I don't know what it is, but when I lived up north, it almost seemed like tropical storms and hurricanes are like a form of entertainment, a sort of "reality TV" that people relish. When northerners get together with friends, we would exchange all sorts of information gathered with various resources (TV, Internet, other people, etc.). If you are interested in climbing the social ladder and get known in the community, you will be certain to develop a reliable reputation when it comes to weather analysis and predictions and take part as much as possible in hurricane hysteria. Endless speculation and weather maps on TV and the Internet fuel the madness and it becomes a topic of conversation with almost everyone.
|Any northerner worth their salt keeps up on the very latest when it comes to strong storms that won't affect them and has in their home the tools necessary to prepare them for some serious talk of the weather. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America)|
"Hey there Rupert!
Oh, hey Sancho.
How's it going?
Good, how's it going with you?
So didjya hear about that hurricane?
Yeah, everybody's been talking about it...but isn't it technically a tropical storm?
Oh, yeah, that's right...what's required for it to be a hurricane?
I dunno, I think it's gotta hit above a seven on the Richter Scale or something.
(excitedly)You think it's gonna turn into a hurricane???
Me too - and a big one at that. I think it's gonna hit Florida square in the chops with damage like they've never seen!
I dunno...I bet it'll be big too but my money's on it hitting Texas.
But Florida's right in the cone!
Yeah, but I was watching the latest update ten minutes ago on my smartphone and they said this cold front's gonna be coming down and blow it off course to the west; I've got this app from a little-known but extremely reliable military weather site that gives me updates on the storm every hour.
Whoa - I've gotta get that!
You think people are gonna evacuate?
I know I would but there's always a bunch who stay...why in the world do they do that?
I dunno but I hope the levees are gonna hold wherever it lands.
Man, you know they ain't gonna hold.
I wouldn't be so sure, my best friend's sister works for a guy who has a connection over in Washington and I guess they had the Army Corps of Engineers reinforcing them all over the coastlines since Katrina.
Well, it'll be interesting.
Alright man, catch you later!
(phone rings) Basco! How's it going? Yeah man! I was just talking to Rupert about it and he said..."
Down here in the Keys, you won't usually hear talk like that from residents, who are used to being "in the cone" when a storm is more than four or five days out, and although people are keeping tabs on it, there's no major hype. If the storm is still projected to affect the Keys when it is three days away or less, then people start making preparations and talking a bit about it. Isaac was a great example of how being "in the middle of the cone" several days out is often more a cause for relief rather than fear, as long-term predictions are frequently off the mark:
|"Isaac will become a Category 1 hurricane with 90mph winds, the eye heading right over Key Largo!!!" Nope.|
|This sea-grape was ripped out of the ground and onto its side during Hurricane Wilma in 2005. The staff doubted it would recover but it has been a full 20ft tall tree for some time!|
|A few banana plants that blew over in our fruit garden after Isaac.|
|Veronika putting up shutters over the glass doors of our front office.|
After the storm passes, we all come back together at the Resort and Gardens as soon as possible to get everything cleaned up. Since this storm didn't hit us too hard, we didn't have many major things to clean up besides the banana plants but there were plenty of leaves and other small debris covering the gardens.
|Taking a break from our cleanup efforts to pose for a photo as we all struggle to stay upright in the clearly still-strong winds.|
|The weather seemed just as urgent as we were to get things back to beautiful. One day after Isaac passed, you wouldn't even guess a storm had come through.|