A Song for the Situation


From Sabine to Chauvin, from NOLA to Pascagoula to Apalachicola, the watches are going up and the warnings will come. Even Gulf Coast residents well outside the current cones of uncertainty are uneasy; they know that tropical systems aren’t to be trusted, and it’s time to prepare.

It will take time for the tracks of Marco and Laura to be firmed up, but it’s clear that something’s lurking.  In the marinas, docklines are being doubled, and extra fenders hung. Gas lines are a little longer. In the local cafés and at the boat ramps, uncertainties stemming from this latest oddity — two hurricanes in the Gulf in one week? — are being endlessly discussed.

Amid it all, the unofficial anthem of hurricane season has re-emerged. There’s something comforting about Jimmy Buffett’s classic tale of preparation and resignation in the face of a storm, particularly if the shutters are hung, the boat’s secured, and the beer’s still cold. A few of you know the lyrics by heart. If the song is new to you, enjoy.

Comments always are welcome.

65 thoughts on “A Song for the Situation

    1. Even though the storms will be separated in time at landfall, I can’t imagine being in a place where both cross the coast. Actually, I can imagine it — I’d just rather not experience it. It looks certain that Marco will stay east of us, but Laura’s still unpredictable. We’ll see. My preparations are done, and I’m off to see some lotus flowers today.

      1. Jimmy Buffett’s to the ‘Third Coast’ as Gordon Bok is to the Maritimes, I suppose. His music surely does speak to a lot of us down here, especially now that Nature’s got her own BOGO sale going!

  1. In the weather forecast yesterday we heard about the two simultaneous storms in the Gulf of Mexico. Your mention of Marco and Laura together made me think there must be women named Laura Marco, and I went searching. All the results I initially got were about the storm, so I added the search terms -storm, -gulf, and -texas, which excluded most (but not all) storm-related hits. That’s when I found the Laura Marco who happens to be involved in photography, specifically what I think might be called cosplay. I see that she also studied English philology at the University of Murcia in Spain. Whether she heard any Jimmy Buffett songs there, I don’t know.

    1. Ms. Marco’s work is interesting. I had to smile at this line from her description of it: “I have not thought about working with any other people, nor am I curious…” I confess it never occurred to me to combine Marco and Laura into a woman’s name. I keep thinking about Marco Polo, and going in different directions, from the children’s game to the Buffett song that includes the explorer in its lyrics.

        1. I think I’d like Marco Laura more than Laura Marco. I was trying to be polite, but yes: obsessive is one word that crossed my mind. There were a few others, including some that usually are used in a clinical setting.

  2. Believe it or not, Linda, I’m here in Florida 50 years now and I forgot about this song!! Thanks for bringing it to us!! The weather people say we just might complete the alphabet this year, so the song will certainly come in handy!!

    1. When I thought about it, I realized that the latest letter I remember being used is W — Hurricane Wilma comes to mind. I was disappointed to find that they never use a few letters, like X. That’s disappointing. Xerxes would be a great ‘cane name!

      Buffett’s music (especially from his earlier years) is so popular, especially around boats and coastal bars. I think my absolute favorite is a gem called “Migration”. It’s good evacuation music, too, and whoever thought to pair it with a drive up the Keys was a genius.

  3. Lovely song and it helps those in the hurricane areas to at least have comfort from music which can never be unwelcome even during these difficult times. Let’s hope some have a link to the Lagniappe!

    Stay well and seek shelter, Linda.

    1. After Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and Mississippi, Jimmy wrote another fine song called “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On.” It’s filled with wisdom that reaches far beyond storm recovery, and it’s another that’s often played — especially at benefit concerts after other storms. There are slicker versions, but I think you’ll like this one as much as I do.

      It’s going to be interesting to see how the storms interact — and to see how this first floor apartment handles flooding rain. I don’t expect any real problems, so I’ll be staying put.

