage as an emergency supply. If ever our water system became contaminated, we would need a large amount of backup water to supply a household for several days.

Okay, I am going to continue my quest of an understandable explanation of how this massive rain event came about without a hurricane being the No. 1 culprit. Hurricanes are erratic but they are simpler to explain than rubber duckies in the ocean.

                                                  © Robert G. Holland  2015

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