I opened my email this morning and found the unwelcome subject line: “Not liking the look of weather toward the end of this week.” I put my head down on the table. Erik had sent me the note from a land far away; apparently not even being up to his eyeballs in work could keep him from checking on the weather. Sadly, when we “don´t like the look of the weather” around here, it doesn´t mean a little rain is going to ruin our picnic. It doesn´t mean it will be too windy to hang out laundry. It means something bad might be coming. And something bad at this time of year means a cyclone.
Stop number one: the local marine forecast. I called up meteo.nc.
Hmm. Kind of gusty, a couple of days of 20 kt winds, heavy rain – nothing too terrible. But I know perfectly well that I made this stop number one because I knew I wouldn´t have to believe a single thing I saw. The local forecast is strangely inaccurate and incomplete. This was a brief attempt to reassure myself that nothing was going to happen. But I know better. Cyclone Ian just flattened Tonga. Thinking it can´t happen here a few days later is only a foolish wish.
Moving on to a source I have more faith in: Passage Weather. Let´s look at the isobars today.
New Caledonia is that island that looks like a finger pointing to the NW. And this is a happy set of isobars. Nothing closed, nothing low. Everyone is happy. I started to hope that Erik was overreacting a bit. So I clicked ahead through the week.
Ohhh. Now this I like a little less. A lot less. Considerably less. Let´s take a look at the winds for the same time and date.
You can´t hear it, but I am sighing heavily. This might turn out to be nothing worse than a heavy rainstorm, but then again, it might not. Five days is a lot of time for things to change, for systems to strengthen or fall apart. It is time to start working our three-page cyclone prep list (now in handy Excel format). Wish me luck, denizens of the interwebs. I hope to report back soon that all of my preparations were for nothing.
But first, I´d better do a last load of laundry before it all blows away.