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datatime: 2022-11-27 16:23:14 Author:GZJoSDAQ

Heidi took a few minutes to type a fax to her husband, Harley, at the National Weather Service to alert him to the hurricane's latest numbers.

IT WAS NOON NOW, a crazy, wild, insane noon. The seas had built from a relatively flat surface to thirty-foot waves in what seemed to the captain of the containership, the Nicaraguan-registered Mona Lisa, the blink of an eye. He felt as though he'd thrown open a door to the desert and had a tankful of water thrown at him. The seas had gone steep in a matter of minutes and the light breeze had turned into a full-blown gale. In all his years at sea, he'd never seen a storm come up so fast.

Quite often, storms spin around and head in a totally different direction. Again, Lizzie wasn't going by the book. If ever a hurricane had a one-track mind, thought Heidi, it was this one.

THE AVERAGE HURRICANE takes an average of six days to mature to its full magnitude. Hurricane Lizzie did it in four.

HEIDI AND fellow meteorologists at the NUMA center began hovering in conferences and studying the data on the latest system sweeping in from the east. They saw no slackening of Lizzie as she swept past longitude 40 west in mid-Atlantic, still throwing all previous predictions out the window by running straight with barely a wobble.

"Before you send me back to Never-Never Land," said Max, "there is one more thing."

He reached over and picked up the amphor and peered inside, turning away at the awful stench of decaying sea life. He put it back in its box and sat there for a long time, unable to accept what Max had discovered.

Lizzie was also moving at a record pace westward across the ocean.

Before night fell, a dozen other ships would suffer Lizzie's destructive violence.

Heidi never knew who on what island coined the term hurricane. But it was a Caribbean word that meant "Big Wind." Bursting with enough energy to match the largest nuclear bomb, Lizzie was running wild with thunder, lightning and driving rain.

Before night fell, a dozen other ships would suffer Lizzie's destructive violence.

This storm had all the characteristics of crossing the threshold of Category 5, with winds in excess of one hundred and sixty miles an hour. Heidi could only hope and pray that Lizzie would not touch the populated coast of the United States. Only two Category 5 hurricanes held that appalling distinction: the Great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 that had charged across the Florida Keys and Hurricane Camille that struck Alabama and Mississippi in 1969, taking down entire twenty-story condominiums.

"When the glop is cleaned out from the interior of the amphor, you'll find a gold figurine in the shape of a goat."

HEIDI AND fellow meteorologists at the NUMA center began hovering in conferences and studying the data on the latest system sweeping in from the east. They saw no slackening of Lizzie as she swept past longitude 40 west in mid-Atlantic, still throwing all previous predictions out the window by running straight with barely a wobble.

Lizzie was also moving at a record pace westward across the ocean.

Lizzie was also moving at a record pace westward across the ocean.

THE AVERAGE HURRICANE takes an average of six days to mature to its full magnitude. Hurricane Lizzie did it in four.

Hurricanes move slowly, usually no more than twelve miles an hour, about the average speed of someone riding a bicycle. But Lizzie was not following the rules laid down by those storms that went before her. She was hurtling across the sea at a very respectable twenty miles an hour. And contrary to earlier hurricanes that zigged and zagged their way toward the Western Hemisphere, Lizzie was traveling in a straight line as if her mind was on a specific target.

Yaeger sat there, totally lost, as Max vanished back into her circuits. His mind ran toward the abstract. He tried to picture an ancient crewman on a three-thousand-year-old ship throwing a bronze pot overboard four thousand miles from Europe but the image would not unfold.

HEIDI AND fellow meteorologists at the NUMA center began hovering in conferences and studying the data on the latest system sweeping in from the east. They saw no slackening of Lizzie as she swept past longitude 40 west in mid-Atlantic, still throwing all previous predictions out the window by running straight with barely a wobble.

"When the glop is cleaned out from the interior of the amphor, you'll find a gold figurine in the shape of a goat."

IT WAS NOON NOW, a crazy, wild, insane noon. The seas had built from a relatively flat surface to thirty-foot waves in what seemed to the captain of the containership, the Nicaraguan-registered Mona Lisa, the blink of an eye. He felt as though he'd thrown open a door to the desert and had a tankful of water thrown at him. The seas had gone steep in a matter of minutes and the light breeze had turned into a full-blown gale. In all his years at sea, he'd never seen a storm come up so fast.

In NUMA's Hurricane Center, Heidi Lisherness studied the latest images transmitted down from the geostationary satellites orbiting the earth twenty-two thousand miles above the equator. The data was transmitted into a computer, using one of several numerical models to forecast speed, path and the growing strength of Lizzie. Satellite pictures were not the most accurate. She would have preferred to study more detailed photos, but it was too early to send out a storm-tracking Air Force plane that far into the ocean. She would have to wait before obtaining more detailed images.

Thirty miles north, just over the horizon from the Mona Lisa, the Egyptian super oil tanker Rameses II found herself overtaken by the surging turbulence. Captain Warren Meade stood in horror as a ninety-foot wave traveling at an incredible speed surged up over his ship's stern, tearing off the railings and sending tons of water smashing through hatches and flooding the crew's quarters and storerooms. The crew in the pilothouse watched dumbstruck as the wave passed around the superstructure and swept over the huge seven-hundred-foot-long deck of the hull whose waterline was sixty feet below, mangling fittings and pipes before it passed over the bow.

This storm had all the characteristics of crossing the threshold of Category 5, with winds in excess of one hundred and sixty miles an hour. Heidi could only hope and pray that Lizzie would not touch the populated coast of the United States. Only two Category 5 hurricanes held that appalling distinction: the Great Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 that had charged across the Florida Keys and Hurricane Camille that struck Alabama and Mississippi in 1969, taking down entire twenty-story condominiums.

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