It was like staring down the barrel of a gun. Dorian formed as a tropical storm on Sunday, August 25 making it the fourth-named storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. Wednesday, August 28, it became a hurricane that was predicted to hit SE Florida. Immediately everyone in the targeted area started preparing. Gas stations ran out of gas, batteries were snatched up, water disappeared from store shelves, generators sold out, and on and on it went for several hectic days. Per normal some people were in panic mode and somewhat rude. But most folks took it in stride with a “been there done that” attitude.
On Friday, August 30 The National Hurricane Center projected that Tuesday evening Dorian’s eye would pass directly over Stuart, Florida. The next day word spread like wildfire through the Treasure Coast that The Weather Channel’s storm chaser meteorologist Jim Cantore was in downtown Stuart broadcasting updates on Dorian’s progress.
On Sunday, September 1 Dorian made landfall at 12:40 p.m. in Elbow Cay, Abacos in the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane. It was the most powerful storm ever recorded for the northwestern Bahamas. Its wind speed was 190 mph with gusts peaking at 220 mph which approaches the wind speed of EF-5 tornadoes.
The National Hurricane Center reported: “Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles.” If Dorian’s tropical storm-force wind field was a perfect circle with a 280-mile diameter, it was covering 61,575 square miles. Florida measures 65,755 square miles and Georgia measures 59,425 square miles.
Needless to say, the prediction of being hit with a Cat 5 hurricane had everyone in SE Florida very worried. Yes, houses were shuttered, generators were at the ready, larders were stocked, gas and propane was stored, boats were secured and/or moved to safe anchorage, airplanes were flown away or stored in huge hangers, and those who wanted to evacuate had left.
But most of those who stayed knew that the damage from 140 mph winds would be horrendous and winds of 185 mph would be catastrophic. Sure, everyone wished the storm would move further south or north. At the same time though, everyone who wished for a better outcome felt guilty and would say they sure didn’t wish harm on anyone else. At this point there was little anyone could do except wait and hope that Dorian would either change course or be downgraded considerably.
Then the unexpected happened. The mid Atlantic high pressure zone started to shrink. Dorian stalled and ended up barely crawling at two mph through the Bahamas. Floridians in SE Florida knew then that conditions were improving for them but the situation was dire for people in the Bahamas. Still, as Dorian raged over the Bahamas everyone in SE Florida could only wait and wonder, “Would Dorian turn north and stay out at sea?”
The preceding was written Tuesday, September 3, while Dorian pivoted over the Bahamas. Eventually Dorian did move north and spared Florida’s eastern seaboard of its hurricane force winds. As it lost some of its punch it took a destructive path north to Savannah, Georgia, where in 1959 or 1960 I went outside momentarily during a hurricane to experience the stillness of an eye.
After whacking Savannah, Dorian regained Category 3 status and wreaked havoc all along the South and North Carolina coast lines and made a direct hit on Cape Hatteras this morning. Georgia and both Carolinas suffered hundreds of thousands of power outages and extensive flooding and wind damage. As this letter is being published Dorian is off the coast of Virginia and appears to the heading out over open water toward Nova Scotia.
When Dorian is finished it will have passed over or skirted by 13 states and the District of Columbia impacting many of our grass-fed and Omega-3 meat customers. Not all of the people in that path were as fortunate at dodging the bullet as were the Treasure Coast residents of Florida. In our case power outages were rare and short lived. There was some coastal flooding but it was mostly minor. Wind damage was also limited. Residents of SE Florida are very grateful and are springing into action to assist the Bahamians in any way they can. For decades the Bahamas have been a favorite Floridian getaway destination and ties to the islanders are strong.
Events like these remind us that we should count our blessings every day. No matter where we live, how much we prepare, or how careful we are some rain must fall. That’s why focusing on our negatives is counter productive especially when so many of us have dodged so many different bullets during our lives.
To your health.
Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.
Don’t miss these links for additional reading:
The Enhanced Fujita Scale: How Tornadoes are Rated from Weather.com
Severe Weather 101 Frequently Asked Questions about Tornadoes from National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
“The Rainy Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow