As long as we still have electricity, there are some observations I’d like to share about this hurricane.
Matthew is a kind of trickster. None of the meteorological models predicted that it would become a cat 5, as it did last Friday. It’s the longest lived hurricane in the cat 4-5 category in October, in the Atlantic basin.
According to the weather channel, it “may be one of the longest-lived Atlantic major hurricanes – defined as Category 3 or stronger – in the past 50 years of satellite records. Not only did Hurricane Matthew end a nine-year streak without an Atlantic Basin Category 5 hurricane, but it did so at an unusually far south latitude.”
Astrologically, Matthew is also interesting. In October 2005, when Hurricane Wilma roared through our area, Jupiter was in Libra. It was mid-October. On 9/9/16, Jupiter entered Libra once again and today, it’s October 7 and Matthew is headed our way, the first hurricane in 12 years, the timing of the Jupiter cycle.
Most of the eastern coast of Florida is under a hurricane warning. Lake Okeechobee – just west of us – is the second largest fresh water lake in the U.S. and also falls under this warning. The dike around this lake was built in the 1930s and the water level is currently at nearly 16 feet. When it reaches 17 feet, people worry. If it reaches 20 feet, then the dike may fail and the 2000 miles of canals in South Florida flood and so does all the land around it.
Regardless of where Matthew makes landfall in Florida – or whether it simply hugs the coast – we are supposed to get up to ten inches of rain. That means our neighborhood will flood because the drains can’t get rid of the water fast enough. If the city hasn’t released water from the canals into the Atlantic, we’ll have water to our doorstep.
Tonight, though, it’s still outside, warm and humid. We’ve had sporadic showers, nothing more. We’re boarded up with two dogs and three cats and plenty of supplies. We have a generator in the garage that can be turned on once the storm has passed. But we have four skylights in our house that worry me. Our roof is 20 years old. In Wilma in 2005, our fence collapsed, we lost fruit trees, and we didn’t have power for 10 days.
But Matthew is a different sort of creature, I think, the product of climate change, volatile and unpredictable. Regardless of the precautions people take, it’s a force of nature, an irrefutable power, and in the face of it, we’re no more than an army of ants marching toward hope.
Even Orlando in central Florida, 40 miles or so inland from the coast, lies in the hurricane warning area. Will Disney board up Cinderella’s castle? Will the dolphins miraculously escape? Central Florida rarely experiences hurricanes. Most homes don’t have shutters and aren’t built to withstand hurricane force winds. What happens if Matthew makes landfall there?
Well, nothing good.
My sense is that storms like Matthew may be examples of what becomes the norm if we don’t do more to address climate change. Stay tuned. We’ll document this as long as we have electrical power and the internet.
Then there’s this odd thing the weather channel picked up – an infrared satellite photo of Matthew from last Monday. What’s this look like, anyway? Skull? Alien?