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The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts on June 1st and runs through November 30th. As has been the case the last few years, an above normal season is projected, but that doesn’t mean anything more than the conditions should be favorable.

The Yucatan had a terrible year in 2007, but nothing much happened in the Gulf. There’s no way of knowing because there are just too many variables.

Storm Classification

Class Wind Speed Pressure Storm Surge
MPH Knots KPH Inches Millibars Feet Meters
Small Craft 21-37 18-32 34-60
Gale 38-55 33-48 61-89
Storm 56-74 49-64 90-119 < 3 < 1
Category 1 75-96 65-83 120-154 > 28.94 > 979 3-5 1-2
Category 2 97-110 84-96 155-178 28.94-28.50 979-965 6-8 2-3
Category 3 111-130 97-113 179-209 28.49-27.91 964-945 9-12 3-4
Category 4 131-155 114-135 210-250 27.90-27.17 944-920 13-18 4-6
Category 5 > 155 > 135 > 250 < 27.17 < 920 > 18 > 6

2008 Names

Arthur, Bertha, Christobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paloma, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred


Storm pennant – a single pennant is a small craft advisory, two pennants indicate a gale.

Storm flag – a single flag indicates a tropical storm, two flags indicate a hurricane.

The National Weather Service discontinued the display of warning flags in 1989 [because George H.W. Bush was saving money to reduce the deficits caused by Reagan’s tax cuts for the wealthy], but the Coast Guard re-instituted the practice on June 1, 2007 when someone figured out that not everyone had a special marine or weather radio in their boat and the flags were a cheap and effective way of spreading the word.


1 hipparchia { 05.31.08 at 9:39 am }

nonono! every solution must be high tech!

i’ve been working on it, almost there, but if a hurricane got here this week, i could stuff 9 of the 11 cats into carriers, one i could probably catch, and the greta garbo [used to be howard hughes] kitty will at least come out of hiding for yummy food, so i might be able to bribe her to go into something in time to evacuate if i had to.

2 Bryan { 05.31.08 at 11:19 am }

We have flags and descriptions of their meaning on all of the beaches, but people are still drowning in undertows. You see the Marine Patrol getting pounded to crap trying to get fools back to land in small craft advisories. It’s really more of CYA action, but it beats claiming that everyone has a marine radio and is listening to it.

Fortunately, everyone will have forgotten about their last trip in the carriers by the time anything is necessary down here.

3 hipparchia { 05.31.08 at 1:30 pm }

i leave open carriers sitting around the house, and toss bits of yummy food into them at intervals. garbo kitty appreciates the hidey holes they provide, but i haven’t yet been able to sneak up on her and close the door while she’s in one.

it’s really difficult to get people to properly appreciate undertows/rip currents until they’ve been caught in one.

4 Bryan { 05.31.08 at 2:53 pm }

When you learned about them and how to deal with them when you were six, it’s hard to remember that other people panic, rather than just being annoyed, like you are.

Local surfers will use them to get out to deeper water without working too hard.