Guest “Letterman shtick” by David Middleton
Who else remembers way back when David Letterman was funny? Two skits really stood out:
Eric Berger provided his version of Stupid Meteorologist Tricks in this ARS Technica article:
GO AWAY, LAURA —
There’s a big hurricane headed toward Texas, and it’s a nightmare forecast
As a meteorologist, all I can think is “here we go again.”
ERIC BERGER – 8/25/2020
It seems increasingly likely that Hurricane Laura will continue to intensify on Tuesday and Wednesday before making landfall along the upper Texas coast, or possibly southwestern Louisiana, early on Thursday.
Of all the many named storms in 2020—and we are on the “L” storm already with the early September peak of the Atlantic hurricane season still looming—this one has the potential to wreak the most widespread devastation yet. This is because Laura will likely become a major hurricane before landfall, reaching Category 3 status, and could potentially strike the populous Houston metro area.
That happens to be where I live, in a home about 15 miles from the coast. And as a meteorologist, all I can think is here we go again. Just three years ago to this very date, Hurricane Harvey brought record flooding to the Houston community and its surrounding areas. It became the worst flood storm in US history.
Which brings us back to Houston. Right now, the metro area lies on the extreme western edge of the National Hurricane Center’s forecast cone. The storm is predicted to make landfall about 90 miles to the east of Houston. This is far enough away from the storm’s center to spare a metro area with a population of 7 million people from the worst. In fact, much of the city would not even see tropical storm-force winds.
But if the storm were to come in 90 miles to the west, along Galveston Island, it would be an entirely different story. And this is entirely within the realm of possibility, given the average forecast track error of about 75 miles at this time and the fact that some hurricane models still indicate this scenario.
ERIC BERGER is the senior space editor at Ars Technica, covering everything from astronomy to private space to NASA. A certified meteorologist, Eric lives in Houston.ARS Technica
How many Stupid Meteorologist Tricks can you spot?
Let’s start with the headline: “There’s a big hurricane headed toward Texas, and it’s a nightmare forecast.” Firstly, “Texas” is a big target. Stating that hurricane is “headed toward Texas” is like saying it’s in the Gulf of Mexico. “And it’s a nightmare forecast”… Not for Houston. The forecast is that it will make landfall just east of the Texas-Louisiana border. This forecast hasn’t changed much in several days.
This is a very destructive storm. The storm surge threat is extreme, particularly on the northeast side of the storm (farthest from Houson).
NOAA describes the potential storm surge as “unsurvivable,” just not in Houston.
I topped off the tanks of both of our vehicles today, and plan to keep them topped off, because there is some potential for significant refinery and distribution disruptions.
“But if the storm were to come in 90 miles to the west, along Galveston Island, it would be an entirely different story”… If the storm was a 6-mile wide chunk of rock falling from space, it would also “be an entirely different story.” While it may not be impossible for Laura to suddenly veer left into Houston, it’s not the forecast.
Mr. Berger did get one thing right: “Here we go again,” with more climate catastrophe porn from Alarmists Reject Science Technica.