Monday, September 29, 2008

..and now, the weather

You may remember the disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow, in which a climatologist tries to convince politicians to prepare for catastrophic global weather. Of course they don't listen soon enough, and Los Angeles gets sucked up in hurricanes, most of the New York Public Library goes up in smoke, and the northern hemisphere is pretty much engulfed in a new ice age.
Well, Japan, where I sit, is on the leading edge of f=the 15th typhoon of the season. The Accuweather satellite image above doesn't show the eye formation of this typhoon, but more recent images on the U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center site show that Jangmi is a biggie, with wind gusting above 120 miles an hour and waves 20 or more feet high as it makes a sharp right and heads for Japan's bigger islands tomorrow or...ahem....the day after.
Having lived here awhile, I have experienced typhoons that, fortunately, have not been deadly in my personal neighborhood. Apart from downpour rain and wind gusts that leave umbrella skeletons all over, we've been fortunate. But a storm this big and this powerful is a reminder of what the forces of nature can do when messed with by the forces of people.
I'm always a little surprised that people who have survived a disastrous storm like Hurricane Katrina will try to go surfing in such weather, or go out to the shoreline and have some drinks while the storm rages. It's a quirky thing about humans that having survived one calamity makes us bolder in the face of others.
Maybe I am going soft in old age, but I think it is better to keep your head down and, when someone with more weather expertise than me says be careful, I am careful.