Weather: being prepared for the worst

Santa Barbara, December 8. Photo: Blake Haber
Before I go on to the topic of firestorms, a little update about other sort of storms. At the moment, I am at home, preparing for departure to Sydney for the RSHYR race. It takes 1,5-2 days of travelling even with decent transfer times, so I will need to leave in the morning of the 22/12 to arrive in time for the race briefing on the 24th.

It's possible to say a lot about the weather being predicted, but it's better to wait until the day before the race for the picture to become clear. Our team will be receiving professional updates from a legendary adviser, who had provided the services to several winning yachts in the past. Correct weather updates and route planning is a key factor in having a chance to win, or to even arrive at the final destination. All wind changes, all currents, all timings are extremely important. The best route is not a straight line, it will vary for all competitors depending on the abilities of the boat, the weather at that particular spot, and the dito currents.

There are different models predicting a bit differently considering the timing and the contents, so it's possible to speculate about the weather ad absurdum. Instead, I choose to do something constructive and work out - lift weights, or go for a run in the snow. It will be several tough days of very hard working, and no matter how the weather turns out at the end there will be a couple of days of rough stuff. It's best to come prepared.

Out for a run. Snowy weather in Sweden.
I have been doing a bit of interviews during the past week, one of them about the prepper-movement. I talked about why I am prepping, and for what exactly. The point is, you never know. That's in the nature of the catastrophe, you never know when it strikes and what it's going to be.

A friend of mine is in his home in Santa Barbara, being standby to flee as the Thomas Fire approaches. The motorway is congested with people leaving. You need to wear a respirator to be able to breathe. They are watching the current fire path and are ready to leave, however they need to know when and to where. He describes it like this:

"It's like the zombie apocalypse out there. Ashes everywhere, burning chemical smell of doom, people wearing gas masks to fetch their morning paper, blood-red sun low in a sludge-colored sky, 3-legged dogs with steampunk prosthetics fighting each other over burnt possum carcasses..."

This is just one of the horrific forest fires that started in December 2017. About 100,000 people are evacuated now because of Thomas fire only. Not a single one of them was expecting it. Nobody expects a disaster in this wealthy part of the US. Forest fires are unusual in winter, this is a direct consequence of climate change. So unless you are a prepper, you are stuck with no resources and little help.

Thomas fire, Santa Barbara. All these photos are taken int he middle of the day. Photo: Blake Haber
The unexpected is becoming a new normal. For me, it's natural to try to be prepared for anything that can affect my daily life. 

Thomas fire over Santa Barbara. Photo taken December 16. Photo: Blake Haber