Hurricane Irene TV news reports – a bridge too far?

I just got done watching about 30 minutes of the special “Hurricane Irene Information” Channel 259 on DirecTV where they are carrying live reports from ABC7 out of New York City. I’ve watched many TV channels tonight like it.

I had to laugh, because they had some kid with a goofy smile on his face named Scott Goldberg in Times Square who looked like “Fez” from That 70’s Show prattling on about the wind and rain while meanwhile in the background the mega-signage of Times Square flashing in the background and cabbies going along the street in a business as usual mode along with some Saturday night revelers heckling the camera from behind him. The lower third super says “Irene Arrives”.

Then they switched to a live report from Ocean City, MD, with some guy standing in what looked like the city park pointing out waving trees in the background, but he himself had no trouble standing up to do the report. Some B-roll showed some guy mugging for the camera elsewhere trying to “hold up” a tree. Of course the tree wasn’t falling over at all and he was just doing the usual silly things people do on camera sometimes.

Now we have a reporter in a  red windbreaker who’s standing just off some rip-rap on the beach in New Jersey knee deep in some muddy water, holding a mic and adjusting his hip waders. He doesn’t realize he’s on camera and neither does the camera operator, who reveals when he pulls back just how “staged” the shot actually is.

Then we get treated to more shots of reporters around the area, standing in wind and rain, with idle commentary, basically waiting for something significant to report. B-roll footage used in live shots is now on repeats, so it appears they are out of fresh video. So they pop back to the weather center to report on wind gusts from 57-70 mph in the Maryland beach areas.

The weather Channel has some guy doing standup reports in Virgina Beach Virgina, and they ran a collage of various standups he did during the day, in various poses and weather attire against the wind and rain. Meanwhile motorists in the background downtown area seem to be going about there business as usual.

Then we had the report of Obama “taking command” in the emergency bunker…for a Category 1 storm no less. I don’t ever recall a president doing this. It seemed more like a campaign photo op than anything else.

On other channels I’ve seen tonight: footage of wind, rain, boats, rocking in the marina, some tree and limbs down, and some roof and building damages that are all consistent with a strong storm like a Nor’easter, but what I don’t see is anything beyond that. Now that just may be they don’t have access to the “hardest hit” areas or it may mean there’s just not a lot happening. There’s lots of hand waving and graphical bling though.

First let me say that forecasters of this storm have done an admirable job of forecasting the track of this storm, our friend Joe Bastardi has done a great job at getting the word out and NOAA’s NHC has done a good job at keeping the country updated. Information is flowing smoothly, and there seems to be no hiccups at all there.

It is not a problem that officials have erred somewhat on the side of caution. It is better to occasionally overreact to potential disasters than be caught flat-footed and under prepared when more severe disasters strike. It would be arrogant to play “Monday morning quarterback”, literally Monday in this case, and to berate officials who had to make a judgement call and put public safety first.

But while the track forecasts and warnings were spot on, the intensity forecast however hasn’t been as accurate. Yes there are 70+ mph wind gusts, storm surge, widespread power outages, and reports of general damage, but as this storm moves in the Washington-Baltimore and NYC areas, it just doesn’t seem all that bad as it was advertised to be.

I certainly don’t want to make light of anyone who has suffered because of the storm, that’s not my intent at all. I’m only focusing on the state of news reporting.

I recall images of “The Perfect Storm” from 1991 which wasn’t a hurricane, and it seemed to produce damages far worse than this storm. Here it is below on satellite:

The "Perfect Storm" 1991

Hurricane Irene 2011

Irene, except for being closer to land in in this shot, doesn’t look all that different from “The Perfect Storm” of 1991.

In summary, it seems to me that much of the news coverage is just a bit “over the top” to me, mostly because they’ve committed themselves to round the clock coverage, but really have little to report on. They have to fill time somehow.

And where oh where is the AGW fueled intensity forecast by wild eyed activist turned arrestee Bill McKibben who said ocean temperatures were “bizarrely high”? He said:

“These warm ocean temperatures will also make Irene a much wetter hurricane than is typical, since much more water vapor can evaporate into the air from record-warm ocean surfaces.”

Sure it dumped a lot of rain, but no more than most other storms. For a hurricane that supposedly “has global warming as a middle name“, it sure doesn’t act like it. People should stop listening to this arrogant activist, he hyped the storm worse than the worst TV news reports.

Our own Charles the Moderator passed on a piece of video a few days ago that captures the essence of the state of TV news reporting on weather from 14 years ago. How little has changed. Here it is:

If you have similar examples of TV news excess, post them below.

UPDATE: This morning we are being treated to lots of imagery of down trees and branches, street flooding, and people gawking at waves along boardwalks in Long Island. It seems Irene wasn’t really much worse than a strong Nor’easter. Places with aged stormwater systems like Philadelphia couldn’t handle the combination of storm surge and heavy rain so there is a lot of flooding there.