    1. Everyone has their own favorite meteorologist, but you might want to give Levi Cowan’s Tropical Tidbits a follow. His daily video updates are the best in the business. It’s interesting that he was raised in Alaska, but loves tropical weather. I’ve known him for years, since he was in high school and posting on Weather Underground. Now he’s a PhD with a heck of a reputation in weather circles, and at times like this I take the time to watch and learn from him.

        1. Space City Weather’s update this morning was just a tiny bit grim. I’m all set for staying in place, so I’ll just wait for the 11 a.m. update and see if Laura’s gotten into the Gulf.

  4. I see the latest models have both storms coming ashore in Louisiana south of New Orleans then crossing each other for a second time before Laura heads towards us. This is one of those times when I hate to be pleased that someone else has to suffer a storm… I’m praying they interfere with each other to the point they become a nonissue .

    1. I’m more concerned with Laura than Marco at this point, but we’ll see. Once Laura gets past Cuba and into open water, it will be easier to get a fix on her future. The 72 hour position/strength now is forecast to be 28.0N 92.5W @ 90 KT/105 MPH. That’s still east, but not by much. Bring in the bird feeders!

        1. I realized yesterday that I gained another advantage with this new apartment. The sliding glass doors on to the patio AND the window are all more or less recessed and protected. Before, I had third floor windows completely flush with the walls and exposed to the north. I think I like this better.

  5. I love Jimmy Buffet. Wishing you well during hurricane season this year. I heard that two tropical storms headed for the gulf are likely to become hurricanes. I hope that’s fake news.

    1. Marco already is a hurricane, and Laura soon will be. The National Hurricane Center can be trusted — no ‘fake news’ from those people. They can be wrong from time to time, but they’re absolutely transparent about their processes. At five days, or even three, no one can say with much certainty what’s going to happen. Within a three day window, it gets easier — even if it’s more nerve-wracking!

  6. They look to be heading to Louisiana this morning. but of course that can change at any time. I suppose I ought to go buy a flashlight, check the candles in the house. probably should have gone to the grocery store already. but I’ve been through so many hurricanes including 4 or 5 direct hits in my lifetime though I know it doesn’t do to be complacent.

    1. I just bought my first LED flashlight, and my goodness — it’s a far cry from the ones we used to tote around. It’s odd — I’d thought Laura would be the one to swing NW and get some rain to central parts of the state, but it looks like Marco will be a better bet. It’s all betting at this point. By tomorrow, things should be clearer. I do need to pick up milk and a couple of other things but otherwise I’m all set. With luck, I’ll be able to work tomorrow and I brought some work home from the “office” to keep me occupied when/if the rain sets in.

  7. I understand that it’s been 15 years since Katrina, and in this house at least, hurricane season is time for all TVs to be closely tuned to The Weather Channel. I might have to put my fist through the face of the next person I hear who casually says, “Gee, what more can 2020 throw at us?” What more, indeed! Two possible hurricanes in the Gulf simultaneously, already up to the letter M, plus a global pandemic? Here’s praying you’ll stay safe — preparation is key, isn’t it? I love Jimmy Buffett, so how did I miss hearing this song before? Thanks for introducing me!

    1. I’m surprised you didn’t know this song, Debbie. It’s a cut from his A1A Album, which is one of my favorites. I’m glad to have introduced you to it.

      Preparation’s key, for sure. After so many of these things, it becomes almost routine. In fact, it was amusing during the first panic-stricken days of the pandemic to see people down here acting like a hurricane was on the way. There was no reason to buy water, for example, but people were carting water out of the stores as though they expected the power to go off. We’re such funny creatures.

      I talked to a couple of friends today, and we’re all of the same mind; we’re staying put. It’s not that we’re fearful of evacuating during a pandemic, it’s just that we don’t think it’s going to be any worse than other storms we’ve lived through. Besides, we’re all tired of complexity. Staying home with a good book and a bottle of wine’s not the worst thing in the world, and we can read and drink even if the power goes out!

  8. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you, but am also hoping for us here in the Texas Hill Country to get some rain out of Laura and Marco.
    Take care, and stay well,
    Pit

    1. It looks like Marco will be your best chance. The charts show Laura heading to Arkansas after she comes ashore. It is going to be interesting to see how the storms interact (or if they do) and where the remnants end up. I hope you do get some rain, at least.

