Patterico's Pontifications

8/29/2011

So Maybe Not “Hype” After All

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:26 am



Or… “In Which I apologize to William Jacobson and the Entire Northeast for Calling Irene Hype”

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Mind you in the D.C. area I am stilling calling it hype.  They made it out to be much more dangerous than it was.  I mean the whole sum of my suffering is that I lost internet for the night.  My power never even flickered, my water stayed on.  And the streets remained quite passable.

But on the other hand, we are seeing this in the New York Times:

And I see on the news massive flooding—even a house on fire in the middle of an area that is flooded, weirdly enough.  William Jacobson has a lot of links discussing the damage—apparently Rhode Island got hit very hard as has Vermont.  My guess is that it’s a combination of two things: storm surge from the ocean, lots of rain on saturated ground, and the mere fact that this tropical storm (as it was at that point) hit in a place that just isn’t used to that sort of thing.

So sorry if I sounded like I was blowing it off, and for the fact that…  I was blowing it off.  Although we didn’t get hit hard here, I looks like other people are suffering.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

72 Responses to “So Maybe Not “Hype” After All”

  1. Don’t you dare apologize!

    The vast emphasis in the media was on coastal concerns. How many talent were placed inland to observe the hydrology?

    This was a “crisis” that the media dared not exploit. They lied about the winds in real time.

    Don’t take it back, Aaron!

    Ed from SFV (7d7851)

  2. As I recall from the pre-strike hype, there was some comparison to a previous storm that struck this area, and actually increased in intensity after crossing Long Island Sound, due to the saturation of the ground in New England from weeks of previous rain.
    It appears that the same thing has happened this time with the storm seemingly following the Connecticut River Valley northward, dumping more rain on ground that had reached its saturation point, resulting in floods.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (69a267)

  3. BTW, who did these states vote for in ’08, I seem to forget?

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (69a267)

  4. Can we have a comparison between this picture and the a picture of Galveston Island, Texas after Ike?

    retire05 (08a27d)

  5. If it wasn’t that half the bottom floor of the house pictured was underground, this would look like the Sharpstown area of Houston after a hard rain.

    retire05 (08a27d)

  6. About thirty people died, and I’m sure there was a ton of rainfall.

    Fortunately, this was not comparable to more serious hurricanes. I’m sure that’s no comfort to those who were directly hit hard anyway, but the damage from this hurricane is probably comparable to a bad tornado.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  7. Well, it’s not like you could have known. I only added the one part to the update to note that it seemed to be worse elsewhere. Good to see you back.

    Karl (f07e38)

  8. You know, there are still people underwater in IA and other parts of the Mid-West/Plains, and who were burned out in the TX fires; neither area received any large FEMA response – in fact the Feds refused to declare the TX fires a “disaster area” IIRC.
    Also, think back to the floods in TN earlier this year.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (69a267)

  9. Hurricane Floyd, which is still talked about in these parts, and which warranted Pres Bill Clinton’s attention & visits to Princeville & Tarboro, caused 57 deaths & $4.5 bil in damages. Most of the deaths occurred because stupid people tried to drive through flooded roads.

    We’re at 35 deaths so far – and the flooding is literally the worst ever in Vermont – period. We have five (5) breaches of Hwy 12 along the OBX in NC – one now looks like a serious inlet.

    I am so sick & tired of those of you who are not directly affected, looking out your windows & saying – well, a bunch of hype. Really, try to see beyond your own parochial interests.

    Was there too much hype from the media? Yes, esp. by idiotic reporters standing on sand dunes in front of crashing waves for live reports & then high-tailing it to their motel rooms. Do we need to emphasize the vital importance of being prepared & evacuating when necessary? Yes. The trouble with these storms is that they can never be predicted with absolute accuracy. So you run the risk of over-hyping or underestimating. The latter would mean more death & destruction.

    I know which side I want to be on.

    Miranda (4104db)

  10. How did this compare to the floods in Nashville?

    JD (318f81)

  11. Miranda – please point me to the posts and sharings of folks who denied that a healthy storm surge along the immediate sandy shores would be a benign event?

