“The three elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood and the sound of outer ocean on the beach.”
~ Henry Beston, American writer & naturalist
Rain, wind and waves … nature’s sounds at its finest, to be sure. But currently not a drop of rain will fall. And summertime brings a gentle breeze, not serious winds howling through the “primeval” foothills. Our only hope to fulfill the above quotation lies at the beach. But as the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.” For those crazy weather watchers, photographers and surfers, a short trip may promise to deliver the last of these “elemental sounds” – 25-foot waves crashing on shore.
According to the National Weather Service, “…damaging high surf …very strong rip currents …and coastal flooding…” are expected as Hurricane Marie moves northward from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Meteorologists continue tracking her path as she rapidly moves up the coast of Baja California into U.S. waters. The south and southeast facing beaches of Los Angeles and Ventura counties are expected to see the largest impact. Fascinating and exciting as this may be, it creates extremely dangerous and life threatening conditions for anyone (including dogs). Watch, read, listen to and obey all warnings.
While awaiting Marie’s eventual arrival in our part of the world, I researched these winds. First, the minimum velocity, according to U.S. Weather Bureau, is 74 mph. “Hurricane,” “cyclone” and “typhoon” are all names given to the same type of storm. The different names are key to where the storm originates. In the North Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Central America and Mexico, hurricanes are hurricanes. In the western Pacific, hurricanes are known as typhoons. Over the Indian Ocean a hurricane is a cyclone. No matter the name, its survival depends on warm ocean waters – 75-80 degrees – and converging surface winds. A hurricane spins very rapidly when it moves across warm water, buts slows down and dies away when its path reaches land. The same happens if the direction shifts into colder waters or air out at sea.
A 19th century Australian weatherman, Clement Wraggle, started the tradition of naming very violent storms after people he disliked. He was given the nickname “Wet Wragge!”
The effect locally of a hurricane hundreds of miles away may seem impossibly far-reaching. Using the “pebble in the pond ripple effect” as an analogy, imagine the hurricane winds as the pebble. The force of winds has a tremendous effect on the ocean’s water. The water becomes displaced, pushing larger and faster waves to the coastline. In essence, the bigger the pebble the bigger the ripple or the bigger the hurricane the bigger the waves. Marie was the first category five hurricane since 2010.
Next up will be … Hurricane Norbert!
Temperatures of 100 degrees end the work/school week. Over Labor Day weekend and into next week a slow cooling trend begins, dropping temperatures to the upper 80s during the day and a cool 60 at night.
Hurricane Marie has now hit cold water. If your weekend plans include the beach, use caution. Even a worn-out hurricane can overwhelm a strong swimmer. Enjoy your holiday … on the sand!
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.