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The. Wrath of God, Ed.. Hi. Hi. I've been thinking that Bob Dylan song all day. Oh, yeah, you know, it's weird. I have to and I hadn't realized it until you just said that. Really? Yeah. My brain is after. Which song, Hard Rain's going to fall over here? Hurricane Hurricaine, Hard Rain can follow you crazy. Well, that would fit through, I guess, a way it hadn't even occurred to me.
Great song, Hurricane. Now I'm going to be singing Hard Rain is going to Fall, which is not nearly as good as the hurricane song.
I'm surprised you even know any Bob Dylan song. That's shocking.
Those are the two. You know, more than that, no. That's it. I know that one because goes with that one. Oh, it's all of them. Gotcha.
God bless him. He's got a new album. It's great. Dude, how many does that make? And he's got a lot of record, right? Well, Girkins, great song. It is. It was a good movie, too.
Sad I didn't see that. Yeah. Denzel Washington, I believe, played him. And yes, I mean, if you like injustice, you're going to love that movie.
Well, you mean if you like movies about fighting injustice, guess what you mean, right? Yes. Either way, you're going to like the movie.
I love injustice.
Sadly, there are people who say things like that these days. That's true. So, Chuck, we're talking about hurricanes, not the Bob Dylan song, but about the actual, like, weather system, weather disaster anomaly.
I guess you mean typhoons? No, I mean hurricanes. But that's the same thing. And so is Chuck. You mean cyclones? Kind of, yes. All three of those are this one in the same. Did you know that?
You know, I think I knew that and just sort of forgot because when I read it, I was like, oh yeah, I think I knew that. Right. So, I mean, it just depends on where they occur in the world, basically, that there's I mean, aside from exactly, you know, where they occur, where they make land and then the way that they turn and move, they are the same thing. They start the same way.
They're the same group of of weird, you know, weather coincidences that happen to assemble into something. And hurricanes to me are as good as it gets natural disaster wise. I mean, they are as interesting as they come. They are so ridiculously destructive. And then theoretically, what they could do if they got even worse, which they may, it just boggles the mind. I'm a hurricane fan in a way, but I hate Miami as far as their university's concerned.
You hate the you know, not really. I'm just teasing. Yeah. And I think the other thing about hurricanes is so fascinating is it's it's a regular thing. It's not like a volcanic eruption or a tsunami, you know, or an earthquake. It's you know, every year there are going to be, you know, like a hundred tropical storms and, you know, 30 to 50 of these are going to develop into hurricanes.
You can count on it. Right, Jack? Yeah.
And they actually they have seasons, to tell you the truth, depending on where you are in the world, in the northern hemisphere, especially in the Atlantic, you've got what appropriately called the Atlantic hurricane season, and it runs from about June 1st to November 30th down under in the southern hemisphere. They have a hurricane season that runs from about January to March. And again, like there's some differences to them, but it's essentially the same thing. It's just that hurricanes tend to form over the North Atlantic and northeast Pacific and then cyclones are over the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
And then typhoons tend to hit the northwest Pacific Ocean around Asia to the Middle East.
That's right. So I think the Australians would call them cyclone, is that right? Yeah. And we call them good old hurricanes.
That's right. And actually, hurricane, which since we're just spouting out facts about hurricanes at this point, right now, it actually comes from an old Mayan word hurricane, which is the name for one of their gods of destruction, of thunder and lightning and wind, and I believe maybe rain, who brought the flood that destroyed almost all people and then made it recede because humanity had gotten too wicked.
And if this sounds familiar, that's because there's a flood story in basically every culture in the world, which makes me really wonder, like what happened? What is everybody talking about that actually may have happened at some point? I just find that fascinating.
Yeah. And how a hurricane forms can get very convoluted, as we realized when we started diving into this research. And we'll describe it in a bit more detail.
But, you know, me and my Earth science for kids websites which I adore in the very simplest of terms, hurricanes form over warm ocean waters near the equator in the tropics, and that warm, moist air rises up and then is replaced by cooler air. And then that air warms up and starts to rise. And that just causes a cycle that starts these clouds to form and they start rotating and they get a little more organized. And if there's enough that warm water, eventually that winds going to pick up and you're going to get a hurricane.
And they move in the northern hemisphere, especially in the Atlantic, which we're going to kind of focus on Atlantic hurricanes here. But again, most of the stuff we're talking about applies to cyclones and typhoons, too. But in the Atlantic in particular, they usually start off the west coast of. And move down toward the equator, where they slide over through the Caribbean and then up along Florida, the Carolinas, sometimes to New England, but most of the time they'll hit the the the Gulf Stream and will be carried up to England, where they peter out and show up for a pint at the pub.
Yeah. You know, hurricanes will they eventually will die out 100 percent. Landfall will make them die out just like that's the worst part for the people, you know, living on planet Earth because that's where it hits the land. But that actually means the hurricane is dying because there's not that warm water anymore or the further north they go, the cool that water gets. And that all just petered out as well.
