August 3, 2011

Emily Disappoints

One of the things I hope I'll experience here is a hurricane. The locals, I assume, think I'm stupid. Hurricanes are bad, they're disasters. Don't wish for hurricanes. Don't wish for disasters.

I'd also kind of like to see a tornado. I've had lots of dreams about tornadoes. I rate them scarier and more unpredictable than hurricanes, based mostly on my experience with them in dreams. One minute, you're whitewashing a fence with your buddies from your little league team, then there are some raindrops, then you're driving home for shelter, watching the thing take shape in the sky, then you stop to see some people from your Biology class and, oh yeah, that tornado, gotta go guys, and it's bearing down on you from behind and you get to thinking - I'm finally going to see a real tornado in REAL life and it's not a drea-

Dang it.

Still haven't seen a real tornado in real life. My dad has, I think, but he grew up in Iowa where tornadoes grew on trees. So of course he has.

Tornadoes sneak up and destroy things, lots of things, whatever things they please. They'll devour a whole block of houses and leave a single one untouched. Because they can. Then they disappear. They're phantoms. They're loco, ese.

Hurricanes, they give you plenty of warning. (So I hear.) They start, get huge, then wobble a little bit and head toward land all big and dangerous. They wreck everything, stick around for a few days then burn out somewhere over Georgia.

If tornadoes are the crazy junkies of the weather-world, hurricanes are the big, depressed lumberjacks.

I guess.

But anyway, living in the tropics, the prospect of a hurricane roaring up on shore - I sleep about 40 feet from the Caribbean - before I head back to the Midwest is pretty intriguing. I picture it sounding like a freight train rolling through camp, everyone huddled inside playing monopoly by candlelight, bonding. Living through a hurricane would make a great story. People in Michigan don't know nothing bout no hurricanes.

So I really want to see one. And this storm showed up on the watch list, far away, 90% of the way to a tropical storm before reaching the Lesser Antilles - those little Caribbean islands people take cruises to, the ones that curl down to South America - with plenty of time to turn itself into a hurricane and find its way onshore here. I got my hopes all up. People poo-pooed it, saying it would most likely miss us. They usually do. Still, I knew there was always a chance. No telling what a depressed lumberjack is capable of.

She became a storm and got her name, Emily. They don't name boring storms, do they? This should be good.

She stayed down, crossed all those tiny islands and spilled into the Caribbean. So far, so good.

Then she stayed right out there to sea, almost out of sight, not doing anything remotely interesting. Her clouds brought us rain, but she didn't blow down any palm trees or anything.

Had I not had my ears intricately attuned to the scuttlebutt at the local watering hole (AKA El Frappe) and had I not been keenly watching the NWS Atlantic loop, I probably would never have known that whatever passed over us/by us was a tropical storm. Sure, we only got her slightest, farthest reach, but I saw enough to know that this was a supreme let down.

And so my thirst lives on. Hurricane season is yet quite young, and though I'm heading back to Michigan for a month next week, I'll be back for much of September and October.

I'll be waiting.


I took this picture while PR was under a Tropical Storm warning (clicking makes it big):

No comments: