A WEATHER EYE

Carve - - INTRODUCTION - Sharpy Edi­tor

Most folks are, of course, rightly wor­ried when they hear the word. Be it hur­ri­cane, ty­phoon or cy­clone, de­pend­ing where you are in the world. FYI it's a hur­ri­cane in the At­lantic and NE Pa­cific, a ty­phoon in the NW Pa­cific and a cy­clone in the South Pa­cific and In­dian Ocean.

The names may dif­fer but one thing binds th­ese cloudy rings of mas­sive power to­gether: the max­i­mum sus­tained wind speed needs to be over 74 miles per hour to be in the club.

Think about that for a sec­ond.

Thats how fast you drive down the mo­tor­way, as­sum­ing, like

I do, that your speedo is a bit con­ser­va­tive ... And that's the qual­i­fy­ing speed. If you've ever been in a con­vert­ible on the mo­tor­way and own hair you'll know it ain't good.

So it doesn't take a Korean rocket sci­en­tist to work out that winds in ex­cess of 70mph hit­ting any­thing on land ain't pretty. Not to men­tion the ac­com­pa­ny­ing del­uge; as hor­rif­i­cally il­lus­trated re­cently by Har­vey's lib­eral dous­ing of Texas.

Th­ese mon­ster storms cause chaos and bil­lions in dam­age on one hand and give us rub­ber-suited, self­ish, pleasure-seek­ing weirdos crack­ing surf on the other. It couldn't be a more skewed bal­ance of good and bad. While hur­ri­canes mak­ing land­fall de­liv­ers scenes from a Hol­ly­wood disas­ter movie if they stay out to sea then it's just won­der­ful pulses of oceanic en­ergy en­joyed thou­sands of miles away from the eye of the storm.

Some years are rich in named storms, oth­ers not so, but this year is on track for a spate of storms. We're al­ready up to Irma, which has just rung in as the fiercest At­lantic hur­ri­cane ever and is poised to smash the Caribbean and Florida. At the time of writ­ing, in early Septem­ber, there are still a few months left in the At­lantic hur­ri­cane sea­son.

It's easy to play with stats to suit your de­sired out­come but it's a sim­ple fact that since 1851 ten of the top fif­teen years with the most named storms hap­pened in this mil­len­nium.

This year has seen the first ma­jor hur­ri­cane hit the US since 2005 (the MVP record hold­ing year in most re­gards), it's one that also broke rain­fall records. It's also the third con­sec­u­tive year the sea­son started early. If 2017 can gen­er­ate any­more than 15 named storms and it'll make the sought after top 10.

Cli­mate changes. It's what it does. It has done since our ball of cos­mic dust has had a recog­nis­able at­mos­phere. But you'd have to be a very brave soul to not think that some­thing is up with the weather. The sil­ver lin­ing that boun­teous hur­ri­cane years are good for us surfers is a cold com­fort. It's one of the cu­ri­ous things about surf­ing: we're one of the few tribes of peo­ple that look for­ward to hur­ri­cane sea­son. Aside from us it's pretty much only the me­te­o­rol­o­gists and cli­mate science geeks that get tumes­cent when trop­i­cal storms are get­ting all bol­shy and throw­ing their toys out the pram.

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