Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wilma Threatens New England?!

There's bad news about Wilma and, if you have relatives or friends in New England, some reason to fantasize about 'good' news -- in an ugly, get-off-my-back sort of way.

According the National Hurricane Center, "The five-day official forecast point has been adjusted to the left and faster than the previous advisory."

That's the bad news. It means the Gulf Coast still has no assurance that Wilma will give us a miss. More anxious waiting and watching is in store for everyone in Florida, including Northwest panhandle residents.

Some locals, however, may take bitter satisfaction in another, quite unexpected warning from the NHC. It seems that at least two (although hardly all) tropical forecast models this morning "are suggesting the possibility of a threat to New England." As the NHC explains:
"Recent runs of the GPS and NOGAPS [computerized forecast models] are suggesting the possibility of a threat to New England. In this scenario... Wilma becomes captured by a large mid- to upper-level low [which is] forecast to move into the Great Lakes region in four days."
How could this be 'good' in any way? Well, it really couldn't. Such a track likely would wreak havoc and unimaginable devastation on densely populated New England states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, etc.

But there is this: for over a year, now, with each new hurricane that enters the Gulf a lot of us have been fielding calls from our hard-headed, oh-so-practical New England friends and family. As regularly as tropical storms in Hurricane Season, they scornfully say things like, "Why on Earth would you continue living down there? C'mon! Move up here where it's safe!"

Well, it's a grim and ugly thought. But there might be a small measure of sweet pay-back if we could return those calls and say, "Hey, you guys! Why would you live up there? Move on down to Florida, where it's safe and warm the year 'round."

(We really, really don't mean this terrible thought of ours. Honest! What we're actually hoping is that the upper-level low the Hurricane Center is watching somehow sucks Wilma directly into the stratopshere, carries her harmlessly over the Great Lakes, and then drowns her like a rat in the frigid waters of Lake Superior.)

That isn't going to happen. But we can dream, can't we?

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