When a Butterfly Flaps its Wings in China

In the 1990 film Havana, Robert Redford’s character says, “A butterfly can flutter its wings over a flower in China and cause a hurricane in the Caribbean . . .” While the sentiment is somewhat mythological, it’s not irrelevant to the upcoming 2019 hurricane season, or the arrival of tropical storm/hurricane Barry on the Louisiana coast. The threats to people, property and the local environment are always the primary concern, and the impacts of these huge weather events can reach far beyond the epicenter of the storm.

Hurricane Barry
Hurricane Barry is slowly bearing down on the Louisiana coast tonight, threatening the vulnerable (and slightly below sea level) city of New Orleans.
© 2019 NOAA

The effects of Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017 also created an insurance storm, causing insurance-company-algorithm creators to work overtime adjusting their formulas to predict the mysterious tempest-related future for sailors. Insurance agents and cruisers in the South Pacific all report a shifting environment, as insurance companies recalculate the odds of hurricane losses.

NOAA Disturbance 1
Meanwhile, farther out in the Atlantic, that little yellow ‘X’ has a 20% chance of becoming a cyclone within 48 hours.
© 2019 NOAA

We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed tonight for the people on the Louisiana shoreline, while we also look for that butterfly in China that started this whole thing. We’ll also be keeping our eye out in the future to see how these storms affect sailors — regardless of their location. If you’re out cruising and have some insights into how the storms have trickled down into the insurance market for cruisers, let us know.

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The 50th running of the Transpac got underway on Wednesday afternoon in classic Southern California conditions, with light winds, flat water and sunny skies.
Jeanne Socrates has been at sea for 281 days. That’s over nine months, which represents the beginning, middle and end of several sports seasons, and gestation of a human being.