Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, 1pm.
We’re scheduled to have a Wind Event in a few hours, and I’m very excited. It was in the TV forecast (or, as they persist in calling it, the “futurecast,” because “fore” just wasn’t getting us there fast enough). They also trotted out a helpful Garbage Can Wind Scale, with Level One being a garbage can at rest, and Four being a garbage can gone forever. This event is going to be a Three (look for your can down the block). Level Five is a garbage can twenty feet up a tree, but we don’t have those here.
Somebody is paid to think up these things.
We do know a lot about how weather works, because of Science, a lot of which is up in the sky. From the vantage of our satellites, we can see wavy lines called isobars hovering over the map. There are also big H’s and L’s. The wavy lines are responsible for the wind. If you get a bunch of them bearing down on you drawn in a Sharpie, you’re in for a good blow.
been a breezy summer already, although much of our wind these days
comes from helicopters looking for the BLM march of the day. But I know
wind events can get out of hand. We could lose power. I have a freezer
packed to the rafters with broccoli and blueberries. There’s probably
fancier stuff underneath but the broccoberry stratum is mighty thick,
and maybe protective. We could have a big jump in wildfires. None are
real close to us now but you never know. At least one major fire in
California was caused by fireworks from a Gender Reveal Party. (The
fetus in question was revealed to be a likely idiot.) Portland is not
nearly as fully involved in flames as you might have been led to
believe, but stuff happens, and we’ve been advised to be as nervous as
Trees could come down. They’ve all still got leaves on them, which gives the wavy lines a little more purchase. Dave still remembers the famous local Columbus Day Storm of 1962, a huge sustained wind event, a total Sharpie monster all the way. It wasn’t as devastating as it could have been, because electricity hadn’t been invented yet, but milk trucks got knocked over and several Fuller Brush men took to the air.
I do know I would not care for an extended Wind Event. The Santa Ana winds are famous for driving people insane, and we don’t need any more of that this year. Presumably the winds carry an excess of positive ions and pelt people with them. I remember a wind storm back east that had sustained 80mph winds for four days. I specifically recall that I had to drive my boyfriend’s car over a high skinny bridge from Sea Isle City to mainland New Jersey on my way to Virginia. It was a runty little car with the heft of a potato chip. In the middle of the night when I’m reviewing all the ways things can and probably will go wrong, being blown off a bridge into deep water has always been right up there in the rankings.
4:45pm. A few minutes ahead of schedule, the Wind Event has arrived! Doors are slamming everywhere as the house ghosts evacuate. The sun is a cigarette burn in a cardboard sky, and a tall tree is kowtowing toward it. Smoke fingers its way inside and scrapes the throat. It’s from a distant wildfire–or a wildfire that was distant a few hours ago.
California is ablaze. The Midwest is underwater. Parts of Africa are blowing away. Methane is soaring out of the thawing tundra. Is there anything that can save us from a fate equal to death? No? All righty then. Buckle up, Thelmas. We’re all in this together.