Yeah, which I mean, if you really think about it, when you take all these factors into consideration, just those two that it needs warm water and that it can't be over land like a hurricane is a startling series of coincidences that happen like again and again repeatedly during a certain section of the year in certain sections of the world. And it just takes everything being perfect, like a perfect storm. But over and over again for these things to happen.
And like you said, you know, there's so many different storms that form off the west coast of Africa or off the the. Yeah. Or off the west coast of Australia that can form into these things. But they don't. They usually don't, because all of those factors just aren't working just perfectly for the thing to not only kind of catch to ignite in a way, but also to kind of develop steam and to really pick up and become a problem.
Yeah. And I know what you mean about loving hurricanes in a certain weird way. Obviously, the landfall and the destruction is terrible and we don't wish that ever.
But when you see those images from above of the hurricane rotating and how big it is, it's just it's humbling and just sort of mind boggling display of nature at work, you know?
Right. It is. I mean, it hits it on the head. It's definitely not all the death and property destruction I'm a fan of now. Of course, I'm like, oh, man, I love injustice.
I know. And this is what happened to you overnight.
So so let's let's talk about this. Let's talk about how hurricane actually forms and then what it forms into. OK, we're going to do the earth thing of that part. OK, I'll take over everybody. I hope you like my voice because that's all you're going to hear for a little while.
I think if they're listening, they're probably used to that. Do you know, when we first started this, I couldn't stand my voice. Couldn't stand it. Yeah. Yeah. I finally reached a day where, you know, I reached a detente with it. I just ignore it. So, Chuck. You've got air, right? OK, air over the ocean and over the land, the stuff that's closest to the surface is actually the warmest, which is, you know, like if you've ever been skydiving, it's really cold up there.
And I have it now. Well, it's really cold up there, trust me.
And when you are like if you're ever like if you climb a mountain or something, it's always cold up there. One reason why is because I've never done it. Just trust me. Trust me. The upstairs of my house is cooler.
It shouldn't be it should be much warmer because heat rises in your house.
Yeah, but the AC up there, there's fewer rooms. It just really packs. Okay, you're making this earth science thing way hard. So the air at the surface of the earth is warmer because it gets warm by the earth or by the ocean. Right. Ocean temperatures kind of tend to warm with the seasons. And so by around June 1st, which was when hurricane season starts, you've got an ocean which with surface temperatures hovering around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
OK, yeah. And I think 80 is where you've got to be kind of. That's the threshold. Yeah. To even get if you want to talk about hurricanes. Yeah. It's got to go to 80 degrees.
Exactly. And not just at the very surface. I think it needs to be that down to about one hundred and fifty feet because hurricanes mix a lot of water together and if it's not warm water that stays available, it's not it's just going to peter out, right? Yeah. So you need 80 degrees at a minimum surface temperature, water down to one hundred and fifty feet.
And so you've got that going on in the ocean around certain times of year. And if we can travel into the interior of Africa all the way to Sudan, a little monarch butterfly will flap its wings and that creates an air disturbance. And weeks later, that develops into an even bigger disturbance and it moves further west across Africa and finally off the coast. And it will encounter that warm water and warm air that's that's being heated by the water. And that disturbance will actually encounter that water that's evaporating and rising.
And as that water evaporates and rises, it's becoming less dense, right air. The molecules that make up that air with the water vapor are further apart, then cold air that's above it. Well, nature abhors a vacuum, right? And when that air leaves that area right above the surface of the ocean, cold air starts to move in below it. Right. Which pushes the other air further upward. But then that cold air is warmed up, too, and that starts to rise.
And so what you have under this disturbance in the air that was created by a butterfly's wings in Sudan, is this this motion in the ocean?
I mean, that's all that that is kind of this upward trajectory of air constantly moving upward and it's full of water vapor. So it's when it gets high enough up into the cooler regions in the atmosphere, it condenses and forms clouds. And those clouds eventually start to rain. And as it condenses and starts to rain, that actually heats up that area. The latent heat of condensation heats up that area.
So now you have this column of warm, moist air rising up, moving with cold air, trying to come in and replace it as the warm air moves. And you have a lot of air movement. You have some storms starting and you have all the ingredients now for what could become a hurricane.
That's right. And that that heat exchange is going on and that's going to create a lot of wind. And that's just going to make everything worse because those winds converge at the surface and they're colliding with each other. And that's pushing that warm, moist air up and up. And that cycle just starts to happen. That rotational cycle that's so tied to like the image of a hurricane. Right. And those winds get involved and everything, kind of everything kind of just synchronises, seems like.
Right, exactly. I mean, like that's what I'm talking about with all the different coincidences that have to, No. One, be present, then have to work just right. Because if that wind that's converging at the surface to replace that warm, moist air that's rising, man, I've never said moist this many times in my life and been OK with it, but I'm all right so far. How are you doing? I'm great.