Advertisements

85 thoughts on “Hurricane Irene TV news reports – a bridge too far?

  1. Wind speed at NYC Central Park at 2:51 a.m. was 18 mph. Where is the 70 mph every weatherman is talking about? I have been watching National Weather Stations up and down the coast for the past two days and cannot find a huricane anywhere.

  2. Ha! It sounds like the drivel you get on US TV screens is very much like the drivel we get on ours in the UK. Seriously, I’m glad for everyone in the path of Irene that it’s slacked off a bit, which at least helps to keep the carnage and damage down. UK weather may get a bit frisky sometimes, but mercifully we don’t get big, ugly brutes on the scale of your hurricanes wrecking the place.

  3. Pretty funny stuff. What if they gave a hurricane, and nobody left? Seems like that’s the gist. We get to award the MSM the McKibben Squeegee Prize. No matter what, you can make alarming airtime, but when Irene refuses to cooperate, the collective Ho-Hum is deafening.
    I particularly like the facial expressions on some reporters, all squintchy with affected concern and dramatic license, while Captain Highliner dances in the background in his rain slicker. You just can’t make this stuff up…but that didn’t stop them from trying.

  4. Sounds like the US TV Weathermans wet dream has turned into a wet patch.
    And sod the ‘Chicken Littles’ I’m just glad people have not been hurt.

  5. I understand Pres. Obama has taken personal command of the storm watch. Hasn’t he anything better to do like reduce the cost of energy or something?

  6. Seems like someone decided on the narrative, and they’re sticking to it, come what may.
    Hardly surprising, TV news hasn’t done any reporting for years. It’s all ‘opinion’, ‘comment’, and ‘yes, but how do you “feel” about the deadly hurricane?’

  7. Thank goodness the President wasn’t harmed as he courageously returned to the eye of the storm and took command. He will lead the nation to safety.
    You can’t golf in the rain, I guess.
    Wish he’d send some of that drizzle down our way.
    Mike in Houston

  8. weather people have always inflated storms so they can get ratings. what we will hear now is that we were very lucky because this “could ” have been much worse !

  9. I don’t understand this storm and reporting on it. NOAA at this very minute (5:21 Eastern) is reporting sustained winds of 75 mph. If I look at any site that shows what ground stations and the buoys are reporting there is a wide discrepancy. For example, http://irene.windalert.com/ shows a top sustained wind of 45 mph at the same moment that NOAA says 75 and that is a difference of 30 mph.
    Could anyone please explain to me why the ground stations have been reporting drastically lower wind speeds than NOAA? Perhaps all the ground stations are not functioning properly and need fixing? Perhaps NOAA needs some private group to also measure the wind speeds at altitude to keep up the appearances. Perhaps I am missing something big and there is a reason for the 30 mph differential.

  10. LOL. The photos of Obama look curiously like the Putin “in command” photos we’ve been seeing. Could it be the same state run media?

  11. Wind speeds – could depend on definition? One might be average wind speed, one might refer to peak gust speed.

  12. NYTimnes reports 9 dead, mainly falling trees on cars and homes.
    bad for the victims and families, but, lucky losses are so low so far. lets hope it stays that way

  13. Pingo, I don’t think there is a difference in definitions. The official definition requires that you take the average wind speed (over 10 minutes) at 33 feet off the ground and report the highest (max) average wind speed. I expect planes don’t fly as low as 33 feet and I expect that ground stations are not all on 33 feet poles; but the difference in average wind speeds is just too wide this time to buy that something is not wrong someplace.
    Or I don’t understand something.

  14. Its being blown out of all proportion here in Aus. Focusing on the deaths (Standing under a tree in a windy storm?) and other disturbing news. Thanks Anthony for maintaining some sort of balance.

  15. The “Obama in command” thing is an obvious result of “lessons learned” from Bush’s performance in Katrina. Bush got blamed for his inaction, so the conclusion seems to be that the president has to be seen “doing something” in such an emergency. What the “something” is though, is a little bit unclear. Ten points for effort – but I bet he wishes he’d hung off just a bit longer to see just how bad it was going to be first.

  16. Joseph says:
    August 28, 2011 at 2:27 am
    Could anyone please explain to me why the ground stations have been reporting drastically lower wind speeds than NOAA?

    What NOAA reports is the wind speeds in the storm itself. The storm isn’t on the ground. Due to many factors, wind speed on the ground can be different than the wind speed in the storm itself.

