Hellstorm 2011: Was the hurricane overhyped?

posted at 6:07 pm on August 29, 2011 by Allahpundit

Like Colby Hall and Nate Silver, I’m firmly in the “no” camp even though I spent Saturday night sleeping on the floor in a windowless hallway and will be having canned beans for dinner for, oh, the next month or so. But here’s Brendan Loy feeling a bit more equivocal:

“Was Irene overhyped? Well, yes and no. The fearful possibility of a monster hurricane hitting North Carolina, then taking an exceedingly dangerous and potentially mega-destructive track up the densely populated East Coast, was very real and fully justified as of midweek. And indeed, Irene took precisely the near-worst-case track that was being discussed, with near-worst-case tidal timing for both Chesapeake Bay and New York harbor to boot. That’s 2 out of the 3 necessary conditions to produce a mega-disaster. But all 3 must happen for the “worst case” to occur, and Irene only managed to bat .667. Worst-case scenarios generally require a bunch of bad things to happen in just the right (or rather wrong) combination; otherwise, the feared disaster, no matter how real the threat was, doesn’t come to pass. Here, Irene simply failed to ever became a true “monster” in terms of intensity, and thus her effects were vastly less severe than what they could have been. There was nothing preordained or inevitable about that failure — indeed, the meta-conditions were broadly favorable for rapid strengthening — yet it didn’t happen, demonstrating once again forecasters’ admitted lack of skill at predicting hurricane intensity (in stark contrast to the ever increasing skill, sharply on display here, at predicting hurricanes’ tracks up to 72 hours or so)…

Yet overhype certainly exists, not so much in the forecasts or the precautions, but in the media coverage. “Preparation for the worst-case scenario makes sense,” writes the Telegraph‘s Toby Harnden, “and could have saved hundreds during Katrina. But the worst-case scenario was largely portrayed as inevitable.” That’s a big problem in the early stages of hurricane coverage: the tendency to filter out the uncertainties, and treat the worst-case possibilities as probabilities or near-certainties. This, in turn, feeds into a cycle of self-perpetuating hype, which at some point seems to pass a “point of no return,” after which any walk-back of the doomsday talk is seen as irresponsibly advising people to “let their guard down” — not to mention hurting ratings. That helps cause what I view as the primary problem, which I’ve observed many times over the years: the MSM’s failure to adjust the tone and substance of the coverage once it has become apparent that the worst-case scenario(s), despite having previously been realistic possibilities, have now become unrealistic. In other words, they fail to dial down the hype a notch when the hype, once reasonable, is clearly no longer justified.

Emphases mine. He’s right that fears of this thing becoming a superstorm had faded by Friday night — I acknowledged it myself at the time — but note well his point that meteorologists have gotten good at predicting the path of hurricanes but not so good at predicting their intensity. A guy named Bill Read echoed that point today in an interview with the AP, noting that Irene never ended up forming the sort of firm eye wall that keeps truly devastating ‘canes chugging. Quote: “Why it did that, we don’t know. That’s a gap in the science.” Who’s Bill Read, you ask? Why, he’s … the director of the National Hurricane Center. Other forecasters also expressed surprise when Irene didn’t replace its eye wall after passing the Bahamas, which would have given it more power upon landfall in North Carolina. That is to say, even the most expert experts in this field can’t give you guarantees about which storms are built to go the distance and which will crack up aggressively over land; in fact, those experts can’t even tell you after the fact why a given ‘cane ended up being one or the other.

All that being so, I’m not sure why the media is now expected in hindsight to have turned on a dime on Friday night and declared that the danger of a truly devastating storm had passed and everything was now suddenly cool, more or less. This was, after all, an exceedingly rare hurricane set to make a direct hit on NYC; not even the director of the NHC could say for absolute sure how intense it would be; and there were other variables, like the tides, the new moon, and wind shear, that would affect damage and flooding in ways no one was sure of. The storm ended up speeding up as it reached the city (accelerating from roughly 14 mph to 25 mph), which reduced our exposure to it, but I’m not sure if anyone anticipated that either. Bottom line: We knew in advance that the city wouldn’t be destroyed, but beyond that no one really knew what was going to happen. How is it “hype” to say under those circumstances, “This could still be really bad”?

