Is That a Cyclone Coming?

13 Jan

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

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.


  1. Amy Schaefer

    Once we neaten it up, I´ll post it. We´re trying to make a comprehensive list of everything we need to do when bad weather is coming – stowing the sails, lashing the boom to the gallows, turning off the battery bank, clearing up loose items below – everything. The idea is that, if and when bad weather shows up, we don´t need to worry that we will forget something major because we have already thought through it carefully ahead of time. Instead of wasting time, we can just work the list.

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