  17. The wind speeds are always higher on the Eastern Side of the storm. We have not had any of that wind strike anything yet. Wait about 6 hours and it will get nasty! Especially in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Here in VA we had a storm surge of 9 feet!
    I will be laughing at the NYCers when they discover they are bonkers and may need to move to Yonkers to find a new residence. I will be laughing at them just like I roared with laughter at that video. Isn’t interesting that fox provided the comic relief.

  18. Maximum wind speeds are always in the eye wall of a hurricane and can fall off drastically within several miles. Hurricane Charley came ashore 22 miles south of my location with maximum winds at 150 mph and gusts near 175 mph. I only experienced winds around 50 mph with gusts to 65 mph. Charley was a very compact, tightly wound storm.
    What I saw with Irene this morning was that it had probably ceased to be a tropical system as soon as the forward movement exceeded the banding rotation somewhere along the New Jersey coast. You can see the eye spread out and loose its integrity. The reasons are many, dry air from the south, cooler waters, land interaction, stronger wind sheer. Tropical systems are actually fragile things that need the right conditions to sustain themselves and rarely survive for long when out of the tropics but they can bring massive amounts of moisture up from the south causing flooding and that will be the true emergency of this storm.
    I totally agree with Anthony and cannot blame government officials for their precautionary decisions because no one wants another Katrina on their hands.
    I can lay the blame on the major news organizations for not reporting the reality but instead getting caught up in their own hype. And if I have to listen to another “news host” tell me what to do to keep myself safe, I’m going to (self snip!)

  19. I like that “Hurricane Arnheim” photo nonetheless. 🙂 A well-lit bridge in the far foreground against a nasty looking black sky. Of course, it’s probably best to keep the sound muted while admiring the view.

  20. This WAS a dangerous storm. There is a serious complication when alarm is heightened to the levels just witnessed. If the intensity does not pan out or does not reach the levels forecast, then many people, begin to regard “official” warnings as spurious.
    They had large numbers of people reluctant to follow prudent measures. How much worse will the situation be when the “big one”, really does actually hit?
    Alarm is such a difficult tool to wield. To little and people die. To much and people panic jamming roads and facilities, and people die. False alarm is the worse, because people generally ignore those that cry “wolf” too often, and people die. Nothing is worse than a klaxon which sounds continuously with every large cat 2 storm.
    Personally, I believe in hope for the best, prepare for the worse! When the worse case scenario does arrive, the authorities better be well prepared, as it is obvious to me, the people won’t be! GK

  21. CNN was talking about “8 feet of water” in New York. I presume it was the storm surge because they did not show any.

  22. There is little I hate more than reporter out in storm telling everyone else that they should not be out in a storm. Do these people think they are Gods,so can’t be killed? Do they think their job is so importaint that it must be done like police or ambulance?

  23. “Then we had the report of Obama “taking command” in the emergency bunker…for a Category 1 storm no less.”
    ========================
    Don’t forget George Bush who didn’t take command of the Hurricane Katrina debacle until day 4. At least Obama has a pulse.

  24. This hype equals the hype of a (socalists) politicians death here this past week in Can. Our pro-GW LSM was in full blown mourning…all week long – much like this Irene hype by the media.

  25. “Then we had the report of Obama “taking command” in the emergency bunker…for a Category 1 storm no less.”
    Never let a crisis go to waste. Thus endeth the lesson.
    A photo-op is a photo-op. If you can’t add jobs, every now andthen you can act like you have one.

  26. Gerald Machnee says:
    Yep I recall Katrina – CNN had a hyped-up-reporter in there saying on live TV that people were being murdered in mass, bodies everywhere and rapes were happening regularly, all in that one place( forget the name of it now – place for the NO football team, sry) where people who couldn’t leave on their own due to what ever reasons and because their Mayor didn’t provide options or transportation were stuck in this place for days….later saw a picture of hundreds of school buses swamped by water…could have used those.

  27. The problem with over reporting an ordinary hurricane is that people will not believe the reports when a really strong hurricane hits. Best not to cry wolf. The attitude of the report is important.

  28. As a resident of tornado alley, it’s frustating to have the TV station cut away fro the radar showing the tornado about to run along my back fence (literally, this spring) to show a photo of a reporter standing in the rain somewhere. We flip between channels to keep a constant radar picture, I can see rain and damage later.

  29. Down on the Gulf Coast we have noticed a pattern extending back to every hurricane or tropical storm after Hurricane Andrew of exaggerating the wind speeds of the these systems. The buoys and land stations NEVER record sustained winds anywhere close to the wind speeds reported by NASA. Most of the buoys and land stations record wind speeds between 25% and 40% lower than what is reported by NOAA. There are at least three possible explanations: (1) for reporting purposes NOAA uses wind gusts instead of sustained winds, (2) the algorithm NOAA uses to compute surface wind speeds based on hurricane hunter readings at 10,000 feet and the dropsondes is inaccurate, or (3) they routinely exaggerate the wind speeds for reasons of “public safety”.