    The forecasters KNEW that Irene was going to be the weakest of Hurricanes by the time it reached NY harbor. In fact, it was a TS. Remember Katrina? When it hit N.O., it was a decent Cat ONE! That’s all it was. And the city was virtually undamaged. Never forget this! The problem was with bad construction and engineering. Period.

    So now we have floods. OK. Why are your floods so much more special than the ones in the Plains? Where was anything NEAR the hype for those, despite the FACT that professional forecasters all said it was a virtual certainty to occur weeks in advance?

    Sorry. The real story here is not your suffering, or the suffering of those in the East. The story is the disparate and outrageous emphasis Irene was given.

    Ed from SFV (7d7851)

  12. The fact is the storm was oversold repeatedly.

    That means credibility is lost, and next time these people claim a huge disaster awaits, fewer will heed the warnings.

    The trouble with these storms is that they can never be predicted with absolute accuracy. So you run the risk of over-hyping or underestimating.

    I’m not sure this is a fair summary. I don’t think it was a case of the media accidentally guessing wrong. I think they went out of their way to oversell what was happening, and be as dramatic as possible.

    Sure, you have to err on the side of caution. You do not need to stand covered in raw sewage screaming of the impending apocalypse.

    Inevitably, a lot of people will remember that Irene was a not a big deal in most of the places warned it would be a big deal. They will prepare less, not more. So what we need to see is responsible and earnest efforts to report the truth, instead of efforts to manipulate us because We Are Not Safe!!! and It’s For Our Own Good!!!

    I am so sick & tired of those of you who are not directly affected, looking out your windows & saying – well, a bunch of hype.

    It was a significant storm that affected a lot of people, yet it was also a bunch of hype. At the same time.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  13. JD, I think you might find coverage of the TN floods in the archives of Instapundit.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (69a267)

  14. Might I add that Texas wildfires are at least as newsworthy as this hurricane was.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  15. TX wildfires???
    Oh, isn’t that your average backyard BBQ (Heh!)?

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (69a267)

  16. I’ve had a couple near my house. 15 houses destroyed only a couple of weeks ago.

    It’s a significant and ongoing problem, likely to be worse in the next 12 months.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  17. AD – Insty had about 750 times as much coverage as the MFM did.

    JD (318f81)

  18. Sorry to hear about your neighbors, Dustin.
    Just a reminder of the 4-seasons here in SoCal:
    Fire, Earthquake, Hill-slide, and Riot.

    JD, why am I not surprised.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (69a267)

  19. Sorry to hear about your neighbors, Dustin.

    Yeah, it’s a shame. A lot of them were not rich people. Fortunately there are six million churches in the area, so they are getting a lot of deserved charity.

    We certainly can’t count on the feds to help. They take our money, but that’s for Obama to give to Minnesota for trains, not natural disasters.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  20. Dustin

    The rule has been for well over a century. the media doesn’t care about what happens away from the east and west coast. :-)

    I mean look at the civil war. All the discussion is about the clash in the “east” (defined back then as pretty much the original 13 colonies. So much so that the first black troops fighting for the union were deployed in the west, but who do we hear about in that movie?

    It used to be everything west of the original 13 were ignored. now its everything between the west coast and the east coast.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  21. What did I specifically say at 12:12 pm?

    “Was there too much hype from the media? Yes, esp. by idiotic reporters standing on sand dunes in front of crashing waves for live reports & then high-tailing it to their motel rooms.”

    My beef is with commenters who are saying “oh, it’s a bunch of hype”. NO – it wasn’t a bunch of hype. It was exaggerated, yet still look at the damage it caused Vermont & Pennsylvania & my own North Carolina.

    I absolutely AGREE there was a big diff in coverage of Katrina compared to that of the Texas wildfires, Plains flooding, etc. Just like there was hysteria by mainstream news anchors/reporters re the supposedly huge catastrophe awaiting Long Island & NYC.

    And, yes, the story IS about my suffering, my neighbors’ suffering – that of the folks in Joplin MO & Alabama, etc. We’re alive & kicking here in flyover country & we have one hell of a mess to clean up.