OK, if the the the speed of that wind that's coming in at the surface is different than, say, like the speed of that, you know, higher up in that column, you're going to have what's called wind shear and it's going to keep the storm from being organized into a cohesive whole. So just that factor alone that somehow the winds at different levels of this storm that's starting to organize have to be moving at roughly the same speed. That's a big one.
All right. And then because of these these thunderstorms that are are starting and the more condensation that's that they're heating more and more. So they're creating more and more storms. So you've got all these storms that are. Starting around this area and they start to get organized together and then this is this eventually this is called a tropical depression and eventually, if all if everything that we're going to keep talking about happens just precisely right. It's going to organize into a tropical storm and then a hurricane and then the hurricane, as we'll see, goes through different stages of categorization.
And all has to do with the speed of those winds that have now kind of organized into this rotational monster, which is really a tight or sometimes a loose collection of storms that form one big storm. That's what a hurricane is that are all kind of moving in the same direction at about the same speed. And it all has to do with that that thing that started all of this, that rising moist air in that one spot, because as these different storms assemble into a larger, more cohesive whole, the center, the lowest pressure center right where there's the most that warmest moist air is rising up.
It also has the lowest pressure. And because nature abhors a vacuum, higher pressure air is trying to come in to fill it. But there's something that we have to talk about called the Coriolis effect. And here's where things really run off the rails for us to get Chuck.
Yeah, the Coriolis effect is when you see that hurricane rotating, that's a byproduct or I guess a product of that Coriolis force, which is we've talked about it before, but it's the natural phenomenon that makes fluids and any kind of free moving object either go to the right of their destination if you're in the northern hemisphere or to the left in the southern hemisphere.
Right. Not toilets in Australia.
I thought we found it. I thought we said that. OK, so I thought I said it wasn't true. And somebody showed us that it was it was the opposite.
I think it's not true. Well, we'll find out again.
But at any rate, in the Northern Hemisphere, your winds deflect to the right. In the southern hemisphere, they're going to deflect to the left. And this that deflection that gets the storm spinning. And that's why you get different rotations in each hemisphere. They rotate counterclockwise here in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. Right.
But we do need to keep going with the Coriolis effect. Sorry, I didn't mean to scare everybody, but the Coriolis effect does two things. It makes the the hurricane rotate, like you were saying, basically on an axis around that lowest pressure center. And then it also moves the hurricane physically itself as it kind of travels southward from West Africa toward the equator, which is really bizarre because at the equator, the Coriolis effect is at its absolute weakest, its strongest at the poles.
But for some reason, something about the Coriolis effect moves. The hurricane, like a hurricane, could theoretically cross the equator from the northern hemisphere to the southern. Who knows what would happen when it and when it transferred over to the other, like the opposite Coriolis effect. As far as we know, that horizon probably as far as we know, it's never happened. But we've only been keeping track of this stuff for about one hundred years. But it just doesn't ever seem to happen.
For some reason, the Coriolis effect, despite being weak of the equator, moves hurricanes back upward, over and up, back into the left. Right. That's right. So the Coriolis effect does two very important things for hurricanes, but probably the biggest one of the most important one as far as the hurricane itself is concerned is to keep that thing spinning around in the same motion, clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on your hemisphere.
All right. I think we should take a break and we can come back and talk a little bit about what these different categories mean right after this.
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Zica is twice a day on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever podcasts are given away for free. So so, Chuck, before we talk catagories, I have to pop one more thing in about the cordials. It's important. You ready? Sure. So that lowest pressure center, what's called the eye. Mm hmm. That is actually it's the clearest part of the hurricane. Sometimes it's clear skies, beautiful, eerily calm. And the reason why is because of the Coriolis effect that the lowest pressure center is never overwhelmed by the higher pressure air that's trying to get in.
The whole reason that hurricane spins around the center is because all that wind from sometimes hundreds of miles away is traveling to that center trying to fill it. But the Coriolis effect deflects it. They end up going around that center, the winds, and then up to lifting more warm air up. And they never make it to that middle, which is what causes that. And the stronger the winds, meaning the stronger the pressure gradient between the center of the hurricane and the outer bands beyond the eye wall, the stronger the difference between that gradient, the stronger the hurricane is going to be, because the stronger the winds are going to be trying to fill that low pressure void.
That's what causes hurricanes to spin around clockwise or counterclockwise. That is absolutely fascinating to me.
It's very cool. The eye the storm comments place in the world. It really is. Although it's counterintuitive, it is so these categories, a Category one and this is all broken down and very sort of I mean, there's really there's it's pretty stiff as far as how they categorize these things, right?
It's not willy nilly. They don't say like this. It's getting pretty bad. I think it's hard to actually measure things. And there are demarcation line, but I usually wind speeds is one of the big parts. Yeah, 74 to 95 miles per hour is a category one.
