Madewini storms were spawned by Hurricane Irma

Dear Editor,

The storms and the obvious tornado that hit Madewini were ‘spawned’ by Hurricane Irma presently whirling away in the Atlantic and heading for the Caribbean:

I remember hiking in Region 7 in 1979 while the first male hurricanes were wreaking havoc. Hurricane David induced a terrible thunderstorm on a gently sloping hill called Lion Mountain that felled trees in the nearby forest and sent me belly down in the wet quartz-laterite ground seeking cover from the dozen or so blinding lightning bolts striking the ground all around me with their ear-splitting thunder. I was carrying an aluminium framed backpack with two vertical extremities. I put it beside a boulder far from me while I waited out the storm. The fiercest part with about half of all the lightning lasted only about 10 minutes.

As we create clearings in the forest and forsake a nomadic way of life, we must be prepared for such storms and build accordingly.

The sun is directly over Guyana every year in the first fortnight of September so we should be grateful for some inland cloud cover while the hurricanes steal the northeast trade winds that would have brought relief.

Meteorologists use the interaction of two conservation laws of physics within convenient boundaries. The law of conservation of energy allows no more energy than is provided by the sunshine. The law of conservation of angular momentum can allow estimates of the wind speeds in the storms and add up all the spin-offs. But we are still trying to figure out where and when they will happen! This takes investment in monitoring equipment and research time, both of which are in short supply. So let us enjoy the varieties of our weather and thank God for what we can do.

Let us also be grateful that at present we are experiencing only about a fifth of the number of storms and typhoons in the Pacific and that we are not in the floods of the Asian monsoon.

Yours faithfully,

Alfred Bhulai 

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