    And Ed, the problem w/ Katrina was not just related to construction & engineering – it was of multitudes of people indoctrinated into the entitlement culture – sit & wait for somebody to rescue them. Now, I’m no fan of Mayor Bloomberg and certainly not of Obama & Napolitano – but what would you have done? It takes time – significant blocks of time – to evacuate people. You can’t just say – ok 300,000 New Yorkers must leave immediately – then they panic & clog the streets & subways etc.

    To refine my point, I was disgusted with the constant focus on NYC & environs by those in the media, who of course live & work right there, and most recently by the dismissal of the storm by those not directly affected by it as nonchalantly declaring it was all just “hype” (visible on the previous Irene thread).

    Miranda (4104db)

  22. If it happens between the Five, and the Ninety-Five, it just hasn’t happened (unless George Will is writing about the Cubs).

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (69a267)

  23. I will admit the prospect of tons and tons of rain does make me a bit jealous.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  24. There was plenty of flooding, but that happened AFTER the hurricane passed. They didn’t emphasize that, didn’t they?

    There are places that can’t take a lot of rain. It doesn’t only happen afetr a named hurricane.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  25. House fires can be strange things sometimes. My parents visited Galveston a few months before hurricane Ike hit it, and stayed in the house belonging to a friend-of-a-friend who was on vacation away from Galveston at the time. A few months later, Ike hit, and I heard that the house my parents had stayed in burned down during the hurricane. Yes, even with all the wind and rain. As I recall, the cause of the fire was later determined to be electrical. I don’t know if there was pre-existing faulty wiring or if the hurricane knocked over a power line.

    As I said, house fires can be strange things. As can hurricanes. Put the two together, and, well…

    P.S. The owners of the house had, of course, evacuated prior to Ike. So no lives were lost, but they lost just about everything else in the fire.

    Robin Munn (59b60b)

  26. I struggle to understand the disconnect and the smallness of character of some with respect to their reaction to this major storm which was 500 miles wide. Was it the initial actual wind gusts, or was it the accompanying flooding, the overrunning of rivers and canals, the power losses and the buildings rendered forever uninhabitable which put Katrina on the map for all time? Water is always a big part of the hurricane structure–not just the wind.

    The economic losses along the eastern seaboard are still being assessed but are calculated in the billions of dollars–or is that hype, too? The losses in spoiled food alone (from the millions of homes and businesses which have been and are still without power) are heartbreaking and easy to figure for anyone who has ever lost electricity for a few days for any reason at all. Comparing any state’s floods to another state’s tornadoes to another state’s wildfires and earthquakes looks petty when people are digging out and trying to recover from a catastrophe where they happen to live.

    Miranda, SarahW, and others–hang in there. I am also praying for my many friends in New Jersey where things are pretty bad right now, too.

    elissa (819213)

  27. elissa, it was a storm with a lot of costs and deaths.

    That doesn’t mean some aspects of the coverage weren’t hype. They were.

    Comparing any state’s floods to another state’s tornadoes to another state’s wildfires and earthquakes looks petty when people are digging out and trying to recover from a catastrophe where they happen to live.

    It’s not a contest. But it’s annoying to see an overhyped story when you’re also seeing one get very little national coverage.

    3.5 million acres have burnt in Texas. Many of them inhabited. It’s costing about a million dollars a day to fight. It’s costing a lot in lost agriculture, too.

    There’s nothing petty about my bringing this up, because the topic is media coverage of disasters.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  28. See the clip of the guy reporting the storm while eating raw sewage and then tell me it wasn’t hyped.
    Too much Hollywood and not enough straight reporting.

    kansas (7b4374)

  29. And really, I’m not interested in saying the hurricane didn’t harm anyone. I think it was on par with a bad tornado in an urban area.

    I’m kinda miffed at people saying they are sick and tired of X argument being presented, or that it’s petty to discuss Y topic. That’s not the best way to handle disagreements.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  30. 3.5 million acres have burnt in Texas. Many of them inhabited. It’s costing about a million dollars a day to fight

    As a (soon-to-be-ex-) Californian, I can attest that big wildfires are something to be taken seriously, and I’ve heard very little about these Texas fires.