But if you don’t like that reasoning, read Silver’s statistical argument for why Irene didn’t garner more coverage than she deserved given how much damage she caused compared to other notorious storms. His numbers are already out of date: The death toll is now 31, which makes this the fifth-deadliest hurricane since 1980, and projections of as much as $20 billion in damage are way, way, way greater than Silver’s estimate of ~$500 million in damage from an average Category 1 hurricane or tropical storm. Irene punched far above her weight, even though NYC went mostly unscathed. In fact, one of the ironies of the “hype” storyline today is that it’s playing into the same New-York-centric mindset that contributed to the breathless coverage before the storm hit. Ace is right that this storm wouldn’t have gotten as much attention if it wasn’t set to land in the national media’s backyard, but in the end, that backyard was one of the few places that was spared. Go look at Jeff Masters’s graph of how ferocious the rain was in some areas outside NYC. New Jersey and New England got hammered, but because Battery Park didn’t get flooded, the storyline among professional media critics like Howard Kurtz today is that the storm was “hype.” I’m a lifelong New Yorker and even I’m not that myopic about the city.

Just to put a cherry on this, here’s a clip from a History Channel special on what a Category 3 could do to New York City. As of two days before she made landfall, Irene had the potential to become this. If the media took that a little too seriously, better that they erred on that side than the other way.

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If the flooding was in Tennessee it would’ve gotten no attention.

Big Orange on August 29, 2011 at 6:11 PM

But they are hyping the next one: Katia! From weather.com

Even though Katia-to-be has a long way to go before nearing or turning away from the U.S., there will continue to be other concerns over the next six to eight weeks.

Aug. 29 marks the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in Louisiana in 2005.

As we warned about early in August, the protective tropical cyclone shield over much of the Atlantic Seaboard of North America and the Gulf Coast was coming off around the third week of the month.

We have noticed a general decline in dry air over the central Atlantic and less wind shear compared to earlier in the season and for much of the 2010 season. The central Atlantic can be a key area for a developing tropical system.

There is a gaping hole in the ridge of high pressure that protected much of North America for months and, of course, there is always the risk of a storm strengthening close to U.S. waters.

Oil Can on August 29, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Irene had the potential to become this.

And I have the potential of climbing Mount Everest.
Don’t wait for it to happen, though.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 6:12 PM

So, what was in like, AP?

Blake on August 29, 2011 at 6:13 PM

in = it

Blake on August 29, 2011 at 6:13 PM

These death toll number are BS. They count people dying of a heart while putting up storm windows as a “hurricane death”. Or someone the morons who go surfing 3 hours before the hurricanes comes on shore. Using that as a metric is silly.

This was LSM hype. It blew up in their collective faces. But next week there will be a new catastrophe and the same LameStreamers will be there yet again.

angryed on August 29, 2011 at 6:13 PM

Maybe you need to sleep near some windows if you will be eating beans for a month, AllahP.

onlineanalyst on August 29, 2011 at 6:14 PM

glad you are ok Allah…

Big Orange on August 29, 2011 at 6:11 PM

this is true…agree allah, because it was in the lsm’s backyard as well as trying to make this dear leader’s hero moment…

cmsinaz on August 29, 2011 at 6:14 PM

Hellstorm 2011: Was the hurricane overhyped?

Ya think?

Fallon on August 29, 2011 at 6:17 PM

“I’m firmly in the “no” camp even though I spent Saturday night sleeping on the floor in a windowless hallway and will be having canned beans for dinner for, oh, the next month or so.”

Hahahaha.

nickj116 on August 29, 2011 at 6:18 PM

This spring 1/2 of the west was flooded due to a huge amount of snow runoff coming off the mountains. Nary a peep from the LSM. But a little flooding in NY/NJ and it’s around the clock coverage.

Here are some pics you didn’t see in the NY Times nor was any of this mentioned on CNN or Fox News.

Billings, MT

Salt River, Wyoming

Eastern Idaho

angryed on August 29, 2011 at 6:19 PM

Hellstorm 2011: Was the hurricane overhyped?

No hurricane is ever over-hyped. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’ve never been in one, or even near one … you don’t want to be.

darwin on August 29, 2011 at 6:20 PM

but note well his point that meteorologists have gotten good at predicting the path of hurricanes but not so good at predicting their intensity

But even there, these hurricanes can throw you for a loop. I’ve got family that lives on Pine Island, FL (where I was raised). When hurricane Charley passed over Cuba, it looked as though my family would not suffer a direct hit. But at the last second Charley jogged over to the East a bit and BOOM! They were starring down a cat. 4, with eye passing, literally, right over their house (my family lives right across the street from that Methodist church and PI Fire House in those pics). My wife and I lived in Orlando at the time, and we only got hit by Charley when it was at a cat. 2. But even then, it was nasty.

