Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wilma Planning Florida Vacation

I've been trying to ignore the tropical depression, make that tropical storm, okay now it's HURRICANE Wilma for days. But now that the Weather Sadists have predicted it to "go major" and become at least a Category Three, I have to acknowledge it could prove to be more than a walk in the park on a windy day. In fact it is forecast to zip past Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, sideswipe Cuba, and then guess what falls into the Cone of Inevitability? Florida! Yes, Hurricane Wilma is threatening to hurl the Sunshine State back to the Stone Age if she hits as a Category Three or Four. I know what you're thinking. It's "Florida's Turn." Leave the poor Texans, Louisianans and Mississipians alone! Well I beg to differ. First off we already had Hurricane Dennis disco through the Panhandle earlier this year. And last year's four horsemen and women: Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne, were WAY in excess of Florida's quota. So we really don't want to adopt Wilma for our own. But I have some TERRIFIC news on the hurricane score. For the U.S. this is the LAST hurricane of 2005! Yup, I heard it on the news. Wilma is the last scheduled named storm. After that we are OUT of letters for named storms. So any hurricanes that form after Wilma will be named after letters of the Greek Alphabet, and, accordingly, will be rerouted to Greece. Isn't that terrific? Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu, Nu, Xi, Omicron, Pi, Rho, Sigma, Tau, Upsilon, Phi, Chi, Psi, Omega. See, that sorority training came in handy for more than just crossward puzzles, finally. For some oddball reason the Hurricane Naming Committee does not use the letters Q, U, X, Y, or Z. I have no idea why -- all those letters have valid names associated with them. How about Hurricanes Queenie and Quentin? Uma and Ulysses? Xena and Xavier? Yvonne and Yogi? Zora and Zachary? I don't see why these letters have to be ignored just because they're less common. It's just Typographic Discrimination! It was back in May or June that I reported that most people living on the Gulf Coast were woefully unprepared for a major hurricane to strike, both physically and mentally. Most of them had never lived through one, and had almost a fictional sense of what it would be like to "ride one out." (Hint: NOT a party.) In fact I described these people (some of whom felt you only needed, ahem, 30-60 MINUTES to evacuate in case of a hurricane) as standing on their front porches with a flashlight and a bagel, yelling at the sky, "Bring it on!" Well, someone did, whether you want to blame Mother Nature (abusive!), God (overstepping His authority!), Sin (outrageous!), Global Warming (It's the government's fault no matter how much gas I use!), Hurricane Cycles (don't worry, this one will be over by the time we're dead!) or just plain old Bad Luck (my favorite!). It's dangerous to make fun of a hurricane before it decides whether it wants to strike your house. So it is with utmost seriousness I say to Wilma we're not home and won't be taking any visitors for the next week, so there will be no reason to leave your calling card. But I'd like to end with a quote from the famous Wilma Flinstone: "I work hard all day, too, and what do I get? A lot of YAK from you!" She's gonna hear a lot more yak from our cable news forecasters in the coming days. The name Wilma, technically, means "fierce." Haha! Okay, you don't have to convince me. I'll let you slide by on reputation alone. Let's hope if Wilma does take aim at Central Florida, that she sprints past with the speed of Wilma Rudolph.

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