Bill Read's Blog: What do Tropical Storm Leslie, 'The Tempest' have in common?
As of this morning, Tropical Storm Leslie is forecast to move very slowly towards Bermuda while intensifying to a hurricane. While Bermuda is no stranger to hurricanes, one moving this slowly into the mid latitudes is rather rare. The south- and east-facing beaches of the island nation are already experiencing large waves, called swells, emanating outward from Leslie. Today, these swells will start reaching the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. On this forecast, the center of Leslie will reach the vicinity of Bermuda Saturday or Sunday. It has the potential for being a very strong hurricane by then. This will definitely be a long and stressful week for the folks in Bermuda.
Most tropical cyclones tracking north in the mid latitudes of the Atlantic eventually turn northeast and transition into a winter-like storm we meteorologists call extra-tropical. If the steering pattern is such that high pressure over the northeastern Atlantic blocks the northeast turn, the Canadian Maritime Provinces can experience a hurricane. It is too early to know with much skill the eventual path of Leslie after Sunday.
What’s this got to do with Shakespeare? Bermuda was first settled in late July, 1609, when a British ship heading to the New World, the Sea Voyager, sailed into a hurricane and sank on the reefs around Bermuda. The 150 passengers and crew survived and made it safely to the island. Many scholars think Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, was based on this historical event.
Another hurricane-related tidbit about Bermuda -- a favorite bar drink made from black rum and ginger beer is named a Dark and Stormy. Most appropriate, wouldn’t you say?
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