And that's going to you know, I could blow a tree branch into your roof. Sure. Or or get some shingles shuttering.
You might have to get out the pruners. Category two is 96 to 110 miles per hour, that's getting pretty dangerous and you're going to get some pretty extensive damage at this point, like, you know, the siding of your house, the frame of your house.
Shallow trees can be snapped or uprooted.
At this point, you're probably going to get some power loss. All right. Number three is a major hurricane, category three is 111 to 129 miles an hour, and they rank this is devastating damage and, you know, lots of trees uprooted. You definitely will lose probably power and water for a period of time with a Category three. And then you've got your Category four, which is 130 to 156.
Category five is 157 or higher. You're probably not going to see many cat fives, but the Cat four is pretty catastrophic and those are the ones that we've seen more and more of in more recent years. Right.
Category five or just. Yeah, that's extreme catastrophe. They're monsters. Monsters.
So Category four and five, there's not a tremendous amount of difference. They're both, like you said, considered catastrophic damage causing hurricanes. But I get the impression that the difference between a four and five and real like real life is substantial. But either way, they're going to like leave so many trees and power lines down that whatever area gets hit substantially by one of those Category four or five are going to basically be isolated, both without power, but also the roads are going to be made impassable.
And sometimes you can be stuck in the midst of this for weeks before you can can be reached again. The destruction can be so bad from them.
Yeah. And, you know, if you are a coastal liver, this is a part of your life every year.
Hurricane season is a big deal. You've got your your house retrofitted. Ideally at this point, I think, like almost any coastal house these days is on stilts if it's, you know, built in the last 20 plus years.
Well, not just that. I think after 2005, I want to say it was Hurricane Andrew, Florida in particular, passed new building codes that said, like, if you put a roof on, it has to have, like, this kind of joist and like, whatever windows are put in have to be like windproof up to one hundred and thirty miles per hour, that they've definitely started to take that seriously because so many people were dying before, but also because of the billions and billions of dollars of property damage that would happen every year.
Yeah, I mean, here in Atlanta, obviously, we don't get hurricanes, coastal Georgia, we certainly do, but we do get the outer bands of the hurricane and we can get some really bad wind and rain and some flooding and stuff like that. But we're obviously far enough inland to where the eye of the hurricane is not going to really affect us. But if you're in the Gulf or along the Florida or South Carolina, North Carolina, up into Virginia, even, and, you know, like you said, they can go higher, Maryland and New England, but in even New York City.
But generally, I think like kind of from Virginia down is where you're going to be the most worried in hurricane season.
So, you know, you may not have a place in Florida. Right. And we were down there once and I think it was Hurricane Michael a year or so ago, came through and we got out of there and came up to Atlanta. And that thing followed us all the way up to Atlanta and knocked the power out. We were at our place there. Was that a shaggy dog story? Do you know what that means? The shaggy dog story is a story that seems worthwhile or worth saying to the person saying it, but not to anybody else?
Oh, I don't think so. And why did they call it a shaggy dog? I have no idea.
We need to get to the bottom of that someday. No, I think it's a great story. And I remember when that happened. In fact.
You do. Sure. Wow. I love you in my life as part of your life. You know, it's like having two or three times a year and every Tuesday. That's right.
Yeah, I totally remember that. And you've also, you know, like any good coastal liver, you've got hurricane shutters and stuff like that, right?
Oh, yeah, for sure. And like the high impact windows and all that stuff. Yeah. You just got to do that stuff these days.
Oh, you definitely do. And it's like really kind of scary if you're out there. Not like that, you know, because that was 2005 when they passed that building. So there's a lot of places that haven't been retrofit. And, you know, it's like the whole community kind of comes together to take care of everybody who who needs help around that time, which is pretty cool. But one of the reasons why everybody has, you know, days to prepare for this kind of thing and go to the store and buy every banana you can get your hands on.
And like five loaves of bread and all that and put up sandbags and stuff is because of the modeling and forecasting that has has been developed in the last, I don't know, 50, 60 years. That's really saved a lot of people's lives because we didn't have warnings before. It was just the guy started to look pretty bad. And, you know, an hour or two later your town was gone. Yeah.
And it's you know, I rent the beach house on our palms every usually. And all those houses are, you know, 15 feet off the ground on those on those legs. And it's just crazy to me to think about the old days when you would just have a house sitting on the sand like 75 feet from that, from high tide.
It's just such a bad idea because such a bad one of the things one of the big problems that make hurricanes so destructive, Chuck, is that not only is it the wind that can come through and, you know, once it reaches, I think, like a Category three, four or five years, that's when you're going to start to lose your deck, not just your decks or your roof. Decking is really what I meant. You'd be like my deck, which would suck because decks are kind of expensive.
