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Earth United States Science

When Did Irene Stop Being a Hurricane? 426

jamesl writes "Cliff Mass, a climate researcher at the University of Washington and popular Seattle blogger, asks, 'When did Irene stop being a hurricane? ... there is really no reliable evidence of hurricane-force winds at any time the storm was approaching North Carolina or moving up the East Coast. ... I took a look at all the observations over Virgina, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. Not one National Weather Service or FAA observation location, not one buoy observations, none reach the requisite wind speed. Most were not even close. ... Surely, one of the observations upwind of landfall, over Cape Hatteras or one of the other barrier island locations, indicated hurricane-force sustained winds? Amazingly, the answer is still no.' Cliff supports his statement with data from NOAA/NWS/NDBC presented in easy to understand charts."
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When Did Irene Stop Being a Hurricane?

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  • Re:Who cares... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @07:09PM (#37247922)

    Knowing when it wasn't a hurricane won't help those injured or killed, or fix the damage.

    No, but it might help to determine just WHY the storm was being hyped so much.

    Because, face it, in spite of the 20-odd deaths from the storm (including one surfer), it really wasn't much of a storm. When NYC ordered its evacuation (which most of the few people affected by ignored), NOAA was showing that the storm was probably going to be no worse than a middling tropical storm when it reached NYC. Yet we didn't hear from the media (or any government involved) that this was a relatively minor storm that was going to make staying in your beach house a bad idea - what we heard was "it's going to be HUUUUUGE!!! Devastating!!! If we don't evacuate, it'll be like New Orleans after Katrina!!!"

    It should also be noted that traffic fatalities that weekend nationwide would have been about ten times as high as the fatalities caused by the storm that weekend.

  • Re:Media Hype(rcane) (Score:3, Interesting)

    by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @07:28PM (#37248120) Homepage

    Check out this article [nytimes.com] by a couple of guys who are pretty statistically reliable. The "hype" for this hurricane was nothing out of the ordinary.

  • Re:Who cares... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:10PM (#37248416) Homepage Journal

    Nature is unpredictable, just like a wolf. It might change it's mind.

  • Re:Not the wind (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Miseph ( 979059 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @01:11AM (#37250190) Journal

    I actually wonder if Irene might have had a negative death toll, disrupting enough normal travel patterns to prevent more "normal" accidental deaths than it caused.

    I seem to recall that at least one of our military adventures from the past 20 years wound up being rated as safer than staying on base at home for almost exactly that reason: soldiers on mission and keeping sharp to avoid getting shot won't party and drive their cars into utility poles at 3am or get t-boned trying to race a red light at rush hour.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.