Viewpoint

The right way to talk about a storm

It’s instructive to understand the language of an almost-hurricane that almost creates havoc in our community.

So here’s a glossary of terms for the current storm:

“Significant weather event”

Definition: What you call storms that fall short of a real hurricane.

Used in a sentence: The biggest danger during a significant weather event is getting trampled in the scrum over the last case of bottled water at Publix.

“Category 3 storm”

Definition: A significant weather event that causes school to be canceled for your three kids, while you still have to go to work.

Used in a sentence: It’s barely even raining, which means I’m here at work with a Category 3 going on at home.

“Widespread fronding”

Definition: What you say when you want to impress people with the storm damage you received at home during a significant weather event, even though it’s just some palm fronds that have fallen on your lawn.

Used in a sentence: It’s going to take several minutes to recover from the damage, which at this point, appears to be mostly some widespread fronding.

“It sounded like a freight train”

Definition: What people say during a significant weather event when a freight train on the FEC tracks passes within hearing distance to their home.

Used in a sentence: As we hunkered down in the living room, we heard an eerie clanging sound followed by a scary rumble. It sounded like a freight train.

“Tornadic activity”

Definition: Low-hanging dark clouds that appear capable of producing a tornado, but haven’t yet.

Used in a sentence: I took a break dealing with my widespread fronding due to tornadic activity on the horizon.

“State of Emergency”

Definition: Casual Friday attire OK for all workers.

Used in a sentence: Take off that tie, Larry, we’re in a state of emergency.

“Cone of uncertainty”

Definition: Whether or not winds will reach the 35 mph threshold to shut down Tri-Rail.

Used in a sentence: The cone of uncertainty for our area during this significant weather event has put Tri-Rail commuters on a state of emergency.

“Not out of the woods yet”

Definition: What sleep-deprived TV news anchors say when the storm ends before they’re emotionally ready to surrender the desk.

Used in a sentence: Sure, it might be sunny and clear with a gentle breeze out of the southeast, but we’re not out of the woods yet.

“Monitoring the storm”

Definition: Taking the day off, usually done by sheltering in place.

Used in a sentence: I binge watched a whole season of “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix while monitoring the storm.

Cerabino is a columnist with the Palm Beach Post. Email: frank_cera-

bino@pbpost.com.

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