Never mind that it is supposed to rain every day this week, possibly 6-12 inches when it's all said and done...Eldo is interested in what's going on in the Gulf of Mexico....Last week the weather service said there was a 10% chance of the current weather conditions in the Gulf of Mexico becoming a tropical depression. Today, the weather guys say it's a 40% chance of becoming a tropical depression. What is a tropical depression anyway?
It's the first stage of a big storm that COULD lead to a hurricane. It's a low pressure area (that's where it gets the "depression" part) that doesn't have a circular wind pattern but does have an organized cloud system (clouds get organized? Sparky just thought they were a big disorganized mess!) with sustained surface winds less than 38 miles per hour. There's no "eye" to the winds and storms...The weather guys give the tropical depressions NUMBERS and not names at this point.
THEN.....If the storms get stronger, and the constant winds pick up to between 39 and 73 m.p.h., and the winds start to spiral, it's now classified as a BIG BOY or GIRL tropical storm, and it gets named. This is tropical storm Dennis that became a hurricane up the North Atlantic coast in 1999.
CATEGORIES of hurricanes.....Here's a handy dandy chart called the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale of what to expect:
Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale
Winds & Effects
|No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal flooding and minor pier damage.|
|Some roofing material, door, and window damage. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes, etc. Flooding damages piers and small craft in unprotected moorings may break their moorings.|
|Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings, with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain may be flooded well inland.|
|More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Terrain may be flooded well inland.|
|18 ft +|
|Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Flooding causes major damage to lower floors of all structures near the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required.|
The local news stations are prepping everyone to get ready for hurricane season. GET YOUR EMERGENCY KITS READY, FOLKS! they are warning us. There are workshops being provided all over the place, how to be ready for hurricane season. Nightly, it seems, weather forecasters tell you what to have in your emergency preparedness kit (we don't have one yet, guess we better get moving!).
And here's an update last night since you will be reading this in the morning--Now that you know all about how hurricanes start and how they are classified, that tropical depression Sparky was telling you about? It's a TROPICAL STORM and she's called Andrea.
Everywhere we go, we talk to people about the hurricane season. Karen and Al of Travels with Karen and Al, have already left Florida for drier (?) and not so scary parts...Do they know something we don't know? Ignorance in this case is bliss, but just for now....We'll watch the weather...we'll get our NOAA weather radio out, so stay tuned...things might get more interesting here in Sarasota! Bye for now......