Weight of Glory on August 29, 2011 at 6:21 PM

angryed on August 29, 2011 at 6:19 PM

thansk for the linky…you’re right, crickets were chirping….

cmsinaz on August 29, 2011 at 6:24 PM

AP, think there will be the same response to Bloomberg’s orders the next time around? That may be when any overhype on this one may show up.

a capella on August 29, 2011 at 6:24 PM

No hurricane is ever over-hyped. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’ve never been in one, or even near one … you don’t want to be.

darwin on August 29, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Sometimes they are as this one was.

There really isn’t too fine a line between reporting on preparedness issues and giving storm updates, etc and constantly speculating on the worst-case scenario for the sake of sensationalizing things.

catmman on August 29, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Big Orange,

If the flooding was in Tennessee it would’ve gotten no attention.

The 1,000 year flood in Tennessee last year certainly didn’t get any attention.

Mike Honcho on August 29, 2011 at 6:25 PM

But if you question “Global Warming” you are a racist…….

d1carter on August 29, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Tuesday Wednesday Friday before storm?
No.

Late Friday and Saturday?
Yes.

However, with that said, with a strong cat one or two my area would’ve been devastated. The amount of power Lines and huge trees down, I know that a strong cat one:two would have made a huge destructive mess

So lucky

blatantblue on August 29, 2011 at 6:27 PM

I spent 24 hours listening to the wind scream and watching the trees around my house bend and sway, just waiting for any gust to topple them into my home or my neighbors.

Luckily for me the 100 ft oak in my backyard stayed put and just shed limbs … lots of limbs. During Isabel my neighbor had a huge oak go down nearly crushing his neighbors car. It decided to take the power and cable lines down instead.

Hurricanes are no joke.

darwin on August 29, 2011 at 6:29 PM

IRENE was WAY overhyped…

All we needed was PBHO, wearing a hardhat and a Mae West lift preserver, in a small boat in the middle of a flooded street… with a bull horn…

Khun Joe on August 29, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Not only was Irene WAAAAAAAAAAAY OVER-HYPED, but I predict that we will find out later that most of the economic damage was the direct result of inappropriate and/or mis-targeted government actions and the outright promotion of panic.

Shutting down all transportation in New York City was especially irresponsible, as it put many lives in danger. How many people were unable to get food, medicine, critical supplies, or access emergency services during this totally unnecessary act?

There is a reason that people admire leaders who keep a “cool head” in an emergency. We saw nothing to be admired during Rainstorm Irene.

landlines on August 29, 2011 at 6:31 PM

With the amount of inland flooding & damage…nope

mythicknight on August 29, 2011 at 6:32 PM

The 1,000 year flood in Tennessee last year certainly didn’t get any attention.

Mike Honcho on August 29, 2011 at 6:25 PM

Nor did the massive ice storm that crippled Kentucky in 2009.

Knucklehead on August 29, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Forgive me, but all this hurricane talk is bringing back memories. But hurricane Charley was so powerful, it actually cut a large path through North Captiva island.

Weight of Glory on August 29, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Irene had the potential to become this.

Once it ‘touched’ the coast it was on the downswing. Storms this size need lots of ‘hot’ water to grow. People do not seem to understand there is a storm UNDER the water as well as above it! One cannot survive without the other.

Freddy on August 29, 2011 at 6:34 PM

The 1,000 year flood in Tennessee last year certainly didn’t get any attention.

Mike Honcho on August 29, 2011 at 6:25 PM

Nor did the massive ice storm that crippled Kentucky in 2009.

Knucklehead on August 29, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Even today, the damage in North Carolina is barely being mentioned.

Gator Country on August 29, 2011 at 6:35 PM

The 1,000 year flood in Tennessee last year certainly didn’t get any attention.

Mike Honcho on August 29, 2011 at 6:25 PM

We were certainly ignored. Several states have seen far worse damage and received about a tenth of the media this rain event did.

Big Orange on August 29, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Yes, it was overhyped, to the tenth degree. Had this sissy assed ‘cane come ashore anywhere on the Gulf Coast, except perhaps New Orleans (where the media could really have ramped up the Bush/Obama reaction comparison meme), you would’ve seen a blurb here or there, but nothing like the 24/7 deluge of coverage we saw, and continue to see. Then again, they might have increased coverage more than usual to stoke the Bush/Obama fire and to remind people in general of the alleged Republican failures during Katrina.

That said, I could justify a little more coverage in Irene’s case only because she was on a track to potentially affect millions of more people than a similar Gulf Coast ‘cane would have, but they overdid it anyway, to the say the least.