  9. Love Jimmy, haven’t heard that song in a while, so thanks for that. It looks like we’ll be on the dry side of things, but, as you say, tropical systems do their own thing. Wishing a safe week for you and for all in Laura’s and Marco’s paths.

    1. I don’t know, Tina. When I looked at the latest graphic for Marco, it certainly seems possible that you could get at least some rain from the system. I hope so. One she turns into a depression, everyone north and west of here is going to be begging for a visit — such a popular girl!

  10. That music is worth wandering back to.
    You definitely captured the restless uneasy feeling with this post.
    We finished all the prep early too, now it’s just sit back and wait.
    (Now would have been a great time to have some Roman style aqueducts from the coast to the parched Rockies and West coast fighting the massive fire outbreak there. Wonder if that sort of pipeline would be acceptable? Good time for everyone to drop worrying over the identity designations and just pull together and help everyone just survive real life. The Cajun Navy is set up all along the coast. Newcomers may come to appreciate the “jump in and help however you can, because the next time it may be you”…that old mantra of farmers and settlers?)
    Hope your fine your posey and pictures – will check in with you later.

    1. All’s well here. I’ve decided not to evacuate, even if Laura comes calling as the Cat 2 that’s one of Space City Weather’s possibilities. It’s just too much trouble. I’d prefer to avoid a power outage, just because I love my AC, but after Ike the power was back on in this area in 24 hours. How that happened I’m not sure — it may be that we’re somehow on the grid with JSC/NASA, and perhaps the hospitals. In any event, if the power goes and I want to get out of Dodge, I’ve got a full tank of gas. I don’t know why my apartment manager laughed when I suggested whole-house generators for all the buildings!

      1. Are people from these neighborhoods evacuating? Dickinson, I might be able to see, but how bad is the hyping – Rita bad? OMG. Just got back from the city – all along the way restaurant parking lots were full. Easy drive in, but much more traffic headed north now…guess Galveston told the vacationers/hotels/home rentals to get Inver the bridge.
        I’m with you with the power outages. Ike left this neighborhood dark for about a week – Harvey was no problema for water or power.. Knock on wood and if the creek don’t rise…
        What a year it’s been
        Noticed the moon is getting golden instead of summer silver. Harvest moon on the way.
        Paw waves (and wondering if your possum will show up asking for shelter – happened here one year – but we still had a huge dog house for The German available…like the dog ever thought of staying in it….

        1. I turned on KTRH this morning, and after five minutes turned it off. I’m so old I remember the days when it was the go-to source for objective weather reporting. Today? Not so much. I’m off to Randall’s for the bottled coffee I forgot, and thence on to work. I believe I’ll take some Buffett tunes with me.

          1. That is something. Interesting so little of that event/cooperation has been mentioned.
            KPRC – sort of history now. (Cue nostalgia)
            10 am update, but the 10p.m. will be the critical one. Meanwhile it’s: well, it may turn east which is good for us, continue to state line, or move west which is worst scenario…but it’s still not all that big (yet) and way out there, so who knows.
            Great (unusually nice) dog walking weather and a day for those forgotten items (and charging up everything). Apparently long lines of tourists at Boliver ferry yesterday…like Sr Staff says – people always rush towards car wrecks.
            Please just let the power stay on.

            1. I just picked up a rechargeable fan at Home Depot. There are about twenty of them left. It’s table size, and quite nice. Run time when fully charged is said to be 5.5 hours. That’s long enough for a nice nap.

  11. My BFF lives in Jersey Village now which is on 290 just past 8. Hoping all the folks in your neck of the woods have a dry place to hunker down.

    1. That area should be just fine. It’s true that sometimes the areas farther north have to deal with the tornadoes that accompany these storms, but if landfall’s well away to the east, that shouldn’t be a problem. We all figured there would be a storm or two to cope with this year. We just didn’t expect a pair to show up together.