  30. Steve From Rockwood: You don’t remember correctly. George W Bush. Was communicating with the incompetent Nagin and the incompetent Landrieu from day one. He begged Landrieu to call out the national Guard right away, but she had to think about it for a day. He did not go to New Orleans for 4 days, what good would it had done for him to go? If he had gone you would be saying he was interfering with rescue operations. We are told that Obama can deal S and P downgrade the economy falling apart from the golf course of Martha Vineyard, why couldn’t Bush deal with Karina from the White House? Do you really think that Obama would have left the golf course if the hurricane wasn’t heading there. He isn’t in New York now, so he is doing exactly what Bush did. Somehow he’s a hero for being in the White House but Bush was a fool for being in the White House. Boy the double standards of you libs knows no bounds.

  31. Obviously storm related deaths are a tragedy. I wonder how many accidental deaths usually occur in a weekend on the east coast? With so many people hunkered down in shelters, I wonder if those stats aren’t reduced? Less people on the roads, etc. I recall an urban legend about an L.A. earthquake that reduced drive-by shootings and hence even with the earthquake fatalities, fewer people were harmed that weekend! Not sure if that’s true or not but I’m curious about accident stats on the east coast this weekend compared to a normal weekend.

  32. “Don’t forget George Bush who didn’t take command of the Hurricane Katrina debacle until day 4. At least Obama has a pulse.”
    How do you know what Bush did or didn’t do? Because he didn’t do a photo op? Actually when he finally did the obligatory photo op it backfired terribly. The experts should run these operations. Any presidential meddling may look good but will almost certainly be harmful, except when help is requested The more local supervision can be the more efficient.
    Katrina and specifically the Superdome situation was the most biased and misreported story of my life. Those running rescue operations ( not the president ) made decisions how to allocate their resources. If they had evacuated the Superdome earlier would other people have died? I have no idea ,and you can second guess their choices, but you didn’t have to make them. The fact is they didn’t ask for the presidents help which surely would have been given.
    Obama being the ultimate poser would probably have done things somewhat differently. Better? Only by chance.

  33. This TV/politicians’ hysteria cost me $500 today.
    Despite the fact that Irene totally missed Boston (there’s nothing but a little rain here, not even any unusual wind), they closed Boston Logan airport for a day, which forced me to extend my stay in the airport Hilton (and the hotel guys are exploiting the situation to the hilt, charging $400 per additional night, whereas their regular price was around $150 per night).
    The moronic, monotonous hype in the news about this fizzled hurricane is nauseating.
    “President Obama is closely monitoring…” his own navel, I suppose.
    The most terrible thing about our modern society is not that politicians and most of their electorate are brainless nincompoops. The most terrible thing is that there is practically no cultural alternative to this overwhelming, all-pervasive, hapless idiocy.

  34. My observation from the media and all the AGW types is that they wanted it to be bad to prove a point. Just like the Left says that the Right is hoping for a poor economy, really…doesn’t need any help on that front, they wanted this storm to prove a point. That the weather is abnormal for a reason and that reason is a gas that is naturally produced as a part of our respiration. We need to control this gas because they need a narative. They had a general hope of a Category 3 hitting NYC head on led to the hyperbole. It is pretty pathetic.

  35. Once again a lot hype. The waves hitting shore were the garden variety Pacific wave.
    Feht: “The most terrible thing is that there is practically no cultural alternative to this overwhelming, all-pervasive, hapless idiocy.”
    Well said.It demonstrates the dumbing of our society. Folks glued to the de-educating media. Give them a loaf of bread and some cheap entertainment.

  36. Tom in Florida says:
    August 28, 2011 at 5:39 am
    Maximum wind speeds are always in the eye wall of a hurricane and can fall off drastically within several miles.

    Here are some things I found disturbing:
    1. NHC Advisory #28 (I think) said (just before landfall in NC) that Irene was not expected to weaken from Category 2 until it made landfall. Relying on that, I made losing bets on Intrade about its strength at landfall.
    2. NHC Advisory #30:

    “AT 500 AM EDT…0900 UTC… DATA FROM THE HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT INDICATE THAT MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE DECREASED TO NEAR 75 MPH…120 KM/H…WITH HIGHER GUSTS. IRENE IS A CATEGORY ONE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. LITTLE CHANCE [sic] IN STRENGTH IS EXPECTED BEFORE IRENE MOVES INLAND LATER TODAY. AFTER LANDFALL IN NEW ENGLAND… IRENE IS FORECAST TO WEAKEN AND BECOME A POST-TROPICAL CYCLONE BY TONIGHT OR EARLY MONDAY.
    HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 125 MILES…205 KM…FROM THE CENTER…AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 320 MILES…520 KM. ”

    74 mph is the threshold for hurricane status. Irene’s maximum sustained wind was 75 mph. If wind speeds fall off drastically away from the eyewall, why was the NHC saying that “HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 125 MILES”?
    3. Why was the NHC implying (with “After”) that Irene would not weaken until it passed over NYC and reached New England?

