The Captain's Warning
Lord of the winds! I feel thee nigh,
I know thy breath in the burning sky!
And I wait, with a thrill in every vein,
For the coming of the hurricane!
~ William Cullen Bryant, The Hurricane
Captain Starling Alecto looked up from the maps on which he was writing as I entered the shack next to the New Toulouse Algiers Lighthouse.
"Miz Gabi," he said, "Thank you for coming so quickly."
"How bad is it Captain?", I said, skipping all pleasantries.
The Captain looked at me grimly. "From all of my measurements and calculations, as well as the information in all of the telegraphs from the U.S. Weather Bureau, I can confidently say that there is a hurricane approaching New Toulouse."
I took a deep breath, and then nodded.
Last year, New Toulouse had been taken almost completely unawares by Hurricane Adolphe due to the fact that we were such a small community and we did not have a communications liaison with the U.S. Weather Bureau. I had been able to send telegraphs out to the other Steamlands nations, but by then the hurricane was already in full force, making it almost impossible for any of them to send assistance.
New Toulouse survived the storm, albeit with many ruined rugs on the first floors of all of the buildings in New Toulouse proper and New Toulouse Bourbon. New Toulouse Bayou had been hit the worst and almost all of the residents' homes had been completely under water, with the exception of those that lived in the Northeast corner of the sim.
Miraculously, no one seemed to lose any of their stores of whiskey, moonshine and absinthe. The residents of New Toulouse *do* have their priorities, and I suspect that they "saved" a great deal of their liquor simply by drinking it.
But New Toulouse had grown by at least 20% over the last year, and with that growth came more residents with more resources and knowledge. I had approached Captain Starling Alecto last Winter at his Absinthe Ball and asked him if he would be willing to serve as New Toulouse's liason to the U.S. Weather Bureau. I also knew that he had experience in tracking weather and taking atmospheric and barometric measurements from his time as an Airship captain.
He had readily agreed, and as Hurricane Season loomed this year, we put together a very basic Weather Station in the empty shack next to the New Toulouse Lighthouse on Lighthouse Point in New Toulouse Algiers. The Captain had been diligently taking measurements and compiling information from telegraphs from the U.S. Weather Bureau ever since the beginning of the summer.
Then, we watched and waited...and now he had the news that I had hoped we would not receive. A hurricane was bearing down on New Toulouse and we needed to alert the residents and the other Steamlands nations. And we needed to prepare.
"Captain," I said, "You have confirmation on this storm. If it has reached hurricane level, what has the U.S. Weather Bureau named it?"
"Hurricane Bernadette, Your Grace," he said.
I nodded for the second time in as many minutes.
"Alright then," I said, "Let's start preparing for her. Would you mind assisting me with two telegraphs? Then I will contact Miss Rose, Miss Marie, Miss Amber, Miss Abi and Mr. Breitman, and I will ask them to go door to door throughout the Estate to inform our residents."
"Absolutely," said the Captain, "To whom are we sending these telegraphs and what would you like them to say?"
STEAMLANDS UNION TELEGRAM
MOSSEVENO TENK NEW BABBAGE
ADMIRAL JEDBURGH30 DAGGER NEW BABBAGE
HURRICANE BERNADETTE APPROACHING NEW TOULOUSE LANDFALL IN NEXT FEW DAYS REQUEST ASSISTANCE FROM NEW BABBAGE NAVY
STEAMLANDS UNION TELEGRAM
SERRA ANANSI WINTERFELL
STEELCOBRA CALAMARI STEELTOPIA
TOTALLUNAR ECLIPSE TENSAI HILRA STEELHEAD
DESMOND SHANG CALEDON
PUMPKIN TRIPSA SERAPH CITY
VIOLET ORMENTHAL REMINGTON THURSDAY ARMADA BREAKAWAY
HURRICANE BERNADETTE APPROACHING NEW TOULOUSE LANDFALL IN NEXT FEW DAYS REQUEST ASSISTANCE ADVISE HEAVY CAUTION
My posts on Hurricane Adolphe last year: