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Thursday, May 12, 2005

A giant in his field...and next to me.

And now a little update on the whereabouts of one Mr. Mescalito. I’m currently doing a bunch of freelance work (writing, shooting, editing) for a media company here in the wonderful metropolis of Tampa. The last couple of days I have been covering the Governors Hurricane conference. “Covering” pretty much means heading down to the convention center and shooting the Governors speech, along with a one on one interview with Max Mayfield, and today, the big payoff, a one on one interview with none other than the esteemed Dr. William Gray.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Gray, he is the Tiger Woods of weather forecasting. He is “the Man”, and contrary to JOE disseminating information on his passing, the good Doctor is still alive and well (as can be witnessed in the above photo).

Anyway, Dr. Gray is the foremost expert on the forecasting of hurricanes. He is the one who puts out the yearly reports foretelling how many Major/Minor/Named Storms we will have each year (we, being the United States, fuck everyone else).

So, being that I was alone in a room with Dr. Gray, I couldn’t help but delve into my favorite question about hurricanes. For those not in the know, the story goes like this…

Someone once told me (I can’t for the life of me remember who) that the Indians who lived in Florida used to all migrate to Tampa during times of known hurricanes. The reason for this was supposedly that the Indians knew that Tampa would not get any hurricanes. Anyway, obviously Tampa can get hit by a hurricane, but could any of this be true, or would it all turn out to be an Urban Legend? Turns out, according to Dr. Gray (and his whiz kid assistant Phil), this is probably true. He could not give me a definite documented answer, but he says the Indians kept weather records, and probably would have realized what forecasters are now realizing. Tampa is the safest place to be in the state when it comes to hurricanes. There are a few reasons for this, but mostly, he says the odds of a hurricane finding a steering pattern into Tampa are slim. We all know what this means…this is the year Tampa is wiped off the map!

It was great to meet Dr. Gray, he was such a nice man. When I asked to have my picture with him, he was totally flattered. Said no one had asked him that before. I guess my level of geekdom can still rise…up up and away, in my beautiful balloon.
from the private archives of pidibi