Last week we had our eye on Erika. It was kind of funny, the hurricane reporting sites we monitor had all been predicting that system would turn into something potentially serious, and as the week wore on they all sounded really annoyed that it wasn't. It's like they were blaming Erika. By the time Erika rolled through the Caribbean it had pretty much dissipated into nothing. Ironically, it was the day after what was left of Erika rolled through that we got quite a bit of rain with some pretty cool lightning and thunder.
Now Fred has formed up off the African coast and is lumbering across the Atlantic at 13 miles an hour. Unlike Erika, Fred has gone from tropical wave to depression to storm to hurricane very quickly, and is continuing to build up steam. But, as is often the case, when a storm builds up a lot of strength early, the rotation causes it to veer north. Also, there's plenty of wind shear blowing from the southwest, which tends to break up storms, and dry air and Saharan dust. So right now we're cautious, but not worried.
Sure enough, all the computer models and tracking maps show Fred heading almost due north, where it will rage out without ever seeing land. So that's a good thing.
Of course you can never be sure. These storms sometimes have a mind of their own. So you keep prepared, with a supply of food and water and flashlights and candles and plenty of books. And you hold your breath until the end of the hurricane season, Nov. 30.