“The demise of Irene has already begun”: indications that the hurricane will be significantly less serious than has been generally forecast

The cable news channels are of course “flooding the zone” with news and warnings about the hurricane coming up the East Coast. I watched quite a bit of it in the early evening. The most cogent commentator I heard, on the Piers Morgan program on CNN, was technical blogger Nate Silver of the New York Times. Silver seems to have developed his own independent data base on the hurricane. He said something that no one else said: that the wind velocity of the storm is already declining, and that by the time it reaches New York City the wind velocity will be no more than that of a category 1 storm, even if the storm is still being called a category 2 storm. This means that there would not be the devastating water surges causing flooding in low lying areas that most forecasters have predicted.

Then later tonight, via Drudge, I came upon the following online post, by Simon Atkins, identified as the CEO of the Advanced Forecasting Corporation, which more or less corresponds with what Silver said:

“The storm cannot master its own strength.”
August 26, 2011

The hype over Hurricane Irene is overblown, predicts the CEO of Advanced Forecasting Corporation.

“North of Delaware, most hurricane force winds will very likely be gusts, not sustained winds.”

o The demise of Irene has already begun. There is no visible eye. The storm intensity is down to 99 mph. This would be a low-end category 2 or a strong category 1 storm, while 36 hours ago some predicted a catastrophic category 4 storm. Air Force Reserve aircraft have found that Irene’s eyewall has collapsed, and the central pressure has risen—rising pressure means a weakening storm.

o The reduction in storm intensity likely confirms that this storm is not going to be as monstrous as it has been publicly forecast to be.

o Yes, it will be windy. However, north of Delaware most hurricane force winds will very likely be gusts, not sustained winds.

- end of initial entry -

Alex A. writes from England:

What can only be described as “weather alarmism” seems to be prevalent on both sides of the Atlantic. The media meteorologists will be disappointed that hurricane Irene won’t turn out to be a major catastrophe in New York City and elsewhere.

Here, in England, the weather forecasters on TV and the radio find any excuse to broadcast “warnings.” They never pass up an opportunity to be self-important and portentous. Normal heavy rain, which we had yesterday, was hyped up as a “severe weather warning” by the Meteorological Office.

There is a sort of official baby-talk which is part of the infantilization of a passive and stupefied population. E.g.—In wet weather beware of spray from passing vehicles on the motorway, wrap up, and don’t forget your umbrella, etc.

LA replies:

Yes. This constant weather alarmism in the U.S. (and Britain as well, I now learn) is a sick phenomenon. But that does not mean that the warnings about this hurricane were false. Leaving aside the ridiculously overdone coverage and the hype (I read somewhere that NBC weather man Al Roker said that “65 million people along the East Coast face catastrophe”), the storm did seem to be as big and potentially damaging as it was said to be. However, the indications are now that it has lost some organization and windspeed, and will not be terribly damaging. I don’t know if the professional disaster predictors have picked up on that yet, or are still repeating their earlier script.

August 27, 8:45 a.m.

James N. writes:

Disgraceful overhype, as usual.

However, your correspondent has five 60-foot hemlocks around his house—removal has been prohibited by tree huggers and Gaia worshipers.

If they come down tomorrow on my house, I will be sorely aggravated.

Carol Iannone writes:

“The hype over Hurricane Irene is overblown.”

I agree. It landed in one of the Carolinas a little while ago, and the wind force was 80.

Paul K. writes:

Mayor Bloomberg took some heat for the city’s failure to plow many streets for days after one of last winter’s snowstorms. Perhaps as a result of that criticism, Bloomberg now seems to be overreacting to Hurricane Irene by shutting down the city’s bus and subway system from Saturday afternoon through Monday, stranding hundreds of thousands of city residents who rely on mass transit. If Irene doesn’t amount to much, isn’t this going to make the mayor look even more inept?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 27, 2011 01:36 AM | Send

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