On Sunday afternoon, a "ping" from a tracking device confirmed scientists' suspicions: Katherine, a 2,300-pound great white shark tagged last August off of Cape Cod, is headed straight for Texas. Right now, she's about 100 miles from the Florida panhandle. In another week, she could be past the Mississippi. Then, Texas. A second great white, Betsy, is hot on her tail fins.
Researcher Bob Hueter is delighted. The data relayed by the new real-time (more or less) tracking device is overturning scientists' long-held assumptions about great white behavior, he told the Houston Chronicle.
But Hueter is based at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, i.e. a place Katherine has already passed. He's in the clear. But Texans should not let the disinterested-scientist rhetoric distract them from the true message here. It's time to panic and panic hard.
Using the data points from Katherine's 4,800-mile journey and factoring in our own unparalleled insights into shark behavior, we at Unfair Park have projected the shark's path. As you can see in the photo above, Katherine will spend the next week-and-a-half zig-zagging around the Gulf of Mexico before abruptly making a beeline for Dallas.
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It looks like Beaumont will be the first to fall, followed by a succession of East Texas towns too small to show up on the map. May the God they fear stay with the few survivors as they try to secure tourniquets on their mangled limbs. Dallas' best hope is that the polluted waters of the Trinity River will make her too sluggish to fully devour downtown.
Some be relieved to see that, between the Houston Chronicle piece on Monday and the most recent ping this morning, Katherine has turned back eastward. But this merely suggests that Katherine saw the news coverage and temporarily altered her course in hopes of preserving the element of surprise -- either that, or she waylaid the crew of a passing merchant vessel and attached her tracking device to the suddenly crew-less ship, which is drifting leisurely toward Florida.
The time for evacuation is now. North Dakota is probably the safest destination, as the people there are disagreeable to a shark's palate. Waiting it out and sheltering in place is for fools.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.