TXUS on August 29, 2011 at 6:37 PM

The Weather Underground said the Pentagon would be hit.

faraway on August 29, 2011 at 6:37 PM

The storm carried a lot of rain. Upstate NY, Vermont and the Connecticut River Valley of NY had many areas devastated by flash floods. In Vermont there are towns with no access because all the roads are gone. I for one am glad Irene didn’t meet the hype. For many small towns Irene was, to use Reuters favorite adjective, Unexpectedly severe.

davens on August 29, 2011 at 6:41 PM

It fizzled out, like someone else we know.

kingsjester on August 29, 2011 at 6:43 PM

Get ready to do it over again. TD-12 looks interesting as far as the initial spaghetti model runs go.

http://www.spaghettimodels.com/

meci on August 29, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Was the hurricane overhyped?

Duh.

Pablo Snooze on August 29, 2011 at 6:45 PM

The 1,000 year flood in Tennessee last year certainly didn’t get any attention.

Mike Honcho on August 29, 2011 at 6:25 PM

Yeah, and I don’t recall President DDD having his photo op in the Command Center or, for that matter, even making a statement on the Tennessee floods. Did he even declare a disaster area for the state?

Of course, in his mind, y’all are just a bunch a red neck, red state hillbillies clinging to your guns and God.

TXUS on August 29, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Way over over-hyped. Sure there are plenty of trees down, the power just came back on and there is flooding in a few areas here in the northeast.

Just a big ass thunderstorm. Nothing more.

CTSherman on August 29, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Hellstorm 2011: Was the hurricane overhyped?

Only on some conservative blogs.

Valiant on August 29, 2011 at 6:47 PM

The Weather Underground said the Pentagon would be hit.

faraway on August 29, 2011 at 6:37 PM

The Weather Underground was also calling out NOAA for over-hyping winds as “hurricane winds” when Weather Underground was measuring them in real time at a whopping 33 MPH!!!

During the NYC landfall, I watched the Weather Underground data (in real time) from their huge array of private weather stations in the area. Most of the wind speeds were in SINGLE DIGITS!!! There was heavy precipitation (7-8 inches in 24 hours) in highly localized areas, but these were inland.

All in all, this was a media FAIL.

landlines on August 29, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Selective elaboration.

How many people know this:

Since fire season started on Nov. 15, 2010, Texas Forest Service and area fire departments have responded to 20,155 fires that have burned 3,529,261 acres.

But I guess that’s not a big deal.

tru2tx on August 29, 2011 at 6:50 PM

The HYPE was in the presentation (the OMG! attitude), and CONSTANT presentation. A flood occurs in the mid-west, you get updates at noon and 6pm. Those are less devastating and life-threatening?

GarandFan on August 29, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Ungrateful wingnuts.

Lord Obama kept the hurricane from harming his minions.

faraway on August 29, 2011 at 6:51 PM

landlines, I was talking about Obama’s Weather Underground.

faraway on August 29, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Get ready to do it over again. TD-12 looks interesting as far as the initial spaghetti model runs go.

http://www.spaghettimodels.com/

meci on August 29, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Oh boy. I saw that one this morning, and it looked like it was moving far enough to the north to where it wouldn’t be a threat.

That new track is much more ominous looking.

Gator Country on August 29, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Obama’s Weather Underground

faraway on August 29, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Remember, people, this storm hit the east coast where sophistocates and the wealthy live or have summer homes. That more devistating weather has come in the gulf coast (except for hurricane Katrina, which is the only storm in U.S. history to his one specific race of people in one specific city in one specific state) or has flooded states lie Tennessee as mentioned by Big Orange is of no consequence to the media, including Fox. We rubes who bruise our knuckles to make an honest day’s living and make ends meet with what we’ve got aren’t as important as the vegans or art lovers to the east.

Why, the very idea of making light of this hurricane offends me, for though weather services had been reporting about it for more than a week before it had made landfall in this great nation, and though we had heard report after report that some 45 to 60 million fellow Americans may have been affected, we simpletons in America’s heartland have to remember that it’s better that we suffer the ravages of weather. Damn FEMA for not shipping in bottled Evian and tofu sooner who foolishly decided to stay behind even though they were warned. Have mercy on those of us who question their logic and lack of taking the warnings seriously.

They know better than we God fearing, gun totin’ simpletons.

madmonkphotog on August 29, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Not really, considering the historically devastating flooding, for example, in upstate NY or Greene County where I live and the surrounding counties. Whole towns have been submerged after around 13 inches of rain in some parts. Anyone in an area that did not suffer from the hurricane should think about the other areas that were hard hit before dismissing Irene as ‘hype’.

voss63 on August 29, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Very soon we’ll hear all about how Obama guided and directed emergency response with the utmost competency.

The Obamedia is desperate to shine the wonderful aura of divine light upon the President.

