WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – It’s instructive to understand the language of an almost-hurricane that almost creates havoc in our community.
So here’s a glossary of terms for fizzled storms like Erika:
”Significant weather event”
Definition: What you call storms that fall short of a real hurricane.
Used in a sentence: The biggest danger during a significant weather event is getting trampled in the scrum over the last case of bottled water at Publix.
“Category 3 storm”
Definition: A significant weather event that causes school to be canceled for your three kids, while you still have to go to work.
Used in a sentence: It’s barely even raining, which means I’m here at work with a Category 3 going on at home.
Definition: What you say when you want to impress people with the storm damage you received at home during a significant weather event, even though it’s just some palm fronds that have fallen on your lawn.
Used in a sentence: It’s going to take several minutes to recover from the damage, which at this point, appears to be mostly some widespread fronding.
“It sounded like a freight train”
Definition: What people say during a significant weather event when a freight train on the FEC tracks passes within hearing distance to their home.
Used in a sentence: As we hunkered down in the living room, we heard an eerie clanging sound followed by a scary rumble. It sounded like a freight train.
Definition: Low-hanging dark clouds that appear capable of producing a tornado, but haven’t yet.
Used in a sentence: I took a break dealing with my widespread fronding due to tornadic activity on the horizon.
Definition: What you call rain during a significant weather event.
Used in a sentence: Take an umbrella, dear, it’s feeder banding out there.
“State of Emergency”
Definition: Casual Friday attire OK for all workers.
Used in a sentence: Take off that tie, Larry, we’re in a state of emergency.
“Cone of uncertainty”
Definition: Whether or not winds will reach the 35 mph threshold to shut down Tri-Rail.
Used in a sentence: The cone of uncertainty for our area during this significant weather event has put Tri-Rail commuters on a state of emergency.
“Not out of the woods yet”
Definition: What sleep-deprived TV news anchors say when the storm ends before they’re emotionally ready to surrender the desk.
Used in a sentence: Sure, it might be sunny and clear with a gentle breeze out of the southeast, but we’re not out of the woods yet.
“Sheltering in place”
Definition: The best way to tell your boss that instead of coming to work, you will be staying home during a significant weather event.
Used in a sentence: Don’t expect me today, Todd. I’m going to be sheltering in place until we’re out of the woods with this significant weather event.
“Monitoring the storm”
Definition: Taking the day off, usually done by sheltering in place.
Used in a sentence: I binge watched a whole season of “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix while monitoring the storm.
“I thought I was going to die(t)!”
Definition: What people say when they gain five pounds while snacking during the days leading up to a significant weather event.
Used in a sentence: I thought I was going to diet, but I ended up monitoring the storm while sheltering in place next to the refrigerator.
Frank Cerabino writes for The Palm Beach Post. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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