Thursday, June 29, 2006

Reflecting on the 2005 Hurricane Season

The problems for New Orleans metro area began last year when either Tropical Storm or Hurricane Cindy hit during the Fourth of July celebration. It is still listed as a TS rather than a Hurricane even though it was said afterwards that the buoys in the Gulf showed it had reached hurricane strength as it came ashore. It hit at exactly at new moon.
Having returned to New Orleans twenty years before one thing that was clear from personal experience is that it was worse than any hurricane that hit here during that period. It was mostly ignored by those outside of the strike area, but remarkable to those of us who experienced the destructive force of this storm.
Just afterwards I was playing poker online and trying to rattle a player with a screen name clearly related to his being from New Orleans, I offered a prediction for the upcoming storm season. It was based on the fact that two of the names slated for use last year were the names of my ex-wife and the one from whom I am currently seperated. So I said, "I predict New Orleans will be nearly destroyed by Hurricane Lee then finished off by Hurricane Rita." Some joke.
So far this year only Alberto has been in the Gulf, and though it didn't pass close to us, it threw out an arm as it approached Florida which swept down from northern Alabama through Mississippi and first lit up the sky with the most entertaining lightning storm in more than a year. That was followed by a heavy downpour which was more than welcome.
We had been told that we would be protected by the extremely dry air over us, the result of the terrible drought that has been with us since the passing of Hurricane Rita, but after the lightning passed we were treated to a heavy rain accompanied in my neighborhood by the failure of Entergy to keep the electricity flowing. But Entergy is such a screwup that while it is annoying it has become all too common. We lost electricity for seven hours that night.
New Moon has just passed and gave us a bit more relief with a cooling overnight storm.
As a surfer and a mushroom hunter I learned something that is mostly ignored by most meteorologists, that the phase of the moon has a strong effect on both the ocean and on rain cycles.
Hurricane Cindy was followed immediately by Hurricane Dennis which struck the Florida panhandle with great destructive power. It formed just as Cindy hit New Orleans and reached Florida on the eleventh. In other words new moon last June had two major tropical events associated with it, and while we here in NOLA received a bit of relief , the Northeast has been the problem area this June New Moon which occured the evening of July 25th.
My general rule of thumb (as a mushroom picker) is that New Moon usually means heavy rain events. My surfing experience tells me that Full Moon brings storms and heavy surf.
The coming Full Moon for July this year occurs the night of the eleventh. It might be noted that in Hindu numerology eleven is the number associated with Shiva, The Destroyer of Illusion.