What Are They Thinking In Brazil?

The only hurricane ever seen in the South Atlantic continues to move toward the East Coast. The National Weather Service Hurricane Center, here in the states, says it is a minimal hurricane with top winds over 75 mph. That poses a threat for Brazil’s coast.

On the other hand, the Brazilian meteorological experts say, “no it’s not.”

Here’s what the AP reported late Saturday, starting with a quote from Meteorologist Dr. Gustavo Escobar of the Brazilian Center for Weather Prediction and Climatic Studies:

“Winds and rains will not be significant, so we don’t need to alarm the population,” Escobar said by telephone.

Winds in nearby Florianopolis, a city of 700,000, were only about 12 mph, rainfall was mild, and no damage was reported, said meteorologist Kelen Andrade.

Jack Beven, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said the eye of the storm was near 29 degrees south latitude and 48 degrees west longitude by Saturday evening. That would place it about 50 miles east of the city of Laguna.

“To us, it has all the satellite appearance and intensity of a hurricane,” Beven said. “I don’t know what data they’re looking at. They may have data services locally that don’t go out on the national data service.”

He said no agency is sending out regular hurricane advisories on the storm.

“Down there, this is such a rare and unique event. The whole situation is strange,” Beven said. “We’re trying to help out, but because of the uniqueness of this event, it may be out of their expertise to some degree.”

Normally, here in the states, a storm this size causes little or no damage. But, we’re building to a higher standard, especially in hurricane prone areas, than Brazil. Brazil is a country with absolutely no experience in this regard.

I’m hoping Dr. Escobar is right. I’m afraid Jack Beven knows better.