Ten years after Katrina: let’s learn from those predictions of more & bigger hurricanes

Guest essay by Larry Kummer. Editor, Fabius Maximus

Summary — Most 10-year anniversary articles about Katrina omit one chapter of that sad story: its exploitation by climate activists. They predicted more and stronger hurricanes. Let’s grade them. Every time activists falsely cry “wolf” we become weaker, less able to prepare for real threats. Remembering is the first step to learning.

“Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”

— Attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson.


  1. Katrina and Wilma hit America.
  2. Alarmists exploit the disaster.
  3. Hurricanes go MIA.
  4. Forecasts of  hurricanes.
  5. Conclusions.

(1) Katrina and Wilma hit America

The 2005 hurricane season was the most active on record by many measures. Ten years ago today Hurricane Katrina almost destroyed New Orleans (details here). Hurricane Wilma hit in Florida on 24 October 2005 (among the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic basin).

(2)  Alarmists exploit the catastrophe

Climate alarmists exploited this disaster. For example see Al Gore’s speech at Sierra Club’s National Environmental Convention and Expo in San Francisco on 9 September 2005 — excerpt…

“Winston Churchill, when the storm was gathering on continental Europe, provided warnings of what was at stake. And he said this about the government then in power in England — which wasn’t sure that the threat was real — he said, ‘They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.” He continued, “The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, the warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences.

“… Last year we had a lot of hurricanes. Last year, Japan set an all-time record for typhoons: 10. The previous record was 7. Last year the science textbooks had to be rewritten. They said, “It’s impossible to have a hurricane in the South Atlantic.” We had the first one last year, in Brazil. We had an all-time record last year for tornadoes in the United States: 1,717. Largely because hurricanes spawned tornadoes. Last year we had record temperatures in many cities. This year 200 cities in the Western United States broke all-time records. Reno: 39 days consecutively above 100°.

“The scientists are telling us that what the science tells them is that this — unless we act quickly and dramatically … {t}his, in Churchill’s phrase, is only the first sip of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year until there is a supreme recovery of moral health.”

Since Katrina, climate activists have beat a steady drumbeat warning of doom.

  1. Warming seas cause stronger hurricanes“, Nature, 2006 — “Mega-storms are set to increase as the climate hots up.”
  2. Are Category 6 Hurricanes Coming Soon?“, Scientific American, 2011 — “Tropical cyclones like Irene are predicted to be more powerful this year, thanks to natural conditions”
  3. Global warming is ‘causing more hurricanes’“, The Independent, 2012.
  4. A Katrina hurricane will strike every two years“, ScienceNordic, 2013 — About a widely reported study in PNAS by geophysicist Aslak Grinsted of the Niels Bohr Institute Copenhagen U. Also see “‘Katrina-Like’ Hurricanes to Occur More Frequently Due to Warming” in US News & World Reports.
  5. Hurricanes Likely to Get Stronger & More Frequent“, Climate Central, 2013 – About a study in PNAS by Kerry Emanuel et al.
  6. See ten even more outlandish predictions from the big 3 networks.

We should distinguish between the research of scientists, unbalanced reporting of research by journalists, and exaggeration of their findings by activists. Science advances by bold predictions, valuable no matter what the result. Of course, studies are news. But journalists often do not state the long-term scope of these forecasts, hide the uncertainty, and show only one side of the debate among scientists. There were balanced articles after Katrina, but too few to counterbalance the alarmists.

  1. Can we expect more hurricanes like Katrina?“, The Guardian, 2005.
  2. Debunking the Myths of Hurricane Katrina“, Popular Mechanics, 2006 — Debunked myths, but most remain widely believed.
  3. Climate myths: Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming“, New Scientist, 2007.
  4. Hurricanes and global warming: 5 years post Katrina“, Judith Curry (Prof Atmospheric Science, GA Inst Tech), 2010.

