Sunday 27 October 2013

The Eye Of The Storm

A few years ago on rising put on the TV to pick up Fox News to see what the latest hurricane was doing over the water.  In between the chatter and garbled commentary suddenly the realisation dawned that it had changed track.

It was why those telling the story were so excited.  "Yer what?" I yelped and headed for the machine to boot up.  The US National Hurricane Centre had not long put up its latest update and there had been an unexpected major shift to the north.

"Oh Crikey!" was what I might have said except it was a more military expression. Looking at the detail on the NHC site it was clear that there was a change.  The phone was grabbed, For Child Number One it may have been very early but was in a secure place waiting for the Eye to hit.

Child was the only one with a satellite phone so despite all the local lines in Nassau being down and out and the TV off there was contact.  A tired voice answered, the storm had being going on for a couple of days and they were waiting for worse to come.

I gave the latest information, the Eye had gone north, was already past and headed for Freeport.  Nassau would have a few more rough hours but that was all.  There was disbelief at first, the local radio station relaying the official news had just said the Eye was imminent at Nassau.

Anyhow, when Child tried to tell people they would not accept that some old guy in England knew more that their local radio station or administration.  Talk of knowing what the NHC latest had said was hocus pocus. Freeport took a very bad hit without warning.

Quite why Nassau and The Bahamas were so far behind the game is a question.  Perhaps they were disorganised, not ready or dilatory, but maybe having officially said this they were unwilling to say that was different, however vital.  They would then blame somebody else.

What was disturbing was that when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana near to New Orleans there was something of the same pattern.  The information was there, the expert advice was there, but somehow the authorities etc. messed about and would not accept that the situation was rapidly changing with very serious risks.

We in England are now due for a heavy storm and some damage. The information we are getting in general terms is something but too often sketchy.  What exactly will happen in the aftermath is another issue.  Just how good and ready are the authorities and do they have the facilities?

Will the hospitals already be full of weekend drunks and visitors?  We could get lucky.  It could be quite nasty.  Nobody really knows but look out for who starts blaming who and who starts telling lies if there is a fall out.

At least when it is weather it is still a whole lot better than in the government of our finances and other critical matters.  My worry is that the worst could come just where Boris Johnson wants to build his new prize hub airport.

This prediction is the application of Murphy's Law of Climate for which I claim no credit whatsoever.

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