  37. Good it calmed down, now we should look and record then learn, first we have reality, then we have the TV report, compare side to side them think about the rest of the coverage!
    It seems that the best man has to offer in climate and weather reading is right here!

  38. Ian H says:
    August 28, 2011 at 4:34 am
    The “Obama in command” thing is an obvious result of “lessons learned” from Bush’s performance in Katrina. Bush got blamed for his inaction, so the conclusion seems to be that the president has to be seen “doing something” in such an emergency. What the “something” is though, is a little bit unclear. Ten points for effort – but I bet he wishes he’d hung off just a bit longer to see just how bad it was going to be first.
    =======================================================================
    In the Command Center:
    “Whatever shall we do, Mr. President?!?!”
    BHO: “I’m sure everyone should be out there doing those tree thingy things they do. As a matter of fact, go ahead and have them do that. Yeah… do that. After that I’ll just follow your lead… uhhh… (checks radar screens)… from the golf course. Doesn’t look too bad out there. I can get in a quick 9.”

  39. No disrespect to the people who died in NC, but this news clip just about sums up Irene in Virginia. WARNING!! Brief Nudity. You gotta love live TV.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ewb_N5NNU_s&w=640&h=390]

  40. I take issue with the statement:
    “…that forecasters of this storm have done an admirable job of forecasting the track of this storm…”
    Early on, the forecast was for it to track south of Hispaniola, putting that island on the more dangerous right side of the storm track. It wound up passing north. Then for days the NHC forecast had it hitting Florida, when the consensus of the models was east of the state and parallel the coast.
    It seems there is a deliberate policy choice to exaggerate the hazard. This may not be a bad thing in this context since there are after all substantial uncertainties in the modeling. (At one point, some of the models highlighted on weatherunderground had landfall in Canada.) I would prefer the government to report it straight. It seems that all statistics go through some political filter. Gross Domestic Product estimates that initially come in high are inevitably revised downward in subsequent months. The administration is well served by putting the best face on the “recovery”. It seems that USDA’s crop forecasts are similarly optimistic until confronted with hard reality. The skeptic in me thinks this is to done deliberately to try to contain food price inflation. On top of government support for the CAGW scam, I am finding it hard to believe anything coming out of the government. It is not just the present administration either. (Witness Bush’s WMD in Iraq assertions.)
    Back in the context of tropical storm forecasting, crying wolf repeatedly will eventually leave the public apathetic to a real danger.

  41. I watched a few minutes of FOX news coverage on SkyUk. Presenter in foreground appeared to be having difficulty standing upright in the wind (Long Island?). Behind him a passer-by in a tee shirt, cutoff trousers and a baseball hat leaned casually on the seaside railings and lit a cigarette.

  42. TV is the most cut throat business (next to selling AGW) on the planet. If you don’t get your sound bite in as The Most Memorable in history, you’re toast. If it’s not windy enough on the boardwalk, stand between two buildings –with the boardwalk behind you– to magnify the tunnel effect of galeforce wind and surf on your hair, and your clothes being savagely ripped off your body. Just pray that a little old lady and her dog doesn’t decide to walk along the boardwalk while you’re doing it, it ruins the heroic effect and makes you look like an idiot in front of a hollywood storm fan with some guy out of sight throwing buckets of water in your face.
    (Don’t know what the poor guy’s name was; no doubt we never will;-)

  43. Oh bless you for reporting on this…..I was glued to the 24/7 media just for a good laugh all day yesterday…..The reporting was so desperate that I was embarassed for the broadcasters… Seriously, do they not realize how silly they come across…. Whenever someone with any knowelege would come on and say this will not be that big or its been downgraded and so on…the reporters would panic and get in there with some dumb comeback to keep the sensationlisation going…… One of our favorites was a CNN reporter telling about the storm going up to Canada and hitting Portland Oregon….(he meant Portland Maine…) He was too excited to correct himself…. Also Fox news made mention of the govenors warning about getting the “hell off the coast.” The reporter said “I guess we can say “hell” because it’s midnight. What the hell??? On the west coast it was 9:00…Does the east coast reporters know there are towns, states, and even another coast west of New York…. ?? Washington (out here we don’t put state after that) Oregon, (pronounced Ore-gun, two sylabols) Well, Cailf. they probabably know about???
    Anyway…I have been througly entertained by how ignorant our media is… * right now Fox news is interviewing someone from Ocean City MD…the reporter is desperate to get the mayor to say how horribly they were hit…he keeps saying they are fine…reporter says “no your not,we are looking at pictures…He says “we are fine.” She shows pictures of the deadly foam on the coast…and says “look at all of this are you worried about it…” He says…”it’s cleaned up.” She is done with the interview….. Thanks again for doing the media the justice they have earned…