(3)  Hurricanes go MIA

Among the longest records of active hurricane zones is on the US east coast. NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division has data back to 1851. No major hurricane (category 3 or more) has hit the continental US since Wilma in October 2005. That is the longest pause on record. NOAA says “It is premature to conclude that human activities — and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming — have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane activity.

Despite the confident forecasts of doom, global hurricane numbers and energy show no trends (scroll down to see the graphs here); reliable records begin in 1970. Here are two papers crunching the numbers. Red emphasis added.

(a) Excerpt from “Comments on “Monitoring and Understanding Trends in Extreme Storms: State of Knowledge” by Christopher William Landsea in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, July 2015. No significant trend in the number of US hurricanes hitting the US since 1900; the increase since 1970 appears to be natural variation.


“Figure 1 provides an analysis of U.S. hurricanes from 1900 through 2014. The record begins at the start of the twentieth century as it was approximately at that time that enough coastal communities were established along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean coasts to ensure a relatively complete monitoring of all U.S. hurricanes …

“The figure shows that there has been a small, statistically insignificant downward trend in the frequency of U.S. hurricanes in this century-long time series. Instead, the record is dominated by interannual- to decadal-scale variability, with the busiest periods occurring in the 1910s, the 1930s to the 1950s, the mid-1980s, and the mid-2000s, while the quietest periods are seen during the 1920s, the 1970s to the early 1980s, the early 1990s, around 2000, and the last few years.

“This U.S. hurricane record then puts the results of Kunkel et al. (2013) for Atlantic basinwide activity showing a sizeable increase in activity since 1970 into perspective. The long U.S. landfall record is an indication that this recent upward phase of activity in the Atlantic basin was preceded by quiet and active periods of similar magnitude.”

(b) Validating Atmospheric Reanalysis Data Using Tropical Cyclones as Thermometers“, James P. Kossin, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, July 2015 – Excerpt…

“The question of how tropical climate variability and change has affected and will affect tropical cyclones has been the subject of intensive study. Theory and numerical modeling simulations suggest that increases in the mean potential intensity of the environment through which tropical cyclones track will cause mean tropical cyclone intensity to increase.

“… Time series of the annual-mean storm-local potential intensity calculated from the MERRA, ERA-Interim, and NCEP/NCAR data … the NCEP/NCAR data exhibit a statistically significant increasing trend, but no trends are found in the MERRA or ERA-Interim data. … This has important implications because a lack of storm-local potential intensity trend implies that there is no manifest expectation within the constructs of potential intensity theory that mean tropical cyclone intensity has increased over the past 30 years.”

(4)  Forecasts of increasing hurricane intensity

Here’s one of the most-cited predictions of increased tropical cyclone activity: “Downscaling CMIP5 climate models shows increased tropical cyclone activity over the 21st century” by Kerry A. Emanuel in PLOS, 23 July 2013 — This uses RCP 8.5, the worst of the 4 scenarios in the IPCC’s AR5. Abstract:

“A recently developed technique for simulating large numbers of tropical cyclones in climate states described by global gridded data is applied to simulations of historical and future climate states simulated by six Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) global climate models. Tropical cyclones downscaled from the climate of the period 1950 – 2005 are compared with those of the 21st century in simulations that stipulate that the radiative forcing from greenhouse gases increases by 8:5 W m−2 over preindustrial values.

“In contrast to storms that appear explicitly in most global models, the frequency of downscaled tropical cyclones increases during the 21st century in most locations. The intensity of such storms, as measured by their maximum wind speeds, also increases, in agreement with previous results. Increases in tropical cyclone activity are most prominent in the western North Pacific, but are evident in other regions except for the southwestern Pacific.

“The increased frequency of events is consistent with increases in a genesis potential index based on monthly mean global model output. These results are compared and contrasted with other inferences concerning the effect of global warming on tropical cyclones.”


The global number of tropical cyclone calculated using historical simulations for 1950–2005 and the RCP8.5 scenario for the period 2006–2100.

