Today marks the official first day of the 2010 hurricane season. It’s hard even to process what this means, especially with ominous thoughts pointed toward the more immediate Deep Horizon oil spill disaster. Already on record as the worst oil spill in American history, the spill undoubtedly complicates recent reports that this year’s hurricane season is shaping up to be one of the worst on record (even worse than 2005).
Unfortunately for the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean, hurricane season already started well before today. Tropical Storm Agatha ripped through Central America last Saturday, leaving Guatemala in a national state of emergency, and the death toll is estimated at 130.
It’s already obvious — from previous posts — that I err on the side of worry and nonpathological paranoia. But I’d be lying if I said the hurricane forecast is of no concern to me or others I’ve spoken to. One neighbor scoffed at the news and said the National Hurricane Center prognosticates doom every year, so he’s not worried. But a couple of our other neighbors already have their “to go bags” packed and plans arranged in the event of an evacuation.
I suppose it’s normal to feel slight angst at the beginning of hurricane season because it can go either way: It can be a mild year, or it can be one that produces 10 to 20 named storms, according to Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. There’s just no way of knowing what will happen.
But regardless of how many storms brew this year, we all need to pray that they remain offshore because what would happen to the Gulf’s coastline should a hurricane push oil-laden waters farther ashore? Ray Nagin’s “Chocolate City” mantra just might manifest, as New Orleans would suffer a precipitation mix of Gulf waters and chocolatey toxic slime.
This scenario is a definitely a long shot, so from now until Nov. 30 (the end of hurricane season), I’ll try not to dwell on it too much. But in the meantime, I’ll pack an overnight bag … just in case.
Can you imagine what will happen to the region if a hurricane hits while the oil spill remains uncontained?
Watch live feed of the oil spill: http://globalwarming.house.gov/spillcam