  12. You are a lot closer to an impact zone than I am so I’ll be thinking of you! We’ve been working on getting the house and yard ready for whatever comes our way!

    1. There will be the usual coastal flooding — no question about that. It’s going to be interesting to see how the other effects play out. There’s some muttering about Laura strengthening to more than a Cat1. I hope that’s not true, but only time will tell. At least we’ve had plenty of time to prepare.

    1. There are going to be a lot of surprised birds and squirrels around here in a couple of days. They’re going to get double rations until the storms hit, just to build up their strength. They’ll probably keep nagging for more after the storm(s)!

  13. That song (and the rest of the A1A album) are among my favorites from Jimmy. His early albums were great, and “A White Sport Coat and A Pink Crustacean” deserves a special award for album titles .

    1. I’m with you on the album. Off to See the Lizard is another favorite. I swear, that man has the best titles generally, and the lyrics often are just as humorous. On the other hand, Leon Everette’s “Hurricane” has a real “been there, done that” feel. Most people know Levon Helm’s cover, but I prefer Everette’s original.

  14. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you folks. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a rechargeable fan, until I read it here. I guess the generators for a whole apt building would be expensive but that seems like a pretty good idea to me. Quite a few people where I’m from, in the snow belt, have those Generac ones, that sit outside, hooked into the natural gas line, so you don’t even have to worry about gasoline, and just kick on automatically. I was just reading recently about the WWII destroyer-escorts, (the little ships that protected convoys) the last one afloat in the U.S., the USS Slater, is usually tied up at Albany – -they had a diesel-electric drive system, and could be anchored offshore as an emergency electric plant, after the war, they apparently gave a bunch of them to Latin American countries for that use. Seems like a good idea to equip the Navy or Coast Guard Auxiliary with some modern versions of that. Well hope you don’t need anything like that, and stay cool!

    1. In truth, if they installed generators for all the buildings, the rent would be astronomical, and most of us would have to move anyway. Those things are for homes and businesses — but they are great.

      Your story about the use of ships as generating plants reminded me of one of the best things to happen after Hurricane Ike. The Tide Corporation showed up in several locations with mobile laundries. They looked like overgrown mobile homes, and they gave people without power or water a chance for some clean clothes. One set up shop in the Target parking lot just down the street from me, and it was a real blessing.

      We’re in line for a major hurricane now, and Galveston Bay and just east looks to be ground zero. I’m not concerned about surge, so I’m going to ride it out. I went through Alicia in 1983, and that was a Cat 3, as Laura’s predicted to be. That level of wind can be unnerving, but at least Laura’s going to be a fast mover. I got to experience the eye with Alicia. With luck, I’ll miss that with this one.

      1. A mobile laundry sounds like a great idea, that was nice the Tide people did that. I’ve never experienced a hurricane, I was just thinking, the windows in my apartment whistle like crazy, with just high winds, in a hurricane, they’d probably sound like a train whistle or jet engine or something.
        OK Linda, I hope everything goes ok and the power stays on, etc. stay safe.

    1. The damage that a hurricane can do is remarkable. I have a few posts from the time post-Ike that show my neighborhoods in all their debatable glory — including boats piled atop one another. Still, they’re part of life, and we do learn to cope. Comparing disasters is a little silly, but I’ll admit that I’ll take hurricanes over fire any time. We’ve been watching our current one since it began forming, at least couple of weeks ago — with a hurricane, you have time to plan.

    1. I hope you make it through the season without even a hint of one more of these! It sounds as though we’re going to miss the worst of it, so that’s good for your son (especially if he’s west), but I feel so sorry for the Golden Triangle. Those poor people have had storm after storm, and really don’t need another hit. I’ve seen some postings from mets who suggest that Laura might be reduced to a Cat 2 at landfall. Cat 1 would be even better. Where do we put in our order?

  15. I’ve not heard much Jimmy Buffet so a new one to me as well. By now the storm has passed you and the damage is being assessed. I hope whatever damage occurred will see people getting the assistance they need to recover and get back to normal. Some areas take years to recover and Louisiana seems to always get hit hard.

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