How To Love A Hurricane

August 20th, 2007

A million years ago I was involved with the promotion of the California earthquake medallion, “St. Andreas/protect us from our faults.” We didn’t make a lot of money on it, but we learned a lot about earthquakes and hurricanes.

The people involved in the promotion were former helicopter pilots and myself. We met and became friends and in the course of enjoying life in Southern California, came up with the idea of the medallion. We each tossed in a couple of thousand bucks and came away from it by breaking even. But what we saw and learned about natural phenomena was worth the investment.

That’s when I ran into a UCLA climatologist who claimed that the mission of all hurricanes was to seek out masses of land with which it could unleash its fury, getting rid of its wind and water in places where it would do the most good. Because that’s what happens. Hurricanes are beneficial events that serve to refresh the environment.

That’s not readily apparent to those who have condos or run resorts in Jamaica. To them, hurricanes represent disasters and interruptions of everyday life in ways unimaginable. But hurricanes don’t spawn just to harass humans. According to this climatologist, they receive their marching orders from land based climate conditions and not those of the surrounding water temperatures. There are all kinds of models showing how wind speeds are formed over warm water and cold air but this guy says those models only seek to explain what it is that scientists hypothesize. What they fail to do is include the environmental conditions on the masses of land that get hit by hurricanes.

Hurricanes have been an essential element in the maintenance of land-based ecology. And that’s where this guy’s theory comes into play. He contends that if there were no masses of land with which to attract hurricanes, these natural phenomena of wind and rain might never happen.

What this says is that there is a symbiotic relationship between hurricanes and the masses of land that get whacked by their fury. It would be more beneficial to understand what is happening on land rather than what is happening out in the open water. By maintaining proper land based ecology, those areas could avoid being hit by the brunt of the storm.

The essence of the argument is this; hurricanes are magnets, formed and drawn to those land masses that need the wind and water to correct the kind of polluted development that either natural or man made occurrences have wrought. It’s unfair, I know, but if man had lived in harmony on the island of Jamaica instead of developing resorts and roads, the hurricanes might never strike this Caribbean getaway. It’s the same with our east coast. When a hurricane veers away from hitting, say North or South Carolina and slides up the east coast towards Greenland, then it can be assumed that the land based conditions were, at that time, ecologically sound and in place. If however the hurricane comes on land, you can bet that the ecological conditions were a mess.

Just ask South Florida. Because of its development of every inch of available land, South Florida is simply asking for hurricanes to tear it apart. And that’s what they do. They make the environment unlivable so the infection (human beings) will rethink the way they treat the land and adjust their development of it. But humans never learn and until they do, the more we screw up the land we live on, the more likely these huge storms will put things back the way they should be. Think about that before you feel like tearing apart any of the ocean states forests or accelerate development along its seaboard. It could save you a bunch of money as well as the lives of hundreds of people because the more we develop the world, the more these storms will ramp up their fury to set things right again.

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