But it's your roof decking that you'd really be worried about. And that happens when the the wind itself pierces the envelope of your house like it breaks a window or something like that. And all of a sudden you've got a pressure difference inside and outside of your house which can actually pop the roof right off of your house, which once that happens, your walls start to give way. It's a bad jam. Wind is very destructive, too. But the reason people started putting houses on stilts is because that wind is so strong and the hurricane can be so massive that it actually pushes the ocean inland.
Yeah, it's it's not like a huge wave. It's a it's here's the ocean way further inland than it should be. And it's called a storm surge. And it's a huge problem with with hurricanes.
Yeah. And, you know, I've been to places before and after just from year to year on vacation. And the it can literally remake the coastline. They look vastly different after a hurricane.
I think that one of the years we went to Isle of Palms, it was after a hurricane and instead of, you know, the walk to the beach from the house instead of, you know, that sort of gradual.
Declined to the to the water, it was a in some places like a 12, 15 foot drop rate of just a sheer wall cliff of sand, and people had ladders and stuff like that, you would literally have to climb down a ladder to get down to the to the ocean.
A beach party.
Yeah. And that's not good if your house is built on that sand that used to be there. And as we saw in our we're running out of sand and that really matters episode that we need that saying we can't afford the ocean to come reclaim that. That's our sand. Yeah, well, the good thing about albums, though, is those houses are set back a great deal. They're not on that sand. There's that big area of sea grass and just dune shrubbery and stuff in between.
Yeah. And so it's it's just a safer bet when you're trying to book a place. Right, because it's not it's not hurricane proof. But by the time the water gets there, I mean, that would have to be a really, really big surge. Yeah.
Yeah. But it happens. It does happen. I mean, it's definitely like a storm surge can be pretty bad, I think. Hurricane Harvey in Houston in twenty seventeen. Oh yeah. One of the reasons it was so destructive, it was from what I saw was the second most expensive storm that's ever hit the US. It cost one hundred and twenty dollars to that's it. It cost one hundred and twenty eight billion dollars in damages. And one of the reasons why is because of that storm surge and not just, you know, flooding houses and causing property damage.
That kind of storm surge can overwhelm your sewer system and mess with your drinking water supply and do all sorts of horrible stuff. It can kill off tons of wildlife because it's something that gets overlooked in hurricanes. You know, humans are so worried about us and then our pets and everything. The wildlife itself can really take a hit like fish. Hurricanes can kill fish. That's how destructive they are. They slam them in like underwater outcroppings and sandbars and stuff and just kill the fish.
That's how that's how forceful these things are. So there's a lot of other problems that arise from the hurricane, in particular, the storm surge, too, that we've only really started to kind of grasp in the last few decades of of examining hurricanes.
Yeah, but you were talking about tracking. It's gotten so much better these days on the ground. There's something called a regional specialized meteorology meteorological centers. And this is just basically a network all around the world of global centres that are designated by the World Meteorological Organization. And they are the ones who track these things using weather satellites, using infrared technology and infrared sensors. They're going to detect all those all the minutia of the temperature differences, cloud heights, all these things.
You know how you mentioned that all these things have to kind of be perfect. They have all these ways of measuring these little bits of perfection as they align and they know pretty well now, you know, things can change and things can reverse course.
I know people get frustrated when they keep changing the path of the hurricane and, you know, they don't keep changing it when they report on changes.
Right. But that's I think people kind of act that way sometimes. They do for sure. You know, you make me leave my house and this thing didn't even make landfall. Yeah. It's like they're doing a pretty good job and they're doing the best they can. Well, it's problematic, too, as far as forecasting goes, because if you do that to people in a coastal area, you know, a couple of times in one year, they're going to stop listening to you.
And, you know, you might be 100 percent right. And something's going to make landfall right on top of them and they're not going to leave. So there is definitely a fine line and there is kind of a balance between knowing too soon and and not knowing at all. And we're kind of working our way toward that sweet spot for sure. And it's gotten way better. But very, very famously, if you ever follow hurricanes as they start to kind of come toward the US, like there's the theme, the spaghetti model.
Have you ever seen one of those? Yeah. So all of those is just a tangle of tracks of the hurricane. They've been forecasted. So the European model is typically thought of as probably the most accurate and that's put together by an agency in Europe. And they say here's the track that we think then there's like ten or a dozen or 15 different agencies and groups all forecasting a track. When you put them all together, it looks like different colored lines of spaghetti over the map.
And you get a pretty good idea of just where the the thing's going to go based on all of these different predictions, kind of like the wisdom of crowds, you know what I mean? Where the more information you have and you put together, the more guesses you put together, probably the closer combined they're going to be to accurate. Then any one of them individually would have a chance to be.
Yeah. And the cool thing about spaghetti models, and this is true of like a percentage of rain and stuff that you might see every day is a lot of it is based on past data, like what's going on now for sure. But then when you plug that into all the past data and behaviors of storms in the past and what they've done and how they've moved and behave, you can get a pretty cool model. And I've always loved that about weather that they use so much historical data to predict.