(5)  Conclusions

Will a strong hurricane hit America and wreck another major city? Certainly, eventually. Unfortunately, it seems likely that that city hit will be only slightly better prepared than were New Orleans and New York City (hit by tropical storm Sandy in 2012). Our preparations for most forms of extreme weather are no better.

Historians will more accurately assess the causes of our irresponsible public policy than we can, but a large role clearly results from the often disturbing behavior of climate scientists, unlike what the public expects from those warning of a global disaster, and the routine exaggerations and false predictions by activists. Perhaps historians will assign even more blame to our unwillingness to take responsibility for this serious issue: get clearer answer and act accordingly.

“We don’t even plan for the past.”

— Steven Mosher (member of Berkeley Earth; bio here), a comment posted at Climate Etc.

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August 27, 2015 12:57 am

Given the graphs below, I am not sure why those scientists and magazines saying AGW causes more hurricanes have not been prosecuted for fraud.
Number of Cyclones:comment image
Cyclone total energy:

August 27, 2015 1:03 am

When the next hurricanes DO happen, an entire generation will have forgotten what they are like. They will scream that there has NEVER been anything like this, EVER!

Reply to  CodeTech
August 27, 2015 9:36 pm

Steinbeck, East of Eden: ““During the dry years, the people forgot about the rich years, and when the wet years returned, they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.” “

August 27, 2015 1:37 am

The manner is which every extreme ,but not usual ,weather event is jumped on has ‘proof’ of CAGW demonstrates that they moved along way from their old stance of ‘weather is not climate ‘
Just like the need to create ‘missing heat’ this move that has been forced on them by the continuing failure of their claims and theory in pratice .
So much , once again , for ‘settled’ science.

Bloke down the pub
August 27, 2015 2:13 am

“We don’t even plan for the past.”
— Steven Mosher
Something on which I think we can all agree with Steve . A cynic, or conspiracy theorist, might think that governments actually wanted a few cities wiped out, pour encourager les autres.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Bloke down the pub
August 27, 2015 11:19 am

Not so fast. I think he ministries of truth in the MSM, US Govt., Democrat party, White House, etc. are already planning and changing the past to make Obama one of the best, if not the best, presidents ever.

August 27, 2015 3:07 am

Thank you for taking the time to provide truthful historical references to refute the mainstream press and government indoctrination of the public.

August 27, 2015 3:50 am

The fact that a major hurricane has not struck the US since 2005 is relatively unimportant.
In many ways, Hurricane Sandy was equivalent to a major hurricane. Since Sandy was unusually diffuse, its top wind speeds were only borderline Category 1, but damaging winds extended much further from the eye than usual. Sandy was powered by a low typical of a Category 3 hurricane (same category and low pressure as Katrina) and caused as much economic damage.
According to the WUTW hurricane page, the US has been struck by an average of about 5 major hurricanes per decade (one every other year) and about 15 total per decade. The absence of a major strike for eight years is somewhat significant (equivalent to flipping 4 heads in a row), but less significant if one considers Sandy to be equivalent to a major hurricane.
Since only a small fraction of hurricanes strike the US, it makes far more sense to pay attention to the total number of hurricanes on the planet. According to the WUWT hurricane page, there has been no significant drop-off or increase in the global number of hurricanes or major hurricanes. However, the total energy released by hurricanes (ACE) has been lower than average for the past decade.
Unfortunately, even this global data probably isn’t meaningful. The projection in this post is for an increase from 80 to 100 hurricanes per year over the 21st century. Over the past 15 years, the increase would be from 80 to 83 hurricanes – which would be undetectable given natural variability. It will be another few decades before we know if the projections have any validity.
If you want to be like the CAGW activists, make a big deal about the absence of major landfalling hurricanes. When the next major hurricane strikes, the activists will be back in the news with undeniable evidence that the hiatus in hurricanes is over. “All is fair in war”, but not in science.

Bloke down the pub
Reply to  Frank
August 27, 2015 4:06 am

As the quote from Mosher indicates, you can hardly expect to avoid damage from future events, when you haven’t even strengthened defences to cope with past storms.

Reply to  Bloke down the pub
August 27, 2015 4:45 am

I’m no fan of Chuck Todd on NBC but he said something a while ago that made sense. It was during a discussion on global warming and he said something along the lines of….”Shouldn’t we just take the stance that whether it’s man made or a natural cycle, we should make sure the infrastructure is capable of withstanding the storms that are predicted to come?

Reply to  Bloke down the pub
August 27, 2015 12:46 pm

Kenny, it depends on whether the predictions are reality-based or fantasy-based. If they’re predicting the strength of storms based on past precedent that’s perfectly reasonable. If they’re saying we need to build infrastructure to withstand category 6 hurricanes with 300 mph winds because climate change, we absolutely should not be following their advice on where to spend our money on infrastructure.

Reply to  Bloke down the pub
August 28, 2015 7:27 am

@ KTM 300 mph winds in a hurricane are possible if the orbit of the earth moves further away from the sun. (or when it moves further away) Which in itself is interesting. That’s not conjecture, it’s interplanetary science. I think you can see where this line of reasoning could go.

Reply to  Frank
August 27, 2015 6:04 am

(1) “The fact that a major hurricane has not struck the US since 2005 is relatively unimportant.”
Predictions were made for more and larger storms. Ten years gives a reasonable basis to evaluate them. That’s why this is important.
(2) “Over the past 15 years, the {global} increase would be from 80 to 83 hurricanes – which would be undetectable given natural variability”
The Kossin et al paper shows the numbers: from ~80/year during 1950-1995 to ~90 in the decade ending 2015. If that increase had happened then it would be difficult to determine if the cause was natural variability or warming.
(2) Your comment has the form of a rebuttal, but doesn’t give rebuttals. The post contrasts the predictions for more and bigger hurricanes from global warming with…
(a) “global hurricane numbers and energy show no trends (scroll down to see the graphs here)”
(b) Landsea’s note in BAMS: “No significant trend in the number of US hurricanes hitting the US since 1900; the increase since 1970 appears to be natural variation.” And the large graph showing no significant trend. That’s important, since this is one of the longest and largest datasets of historical tropical cyclone activity.
(c) Equivocal global trend data by the Kossin paper in BAMS.
More time will provide more data. But the world warmed since 1900, and more so since ~1980. So looking at the numbers so far seems reasonable.

Reply to  Editor of the Fabius Maximus website
August 27, 2015 6:31 am

They did not say they knew that more storms would hit the U.S., did they? I think Frank’s comment was fine as a warning not to use the lack of them hitting the U.S. as if it was a good argument. Your post did have good data and is a valuable contribution as well, Fabius. Didn’t Landsea or someone look at the effects of satellites in making numbers since 1970 look larger? I noticed the other day they were tracking 8 tropical events and 6 of them were 40 mph or less and about half were under 35 mph. No way we could track these things 40 years or even 20 years ago the way we do now. Has to inflate the numbers, especially of tropical storms and weak hurricanes. Some of them today are only a T.S. for a few hours but now get counted and likewise with some that only get to Cat. 1 or Cat. 3, etc. for a short while. In the past, we often would not
know that they had increased their windspeed a few miles per hour during the night if they went back to a lower category a day later.

Reply to  Editor of the Fabius Maximus website
August 27, 2015 7:19 am

“They did not say they knew that more storms would hit the U.S., did they?”
Yes, many of them did. The ScienceNordic article: “The two hypotheses seek to explain whether we can expect more hurricanes along the Gulf Coast and the US East Coast as Earth’s average temperatures are rising.” Mike Tidwell (founder of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network) on 24 August 2006: ““I think the biggest lesson from Katrina a year later is that those same ingredients, you know, a city below sea level hit by a major hurricane, will be replicated by global warming all along our Atlantic and Gulf Coast lines.” And many more…
Re: counting hurricanes
That’s why the Atlantic landfall data is so valuable, a long-term record of hurricane incidence and strength for a large geographic area.