Speakup on August 29, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Tom Friedman: It’s way too soon to tell if the media overhyped Obama in 2008
posted at 3:46 pm on August 21, 2011 by Allahpundit

What does “overhyped” mean, anyway?

Is “hyped” reporting on a hurricane good and reasonable?

Did the press really “overhype” Obama, or did they just “hype” him?

Is bias now so normal that we have to differentiate it from “overly-biased” reporting?

flicker on August 29, 2011 at 7:04 PM

As someone who has been through a hurrican type blizzard that hit Middle America on Dec 24, 2009, through a microburst with 85 mph winds that August which took out my roof and then a downburst recently with more 80 mph winds not to mention an ice storm that took out our power for five days, I will say it was overhyped as FEMA didn’t come in here right away and in the ice storm they had out of state of companies taking away tree limbs that did a lot of damage to fences, etc.

The Feds ignored the Texas fires and have pretty much ignored the drought we have been in for months. But then Texas and Oklahoma are red states so we don’t count.

PhiKapMom on August 29, 2011 at 7:06 PM

landlines, I was talking about Obama’s Weather Underground.
faraway on August 29, 2011 at 6:52 PM

I think some of the younguns might not get the joke. They might not get the “Hippy Dippy Weatherman” either.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 7:08 PM

A guy named Bill Read echoed that point today in an interview with the AP, noting that Irene never ended up forming the sort of firm eye wall that keeps truly devastating ‘canes chugging. Quote: “Why it did that, we don’t know. That’s a gap in the science.” Who’s Bill Read, you ask? Why, he’s … the director of the National Hurricane Center. Other forecasters also expressed surprise when Irene didn’t replace its eye wall after passing the Bahamas, which would have given it more power upon landfall in North Carolina.

That’s right. I noticed the same thing. But that comes from knowledge that comes from experience.

Texas Gal on August 29, 2011 at 7:08 PM

But I guess that’s not a big deal.

tru2tx on August 29, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Heh…Obama: “We will NOT expend any effort to help TX….they…uhhh…uhhhh….hurt my wittle feewings….

sicoit on August 29, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Not really, considering the historically devastating flooding, for example, in upstate NY or Greene County where I live and the surrounding counties. Whole towns have been submerged after around 13 inches of rain in some parts. Anyone in an area that did not suffer from the hurricane should think about the other areas that were hard hit before dismissing Irene as ‘hype’.

voss63 on August 29, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Floods happen on a weekly basis in the rest of the country yet somehow us simpletons make it without wall to wall screaming and hand wringing on every available network and cable channel. It’s only news when it’s New York or a major Democrat area. FEMA is going to divert funds from tiny Joplin MO to help the Northeast. Ask the people in Nashville and Tuscaloosa about the difference in hype and devastation.

Big Orange on August 29, 2011 at 7:10 PM

It’s never overhyped when it happens to you. But it would have been nice to have more than an honorable mention when the floods devastated Tennessee last year.

Tennman on August 29, 2011 at 7:15 PM

No – The Carolina’s and Virginia in particular were acting accordingly to information given to them from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) from 24-72 (3 day cone of possible storm track/intensity )out from landfall. The NHC is far from perfect but it is the best we got. State/Local officials are reliant on what is given to them by the NHC. Irene had the potential for a much more devasting impact in the mid-atlantic as a Cat 2/3 but luckily the storm disipated instead.

Yes – From maybe the DC area northward into New England the hype started as much as 5 days out (5 day cone of storm track/intensity) from landfall and that was way to soon. State/Local Officials jumped the gun without having more reliable data from the NHC.

Yes – The media hyped this storm before it even got to Puerto Rico and what I saw on TV at that point was laughable and got worse over the next day or two. The media was obviously and desparately hoping for a catastrophe for ratings and to show Dear Leader in charge. It could not possibly have been more obvious.

Yes – The POTUS sitting in the FEMA command center was pure Kabuki Theatre and a Photo Op that will probably go down as a historical joke. The POTUS is only required to declare states of emergency for federal funding and get briefings as necessary wherever he may be. And lastly give a speech to the nation in support of those affected. That’s it.

dddave on August 29, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Big Orange on August 29, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Dr K was agreeing with this that FEMA should focus on the NE instead of joplin since it was more immediate (paraphrasing)

cmsinaz on August 29, 2011 at 7:16 PM

There used to be a time when a hurricane was just a hurricane. People in the area where it hit cleaned up and patched up their property as best as they could, helped their neighbors and relatives do the same, looked after and even took in those friends and relatives whose homes were completely destroyed, and then just waited for the power to come back on and for the insurance company to settle their claim. People outside the area did what they could to help by bringing in supplies, donating cash, helping to clean up and rebuild if they could, and so forth.

