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Hurricane season is coming

June 1 marks the beginning of the 2006 hurricane season. Before moving to Alabama, hurricanes were an occasional blip on the news. But after living first-hand through five of these seasons (Ivan having the greatest physical impact on our community and Katrina having the greatest impact on our community’s ministry and service efforts), these mega-storms have come to dominate much of my TV-watching and web-surfing patterns during the six months beginning with the first day of June and ending with the last one in November (although that wasn’t the case last year, ack).

That means you’ll be seeing more posts about weather on this blog. Why? Well, as I’ve blogged before, weather is one of those natural wonders that leads me to utter and complete awe of God in more ways than one. Its various and awe-inspiring manifestations naturally spur us to reflect on God’s power, creativity and majesty. (Coincidently, just today I got an e-mail from a friend—I’m really sorry you are moving, Kelli—with the lyrics to Switchfoot’s Daisy, which plays with this idea to an even greater extent than I previously thought through.) In their worst incarnations, storms lead to urgent God-talk, often raising significant questions regarding God’s sovereignty, man’s finite nature and suffering—which are well-worth addressing and can even lead back to awe of God. In particular (and perhaps the most unexpected and moving for me) is the evidence of how God seems to take nature’s most powerful incarnations and works them to his even greater power and glory. In the wake of Katrina, I was profoundly moved by the gathering, movement, and hands-on-love demonstrated by God’s people from local churches and those from around the country. Our church continues sending volunteers on monthly trips to the Gulf Coast, where people are far from recovered from the devastation. For me, at least, this is arguably the most glaring evidence of God’s love, power and utter goodness.

So, if the hurricane season is still weeks off, why start blogging now? Well, my favorite storm blogger (Jeff Masters of Weather Underground) has just posted this today:
With the coming of a more summerlike pattern next week, we will need to start watching the Western Caribbean for some possible tropical development; wind shear values there are starting to fall to levels where tropical development is possible again. Wind shear is quite low (5-10 knots) over the waters just north of Panama today and will stay low the next few days, but at present the clouds there are sparse and disorganized, and I am not expecting anything to develop this week. Next week things may be more favorable, when the remains of a cold front that pushes off the coast could provide enough of an initial disturbance to kick something off--if the front can push far enough south, where wind shear is lower. Again, I am not really expecting anything to develop, wind shear should still be high enough to make tropical development marginal.
If storm-watching is your thing, stay tuned. If not, well, just skip these posts!

(Image: NASA photo of Katrina)