What could happen this time, right? That's what they use to produce the cone of uncertainty, which is. Oh, that's right.
One of the most confusing meteorological models, maybe any kind of model there is on the planet. It's a really great, useful tool, if you know what it's talking about, if you don't know exactly what it's talking about. It's seriously confusing and really misleading in a lot of ways. But with the cone of uncertainty, is everybody seen it? It's like kind of like this funnel. It looks like a tornado basically that that looks like it shows the path and width of the hurricane.
It goes from kind of small, the wider and wider and wider. So it looks like what it's showing you is the track of a hurricane and how big the hurricane is going to grow over time. That's not at all with the cone of uncertainty shows what the cone of uncertainty is. Instead, it's a plot of like I think about five different circles representing the next 24, 48, 72 on to five days out forecasts. And it says here's all the data we have and we're crunching those numbers.
And then we're we're comparing them to how accurate we were in the last five years for predicting hurricanes that were five years out. And then all of a sudden, when you put that together, that forms the circle in that five day out circles, always the biggest one because it's hardest to predict weather patterns five days out. But what it looks like when you take those increasingly larger circles and connect them with the line is that it's forming a path. And really what it's showing is this is the potential distance between the track of the hurricane, the center of the hurricane.
And it could it could land anywhere in here, not the edges of it. We're talking just just the center. So every time hurricane season rolls around, people go and look up what the cone of uncertainty means, because it doesn't mean at all what you think. It does hopefully have cleared it up for like two people. And I probably just confused the other million even further.
The cool thing about those two is that they can be changed with a Sharpie. That's right. It's really seen it done.
All right. I think we should take a break maybe and come back and talk about these hurricane names.
OK, a little history. How about that? Let's do it.
Hi, guys, I'm Katie Lowes, actress, mom and host of the parenting podcast Katie's Crib, a show that helps women navigate the big shifts which motherhood can bring. This season. You'll hear from resilient moms like actress Gabrielle Union, thought leaders like author of the New York Times best seller Untamed Glen and Doyle, and experts like prenatal and postpartum clinical psychologist Dr. Alyssa Berlind. We get candid about our experiences and share resources for everything parenting, endometriosis and surrogacy, divorce and blended families emotionally preparing for postpartum.
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It would become the largest criminal investigation in Ohio's history. Pike County sheriffs requested state help immediately after they got word.
Nobody had a clue about who or why. And that's really scary.
You're trying to piece together a puzzle that seems to not have any pieces to it. I mean, where do you go with this?
Could it be a cover up? And would another family be next? Got eight people and things like that don't usually happen in a small town. I mean, they don't usually happen anywhere. This is the PYKEN massacre. Listen to the in massacre on Wednesday, July 29th, on the radio app Apple podcasts over ever you get your podcasts. All right, so hurricane names are named after people. Now, this wasn't always the case and I didn't know this, this is kind of cool, but for many hundreds of years, if you were in the West Indies, you would hear hurricanes named after the Catholic Saints Day on the day that that storm made landfall.
So it would be like Hurricane San Felipe, a hit Puerto Rico and on September 13th, 1876. And another little fun fact is if another hurricane hits on that same day, which actually happened in 1928, on September 13th, they would name it the second. So that was Hurricane St. Philippe.
The second during World War Two is when we started to give human names. And they were all masculine names, though.
Yeah. Kind of followed that whole, like, Bravo Whiskey Tango thing. Yeah, how does that I don't understand that. Well, it's like what do you mean it's like it's those aren't names. I don't understand it either. From what I saw, from what I saw, that we didn't really start to use names in the West until I think the 50s or the 70s.
So masculine names like Bravo and Tango is just a they're calling that a masculine name.
I guess so, because I think we started using human names in the 50s and then we started using male and female names in the 70s.
At first it was the first they were they were ladies, right? Yeah. And they said, well, that's that's not cool. The name that after a woman and every time you guys show, like the weather model, the forecast model, it's it's not a hurricane. It's a woman with rollers in her hair and a rolling pin yelling or seems sexist.
And everyone finally said, you know, you're right, that is sexist. So we're going to start to alternate between men's names and women's names. And so at the beginning of every hurricane season, the the what is the World Meteorological Association? Yeah, organization. Sorry. They release a list of all the names that the Atlantic hurricane season could possibly have in each name starts with a different letter, ABCDE and so on. Can I list this year's.
Yeah. You got Arthur, OK, Bertha, nice. Crystal ball. Yeah, you got Dolly. You got Edward Yafei, OK, and we should mention, too, that they need, you know, names from places all over the world now, which is great because hurricanes affect places all over the world. Yeah. So you have faith and you have Gonzalo, you have Hanna.
You have I don't even know how to pronounce this. I, S.A.S., Aziza's know I, I as I, as I say, I should say yes.