    (That said, the sheer number of people living in the Boston->NYC->DC corridor is so great that any disaster there is going to get magnified when compared with a comparable size disaster in a less populated way; this is only to be expected.)

    I will admit the prospect of tons and tons of rain does make me a bit jealous.

    I suspect that it would cause flash floods the likes of which you’ve not seen in decades, were it all to come down at once. Still, the ongoing drought + heat in Texas has been borderline unbearable; ya’ll have had a hard summer.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  31. The bottom line was that Irene was a mild hurricane that caused a lot of damage, occasionally catastrophic localized damage, to a lot of people because its path dragged it up along a large amount of the eastern seaboard.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  32. I suspect that it would cause flash floods the likes of which you’ve not seen in decades, were it all to come down at once.

    Oh yeah, I’m sure I’m asking for something I would change my mind about quickly, but I’ve gotten less than an inch of rain in around a year… basically just after I finished my sweet waterbarrel irrigation system (typical Dustin luck).

    I’ve heard very little about these Texas fires.

    Most of my friends outside Texas are unfamiliar with them until I mention them. It’s a big deal. It appears to be getting worse. Fortunately, the various fire departments are getting really good at working together, but the damage is tremendous.

    That’s not meant to compete with Irene. It’s just that everyone heard about Irene and frankly it simply wasn’t as bad as predicted (Thank God). So an interesting comparison is to look at another disaster that didn’t occur to DC and NYC, which is 100% of the reason the Irene storm was overhyped and the Texas disaster is largely unreported, IMO.

    Goes without saying that for anyone personally affected, this story about how media handles these issues seems secondary. Because it is. But it’s still worth thinking about.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  33. Early reports suggest Hurricane Irene may have done $10B-$14B in damages. The Texas drought and heat wave are expected to last another year, but they have already cost $5.2B in crops and livestock alone, not counting other heat- and drought-related costs such as the cost of battling wildfires (to date, over 20,000 fires burning 3.5 million acres) and numerous cities facing water shortages. Even worse than economic damages are the human costs. I think Hurricane Irene cost 11 people their lives. Similarly, Dallas alone has seen 12 deaths this year from the heat.

    Both are difficult situations but, having made this comparison, I’d still rather face heat and drought than flooding — although I have second thoughts about that on hot days like today. But Texas is making it without much FEMA help, and maybe we will be better off recovering without federal help. To me the point is bad events happen everywhere. Our goal should be to get back to normal as soon as possible by helping ourselves and our neighbors.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  34. To me the point is bad events happen everywhere.

    That’s my point too. When looking at whether something was hyped, I’m looking at how the media treated other disasters.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  35. New New York times story

    Inland Floods in Northeast May Be Irene’s Biggest Impact

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/30/us/30vermont.html?_r=1&hp

    But before Hurricane Irene:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/20/us/20brfs-THREEDEADINP_BRF.html?scp=1&sq=flooding&st=nyt

    Pennsylvania: Three Dead in Pittsburgh Flooding
    By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS

    Published: August 19, 2011

    Or this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/12/nyregion/12flooding.html?scp=1&sq=ramapo++river&st=nyt

    Flooding Rivers Soak Parts of Northern New Jersey
    By N. R. KLEINFIELD

    Published: March 11, 2011

    Rivers gushed over their banks in portions of northern New Jersey and elsewhere in the region on Friday after heavy rain doused the area for the second time in a week, resulting in roads knee-deep in water, sopping homes, and miffed residents yet again being displaced, possibly for days.

    Picture caption: Flooding on the Saw Mill River Parkway in Yonkers. A recent storm has left knee-deep water throughout parts of the region.

    Richard Perry/The New York Times

    Picture caption: In Pequannock, N.J., Gov. Chris Christie, right, viewed the effects of the flooding on residents.

