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Marie blamed for increased sightseeing at SoCal beaches

The photo gives an idea of the wave changes due to Hurricane Marie: taller and faster
The photo gives an idea of the wave changes due to Hurricane Marie: taller and faster
copyright 2014 lori j bjork

That Marie is Hurricane Marie. Marie was a hurricane located in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of North America. Her winds whipped up the waves on Southern California (SoCal) beaches the likes of which haven't been seen since 1997.

What? There are hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean. Thanks Marie for exposing this examiner to her ignorance. Don't hurricanes happen to those folks in Florida? Us Cali folks are lucky because we only have to worry about earth quakes, right? Wrong.

From a Mother Jones article by Chris Mooney, "According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, the average Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 through the end of November, and sees 15.4 total named storms, including hurricanes and 3.9 major hurricanes (Category 3 and greater)."

So Marie isn't a seeming anomaly. The Pacific has a hurricane season every year. For those keeping score, Pacific Hurricane Season 2014 had already experienced 14 tropical storms of which 5 were classified as major hurricanes (category 3 or higher) before August 17, 2014 when the National Hurricane Center suspected what was to become Hurricane Marie had hurricane potential.

When Marie reached 64 knots, according to the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS), Marie officially became a hurricane. On August 24 Hurricane Marie reached wind speeds of greater than 137 knots (158 mph, 254 km/h) for more than a minute. This feat awards her the distinction of a category 5 hurricane. This gives Mistress Marie reason to brag about how much of a blowhard she was when she was about 500 miles to the south/southwest of Baja California. She lasted about 6 hours as a category 5.

At the time of this article Hurricane Marie is still on a northward move. She has calmed down quite a bit since the 24th being downgraded to Tropical Storm Marie.

Despite Marie thankfully never actually reaching land, the effects from her mighty wind wreaked havoc at Oaxaca, Mexico's coast and other North American coasts north of Oaxaca.

At least Marie's effects were equally devastating for all of SoCal's coasts. You know, because Ma Nature don't play no favorites, right? Wrong. Due to Marie's trajectory as she moved through the Pacific Ocean, the coasts which seemed to be affected the most were those with southern exposure.

In other words if you never turn on the news or the radio or expose yourself to any media, in places like Long Beach, CA (which has some southern exposure coastline), all you had to do was look at the waves or that the water was reaching places that it usually doesn't (like the street) to notice something was different. For those in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, like Manhattan Beach (no southern exposure coastline), you would have thought it was just another gorgeous day at the beach.

What's interesting to this examiner about Marie is, of course, there are facts related to this article, such as:

  • Winds over a portion of the Pacific Ocean on August 24, 2014 escalated to speeds high enough for at least one minute, which according to the SSHWS classifies it as a category 5 hurricane, which was named Marie.
  • These winds changed the size, force and timing of the way the ocean's waves reached some of the west coasts of North America.

However, perhaps not everyone's interesting point of view is that the effects of Hurricane Marie, while we can blame it on her, are a bad thing.

  • Those that experienced bodily harm or property damage or have been inconvenienced by Marie, of course, are most likely blaming it on Marie as a bad thing. Can you blame them for feeling that way?
  • Those that make a living reporting the news, all the beach vendors who had more business due to all the extra visitors (gawkers?) and all the surfers who usually have to travel to Hawaii or wait until winter in California to ride such epic waves are most likely thanking Marie. Some may even be a bit giddy, as if Christmas came early this year.
  • Those that live in SoCal, yet rarely, if ever, visit the beach are most likely ambivalent or indifferent to Marie.
  • Those that live inland, especially non-news watchers, chances are if someone asked them what they thought about Marie, their reply most likely would be:

"Marie, who?"

Inquiring minds would like to know:

"Which one are you?"