I say yes. Then you got Josephine. Nice name. You got Kyle, you got Laura. Got Marco, you've got Nana sweet Nana.
You've got Omar Paulett which I for some reason sounds funny to me. Yeah. Hurricaine Paula. Yeah.
You've got Renea, Sally, Teddy, Vicky.
And finishing up because they don't have a Y or Z for some reason. Wilfred That's a good one.
Hurricaine Wilfred sounds tough or an ex yummiest predicted that Hurricane Nana is going to be a particularly bad one. She becomes the sweetest grandma name. I think so, yeah. And there's actually a long standing myth that was supposedly found to be correct by some study a few years back that people don't respect the female names of hurricanes. Well, yeah.
So there's this whole theory. I mean, respect. There's OK. I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm putting everything so terribly. But get this.
There's this this urban legend that hurricanes that have women's names are the most destructive because people don't take them as seriously and they don't leave. So there's more people present to be killed when a hurricane lands for a woman named Hurricane, then a man named Hurricane. And for a long time, it was for a long time it was just this kind of old wives tale or something. And then this this study found in like I think 2014 or something like that.
They know this actually is true. Somebody sat down and crunched the numbers. And then finally, I think two years ago there, like this study was terrible. And that's absolutely not true if we looked at the numbers, too. And that's just not the case.
All right. Well, that's good to know, because that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. It is kind of dumb, but it has like this weird kernel of truth to it. It's like a perfect urban legend, you know what I mean?
Yeah, because it's believable. Yeah. And who's who's ever going to sit down and prove it one way or another, you know?
Yeah, that's true. Oh wait. Hold on.
One more thing, Chuck, while we're on names. Yes, there are different names elsewhere in the world. So the names you just said, those are for Atlantic hurricanes in Australia. They have their own set of names that they named cyclones. And then elsewhere in the world, there's thirteen member nations that name typhoons and some cyclones, countries like Bangladesh and India and Thailand. Each one submits thirteen names and each list contains thirteen names from each one of those countries.
So you have one hundred and sixty names to choose from every year. So depending on where you are in the world, weather patterns are going to have a much more localized name then than what you would expect.
That's right. And if a hurricane is really destructive, they will retire that.
And I'm using air quotes there because they really just put it down for ten years. I don't know why they don't do it forever. Like there should never be another like in eleven years, surely they won't have a Hurricane Katrina or an Andrew or Harvey, right? I don't know. Like, why would they. There's so many names. I don't know why bring it any name back.
I have no idea. I think they're like we have better things to do than come up with more stupid names, you know.
Yeah. I just, I mean they obviously do that to avoid confusion. And once a storm is sort of this legendary storm, like a Katrina. Yeah. There's just no reason to ever name another one that.
No, no, I'm with you. I agree. If you don't believe in luck, I just think it's not a good idea.
It does seem like ten years is a little short. I could not see them doing another Katrina. That's just not going to happen, you know. No, there's no way.
So let's talk about climate change. You want to.
Yeah, well, before we talk about climate change, just quickly, as far as the historical record goes, you know, there's always been hurricanes and what kind of Segway nicely into climate change because things are getting worse. But there always have been hurricanes even way back in the day. We didn't have great records.
But there are things you can do. Research on things like cave wall drawings and things like that seem to indicate stuff like hurricanes. And I think there was an LSU team that studied thousands of years of lakebed evidence. And they can tell that over I think like 3400 years there have been about a dozen Category four or higher in that area. Most of which were in the past thousand years, right? It seems low, doesn't it? Yeah, it does.
But I mean, that's just for that area. Another one, there was a really big hurricane, historically speaking, when Genghis Khan was going to invade Japan in 12, 74, the Mongols were invading Japan. There's a fleet that had something like a hundred or two hundred thousand people on board and they were really going to invade Japan. And a hurricane blew in and sunk the fleet. And the Japanese had a name for this incredible, miraculous act of mercy by whatever God was watching over them.
They named it Divine Wind. Yeah. And that actually would come into term, into use later on in World War Two, because divine wind in Japanese is kamikaze. Kamikaze. Yeah, and that's a chapter in our book, right?
I'm so glad I was teeing you up as it come on, Chuck, I didn't know if we could reveal that, but, yeah, we got a book coming out this fall and you can preorder it now.
Plug, plug, plug. And there's a great, great chapter on Kamikaze in there.
Yeah, the whole thing is just great from top to bottom. Chuck, I'm wondering when will be allowed to do some of those chapters as podcast episodes, if ever. I don't know. I don't know what gives this EP permission.
I think we give ourselves that permission. OK, it's up to us. You're right.
OK, maybe a couple of years after it's out, we can start start doling those out a little bit, harvesting it for parts.
Sure, that's another way to put it right? They could have another life so well, I mean, the stuff that we talk about, they're not like necessarily entire podcast episodes. Like there's definitely more to be said about it. So I think we can take any single one of those chapters and turn it into a podcast episode.