Reply to  Editor of the Fabius Maximus website
August 28, 2015 1:27 am

Fabius: If skeptics are going to complain about sensationalizing the unproven connection between GW and hurricanes every time a hurricane is in the news, then skeptics shouldn’t sensationalize the recent absence of major landfalling hurricanes in the US. I suspect that we both agree that it is far too early to conclude from observations whether the projection for more or stronger hurricanes on a warming planet is right or wrong. Furthermore, there hasn’t been much global warming over the past 15 years, so any increase in hurricanes would be less than projected.

Reply to  Editor of the Fabius Maximus website
August 28, 2015 6:17 am

‘then skeptics shouldn’t sensationalize the recent absence of major landfalling hurricanes in the US.”
“Sensationalize ” Where do you see that? This post lists predictions made after Katrina, compares them with the peer-reviewed literature, and draws conclusions. If you find that “sensational”, you should get out more.
Criticizing this as “sensational” while not objecting to the wild predictions made after Katrina seems … odd.
The world has been warming since the 19thC. So the 20th century provides a valid test of the relationship between warming and hurricane counts. It’s not definitive, but then data seldom is.

Reply to  Frank
August 27, 2015 7:11 am

“The fact that a major hurricane has not struck the US since 2005 is relatively unimportant.”
In the grand scheme of things, yes, you’re right. In comparison to historical landfalls, this is exactly the sort of thing we should expect occasionally even with a slight uptick in hurricanes. However, that lack of major hurricane strikes is very important in light of comments by those with a more alarmist mindset that Hurricane Katrina represented a new normal, that we should expect seasons like 2005 to be the norm, not the exception. Clearly, the lack of major landfalls is an important counter to statements like that.
“In many ways, Hurricane Sandy was equivalent to a major hurricane…Sandy was powered by a low typical of a Category 3 hurricane (same category and low pressure as Katrina) and caused as much economic damage.”
It’s very misleading to compare Sandy at landfall to a major hurricane for multiple reasons. First, hurricane category is determined by wind speed. While wind speed generally correlates quite well with pressure, Sandy represents one of the cases where that correlation falls apart. This is important because it relates to the energy that Sandy was releasing (there’s a reason cyclone energy is calculated using wind speed instead of pressure, although I admit that failure to take into account physical size of the storm is problematic). Asserting that Sandy had the same low pressure as Katrina is flat out wrong. Sandy had a pressure of 946 mb at landfall; Katrina was 920 mb. It’s also worth noting that Sandy wasn’t even tropical upon landfall, and that its impact was affected by its merger with another storm front. And finally, I’d like to see more information on the economic damage. I can only find that property damage, without accounting for 9 years worth of inflation, was only about half as much for Sandy as it was for Katrina.

Reply to  Jimmy
August 28, 2015 1:11 am

Jimmy: Thanks for the reply. I cited some of the comparisons between Sandy and Katrina from memory and have gotten some facts wrong.
Damage (from Wikipedia): Katrina $108B, Sandy $65B, Ike $30B, Andrew $27B, Wilma $21B. Sandy caused twice as much damage than every other major hurricane besides Katrina, but was half of Katrina. It’s fair to say Sandy caused much more damage than a typical major hurricane, but it wasn’t comparable to Katrina.
Sandy had the lowest pressure of any hurricane to make landfall north of the Outer Banks. Its pressure was slightly lower than the Hurricane of 1938 – which made landfall on Long Island as a Category 3 storm (the same as Katrina). So Sandy’s low pressure was appropriate for a major hurricane, but not comparable to Katrina (which weakened from Category 4 just before landfall.
I think these facts still support considering Sandy to be equivalent to a major hurricane, but Katrina is incomparable in US history. (I should have double-checked my information.)
Sandy’s damaging wind field was twice that of Katrina:

Reply to  Jimmy
August 28, 2015 7:49 am

There would have been enormous damage if a storm had hit with half the strength of Sandy. The state and local governments have allowed housing on land that is barely above sea level up and down the Jersey coast. Every time there is a strong nor’easter the back bays and the ocean meets. Beach replenishment is costing a fortune alone. What did they think would happen? To never have a hurricane hit the New Jersey coast ever again? Inland along the Passaic River the housing and industries are built right up to the waters edge. Flooding is not a concern? I shudder to think of the damage that will occur if another storm hits New Jersey like the 1955 hurricane that came up the Delaware River. They’ve built housing in areas that I know flooded. It will be worse because they will be no where for the water to go. Areas that weren’t flooded before, will be.

