Editor’s Note: This is part 1 of The Semi-Official Humorless Twit 2003 Hurricane Season Un-Preparedness Guide. Part 2 appears in the September, 2003 issue.
As Chicken Little once said, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling.” That’s what some South Florida TV weathercasters start to say as soon as May comes around.
Why? Because May is the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.
We here at The Humorless Twit want all of you to be around by the time hurricane season ends–otherwise, we’d run out of readers.
Seriously (or not), below is The Semi-Official Humorless Twit 2003 Hurricane Season Un-Preparedness Guide. Make sure to clip it out in the event of a hurricane–it might come in handy if you run out of toilet paper after the storm!
When a hurricane is fast approaching South Florida (apparently not fast enough for some TV weathercasters, who probably use voodoo or Santeria to hasten the storm’s approach) you’ll hear a variety of terms–at least some of which may be unfamiliar to you–being bandied about.
We’ve listed some of those terms in this section, along with definitions.
Tropical Wave: What the fans do at Pro Player Stadium during a Dolphins game. Actually, a tropical wave is a group of clouds or a heavy thunderstorm without a significant circulation and generally moving from east to west through the Tropics.
Tropical Depression: Life in Florida. No, actually, a group of clouds or a heavy thunderstorm without a significant circulation and sustained wind speeds of less than 39 mph.
Tropical Storm: A step away from a hurricane, and now the storm has a cutesy name such as “Georges” or “Irene.” Actually, an organized system of strong thunderstorms with top sustained winds of 39 mph to 73 mph.
Tropical Storm Watch: Time for the TV stations to begin with their “foment hysteria” plans. Tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours.
Tropical Storm Warning: Increasing panic mode for the TV stations. Tropical storm conditions are expected within 24 hours.
Hurricane: A University of Miami athlete. Haha, actually a hurricane is an intense tropical weather system with a sustained wind speed of 74 mph or higher.
Storm Surge: Wasn’t this a new soft drink they advertised on the Super Bowl a few years ago? Actually, it’s a dome of seawater as high as 20 feet that arrives with a hurricane and can affect more than 100 miles of coastline. Evacuation zones are based on their probability of being flooded by this rising water, which is responsible for most hurricane deaths.
Hurricane Watch: A hurricane is still some way out but is possibly headed our way within 36 hours–on some TV stations though, they’ll already say it’s making a beeline for us.
Hurricane Warning: All TV stations go into full-blown panic mode. Hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours.
Tornado: Tornadoes are usually formed during severe thunderstorms when wind changes direction and height, causing rotation. Wind speeds range from 40 mph to 318 mph. And I’ll spare you the divorce/tornado joke.