So climate change, here's a startling statistic. Since the 1970s, the number of Cat five and Cat four storms has just about doubled. And to the casual observer, a couple of things. It seems like they're getting worse and more frequent. And you don't have to be a genius to figure out if you need warm water to make a hurricane. And ocean waters are warming due to climate change, then you're going to have more frequent and more severe storms.
Right. Right. Or no.
Yeah, I mean, that's that's how logic goes. And they basically think that given that we're going to have more frequent and more powerful storms, but that at least according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, there are plenty of X factors like that. It's not like we just definitively understand how bad hurricanes are going to be or how many more we're going to have, because remember, the surface water has to reach down about one hundred and fifty feet for a hurricane to form.
And one of the big questions is if the if there is global warming going on and it's heating the ocean, how deep is that heating the ocean? Because if that water, that warm water went beyond 150 feet, then hurricanes should ostensibly be able to become bigger and bigger. And similarly, if that the surface temperature of the ocean is rising, then that just means more evaporating water, which is the key. That's the fuel to any hurricane. Is that moist, evaporating water that's rising that the more you have of that, the bigger and more powerful a storm can be, the more energy there is for the storm to use to to become big and huge and destructive.
The question is, you know, just how bad is it going to be? But there does seem to be just a general consensus that, yes, climate change is happening and it's going to result in worse hurricanes. And I mean, already there were two named storms this year in the Atlantic before hurricane season even started. So I think hurricane season is going to last longer. It's going to start earlier and last longer. There's going to be more of them.
They're probably going to be more destructive.
But, you know, there's something else that I thought was really interesting, though, too, is that the this particular year may not be as bad as it would have been otherwise. It was supposed to be really bad because of the warm sea levels, because it started earlier and because it's a La Nina year, which actually pushes hurricanes back out to sea eventually, because there's La Nina, those those breezes are kind of stilled, comparatively speaking, so that her any hurricanes that do develop are just going to sit on land like it did, like Dorian did to the Bahamas a year or so ago.
It just sat on the Bahamas for 48 hours. That's not supposed to happen. And they were worried that that's going to happen because of this a La Nina year. But, you know, the Saharan dust storms that's going on. Oh, yeah, they think that that's actually drying the air and preventing hurricanes from forming right now. The question is how long that will last? Will it last through the whole hurricane season or will that eventually stall? And hurricanes will come raging through in August and September?
Who knows how? So there's hurricanes, everybody. That's right. I think we're going to release a bonus ad on some day into our field where I try again to explain hurricanes and the cone of uncertainty. Stuff drives me nuts, man.
Yeah. You ready? I'm ready. Well, obviously, since we're talking about hurricanes, that means it's time for listener mail.
I'm going to call this the other side of the coin. We always like to keep things fair and balanced here. Right? Right. Hey, guys, discovered your show about two years ago and wondered where have you been all my life? I love the show. Don't Change a thing. And the Robber Barons episode. He said that conservatives Josh said conservatives say people aren't perfect. We can never have a perfect society. So let people do whatever they want.
That's kind of right. But it's oversimplified and therefore misleading in our view. And I take it Tim is a conservative. He says since humans are all corrupt, obviously some more than others, no government can be uncorrupt since it's run by people. Therefore, we should limit the power of government and give people more freedom, since people will generally act in their own best interests. Let them decide how they want to spend their money, who they work for and who they hire and fire.
As long as the government protects people's basic rights from others, we will have a pretty good society.
I have always been conflicted about antimonopoly laws, but the longer I live, the more I think they're a good thing because we should limit the power of large companies just as we limit the power of the government. Since those companies are also run by corrupt people. Capitalism says, of course you're selfish and so am I. So if you want my money, you have to give me some kind of product or service that makes my life better again.
We can never have a perfect society, but it would be far worse if the government has too much power to decide how we spend our money because again, they are corrupt. Also, thanks for all the great research and the super fun way you present it to keep it up. That is Tim in Minnesota.
That's pretty awesome. Thanks a lot, Tim. That was a really great email. Um, oh, I'm a conservative now.
Wow. All right. Yeah, I'm pretty weak willed as it is. No, but Tim, that was great. Thank you for explaining it further, because I definitely knew I was oversimplifying things and just kind of have the T's crossed and the I's dotted. That's very helpful. We're going have to bring you on to explain hurricanes one day. Yeah. And that was a better email than a lot of blowback we got, which wasn't so instructive and more just like you guys just reduced that.
And it's not true.
Yeah. Blame me. I guess you could put it. Yeah, well, if you want to get in touch with us like Tim did and just be a champion hero, you can do that. You can send us an email to Stuff podcast and I heart radio dotcom. Stuff you should know is a production of radios HowStuffWorks for more podcasts, My Heart radio, because the radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. Everybody has a podcast, all right, every celebrity, every what you do in college, there are literally hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there and yeah, it's a bit of a mess.
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