I’ve been watching way too much television lately. Not the normal stupid election stuff or crappy network programming. Instead, I am glued to watching hurricanes. It started a couple of weeks ago with Hermine and now continues with Matthew. I am glued to it. It is like the car accident on the highway that you just can’t help but look. As the hours pass by, I find myself morbidly looking for new footage of devastation and disaster. Luckily these images haven’t come with massive loss of lives. Except for the poor folks in Haiti. Those poor souls are still recovering from the massive earthquake, and now this. (if you are feeling generous today: Red Cross). I channel surf between news stations with one eye and with the other eye I troll the internet. What am I looking for? Heck if I know. But, I can’t seem to tear myself away.
Thanks to my television watching mega-marathon, I have a new Mark-ism. If you are seeking a career as a reporter, go to work for a local TV station or a national network. Do not go to work for The Weather Channel. Why you ask? Read on. When reporters report on a storm, they are required to stand outside in the rain with trees blowing in the background. If they can’t find trees, the beach works. Or, one of my personal favorites; the beach, at nighttime. This seems to be the new standard reporting protocol nowadays and rules for all hurricane reporters. Regardless from where they report, they are required to stand outside. Stand in the elements. Stand in the elements and get pelted with wind and rain (and is some cases airborne debris). While they are being pelted, they have to preach to the general public about how we should all stay inside (and watch). If we go outside we are stupid. We will die. Since they’re required to stand out in the rain because of the fore mentioned rules, it just makes sense to me a reporter would want to be out there for as little time as possible. Here’s where it pays to work for someone other than The Weather Channel. The local and network reporters do their thing during the 6 and 10 o’clock news and that’s that. After their report, my guess is they go inside for some warm coffee and a bite to eat. From inside they make fun of the Weather Channel reporters still outside. The poor Weather Channel reporters have to stand out in the elements and drone on and on about nothing much for hours on end. Even though they have nothing new to report and have the same footage rolling over and over They have to stay outside for their entire shift! I don’t know who is more dim-witted, them for doing this or me for watching and thinking something new is going to happen soon.
Do you remember me saying about hurricane Hermine, this one was my fault? Well, I am sad to report that Matthew is also my fault. The story unfolds like this: It was a nice sunny day somewhere in the Bahamas. Ian and Margaret, a wonderful couple we met, were asking about safe places to dock their boat in the USA during hurricane season. They are sailing the islands whenever their schedules allow while still holding down jobs in Canada. They were thinking of places to leave their boat for the summer and asked if we had any suggestions. They didn’t really want to go too far north and they plan to sail the Caribbean next season. They didn’t really want to go all the way down to Grenada. Most insurance companies require boat to be out for the hurricane belt during the season. This means being north of latitude 30.5 (Florida). I suggested they look at Brunswick GA. Located there is a “hurricane hole” marina far inland on a well protected deep river. The marina has floating docks so the docks rise and fall with the water meaning that during very high tides like those associated with storms, the dock will float up and the boats mooring lines do not need to be constantly adjusted. Ian and Margaret looked at the options and decided to put their boat in Brunswick. The price was right and when they are ready to leave again it is only 2 days back to the Bahamas where they plan to sail next season.
This is where I made the fatal mistake. You’d think I would learn. I made the mistake of saying to Ian, Hurricanes never follow the coast line. They tend to go into the Gulf of Mexico or track northwest into land. Due to the contour of the coast and the fact that Jacksonville and South Georgia curve away from normal hurricane paths make them a “safe haven” for summertime storage. Brunswick is above the insurance company’s line. I told him to look at the entire history of hurricanes and said he’ll never see one that has followed the coast line. Ha! Murphy and Mother Nature decide to have some fun with me, again.
The moral of this story: Never take advice from me.
After note: Ian and Margaret’s boat is just fine. We too are safe. Although, we have now had a Cat2 Hurricane pass 200 miles to our west AND a Cat4 Hurricane pass 160 miles to our east. We are hoping this was the grand finale of this hurricane season.