There was none of this garbage about using federal debit cards to buy drugs, hookers and plasma TVs, about giving politicians “a chance to prove their leadership skills in a crisis”, no wild -eyed conspiracy theories about leaders blowing up levees and steering storms into areas where they could kill the most blacks, and no using the storm to gain political advantage.

Former Florida governor Lawton Chiles started the last practice when Andrew rumbled through South Florida in 1992, when he took a bunch of swipes at George H. W. Bush for the federal response to the hurricane, to help Bill Clinton get elected. It went steadily downhill from there until Katrina, when it dropped into the abyss.

As a result, all hurricanes from here on out will be political theater first, natural disasters that inflict real pain on many, many real people a distant second. And we’re all much poorer for it.

Gator Country on August 29, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Mark Levin had a guy on his show Friday who said that this was not going to be a hurricane and he was right. Today he came back and explained that it was a tropical storm and that the financial damage will be upped by Christie and Bloomberg over hyping the storm for poitical posturing…

I’ve never been a Christie fan but these storm antics just confirm that guy is one obnoxious blowhard …

When Levin links to the guy I’ll post it…

CCRWM on August 29, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Ya know, we here in the Gulf Coast area are used to hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc. I can say that maybe, just maybe the east coast is not used to these kinds of things. OK, I’ll give them that. BUT…and a big BUT is that the media/O/HS/etc. will use A.N.Y. excuse to expand this krap into whatever makes the fish wraps/birdcage liners fly. This is just unconscionable. We’ve had fires from he!! here in TX, Nashville was almost destroyed with flooding, Joplin, MO with the tornadoes, etc. and what do they do/say? “Oh….wait a minute….those are RED states. Pffffftttttt….no prob.” I am sooooooo sick of this BS I could vomit. These “people” need to go. Come on NOvember 2012. I don’t know if I can keep my cool until then, but I will try, I will try.
vent over.

sicoit on August 29, 2011 at 7:23 PM

I spent Saturday night sleeping on the floor in a windowless hallway

Not sure how the windowless-ness of the hallway made worrying about Irene more distressing. Most hallways on planet earth are windowless.

keep the change on August 29, 2011 at 7:23 PM

My damaged roof and now flat privacy fence say’s that was one bad @ss Cat 1 hurricane.

Hog Wild on August 29, 2011 at 7:24 PM

The hysteria and over reaction of the media in both the DC quake and Irene is rather weird. I lived on the Delaware River in 2005 to watch complete homes float down the river.

But I never saw any of the personal concern and anguished freak-out that the East Coast Media Stars showed this past week.

Most of them seemed pretty self-obsessed and narcissistic.

flicker on August 29, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Floods happen on a weekly basis in the rest of the country yet somehow us simpletons make it without wall to wall screaming and hand wringing on every available network and cable channel. It’s only news when it’s New York or a major Democrat area. FEMA is going to divert funds from tiny Joplin MO to help the Northeast. Ask the people in Nashville and Tuscaloosa about the difference in hype and devastation.

Big Orange on August 29, 2011 at 7:10 PM

But the flooding in Vermont and parts of NY State and NH isn’t your garden variety weekly flooding. In Vermont’s case it’s the worst flooding they have had in almost 100 years. In fact, one of the Vermont covered bridges swept away yesterday had been standing in its original location since it was built a decade after the Civil War.

Del Dolemonte on August 29, 2011 at 7:33 PM

So does that mean you are without power, AP? Would love to hear more about your experience.

Cindy Munford on August 29, 2011 at 7:37 PM

What bugged me was that the coverage wouldn’t let up. Well into Sunday evening on NYC TV it was still all Irene, all the time. Silly.

Rosmerta on August 29, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Of course it was overhyped. Does anyone remember but Rita and Ike did to SE Texas after Katrina? Crickets.

Erich66 on August 29, 2011 at 7:42 PM

I beleive this is the link

CCRWM on August 29, 2011 at 7:44 PM

I think the hype was OK until Friday evening. Friday night it was apparent the hurricane was weakening. Then from Saturday night onwards the coverage was too hyped. Minute by minute hype. I thought that was too much.

Having said that…. I will take a false Alarm any day than face a tragedy.

antisocial on August 29, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Mark Levin had a guy on his show Friday who said that this was not going to be a hurricane and he was right. Today he came back and explained that it was a tropical storm and that the financial damage will be upped by Christie and Bloomberg over hyping the storm for poitical posturing…

I’ve never been a Christie fan but these storm antics just confirm that guy is one obnoxious blowhard …

When Levin links to the guy I’ll post it…

CCRWM on August 29, 2011 at 7:21 PM

And if Christie had just blown off the warnings and Irene hadn’t weakened before finally making landfall, and had come ashore in NJ as a major hurricane, he would have been the next Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin, fiddling away while his state burned.

