Posted by: pyeager | April 4, 2009

Great Movie–Poor Weather!

As any number of my friends will verify, you don’t ever want to go to a movie with a meteorologist–unless you enjoy statements such as “It doesn’t rain in Los Angeles in July” or “Yeah, like there’s going to be a blizzard in New York City in November” or “That’s not what tornadoes look like.”

It’s always interesting for me to analyze how the weather is used in television or the movies, either through symbolism or for accuracy, so I’ll occasionally talk about that in the blog. My wife and I like classic movies, and one of my favorites is “Key Largo,” with Humprey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

The classic story, set in the Florida Keys,  involves the mafia, a hero, and a hurricane–along with a host of weather inaccuracies.

Let me list a few:

  • Early in the movie, it’s mentioned that “soon, temperatures will drop down to a hundred.”  The temperature NEVER reaches 100 degrees in the tropical climes of the Florida Keys; in fact, the all-time record in Key West is 98, set in 1886. Marine climates are not as hot as land-locked climate. It’s much more likely to 100 in Fargo than in Key Largo.
  • During the beginning of the storm, a few members of the mafia decide to take a two-person row boat into the ocean to dump a body. The seas looked more like Lake Pymatuming (where I used to fish) on a June afternoon rather than the open ocean during a major hurricane.
  • The hurricane lasted for two or three hours from start to finish. I’m sure that any Gulf Coast residents would be pleased if hurricanes lasted a couple of hours.
  • After the storm, the characters in the  movie discussed how most big storms occurred earlier in the summer–that it was late in the season for such a strong storm. Most hurricanes occur in the second half of the summer, not early in the summer.
  • About an hour after the storm, the mafia and the hero (Bogie, of course) left on a small boat to travel from the Keys to Cuba. Only Bogie came back, of course, but the ocean was nice and flat, which would never be the case after a major hurricane.
  • The aforementioned boat trip was mired in dense fog. Fog does not occur after a major hurricane–the atmosphere is way too mixed to allow for fog to form after a hurricane.

Don’t let my weather whining fool you–this is a great movie.

–Paul Yeager


  1. I can’t claim to know as much about weather as you, but I can agree with you that this is a great movie. I do remember wondering why the hurricane was over so quick.

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