    March 11, story continues:

    Although the rain had stopped and the sun shone, swollen rivers in some areas were not expected to crest until the weekend. The soggy mess was a reprise of a more devastating wind-driven storm that battered the region last March, though this one actually hit a few New Jersey towns harder.

    In anticipation of the storm, Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency on Wednesday evening. According to the National Weather Service, the storm dumped 2 to 4 inches on the state’s flood-susceptible northern communities, with a few areas receiving more than 5 inches. Heavy rain also pelted the area last Sunday.

    More than 4,500 homes in New Jersey lost power.

    There was scattered flooding in parts of neighboring states, including New York, where some roadways were affected. During the morning rush hour, flooding in Mount Vernon led to traffic being rerouted off the northbound lanes of the Bronx River Parkway at 233rd Street.

    Water coursed down the Saw Mill River Parkway in Westchester. People perched on overpasses gaped down on it as if it were a tourist attraction. A handful of ducks floated uncomplainingly on a shuttered stretch of the Hutchinson River Parkway.

    The only known flood-related casualty in the region was a motorist who died Thursday night when he breached a barrier to a drenched road and his car was washed into a creek northwest of Philadelphia.

    On Friday afternoon, Mr. Christie came by helicopter to Wayne, N.J., to tour surrounding towns, telling disgruntled residents he was doing the best he could and saying, “If I lived here, I’d be upset too.”

    For those whose homes squat along the rivers of New Jersey’s low-lying towns, flooding has gotten awfully old.

    Frank Polizzi is as water-weary as they come. He is 52, a printer in Pompton Lakes, where the Ramapo River had invaded his house for the seventh time in the 11 years he has owned it. He said he had only recently finished $80,000 of repairs from last year’s flood ($55,000 of it was covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency). And now his house was a bathtub again.

    “I don’t have a dime in the bank,” Mr. Polizzi said. “I’m trying to get my lawyer on the phone so I can close out my account, stop paying my mortgage and get out of here.”

    Stanley Michunovich, 58, who also lives in Pompton Lakes and works for Home Depot, dealt with $68,000 of repairs last year. He had eight feet of water occupying his house then. He figured he was currently at five feet and rising.

    He was staying at the local La Quinta Inn, which he said was filled with his neighbors.

    One of the worst-hit communities was Pequannock Township, where the township manager declared a state of emergency at 4:30 Friday morning, and residents along the Pompton River were strongly urged to evacuate.

    Mayor Rich Phelan said that some 2,000 residents were affected and that by midday Friday about 100 people had been moved from their homes. Mr. Phelan said several National Guard vehicles were assisting the fire department in escorting people to a local high school. He expected them to be there for several days. “The houses will have water damage,” he said. “Water is now going in them.”

    The township had been hit hard last year, but Mr. Phelan said this was worse and might approach the record river height attained in 1984, when the Pompton River reached 24.5 feet. The river was still rising on Friday, and the mayor said it was expected to crest at 23.3 feet.

    In nearby Lincoln Park, where National Guard vehicles had also arrived, Mayor David Runfeldt said that some roads in the borough were two feet deep in water and that the first evacuation requests had begun to arrive. The borough straddles two rivers, the Pompton and the Passaic. The mayor did not expect the Pompton to level off until Saturday, and the Passaic until Sunday.

    About 200 homes lie in the affected areas.

    A shelter was set up at the Police Athletic League building, and the Department of Public Works was doling out sand and sandbags. The rules were that people had to fill their own bags and no more than 15 bags a person. The mayor said that he had been to the site and that people were steadily leaving with sand.

    Nate Schweber contributed reporting.

    A version of this article appeared in print on March 12, 2011, on page A19 of the New York edition.

    But the difference is, that time, there wass no evacuation. The evacuations and the transit shutdowns were because of the supposed dangers of a storm surge, and because they supposedly couldn’t wait but had to decide well before yes or no.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  36. Half of Connecticut is without power. Now they are too slow restoriunbg electricity in the 21st century.

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  37. It’ll take them some time restoring power, Sammy. I’m sure it’s hard work, and dangerous. Water and downed cables is a combo that takes a lot of care to resolve.

