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"It's going to stall."

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

“It’s going to stall. Wherever it goes, it’s going to get completely stuck.”

These are the words that came out of my mouth that Wednesday morning. I was talking to my boss, Matt. Each morning of hurricane season (when something is threatening), we meet first thing.

“How bad? If it stalls, what happens?” Matt asks. He’s a weather savvy boss, so he already has an idea.

“Three feet of rain. There’d be water rescues everywhere,” I utter, having trouble grasping my own analysis.

Matt asks, “As of today, where does it look like it could stall?”

“As of today, here. Central Florida.”

Tomer Burg provided this map and spot-on analysis. Burg is an Atmospheric Science PhD student at the University of Oklahoma and a future-star in the field. On this map, you can see the "blob" over Florida, showing the potential of a direct hit (and then a stall) from Hurricane Dorian.

We both know Hurricane Dorian is several days away from impact, so clearly this could (and most likely would) change. But he could tell by the tone of my voice that the “stall” would happen; it was just a matter of where.

“Are we looking at Harvey bad?” he asks hesitantly.

We don’t like throwing around Hurricane Harvey comparisons. Harvey was one of the worst storms ever. So, he did not bring up this analogy lightly.

“In the ballpark,” I respond.

I wasn’t sure where Dorian would end up. No one was sure. But the entire region had to be ready. Wherever the storm parked itself, an epic disaster would unfold. There was no margin for error.


Sunday, September 1, 2019

Hurricane Dorian becomes the strongest storm on record to hit The Bahamas. Winds clocked in at 185 mph. These unimaginable winds also made it the second strongest storm on record in the Atlantic Basin. Wind gusts were on the magnitude of 220 mph. 

And it did stall. It was 3 days of shear devastation. Islands were shredded. The nightmare scenario unfolded. All of this taking place a mere 170 miles off the coast of Central Florida. 

Grand Bahama Island. 70,000 are homeless.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

“That could have been us,” I said, as Matt and I stare fixated at his wall of televisions in his office.

Matt nods his head.

I assure him Dorian is making a turn, albeit painfully slow, and will miss most of Central Florida.

I text Aimee, asking if she’s seen the footage coming out of The Bahamas. She’s with the 3 boys and hasn’t seen the new video.

“How bad?” She asks.

“Exactly what you’d think.”

She knows.

I return to my computers in the television studio.

My inbox and social messages become overloaded. The clear theme, “Brian, do you know how we can help the Bahamas yet?”
____________________________

We spent 10 days tracking a beast, worrying it could be us. And the moment it becomes clear we’d be unscathed, the entire region (and country) goes into “help” mode.  There’s no second guessing a forecast or complaining of being over-prepared — just “how can we help?”

And we are helping. And a few months from now, when we’ve all seemingly moved on, they’ll still need our help. 

Thank you for caring. Thank you for keeping The Bahamas front and center going forward. 

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Volunteers in Central Florida pack a plan with supplies, bound for The Bahamas.

Comments

  1. I followed your forecasts every day and on one hand I was happy it wasn't going to hit us but on the other hand I knew it was going to be really bad in the Bahanmas .

    ReplyDelete
  2. Brian....I trust your forecasts, I arrange what I do around them. (Like how many layers to wear on Marathon weekend when I'm setting course clocks), but you are right. Central Florida bragged a sigh of relief and went into help your neighbor mode. That's what makes my home town so great.

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