I didn’t like the sound of Hurricane Earl– I’ve known a bunch of Earls, some in my family. My mother had an Uncle Earl and a Cousin Earl, named for his daddy, Uncle.
Like mother, I had a Cousin Earl, too. Unfortunate choice of name, since my Cousin Earl was a girl.
Earls can be sneaky.
Last Wednesday, Dearly Beloved and I went to the beach to see what Earl Eve was like. We walked along the shoreline with waves lapping at our ankles until a large one hit us from behind, drenching our shorts and filling our underwear with sand. Sneaky.
Swimming was dangerous because of the rip tides. The lifeguards were kept busy rescuing people who apparently thought “rip tides” meant “pass gas in the ocean.” The town employs 22 seasonal lifeguards who have had to pull out over 200 people in a single day. We’ve watched their training and testing–amazing!
Unfortunately, swimmers don’t have to pass a test.
Here’s what it looked like Thursday.
The lifeguard in this station was on full alert, eyes on the surfers, rescue equipment on the sand. In addition to the guards in stands, additional lifeguards patrolled in beach buggies. Note the red flag. Here’s what that means:
High hazard. Rough conditions such as strong surf and/or currents are present. All swimmers are discouraged from entering the water. Those entering the water should take great care. Wind and/or wave conditions are expected to support the development of very strong rip currents. This category implies that water conditions are life threatening to all people who enter the surf. There may be a high number of rescues on red flag days.
While we were having lunch, a small boat went out for a joyride and almost swamped as we watched. The yachts and larger boats had been taken out of the water or docked securely. This one was a really small boat, like a motorboat, operated by someone with a really small brain.
(Excuse the picture quality–I wasn’t near the window on this one. I was munching a grouper sandwich in a wall booth.)
The first blob is a bird. The boat blob is up and to the right. The water was much worse than it looks here–white caps and churning water as far as we could see. (Incidentally, CNBC ran footage from a webcam atop this same restaurant that day.)
Later in the afternoon, onlookers filled the beaches, wanting to see what a hurricane looked like. Actually, a hurricane that never arrived doesn’t look like much.
Rain had been forecast, desperately needed rain. Some of the inland areas received rain from another front coming from the west. Here? Just enough to dirty the car windshield. Earl pushed back that front and stole our rain. Sneaky.
If you look at a map of the east coast, you’ll see that North Carolina sticks its chin out there to give hurricanes a target.
Hurricane season lasts until November 30. Lifeguard season ended Labor Day.