    Another way to express the point I’m making is that those dealing with Irene have only mother nature to be irritated with. The media did a great job, perhaps too great by some measurements, of explaining their ordeal. We know what happened, and they know too, because it was one of the most covered stories of the year.

    Texans, on the other hand, have nature, who is being stingy with rain, as well as the media and the federal government to be irritated with.

    Few voters understand that Obama’s FEMA is not responding fairly to this our disaster, and few even know there has been one here. Imagine if Irene struck the east and beyond local media, the story was ignored. And the government ignored it.

    That would be pretty frustrating, and a point you might bring in comparison when a different disaster is covered very loudly.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  38. The evacuations and the transit shutdowns were because of the supposed dangers of a storm surge, and because they supposedly couldn’t wait but had to decide well before yes or no.

    With respect to NYC, there’s no supposedly about it; the city simply can’t be evacuated in a hurry.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  39. So you’re saying the city is still there for my visit tomorrow thru friday?

    Good to hear. :)

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  40. Oh.

    And I’m glad you’re ok.

    I guess. :)

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  41. Scott, glad to hear your trip is still a go.

    Does this mean your move to NYC is also continuing as scheduled Wednesday, aphrael?

    Dustin — As you know, it helps to stay positive. Maybe this will help a little.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  42. aphrael–much good luck to you and your husband as you ease in to your exiting new life in your interesting new place. I look forward to your contributions filled with fresh, first-hand insights about the New York State of Mind on many future threads here!

    elissa (819213)

  43. Dustin,

    Now for the bad news.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  44. As you know, it helps to stay positive.

    For reasons I do not understand, my watermelon crop is fantastic. Obviously I water them from the tap, but frankly not very much. Everything else has dried up or at least isn’t bearing fruit, but I’ve got thirty watermelons in my backyard.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  45. Dustin #44 – I have to ask …

    Why are you encouraging thirty trendy democrat environmentalists in your back yard ?

    Alasdair (6ce78d)

  46. So my dog can get ’em.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  47. Unless Wikipedia is completely unreliable, weather like this isn’t exactly historically unknown in the New England area … politicians and others with similar self-serving agendas may try to tell you that it is all the fault of AGW, but how do they explain it going back as many centuries as it does ?

    (with hat tip to a local radio host who brought this to my attention)

    Alasdair (6ce78d)

  48. Dustin,

    My cucumbers are great but all the trees are dying. It’s weird, isn’t it?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  49. Nothing like home grown cucumbers. Mine haven’t made it, sadly, but I got a fair number of them before summer really swung in.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  50. Why are you apologizing? Yes there is some flooding and, yes, for those affected it has to suck, and any loss if life is terrible. But that has absolutely nothing to do with the question of if this storm was over-hyped or not. It very clearly was. Before the first drop of Irene rain hit American shores more media time had been spent on this then on the months worth of flooding on the upper Missouri.

    That wasn’t the only example of a disconnect between the potential for harm and the attention given to weather by the media. Meteorologists knew 48 hours or more in advance that the conditions preceeding the tornado outbreaks in the South (in April) and those that resulted in the destruction of Joplin, Missouri (in May) were dire. Was a word of that mentioned on the MSM? No it wasn’t. The April outbreak killed 322 and the May one killed 159 in Joplin alone. So if the POSSIBILITY of loss of human life justified the wall to wall Irene coverage (as some yahoo on CNN said), then why be silent about dealy tornado conditions?

    Those on the East Coast can forgive the rest of us for thinking the obvious…. the difference is Irene wasn’t impacting flyover country. As more than one liberal site said in the aftermath of the tornado outbreaks “That’s what they get for living in a red state.”

    Rich Horton (3ef32b)

  51. While I do not think this was at all the case with the true professional weather people, (such as Weather Underground) there probably was considerable AGW politics mixed in with the more newsish and hysterical coverage of Irene.

