When I saw that there was a tropical storm named Nicole in the Florida Straits, I said, "Uh-oh." Too many of them sail through Key West and head into the Gulf of Mexico and end up who knows where, terrorizing every coastal community from Tampa to Brownsville until it decides where it wants to go. But this time, when I looked at the projected path, I said, "Huh?" Because this one was moving backwards. Instead of going west through the Gulf, it was heading east and then north, up the Atlantic coast. Most of the storms this season have headed up the Atlantic, in fact. Blessedly, some of the nastiest ones have turned north right up the middle of the ocean and never threatened land, although one gave Bermuda and Nova Scotia quite a hit. And the Northeast got a brushing from one over Labor Day weekend.
And as I write, Nicole is drenching the entire East Coast, and all of New York State is covered in green on the Weather Channel radar. Outside my window, the rain varies from moderate to heavy.
So I have to ask: is it me? Did this year's storms bypass the Gulf Coast landfalls and head up the East Coast because they knew I had moved? Believe it or not, a couple of people in my new home have suggested just that!
Well, ya know what? If they're after me, that's just fine. If my moving to the North Country spares the Gulf Coast, which has had way too many things go wrong lately, it's a good deal, as far as I'm concerned.
The water temperature in the Gulf is still around 84 degrees, which is warm enough to fuel a pretty powerful hurricane. Up Nawth where I now live, it's full-fledged autumn, and the leaves are brilliant golds and eye-popping reds -- and the temperatures have dropped enough to take the wind out of the sails of a tropical system. So we are getting rain right now. A lot of rain. I can deal with that.
I know the meterorologists will probably explain that the storms are going up the Atlantic this year because of El Nino or La Nina conditions, or wind shear is tearing storms apart before they can get really powerful, or something. I am just glad that the people I love in New Orleans haven't had to evacuate this year. Right now I'm wondering how to get my Evacumobile (a supersize SUV) into the garage of our new home for the winter. And what it's going to be like to drive it in the snow.
The Evacumobile had to do its thing just once, when we evacuated from New Orleans to Atlanta for Hurricane Gustav two years ago. As far as I'm concerned, one evacuation justified its purchase. When I saw people on the interstate evacuating in RVs, I stopped feeling guilty about owning a gas guzzler. This spring, when we moved to the North Country, I was glad to have it to transport three cats, the essentials I didn't want to put on the moving van, and me. How it will handle a real winter is yet to be seen.
Even in the dreariness of a rainy day, the colors of autumn are awesome. This weather may bring down a lot of leaves, but for now, I'm as captivated by the colors as a little child. Wow.