Reply to  Jimmy
August 28, 2015 9:24 am

Thanks for your response, Frank.
Let me first say that I agree completely with your sentiment expressed in your reply to Fabius: ” If skeptics are going to complain about sensationalizing the unproven connection between GW and hurricanes every time a hurricane is in the news, then skeptics shouldn’t sensationalize the recent absence of major landfalling hurricanes in the US”. At some point another major hurricane will hit the mainland US, and the next gap between major strikes will likely be much shorter than the current one. Does that mean things are getting worse? Of course not. Similarly, the current “drought” does not mean things are getting better. It just means there’s a lot of variability, and we must respect that.
I’m not sure how comparable the damage figures are to each due to the effect of 1) inflation and 2) landfall location. On the latter point, which would have been more disastrous, Sandy hitting New Orleans, or Katrina hitting New Jersey/New York? Or, for another comparison, what would the damage have been like if Andrew hit New Jerseythis fall? I really don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that a major contributing factor to the damage caused by Sandy was where it hit.
I think we’re probably going to have to agree to disagree on the comparison of Sandy to a major hurricane. I think that the fact that it was intensified by the Fujiwhara effect from the winter storm, combined with the fact that it was no longer tropical in nature upon landfall, automatically rules out a comparison. This is in addition to the issue of wind speed. I’m guessing you disagree, which I can easily accept since you do have rationale behind your position.

Reply to  Jimmy
August 31, 2015 9:32 am

“Frank … Let me first say that I agree completely with your sentiment expressed in your reply to Fabius: ”… then skeptics shouldn’t sensationalize the recent absence of major landfalling hurricanes in the US.”
I’ll ask you the same question I asked Frank (which he ignored): please give an example from my post of my sensationalizing the recent absence of landfalls. It’s a serious charge. Please show your evidence.

Reply to  Frank
August 27, 2015 12:59 pm

It matters a lot that no major hurricanes have struck the US in the last decade, in the same way that it matters a lot that the continental US is on a decade-long cooling trend according to the most accurate network or weather stations on the planet (USCRN).
When other countries are pressuring the US to self-inflict greivous wounds on our economy and our taxpayers because of the perceived threat of superstorms and global warming, it matters a lot that Americans are not experiencing any of the warming or storms. It matters a lot that when they want to pressure young people to join this movement that according to the most accurate satellites and radiosondes, the globe has not experienced any warming at all during the lifetimes of K-12 students.
The entire issue is based on hype and perception, so these issues matter a lot.

August 27, 2015 5:53 am

Trying to get to the Popular Mechanics article referenced, but no matter what angle I approach it or from whatever other page, I get result: “Oops! We don’t have the page you are looking for.” Frustrating, but I’d like to know why this myth-debunking PM article would disappear!

Reply to  Editor of the Fabius Maximus website
August 28, 2015 12:08 pm

Thank You.
The only thing I can really add to that article, is that the US Army Corps of Engineer had recently been involved in litigation with the contractor that had worked on the levee. The Corps had been sued due to cost over-runs incurred by the contractor since the geological analysis that the Corps had provided did not show the ground to be as unstable as the contractor had discovered. This led to a problem in keeping the concrete panels aligned as the ground kept shifting, and necessitated rework to get them in compliance with the Corps specifications. The Corps of Engineers judge ruled against the contractor. (like that’s a surprise)