  44. Steve from Rockwood says:
    August 28, 2011 at 7:18 am
    “Then we had the report of Obama “taking command” in the emergency bunker…for a Category 1 storm no less.”
    ========================
    Don’t forget George Bush who didn’t take command of the Hurricane Katrina debacle until day 4. At least Obama has a pulse.
    ####
    Obama is a child king who’s handlers allowed him to play with the controls like a father does his son on “Take Your Child to Work” day.

  45. Roger Knights says:
    August 28, 2011 at 9:47 am
    “74 mph is the threshold for hurricane status. Irene’s maximum sustained wind was 75 mph. If wind speeds fall off drastically away from the eyewall, why was the NHC saying that “HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 125 MILES”? HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 125 MILES…205 KM…FROM THE CENTER…AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 320 MILES…520 KM. ”
    Normally maximum wind speeds quoted are in the eye wall. So when you hear of 120 mph winds that is only in the eye wall and while the hurricane force winds can extend outward fairly far it is not the 120 mph winds. So when I said wind speed falling off drastically from the eye wall it doesn’t mean they go away but just that they are substantially lower than the maximum speeds in the eye wall. I gave the example of Hurricane Charley in 2004 where I was 22 miles from the center where there were 150 mph winds yet I only experienced winds in the 50 – 60 mph range. But then Charley was a very small, compact storm. Irene is huge.
    Irene’s eye wall clearly disappeared before the max winds wound down to 75 mph. The lack of an eye wall signaled the death of the tropical system and then what you had left was a very broad circulation of 75 mph winds that spread out over a large area. Please do not misunderstand me, I am not saying this still wasn’t a dangerous situation. However, it was no longer a tropical system which had a heat engine at it’s core driving the winds. It was more like a nor’easter than at hurricane at that point.

  46. charles the moderator says:
    August 28, 2011 at 1:55 am
    Today Show’s Michelle Kosinski in Canoe in 2005

    Watched Anderson Cooper earlier lamenting to the studio staff about the terrible conditions when two joggers trotted by. Made us think immediately of the Canoe video. 🙂

  47. Irene good night Irene good night
    Good night Irene Good night Irene
    I’ll see you in my dreams.

    Like many encounters, the expectation can be more exciting than the event.
    I turned on the TV last night and saw in the teletext
    “Hurricane Irene tears into New York with lashing rain and ferocious winds.”
    So I quickly tuned into CNN fearful of seeing 9/11 all over again. What did I find?
    A rather embarrassed reporter standing in some gentle rain rather gobsmacked after just being told by a weather forecaster he was now in the worst of the hurricane. Earlier while desperately trying to find some drama all he could come up with was an umbrella turned inside out, a broken branch that he could pick up which had fallen on some-one’s car boot and a blocked storm drain.
    The only thing missing was the old lady wearing gumboots walking her dog behind him.
    Look, I am all for being prepared but the media has just got to learn to report facts rather than carrying on like global warming alarmists on what if, may and could happen. The US responded magnificently after 9/11 and the media seemed calmer and more professional when real drama was unfolding before their eyes than they did last night trying to invent one. A bridge too far? Or being wise after the event? Who knows but I know where my money was.

  48. By far, the crappiest reporting yet…
    ———————————————–
    As hurricane Irene approaches, this reporter thinks he’s standing in sea foam, when it’s really a toxic mix of raw sewage, bacteria and pollution, according to MYFOXNY.

  49. Charles the Moderator, YOU ROCK!!! (and Anthony too of course, for allowing him to post the Windstorm 97 & Canoe vids. Thanks also to the folks who posted the Irene weathercast with ther herd of young men in swim trunks showing just how horrible the wind really was at the time. I gotta bet that the cameraman on that one was doing a little some shakey hand camera works there on purpose, all for the viewer’s benefit and to give a more realistic portrayal, right?
    So for my contribution: Man Swimming In the Streets of Queens (ya gotta wonder if that water backed up thru the sewers & if so, n-n-n-o-t sure I’d wanna be swimming in it)
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/sunday-morning-drive-how-bout-a-swim-video-of-man-swimming-in-the-streets-of-queens/

  50. Watching that Weather Channel clip (several comments up) reminds me of high school kids … no, not the young men running around getting their adrenaline rush as they ‘moon’ the camera … no, I’m talking about that uptight, sanctimonious, self-righteous “reporter”.
    Dude, get a clue !! If it was a truly dangerous hurricane, you’d be the only person out there and then you’d be the fool. Irene was but a very big thunderstorm. The kind we all experience, where news vans rush out to get a shot of the one tree that the storm knocked down onto some poor person’s house, with tarp hastily placed over the gaping hole in the roof.

