Winds are measured by their speed and the conditions they create over land and sea. In terms of damage and havoc rendered by strong winds – the difference between a Gale Force 10 (GF 10) and just a notch higher on the Beaufort Scale – Storm Force 11 (SF 11) – is the white knuckle – am I gonna survive? – factor. GF 10 winds howl at the about double nickel miles per hour creating very high tumbling waves, lots of foam and a very heavy impact all around. Over land, these winds can break off tree branches and blow away barricades. But the violent winds of a SF 11 can reach 117 mph, severely limit visibility, and will most likely cause widespread structural damage. In either case, boaters simply can’t see where they are going – and most likely wish they were in a safe port splitting the main brace.
We must carry wind and flood insurance on our shore property to limit our liability for storm induced losses. Tomorrow our property will be tented and fumigated to kill termites that invaded the structure during the aftermath of a Force 12 Hurricane that tore off the roof. Wood infesting, ingesting bugs became squatters. They’ve done untold dollars worth of unseen damage but there’s no such thing pest insurance (if there was our neighbor would be history). It’s the price we pay for an ocean view.
For the past few months my homeport of St. Louis has been damaged by an ill wind that blows no good. Relentless gusts have leveled business, fueled the fires of distrust, and bedeviled community spirit. No answers to problems blow with these winds. We seem to be caught in a high pressure zone of ongoing Storm Force 11 winds generated by a lot of hot air not associated with the Jet Stream. It is a brutally frigid wind that is blowing our communities into a winter of discontent.
True wind and termites are Nature’s children. The conditions that winds create in many ways are acts of God. The ill winds hurling across the country are not. These are human-generated winds of war. Many a captain and crew are struggling to weather this relentless storm. Perhaps the most prudent action for all is to batten down the hatches and pray that this SF 11 too shall pass. These winds of change are blowing hard – adjust your sails, keep a weather-eye open, and pray for calm.
 A double ration of rum.