    Last week when the big news was the Virgina/D.C. earthquake, our local PBS host had a geophysicist on the program. She explained the differences in age of east coast and west coast plates and substructures, and clarified why eastern and western quakes of the same Richter magnitude are usually felt over much larger swaths of territory in the central and east parts of the country. As his final question Phil asked the geophysicist whether the rare east coast quake was indicative of global warming. The host’s eyes were bright and he was almost panting, begging like a puppy for her to say “Yes.” But instead she said “NO”. Not a timid or tenuous “no” but a full throated authoritative “NO.” It was a “What are you–an idiot?” sort of “no.”

    The camera quickly panned away from that interview.

    elissa (819213)

  52. Still in the dark. The big oak across my own street got sawed up and hauled away today, but crews aren’t picking up any of the trees across some nearby streets that are also lying on power lines. I guess those have to wait for power trucks, too.

    Sarahw (968b2c)

  53. Flooding…
    Back in pre-historic times – well, about a hundred years ago or so – here in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles River, and the Rio Hondo, and the Rio San Gabriel (and not to forget the Rio Santa Ana), would flood vast areas of the “flat-lands” when a major storm would occur. At one point, the Los Angeles flooded so badly it changed its outlet to the sea from the Ballona Wetlands (Marina del Rey) to Long Beach (where it exits today).
    In the 20th-Century, the powers-that-be set out to stop this since you can’t build houses when they’re just going to be destroyed in a flood every decade –
    the floods left very rich land for agriculture, but wasn’t too good for growing people.
    Today, all four rivers are heavily channelized in concrete (see The Terminator-2 for a chase scene shot in the upper L.A.River), and our resident enviro-freaks want to return large parts of, at least the L.A.River, to its natural condition and eliminate the channelization because it”s just so ugly.
    Interestingly, they just raised the embankments on the lower L.A.River in my area which has spared tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of home-owners from purchasing mandatory flood-insurance.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (69a267)

  54. elissa, when trees are downed, and power lines are involved, the prudent wait for the Edison guys to take care of the problem.
    Never touch a downed tree that is in contact with a power line, NEVER!

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (69a267)

  55. Oops, sorry…
    Sarah, not elissa.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (69a267)

  56. Sorry, Sarah. At least where I’m at, large trees are precious. Losing the tree (even on an adjacent property) is bad enough.

    Stay safe.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  57. -Comment by Another Drew – Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! — 8/29/2011 @ 5:37 pm-

    The real danger is those giant ants nesting in the drain tunnels.

    Machinist (b6f7da)

  58. I drove up from Charlotte to Allentown, PA on Saturday night/Sunday morning, and I can say that it was no picnic out there. Those flashes in the sky weren’t lightning, but rather exploding electrical transformers, most especially when they produced a green flash.

    Perhaps the answer to the overhyped charge is that NYC is, in fact, a large “black hole” that sucks in everything, including hurricanes.

    But ultimately, Hurricane Irene (from the perspective of NYC) is the perfect metaphor for “Global Warming” … lots of hype, followed by failure to perform, laying waste to everybody else on the way there.

    Sounds like a perfect fit for Barack Obama, too.

    Islamic Rage Boy (d1c681)

  59. It’s pretty bad in New York. Our commuter rail system is still not back and might not be fully back for weeks. Millions still have no electricity. In NJ, the worst of the flooding won’t happen until tomorrow, when the Passaic River crests.

    Blame the media for hyping this as a Katrina like event, and now people feel cheated because it was only Gloria-like.

    East Coast Chris (ad19c5)

  60. I know this is OT, but as a resident of NY-9, I want to let outsiders know that David Weprin’s campaign to replace Weiner is self-destructing:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2011/08/democrat-david-weprin-scores-rage-for-ny-9-debate-pullout-more-updates

    East Coast Chris (ad19c5)

  61. _______________________________________________

    The host’s eyes were bright and he was almost panting, begging like a puppy for her to say “Yes.” But instead she said “NO”. Not a timid or tenuous “no” but a full throated authoritative “NO.” It was a “What are you–an idiot?” sort of “no.”

    The interviewer actually tried to make a connection between the quake and global warming?! That’s so dumb I’d think he actually was attempting to slyly mock people like Al Gore. But if the interviewer really was being serious, then that shows he is borderline nuts.

