Social media and water coolers were abuzz Friday with the next DVD blockbuster sci-fi (emphasis on the 'fi') movie "Sharknado" that aired on the Sy-Fy channel Thursday night.
But this jaw-dropping (jaw-clenching?) story brought up an important facet of meteorological studies that have been historically and woefully underfunded: The science of shark-infested tornadoes from hurricanes that strike the Pacific Coast of the United States.
Sure, Congress can budget funds to plan for alligator-infested hurricanes ("Gatorcanes") or frozen bee hail storms (You thought golf-ball hail stung...), but shark tornadoes? Never seems to make it out of committee...
But maybe this ground-breaking film will finally bring to light this potentially dangerous situation that could happen if all laws of meteorology, physics -- and probably zoology -- were suddenly suspended.
Of course any Portlander would want to know first: If it could happen on TV in L.A., could a sharknado some day strike the Willamette Valley?
First, like all historical Northwest storms, we need some bad Almond Roca
Well, all we would need to do is first warm the Pacific Ocean by about 30 degrees to make it conducive to hurricanes, which have never struck the U.S. Pacific Coast. But you'd be amazed at how surprisingly simple this feat is, at least, according to reference meteorology research secretly obtained from a source on the set of Sharknado. It can be easily done by having a tanker ship full of hot coffee from Colombia suddenly crash into another tanker carrying hot tea from England (who is apparently really lost) just off the Oregon coast after both captains were suddenly overcome by fumes from soured Almond Roca.
The ensuing leak of a few million gallons of hot liquid would somehow suddenly warm thousands of square miles of the ocean to Gulf of Mexico standards. Meanwhile, the irresistible combination of toffee, coffee, tea and stale butter crunch would attract sharks from thousands of miles away to feast on this new culinary sensation.
At the same time, a strengthening trough of low pressure moving southeast out of the Gulf of Alaska would mix with a Pineapple Express storm moving in from Hawaii... no, not just warm, tropical rains, but actual literal pineapples in the water caused from a small asteroid-triggered tsunami off Kauai.
The combination of these storms would create a super hurricane (that would smell incredible, by the way) that approaches the Oregon coast. The frenzied nature of the ultra-caffeinated sharks would initiate cyclonic flows that when mixed with cold air rushing down from the stratosphere to create a super tornado of sharks (and probably spiny pineapples too, just our luck).
If that were to happen the National Weather Service would put out this urgent warning:
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PORTLAND OR
233 PM PDT SAT JUL 14 2023
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PORTLAND HAS ISSUED A
* SHARKNADO WARNING FOR...
CLATSOP, TILLAMOOK AND LINCOLN COUNTIES
* FOR TWO HOURS (MINUS REQUIRED COMMERCIAL BREAKS)
* AT 220 PM PDT...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED MULTIPLE TORNADOES FULL OF HUNGRY AND GRAVITY-DEFYING SHARKS 2 MILES WEST OF SEASIDE, MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH. DOPPLER RADAR ALSO INDICATED EMBEDDED HAILSTONES THE SIZE OF PINEAPPLES. THIS STORM IS MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH.
* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
TILLAMOOK, SEASIDE, ASTORIA, NEWPORT, AND ANY LOCATIONS WHERE A C- OR D-LIST CELEBRITY MAY BE NEARBY.
TAKE COVER NOW. MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS AS FLYING SHARKS CAN SHATTER THEM AND EAT YOU ON THE FLY. DO NOT ASK US HOW. IT'S ON THE DEFAULT FORM OF THIS WARNING SO IT MUST BE TRUE.
DO NOT DRIVE IN SHARK-INFESTED WATERS FROM SUDDEN RIVERS THAT FORM FROM LIGHT SHOWERS. TAKE CARE IN HANDLING ANY CHAINSAWS AS DEFENSE AS THEY CAN HURT IF NOT OPERATED PROPERLY. TREAT ALL CUTS AND WOUNDS IMMEDIATELY. TRUST US. AVOID TAKING SHOWERS AS SHARKS CAN APPEAR THROUGH BATHTUB DRAINS. RAININIG SHARKS AND PINEAPPLES CAN ALSO CAUSE DAMAGE.
THE SITUATION IS SO URGENT WE ARE SUSPENDING METEOROLOGY TERMINOLOGY AND CALLING IT A "SHARK TORNADO" EVEN THOUGH IT IS OBVIOUSLY OVER WATER AND SHOULD BE A "SHARK WATERSPOUT."
Now, any good local meteorologist would know that Sharknadoes that form on the coast and move inland would probably peter out around Vernonia thanks to downsloping winds off the Coastal Range caused by massive amounts of inhaled gasps from coastal residents.
So, lucky for us, our situation being several miles inland from the coast would prevent a Sharknado from attacking Portland.
Now, an Slugnado -- *that's* something Portland needs to watch out for...