August 27, 2015 6:34 am

of course we plan for the past….building codes have changed as much as is feasible
Personally I’m sick and tired of hearing about Katrina and New Orleans. Katrina did it’s damage further east. New Orleans flooded.
..and not one word about Andrew, which was a much more powerful storm….If Andrew had hit New Orleans, it would have wiped NO off the map

Reply to  Latitude
August 27, 2015 9:39 am

The damage to New Orleans from the direct effects of Katrina were not that great, pretty much what you would expect from winds in the 100-130 mph range (Lots of down trees, power lines, ripped up roofs, etc) rainfall-wise it was a low volume storm). The real damage was from the flooding due to faulty design of 2 water outflow canals and an industrial transportation canal along with the funnel effect from the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet channel which was created by the storm surge pushing into Lake Borgne and Lake Pontchartrain.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast took the most devastating direct damage, not necessarily from the winds, but from the nearly 28 foot storm surge (the largest ever recorded in the continental U.S. by approx 5 feet) that came ashore very quickly and washed away a decent chunk of the inhabited parts of the Mississippi Gulf coast. Waveland is a somewhat small town that was reduced to a few concrete slabs. One of the tragedies of the whole Katrina mess is how little we hear of the devastation of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Andrew was a powerful storm, it showed the damage that 160+ winds can do. But Andrew was a small storm in size with a 17 foot storm surge. Katrina was one of the largest storms in physical size ever in the Gulf and was pushing the largest storm surge ever recorded in the U.S.
I disagree with your assessment that it would have wiped out N.O. This city and most others in hurricane territory can handle the high winds, it is the storm surge that causes most of the damage in coastal areas.
As an addendum to my mini novella Andrew did eventually hit Louisiana west of New Orleans by Morgan City, it was a cat 3 at the time with a fairly small 8 foot storm surge.

Reply to  ab
August 27, 2015 3:05 pm
Reply to  ab
August 27, 2015 9:31 pm

storm surge that was supposed to have been prepared for by the Army Corps of Engineers over many years at great expense and whose work was demonstrated to be shoddy and inadequate by the most damning critic: failure

Reply to  ab
August 28, 2015 5:47 am

One of the tragedies of the whole Katrina mess is how little we hear of the devastation of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
CNN has certainly covered that in their retrospective, Waveland in particular, also Biloxi.

August 27, 2015 7:07 am

With 10 years since a decent sized storm in Florida, the press are beefing up expectations over Erika in order to make people sort out their hurricane preparations. I can see the point in this, but since the level of uncertainty over whether it will even strengthen into a storm, let alone make landfall makes it a worry as people will lose even more faith in the NHC if the preparations turn out to be wasted effort.
What I have noted is the statement of expected error now appearing at the end of the NHC discussions this year:
One should remember to not focus on the exact forecast track,
especially at the long range where the average NHC track errors
during the past 5 years are about 180 miles at day 4 and 240 miles
at day 5.

This marks a change in their policy as far as i can see, but I bet you none of the journalists will use this in their reports of “Massive hurricane on its way to Florida” stories.

Reply to  Rob
August 27, 2015 9:01 am

Thanks for mentioning this. Each new hurricane gets the treatment usually given to visiting Queens or their new-born babies. The first stirrings of Hurricane Danny generated scores of stories, turning into hundreds as it reached hurricane strength, then thousands (per Google). Quite an accomplishment during its 2 weeks of life, especially since it did little damage.
Weather porn, a clickbait bonanza for the Internet. I wonder how many journalists will work themselves into a frenzy at the next major hurricane landfall in America?

Reply to  Editor of the Fabius Maximus website
August 31, 2015 7:11 am

“I wonder how many journalists will work themselves into a frenzy at the next major hurricane landfall in America?”
Just wait…..If a hurricane does make landfall, I can just hear them now……”Despite the record breaking El Nino taking place that should stop hurricanes, the Atlantic is still is able to muster up a strong one, showing just how bad man is reeking havoc on the climate”.

