My part of the United States has been bracing for days now for Hurricane Dorian, which models suggest should skirt the southeast coastline.
Hurricane Dorian just happens to be the latest reminder of why I hate hurricane season so much.
Forecasts initially pointed the storm toward an eastern Florida landfall. Forecast models suggested a Category 4 storm, meaning maximum sustained winds of between 130-156 miles per hour.
Experts call any hurricane of at least Category 3 strength a major hurricane. I suspect how “major” a storm is depends directly on how close it is to you.
In any case, those forecast models have changed drastically. The hurricane tracking technology is the best it has ever been. But storms seem harder and harder to track.
I’m not sure, however, that this is actually true.
The technology allows forecasters to see the storms come together sooner. It means we have an earlier warning one has the potential to form. And we have a more detailed look at atmospheric conditions that will likely influence formation and path than ever.
Yet we forget that Mother Nature has a mind of her own, and no matter how much a storm is tracked, it will always remain unpredictable.
Just ask the Bahamas, where Dorian, which reached Category 5 strength, sat nearly unmoving for more than 24 hours. It pounded the Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph. And hurricane hunters reported wind gusts of up to 220 mph.
Can you even imagine?
Since late last week, forecast models continually tweaked the projected path. The landfall for eastern Florida slowly moved north with every six-hour update.
The storm pointed to Florida, then Georgia, then South Carolina, then North Carolina.
It seems to have settled over the past couple of days (as I write this) on a path that will have it drift off the coastline. Landfall may not happen at all.
Given a choice of landfall somewhere and the risk of high winds, storm surge and a lot of rain with no landfall, I’ll happily take the latter.
And I’ll hope that everyone stays safe.