...is out there. The first hurricane of the season and heading towards the U.S. coast.
Over the weekend, the forecast track was through Florida. This track took it in at the southern tip and the eventual path was up the pennisula and the East Coast.
Now, that's changed. The Carolinas are the forecast landfall, which is not good for the Carolinas, especially since the category 2 winds can cause winds in excess of 100 mph and a storm surge over 10 feet. If it's been a long time since a hurricane, they'll find the weaknesses in their buildings, or that their trees have grown beyond their ability to withstand hurricane winds.
There is the chance the trough, which will guide Irene, will be further east and the storm will miss landfall on the mainland. Irene will then only brush the coast. Seas and tides will be terrible, but the worst of the destructive winds will stay away from land.
There is also the chance the track will end up being further to the west. This can mean Irene will follow the Florida coast and the landfall will be in northern Florida or Georgia. If so, this landfall will be by a hurricane with category 3 strength. The winds will be well in excess of 100 mph and the surge will be pushing 15 feet.
Whatever the storm does, people will be affected. They'll plan, watch carefully and leave if that's what's necessary. Some won't leave , even if it is necessary, but they'll find a long, lonely ride without any hope for rescue if everything goes wrong. There is no help in a hurricane. You're by yourself. Only after the winds subside will they start surveying the damage, or start looking for the people that made their last call from a crumbling house.
So, those that will be affected are in my thoughts. I've been through hurricanes. They change your life forever and they make you appreciate the simplest of things, such as fresh water and hot food. Even a hot shower becomes a luxury after a hurricane. The hard labor to repair, and rebuild becomes a daily task that leaves you wondering if your mind will finally snap.
I hope Irene misses the U.S. entirely and the hurricane season ends with the passage of a strong cold front that keeps the storms away. Times are tough enough, without adding a hurricane.