There’s enough uncertainty with hurricane modeling and forecasting that people like Christie are often in a no-win situation; you can either play up the danger in the hope that enough people get the message to get the hell out of the way, and then be accused of “overhyping” the storm, or you can laugh it off as “hype” and maybe watch thousands of people die who shouldn’t have died.

Which has the worst downside?

Gator Country on August 29, 2011 at 7:46 PM

But the flooding in Vermont and parts of NY State and NH isn’t your garden variety weekly flooding. In Vermont’s case it’s the worst flooding they have had in almost 100 years. In fact, one of the Vermont covered bridges swept away yesterday had been standing in its original location since it was built a decade after the Civil War.

Del Dolemonte on August 29, 2011 at 7:33 PM

I don’t mean to diminish what’s happening in VT but the floods in Nashville were 100 yr floods also and over 30 people died. Tuscaloosa was ripped apart and Joplin looks like a nuclear bomb went off but all we got was an honorable mention from the drive-by media and in contrast, you would think the Northeast was no more. It was over-hyped from the word go and it is still being blown out of proportion.

Big Orange on August 29, 2011 at 7:47 PM

The media always seem to go overboard when there’s a disaster. Here in CO, they’re always disappointed in a predicted blizzard doesn’t come to pass.

However, this was a dangerous storm that killed 31 people, so far, and caused billions in damage and it could have been far worse.

What happened to ‘it’s better to be safe than sorry’? Because so many were prepared a lot fewer people were killed and there was probably a lot less damage. Imagine if the subways had still be running and they ended up flooded for example?

Common Sense on August 29, 2011 at 7:59 PM

The media always seem to go overboard when there’s a disaster. Here in CO, they’re always disappointed in a predicted blizzard doesn’t come to pass.

However, this was a dangerous storm that killed 31 people, so far, and caused billions in damage and it could have been far worse.

What happened to ‘it’s better to be safe than sorry’? Because so many were prepared a lot fewer people were killed and there was probably a lot less damage. Imagine if the subways had still be running and they ended up flooded for example?

Common Sense on August 29, 2011 at 7:59 PM

There’s nothing wrong with better safe than sorry but there’s also the boy who cried wolf senario. Friday night, when it became apparent that the storm was not what they said, they should’ve corrected themselves and stopped with the screaming. The next time one hits, those who evacuated this time are more likely to ignore them.

Big Orange on August 29, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Gator Country on August 29, 2011 at 7:46 PM

I suggest you read the article that I linked. There is enough good science to more accurately predict these things. It was just ignored for politics and blustering…Next storm consult this guy and his group if you want the truth in regards to strenght, severity and category etc.

CCRWM on August 29, 2011 at 8:21 PM

It was the first landfall in how long?
And in places that don’t usually get hurricanes?
Has that crossed anyone’s mind

blatantblue on August 29, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Weather event happens in the I-95 corridor or within 30 miles of Los Angeles = 24/7 coverage of weather event. These are important beautiful people. They matter.

Weather event happens in flyover country = A paragraph on Page C34 of the NY Times. These are dumb people, they don’t matter.

angryed on August 29, 2011 at 8:45 PM

It was the first landfall in how long?
And in places that don’t usually get hurricanes?
Has that crossed anyone’s mind
blatantblue on August 29, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Actually NY has had experience with nasty weather before, but they’re just not used to the insane panicked hype that accompanied this non-event.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 9:00 PM

This is just a natural outcome when news happens where the news reporters live. If this had occurred anywhere else in the country it would have been wall to wall coverage on the local stations and a “top of the hour” report on the national news. Instead the whole country got the wall to wall local style coverage on all the national stations.

PrincipleStand on August 29, 2011 at 9:08 PM

PrincipleStand on August 29, 2011 at 9:08 PM

That hits pretty close to home, but I think it’s a little worse. The narcissism of the Northeast, with it’s self-important ruling class and media, is all but intolerable when something happens in their back yard (9/11 excepted).

I recall the death of John-John Kennedy in a plane crash. It was a tragedy and John-John seemed to be the most inoffensive of the Kennedy men, but good grief, America’s Prince? It was the coverage that became excruciating. At the end, all I could think was bleh, get a grip, people.

