Saturday, August 28, 2021

Lake Forest: mistaken identity: rapid intensification; warned

Yesterday I received in the mail unsolicited congratulations from Fisher Investments.  Perhaps I need to add that this was addressed to me personally, not to “present occupant”.  I quote:

Congratulations are in order.  It takes skill, perseverance and savvy to be counted among the wealthiest Americans.  To have out-saved and out-invested your peers speaks to the kind of individual you are. 

My cover is blown.  Instead of a simple—well, perhaps complex—sailor who lives happily for months in a small sailboat crossing oceans without indoor plumping or heating or air-conditioning or refrigeration, I am revealed as among the wealthiest Americans.  Drat.

I do not know who Fisher Investments has me confused with.

It is true that I am among the wealthiest Americans in the two ways that count most:  I can get by with little and I have now had for almost fifty years control of my own time. But I don’t think that is what Fisher Investments has in mind.

In the image above of this morning’s world wind map you see hurricanes Ida heading for Louisiana and Nora heading for the Sea of Cortez.  The difference between ‘i’ and ‘n’ shows how far ahead the Eastern Pacific is this year.

Ida is presently a category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 85 miles per hour/74 knots.  She is expected to rapidly intensify in the next twenty-four hours into a category 3 storm with winds above 110 miles per hour/96 knots.  As I have noted here before rapid intensification formerly rare has become common.  The forecast of this intensification has come too late for those along the Louisiana coast, which was hit hard by two storms last year, to evacuate. 

Rapid intensification will not be relevant to me when I move in a little over two weeks from the tornado zone to the hurricane zone.  Once in Hilton Head I will not evacuate whatever the storm.  If I survive, I will be prepared to live without assistance as I do at sea for a month or two.

A few days ago I was researching anchorages in the Bahamas to which I am planning to sail this winter. In doing so I read that the CDC has just added the Bahamas to the list of countries where non-essential travel should be avoided and that the Bahamian Prime Minister has put a COVID curfew in place.  I am vaccinated.  I will get a booster shot when and if available.  But I don’t want the hassle of having to deal with perfectly reasonable COVID restrictions.  I wasn’t going to sail to the Bahamas until January at the earliest and much may change by then.  We’ll see.



Ernie said...

I am disheartened by your comment that you wouldn't evacuate Hilton Head whatever the storm. I would have hoped that you would have lent an expert eye to the forecasts and made a judgment at the time. Homestead, Galveston and Gulfport were completely washed away, and the skills of being at sea would be irrelevant.

Plus, I think your approach to things would have a great calming and motivating effect on others in your community less experienced, who might very well evacuate if you did or stay if you did not.

Hope it never comes to that.

Webb said...

You may have forgotten that I do not drive and have no way to evacuate other than relying on others. I abhor relying on others. I expect that Hilton Head has some provision for evacuating the helpless, but for me being in an evacuation center in the control of others would be literally a fate worse than death. I have made all of my voyages prior to GANNET with no way to call for help. That I can via the Yellowbrick on GANNET is not my purpose for having the unit on board but an unintended consequence. Our condo is on the landward side of the island and less subject to direct ocean surge than the other side of the island five miles away. If I survive the storm itself, my years of living self-contained at sea will be relevant. I am probably about as experienced at that as anyone. I’m old. I’ve had a life. Maybe several. As always I will have prepared and be accepting of the part that chance plays in our lives.

Of others, I would make no effort to influence them and it is likely that they would not even be aware that I was not evacuating.

Few of my neighbors know I have sailed and only one or two have the least idea how much. To them I’m just another old guy who is unusual only because he gets around on a bicycle and is still slim.

Unknown said...

I didn't forget, but OK. My 95 year old aunt lives on Hilton Head. She's blind and pretty deaf now. But if she tells you to get on the bus with her, you better do it.

Ken said...

Greetings from Perth, Webb.
Fifteen or twenty years ago, when I was a weather-obsessed North Carolinian, I remember Greg Fischel (a local weather guru) talking about how it wasn't unusual for a major hurricane to intensify rapidly from category three to category 5 and then collapse back to category three to begin the cycle anew. The cycle is driven (or maybe just indicated) by eye-wall replacement.
Hurricane Katrina followed that pattern, as did (I think) Hurricane Andrew. The takeaway message I got was that if you had a cat 5 storm a day away, it would likely be weaker when it arrived, but when you had a cat 3 just offshore it was a good time to be scared. Don't take that as gospel, though, because it suggests that it might be okay to be complacent in the face of a cat 5 hurricane.
Actually, I wouldn't want to be less than 30 feet ASL (at ground level) anywhere near a cat 3 or worse Hurricane. But that's just me - I've only been through little ones like Fran and Hugo and Floyd - and I've never been in a hurricane at the coast..