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Date of Issue: September 13, 2007

Sandscript

Hurricane season peaking, with records already set

Records were set last month in the hurricane world.

For the first time since records were kept, two Category 5 storms made landfall in one season. Hurricane Dean and Felix hit the Central American/Mexico coastline within two weeks. Both had better than 160-mph winds when they struck the coast.

Both followed tracks that were almost identical, and landfalls were only about 500 miles apart. We’re talking nearly straight east-to-west paths from formation to making it to shore.

Unfortunately, there was loss of life in both landfalls. Damages are still to be determined.

 

Our good?

As we reach the peak of Atlantic Ocean hurricane season, Anna Maria Island and Florida have been spared. So far.

But the end isn’t quite in sight.

Dr. Philip J. Klotzbach  and Dr. William M. Gray, the hurricane gurus from Colorado State University, have updated their report for the 2007 season.

“Climatologically, September is the most active month of the hurricane season,” the pair wrote in a report earlier this month. “Through August, we have observed weaker-than-normal tradewinds and lower-than-normal sea-level pressures in the tropical Atlantic. These conditions tend to persist from  month to month, and therefore we expect to see fairly weak tradewinds and lower-than-normal sea-level pressures in the tropical Atlantic during September as well.

“We are forecasting an active month for September,” the team concludes.

 

Further ahead

The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2008 is out. For some of us weather twits, it’s a time to both look ahead and review what’s happened. Sometimes we can grin and point, sometimes nod sagely at the insights revealed in the weird little book, with its hole-punched pages for easy hanging by the front door, published since 1792.

For Florida in 2008 comes this weather wisdom:

“Winter will be cooler than normal, especially across the south, where temperatures will be more than a degree lower than normal, on average. Watch for freezes in Central Florida in early to mid-December and in mid- to late-February. Rainfall will be a bit above normal in the north and near normal in the south. April and May will be drier than normal, with near-normal temperatures.

“Summer will be hotter and drier than normal, with temperatures 2 degrees above normal, on average. The hottest periods will be in early June; early, mid- and late-July; and early and late August. South Florida will be especially dry, with an enhanced threat of wildfires.

“Despite widespread t-storms in mid-September, September and October will be drier than normal overall, with below-normal temperatures.”

There is no mention of any tropical storms in the 2008 prediction, by the way.

So how did the Almanac do for 2007?

Pretty much accurate.

Yes, we had a warmer than usual winter.

Yes, we had lower than normal rainfall.

Yes, we had a much drier than average April and May.

Oops: no, we didn’t have summer rainfall above average, at least not in our part of the world.

And the jury is still out for September and October to be “cooler and drier than normal, with temperatures cooler than normal, on average, and well-below-normal rainfall.”

Don’t you just love to track the weather?

 

Trouble for Trouble?

Now, onto the wacky front.

Leona Helmsley died last month. The money maven was a familiar sight on Lido Beach, where she and her late husband, Harry, owned the Harley Sandcastle Resort. It was one of Harry’s favorite haunts before his death, and was therefore near and dear, apparently, to Mrs. Helmsley’s heart.

Despite press reports of Mrs. Helmsley’s demanding nature, a slew of friends have worked at the Sandcastle for years and years and doted on Mrs. Helmsley. They speak of her generosity, her kindness, her just being a nice lady. The press paints her as the “queen of mean,” but none of the folks who worked for her in Sarasota caught any of that action.

So fast-forward to the latest: Trouble.

It seems that her little yappy dog, named Trouble, was the recipient of $12 million in her will. You’ve probably seen the reports about how she cut a couple of grandkids out of receipt of any of her zillions of dollars in favor of charities and, yes, the dog.

Mrs. Helmsley’s brother, Alvin Rosenthal, was to be caretaker of the little mutt. He’s declined, according to wire reports, and one of the grandchildren who did get some of her financial largesse is next in line to care for Trouble.

But, of course, there is more trouble afoot for Trouble, because Mrs. Helmsley’s will calls for the dog to be interred with her and Harry when it dies, which apparently violates New York law.

And a former housekeeper is claiming that since Trouble had trouble keeping its fangs out of her, she wants a piece of the $12 million doggie trust fund.

Trouble in doggie paradise, eh?

 

Sandscript factoid

The dog that lets me feed it has been acting weird of late, as evidenced by the bite marks on my arm.

Yapping is a bit more than usual as well, although with this little yappy dog, that gauge is a hard one to read.

It’s not a full moon. I don’t know what’s going on. Anybody got any clues? Is anyone else having dog issues?

Lemme know at paul@islander.org

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