  51. Tom in Florida says:
    August 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm
    “… Please do not misunderstand me, I am not saying this still wasn’t a dangerous situation. However, it was no longer a tropical system which had a heat engine at it’s core driving the winds. It was more like a nor’easter than at hurricane at that point.”
    Pretty much. You can see the transition between points 27 and 28 of the GFDL phase diagram as it went from symmetric warm core low to an asymmetric warm core low. The first stages of eventually going extra-tropical.
    http://moe.met.fsu.edu/cyclonephase/gfdl/irene09l/fcst/archive/11082812/1.phase1.zoom.png

  52. OK. It’s 6 PM here in western New Hampshire. I’m calling it… IRENE WAS A BIG F-A-I-L. No wind here at all, though we got a lot of rain this morning (and there is some localized flooding in low lying areas). No power outages here either, though we’re surrounded by trees. Nothing catastrophic. No panic. No nothing. That’s all…

  53. Fes was the guy in the 70’s show. They called him that because no one could be bothered to learn his name, so they shortened up Foreign Exchange Student and called him that.

  54. I checked my tree rings, and believe me, Irene was the worstest storm ever. It was caused by CO2 and abnormally hot sea levels. amen.

  55. Who pressured nhc to keep calling it a hurricane when it broke up yesterday afternoon and was clearly not a hurricane? Why were they claiming 65 mph winds this morning when no surface station even measured a gust over 30 mph? the science is exact enough to know that hurricanes weaken quickly as they move north over colder water. If we get another real storm like hurricane gloria, the 92 noreaster, or god forbid the 1938 hurricane no one will listen. Obama wanted a crisis he could use to show his effectiveness, but nature failed to deliver.
    The nhc forecasts yesterday were absurd, showing the storm moving all the way from NC to new england with almost no loss of wind speed. Hurricanes die quickly over land or cold water, and irene got a big gulp of dry air yesterday over VA beach that wrecked it’s circulation. It had no cyclonic pattern after that.

  56. yet Diane Sawyer Sunday evening asked, where is this hurricane going to hit next during her newscast.

  57. re: Steve from Rockwood says: August 28, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Don’t forget George Bush who didn’t take command of the Hurricane Katrina debacle until day 4. At least Obama has a pulse.

    Never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t realize that at the time Bush legally couldn’t enter the state or do anything that way until expressly requested to do so, in writing, by the Governor of Louisiana – at the time that was Kathleen Blanco. She knew that was the case, and still delayed. The press did an utterly disgusting job with the whole Katrina situation. Vague recollection, I think after that the laws were changed so the fed gov could take charge/enter the state if they felt a situation warranted it. Which, of course, further diminishes states rights.

  58. The apocalyptic killer hurricane Irene is front page of The West Australian newspaper here on the other side of the world, with a big photograph of somebody holding an umbrella in Times Square and the banner headline of SHUTDOWN.
    It’s an historic, graphic and chilling photograph of this climate change disaster as it shows the man with the umbrella and somebody else (possibly the only survivors left in New York) walking through the rain. There are no puddles but it’s obvious from the umbrella that there’s the potential for catastrophic flooding.
    There’s a full page story inside the paper:
    “Hurricane Irene has torn into New York, hammering Manhattan’s skyscrapers with fierce winds and threatening to flood the financial district after killing at least 12 people on the US east coast.
    The first hurricane to hit the Big Apple for a generation swept in overnight, accompanied by lightning, reports of tornadoes and deafening rainfall.
    Gales grew steadily to about 130kmh and the hurricane dropped 30cm of rain on areas on its way up the coast before it was downgraded to a tropical storm last night with winds still 105kmh.
    The huge hurricane, 805km wide, threatened 65 million people on the Atlantic coast, which was estimated to be the most Americans ever affected by a single storm. etc, etc”
    With trepidation, I’m expecting to watch our midday news and see the remains of New York as a few piles of twisted rubble amid the floodwaters. I’ll immediately be donating to the international relief efforts.
    Are all 65 million of you east coast Americans now deaf because of the rainfall? I’ve got no idea how any of you have survived 30cm of that stuff, and the page 1 photo definitely proves it was rain. Thank goodness you’ve finally got Medicare!
    I’m still trying to figure out why the umbrella wasn’t even flapping in the breeze, but it’s obvious that since there are only two people in the page 1 photo, everybody else in the city has been blown away by the hurricane winds.
    If this doesn’t prove that climate change threatens your grandchildren, I have no idea what will. I’ll be donating $10 to the International New York Rebuilding Disaster Fund, but only on the condition that you don’t spend it on something that has carbon in it.