    He’d at least have a better case to make dealing with all the weeks of heat and drought in Texas. I imagine the weather there is making even “deniers” wonder if they should re-consider their stance. But if they know how climate truly works, they’ll be aware that all the damn heat they’ve been experiencing has been due to a high pressure zone hovering over the lower mid-point of the US like a stalled car.

    If carbon dioxide were such an influential factor, then other (or all) parts of the US should be seeing a pattern of above-normal temperatures too. Instead, the Pacific Northwest has been under cooler weather than normal, and until the high pressure started to spread westward, Southern California also was enjoying a comfortable summer.

    As someone who hates hot weather, I’ve long been aware of what causes high temperatures, and it ain’t carbon dioxide. Or I should say until researchers can draw a definitive link, or any link, between CO2 and ridges of high pressure, the AGW theory is a bunch of crap.

    Mark (31bbb6)

  62. But if the interviewer really was being serious, then that shows he is borderline nuts.

    Ah, but WHY is he nuts?

    Global warming?

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  63. No, Dustin, the lapses into insane behavior are caused by a LACK of Global Warming.
    They can’t deal with the fact that Mother Nature is not following the script they wrote for her
    (isn’t that just like a woman….ducks down behind desk as Dana comes into view).

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (5a8b7e)

  64. ______________________________________________

    Ah, but WHY is he nuts?

    Dustin, if you ever find yourself dealing with Al-Gore groupies — those who have a religious faith in so-called scientific experts — point out that for the past several decades the medical community (including doctors with presumably with high IQs and lab researchers of supposedly similar acuity) has believed that fat — and not carbohydrates (ie sugar) — was THE major cause of obesity. It’s only been in the recent past that the brilliant minds in the field of the human body (which is more accessible, approachable and immediate, and less complex, than that which involves the huge atmosphere of the Earth and the power of the sun) started to realize it was SUGAR that causes the body to pack on the pounds, and to make matters worse, contributes to growing rates of diabetes.

    Mark (411533)

  65. It’s pretty bad in New York.

    East Coast Chris is referring here to the greater NY metropolitan area, not NYC. Metro North and LIRR are still having problems, but NYC Transit is up and running almost as if nothing had happened.

    Milhouse (ee8a5d)

  66. Mark, that is a great little fact you’ve got there. I’ve thought about that a lot.

    The human body is not as complex as the entire world, of course, and we’re so much more familiar with it. Yet we’re still learning some very basic things about it. Such as what makes us fat.

    I might add, much of the problem is government control over our agriculture has led to a ton of corn products in everything, and focus on eliminating fat. When those efforts began Americans started gaining weight, and I’m pretty sure that if the government left our food alone (beyond safety issues) we would start losing weight, too.

    No, Dustin, the lapses into insane behavior are caused by a LACK of Global Warming.

    I suppose. I think if we all agreed on global warming (Which I agree is mostly BS, though of course the climate will always be changing) the left would find some new crisis to demand the right agree to. Because of that, they were always bound to wind up insisting we accept a crisis that isn’t real. Part of what they want is control, but part of what they want is a witchhunt.

    Dustin (b2fb78)

  67. Without a crisis, and a cause, they can’t demonstrate their superior thought processes and leadership.

    Pardon me, I have to go throw-up now.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (5a8b7e)

  68. _______________________________________________

    Such as what makes us fat.

    Another sign of the laughable nature of group think vis-a-vie the medical community — including well-paid researchers — is that you can go into a grocery store and see lots of products promoting “non-fat!!” or “LOW FAT!!!” But you’ll find almost NO products that tout “low sugar!” or “reduced sugar!” Of course, there are all the sugar-free products full of junky artificial sweeteners, but that’s a whole different matter.

    Again, the public should have great, full confidence in the research community, be it those in the field of health or the field of meteorology? Yea, uh-huh.

    Mark (411533)

  69. Hurricane? What hurricane?

    Milhouse (ee8a5d)

  70. Perhaps there is a case for “selective abortion” after all?

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (f8e76c)


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