Irene: False Alarm?

Aug 29 2011 @ 4:41pm

by Patrick Appel

Howard Kurtz claims Irene was overhyped. David Kurtz explains the limits of weather forecasting and defends the government's preparations:

The bottom line is we have a lot better idea where a hurricane is going to hit than we do how strong it will be when it gets there. That uncertainty creates risk. How do you prudently address that risk? It's really simple. You have to be more aggressive in your disaster preparation. That means getting people out early, while the getting is still good. It means closing flood gates, securing property, shutting down mass transit systems, and prepositioning first responders and relief efforts.

Doug Mataconis supports the media's coverage of the storm. Nate Silver says that, compared to other hurricanes, "the coverage was quite proportionate to the amount of death and destruction that the storm caused":

 Irene right now ranks as the 10th-deadliest storm since 1980, with some possibility of that number going higher. And it ranks as the 8th most destructive storm economically, give or take. Meanwhile, it received about the 10th-most media coverage.

Joyner doubts Silver's numbers. Earlier thoughts on the politics of Irene here.