  59. I wonder if the people killed in their cars were there because the were told to get in them to evacuate. Bloomberg is a idiot, Christie is worse.

  60. Here comes the next storm (deservedly so)…
    The Perfect Storm of Hype

    “The images summed up Hurricane Irene – the media and the United States federal government trying to live up to their own doom-laden warnings and predictions while a sizeable number of ordinary Americans just carried on as normal and even made gentle fun of all the fuss.”
    “There was almost palpable disappointment among the TV big guns rolled out for the occasion when Irene was downgraded to a mere ‘tropical storm”. In New York city, CNN’s silver-haired Anderson Cooper, more usually seen in a tight t-shirt in a famine or war zone, was clad in what one wag dubbed “disaster casual””

  61. Definitely no worse than Gloria in 1985…Gloria was Cat 2 when it hit NJ. I also can’t believe the drivel going on on Twitter yesterday comparing the Earthquake, hurricane, etc to the Day After Tomorrow! What ignorant d-bags! Does no one think the world existed before they were born!?!

  62. JFK says:
    August 28, 2011 at 4:57 pm
    Who pressured nhc to keep calling it a hurricane when it broke up yesterday afternoon and was clearly not a hurricane?
    ………….
    The nhc forecasts yesterday were absurd, showing the storm moving all the way from NC to new england with almost no loss of wind speed.

    The NHC also falsely predicted, just before Irene made landfall, that it wouldn’t lose speed from its Category 2 status. And, even while its maximum sustained windspeed was 75 MPH (just above the cutoff for being a hurricane), it claimed that hurricane-force winds extended over 100 miles outward from the center, even though windspeed typically falls off sharply outside the core. I.e., it’s very unlikely that there’d be a very large zone of wind all moving at maximum speed. (And at that point there wasn’t much of a core anyway.)
    I suspect the NHC is going to lose credibility among weathermen and the media as a result of this “spin.” (I wonder–is there a journal or website where meteorologists can make criticisms like these?)

  63. Here’s a quote from Bloomberg News at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-29/u-s-starts-cleanup-as-irene-leaves-trail-of-destruction-across-northeast.html

    Irene did not pack the hurricane force winds that were predicted for the [New York] region.
    “It could have been a lot worse in terms of storm surge, could have been worse in terms of the actual wind speeds,” [professor] Bediant said. “It did not strengthen like they [who?] originally thought.”

    Who was saying it was going to strengthen except McKibben (sp?)?

  64. If politicians want to be responsible and precautionary, they should make sure that electricity providers trim back overhanging limbs and cut down weak trees alongside their power lines in advance of storm season. Failure to do so is what causes the widespread power outages just seen. (In Cleveland, when a new owner took over the power company, it cut back sharply on this routine maintenance, resulting in a sharp increase in outages a few years later.)
    Bloomberg News, and other MSM outlets, are emphasizing the large number of outages as a way of implying that their alarmism was justified, and that the storm was a monster. What these outages really indicate is that politicians and regulators were asleep at the switch. Outages shouldn’t be used as a proxy for a storm’s destructiveness.

  65. I’m just glad to see how many “regular folks” DIDN’T by into the hype and carried on with their lives with caution. Gives me hope for the average every-day American. Are you sure that “seafoam” guy wasn’t trying to hit it big on YouTube?..I swear that was a SNL skit.

  66. I was struck by the difference in tone of the talking heads from when hurricanes strike “flyover country”. It seemed much more important that it would actually strike New York, because that city is soooo much more important than where everyone else lives. Instead of showing serious flooding in Hatteras NC, they show some minor flooding in Brooklyn, how Times Square is unusually empty, and gosh, Bloomingdale’s is boarded up!
    To the news people that reside in New York: pull your heads out and learn that the sewage pit you live in isn’t the center of the universe.

  67. Edit: “about there business as usual.” their
    Update: 40 dead.
    Delayed: major flooding from wide rain bands on pre-soaked ground.
    Coming: Katia, about a week
    Bastardi: 5-7 US landfalls this year, nothing in the Gulf except local systems.

  68. What I love now is all the back peddling by all the major news medias….about how they “did not overeact.” What, did someone tell them they overeacting a bit? Or did they have some kind of conference and go over how they covered this storm…If that were the case can you imagine in hindsite just how stupid they must have felt….
    The worse part of the storm for us on the Oregon Coast….was because of all they hyped news I quite worrying about my children who live in NJ who went to Ohio to “be safe.” When in fact they are still stuck in Ohio because of the flood waters in NJ….I quick watching the news because they were so over the top…..and missed the truly devastating effects of Irene….. I wonder how many other’s did the very same…… Crying wolf is not a good thing….

Comments are closed.