Hurricane Florence: A Heavy Spin Serve in to the Coast of North Carolina
(by Steve Hopkins)
Bowmar Sports / Butterfly North America announced earlier this week that operations would likely be affected. In the announcement, we asked that orders be placed by Wednesday so that shipping could be done before the storm arrived.
While the office location of Wilson, NC is well inland, it is only 50 miles from Washington, NC at the head of Pamlico River. At the time of this article, Pamlico Sound is already being hit hard with bands of wind and rain and the river is expected to be as much as 10 feet above normal. The National Weather Service has issued a warning for the Wilson area as they expect 60 mph gusts throughout Friday with the potential for stronger weather depending upon the past of the storm as it moves inland.
The path of this hurricane has turned slightly “left” and the most current models expect the hurricane to turn further West and South before slowing, making a “right” turn and heading North. To put that in the simplest of table tennis terms, the rotation is a heavy right spin which has caused a steady left curve. Once it is over land, that spin will slow considerably, and it will be pressed up against an area of low pressure where the curve will be stalled, and the spin will take over and it will “roll” off the map to the upper right.
Obviously, the paths are difficult to guess – even for the experts. Sometimes a hurricane takes a glancing blow off of the coast and heads North or Northeast out to sea. Other times the forward momentum carries the hurricane inland significant distances before it stalls and turns North with the more normal weather patterns. And still other times the storm seems to pause at the coast with the rotation or spin keeping it in one place for extended periods. These are all analogies that we see in our sport with spin and speed affecting the flight of the ball and anyone who has played our game has vast experience watching a spinning ball curve along the floor as we try to corral it to continue the next game.
Of course, in this case, the “ball” has hurricane force winds extending out about 140 miles, and the “spin” includes winds in excess of 100 mph. All the while, the storm is being affected by large areas of high pressure which push the storm (much like a large fan could affect the path of a ball). The final path is uncertain, and two similar storms won’t always follow the same path.
We’ll avoid any more humor or levity until the danger has passed and everyone is OK.
If you are in the path of the storm, we wish you the best. Stay safe and dry, and we’ll be back doing what we do best as soon as it is safe to do so.