I am watching the news open-mouthed as Hurricane Irma, like an engine out of control, is wreaking havoc over the Caribbean. The category five hurricane has not just gusts but sustained wind speeds of 185mph and has all but decimated the small island of Barbuda on its path across the Caribbean towards Florida: Hurricane Irma
Hurricane paths are notoriously difficult to predict but the US, still reeling from devastating floods in Texas just 2 weeks ago, is preparing itself for the worst in order try and reduce the risk of casualties (see the map below courtesy of the BBC). It is less than a year since the devastation of Hurricane Matthew (Preparing for the storm) so it is a relief to know that at least Haiti will hopefully be largely spared this time round but the sad truth is that, no matter how used we are to these annual events, we can never be fully prepared. The sheer magnitude of hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are still impossible to comprehend. Although there may indeed be a link to enhanced global warming (warmer sea temperatures could potentially increase both the magnitude and frequency of hurricanes) for me these tropical storms are always a stark reminder of the tremendous force of our physical environment, untameable by humankind; both awe-inspiring and awful at the same time.
Our thoughts are with the people of those Caribbean islands in the path of Irma and with the emergency services on standby and hoping that evacuations are successful so that further loss of life and injury, at least, can be avoided.