Feedie on August 29, 2011 at 10:01 PM

And in places that don’t usually get hurricanes?
Has that crossed anyone’s mind

blatantblue on August 29, 2011 at 8:21 PM

You’re right. Those of us who are use to hurricanes have learned how to read them because the officials are always going to err on the side of safety so you have to be somewhat knowledgeable about several things, just like those of them that live in earthquake and tornado ally. It could have been a bad one if it was as it was being said, but by the time it was downgraded for y’all it was really not necessary to change plans. Same thing kind of happened down here for Rita, a whole bunch of prep and nada and most of us on a 18 hr evacuation to hel!

But for some reason, everything has to always be about politics. Y’all could of had a real problem if things had come as predicted. Did any local media even try to explain what you were seeing locally? We have local hurricane forecasters and they should have had them for y’all. I remember Alicia in downtown Houston in ’83, what a mess and 100 year old oaks all over the place laying on their sides. And oh man … Ike!

Texas Gal on August 29, 2011 at 10:35 PM

Hurricanes are no joke. This was overhyped as the weather channel reporters began to set up shop. Irene sucked in some dry air as it approached the GA/SC coastline. This kept Irene from intensifying. The hype comes in when it begins to sprinkle and reporters are standing on the curb and tell you that the water is really beginning to stand in the streets. No, it’s just water running down the gutter and puddling in a low spot in the street. In our 24 hour news cycle, you almost have to increase you rhetoric to get viewership.

Irene bombed out over Vermont and dumped all its rain on the state. It happened the same way in Richmond, VA with Gaston a few years back. Gaston died over Ricmond as a Tropical depression and all that rain flowed down into the lower elevated downtown area and viola, biblical flood footage as cars bobbed up and down in the flood swept downtown.

Irene didn’t wipe out NYC which is what TWC wanted for the ratings bonanza. Instead, it wiped out rural eastern NC and SE VA and then pooped out over sparsely populated VT. None of those places are sexy ratings grabbers, just flyover country where us hicks live.

Sweaty Deacon on August 29, 2011 at 11:05 PM

Irene turned out to be not as bad as was feared, but people do need to be warned about the danger, especially in areas not accustomed to hurricanes. If a Governor, such as Gov. Christie, orders the evacuation of the Jersey shore, he is being RESPONSIBLE–he doesn’t want to risk hundreds or thousands of drowned people on his watch! If Bobby Jindal had been Governor when Katrina hit, he probably would have commandeered hundreds of buses to get everybody out of New Orleans, and nobody would have blamed him.

We in the Northeast are accustomed to snowstorms, and a 12-inch blizzard cancels school for a day, and everything is back to normal the next day, while the same blizzard further south grinds everything to a halt for a week. We’re NOT accustomed to hurricanes, as are those along the Southeast and Gulf coasts. Not only our people, but our TREES are not accustomed to 60 mph winds in summer with leaves exposed to the wind, while high winds during winter storms pass through leafless trees without damaging them.

I’m very grateful for the high wind warnings before Irene–I moved my cars away from all trees last Saturday, and a 40-foot branch crashed down where they had been parked on Sunday morning. The cars would have been crushed and totaled had I not moved them. As it is, I drove one of them to work, and I’ll have lots of firewood for the winter. Thank you, National Weather Service!

We have local hurricane forecasters and they should have had them for y’all. I remember Alicia in downtown Houston in ’83, what a mess and 100 year old oaks all over the place laying on their sides. And oh man … Ike!

Texas Gal on August 29, 2011 at 10:35 PM

I lived in Southwest Houston during Alicia in 1983, in a brick building which resisted well. But some of the skyscrapers in downtown Houston from the 1970′s building boom had weak windows, broken glass was flying everywhere at 80 mph, and the police had to block off access to downtown.

When such a storm approaches, the government (local and state) has to prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and pick up the pieces afterward. Whether it’s Democrat or Republican, better safe than sorry.

Steve Z on August 30, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Here’s my issue with it. The hype only existed because the media is so NYC-centric.

Was it a big deal? Absolutely. But the same exact scenario occured with a target of say, Houston or Miami, it would have been a footnote on the national news between fluff stories. Sure, it would still get mention and coverage, but on a lower order of magnitude.

NYC does not care much about the rest of the country. But we’re all supposed to think of NYC as our own hometown, apparently. The media thinks of NYC as the be-all-end-all of everything, so things that happen in NYC are automatically 10x as important as any other city undergoing the same circumstance. New Yorkers think their crap smells like flowers. Who’s the mayor of Dallas? Memphis? Seattle? Miami? Denver? Houston? Phoenix? Boston? But whenever there is a mayoral race in NYC, it’s treated like a national election. Guess what, New Yorkers? The world is not your satellite.

Beo on August 30, 2011 at 11:32 AM