Reply to  Kenny
August 31, 2015 7:52 am

Since journalists love alarmist headlines — for both ideological and sound business reasons — I consider your prediction quite unlikely.
We have each made a prediction. Time will tell which is correct.

Reply to  Kenny
August 31, 2015 9:16 am

My apologies. My comment misinterpreted your comment (read too fast).
I agree. The news has become a game of heads-the-alarmists win, tails the alarmists win — for deep reasons of both journalists’ personal beliefs and business reasons (their audience).

August 27, 2015 7:24 am

at the moment it is a slowly increasing tropical storm and is predicted to become a cat1 just before it gets to florida on monday, windspeed average at the moment is 50 knots with very heavy rain. Things can change but there is every chance that it will not reach cat1 status

Joel O'Bryan
August 27, 2015 7:54 am

Any published study that has input the CMIP5 RCP8.5 forcing temperature projections into another model and then used the output as the basis of their results and conclusions is utter rubbish.
Uncountable thousands of intellectual man hours and billions of dollars of research has been, and continues to be, wasted on the pseudo science of the GCM ensemble projections by hundreds of rent-seeking study groups around the world. Gavin and Ben no doubt are proud of that “achievement.” When the “time of consequences” finally arrives, those two will no doubt blame those study groups for blindly believing them.

August 27, 2015 8:07 am

Why don’t you submit this to the New York Times or the Washington Post? Haha. j/k

Marlo Lewis
August 27, 2015 8:30 am

A fun footnote on Gore’s claim that “textbooks had to be rewritten” in 2004, because, “for the first time ever, a hurricane hit Brazil.”
Gore gives the impression that Hurricane Catarina, the first hurricane on record to make landfall in Brazil, arose from abnormally high SSTs due to global warming. In reality, in 2004, January and February (Brazil’s summer months) “were the coldest in 25 years,” according to climatologist Pedro Leite
da Silva Dias of the University of Sao Paolo. SSTs were also cooler than normal. However, the air was so
much colder than the water that it caused the same kind of heat flux that fuels hurricanes in warmer waters.
At the same time, wind shear, which disorganizes hurricanes, was weaker than usual. “Before long,”
explained Bob Hensen of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, “the heat flux and light shear gave birth to a system that bore the satellite earmarks of a hurricane” (http://www.ucar.edu/communications/quarterly/summer05/catarina.html).
In short, blaming rising CO2 concentrations for Catarina weirdly implies that global warming both cooled the water and made the air even colder!

Reply to  ren
August 27, 2015 10:09 am

nope….every update the NHC moves the strength to the end again…and curves it more out to sea
NHC is the outlier…they keep hoping, but it ain’t happening

Reply to  Latitude
August 27, 2015 6:16 pm

NHC “ain’t” in the business of hope. There is a reason the Canadian Hurricane Centre uses their tracks.comment image
TS Erika Dominica

Reply to  Latitude
August 27, 2015 11:35 pm

The storm entered into the Caribbean Sea.

Reply to  Latitude
August 28, 2015 8:05 am

bull crap….NHC had been calling for a cat 1 five days out every time…..when they know it’s not conducive for developing

August 27, 2015 7:41 pm

I’d Love to Change the World
by Ten Years After
“I’d love to change the world, but I don’t know what to do … so I’ll leave it up to you.”

Reply to  Max Photon
August 27, 2015 8:35 pm

“Tax the rich, feed the poor/ ’til there are no rich no more,”
Yea, that’ll work ’til there are no rich to tax no more.

August 28, 2015 12:38 am

Erika has a lot of land to go over. I will be surprised if it hits Florida as a hurricane. I think it will break apart too much. Maybe as it goes north along the coast it will strengthen.

August 28, 2015 5:09 am

Since the earth hasn’t warmed for 18 years, maybe global warming does make hurricanes more frequent and stronger. We just haven’t been having any global warming.

Reply to  Bruce
August 28, 2015 6:19 am

What about the warming in the 20th century? The Atlantic coast landfall data provides a test of warming on hurricane counts.

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