And I fully agree with the OP (you) about the talking heads, and what value
they add by standing in the middle of the hurricane going "Gee, the wind is
really strong out right now", and then demonstrating it by opening their
jackets up and taking flight.
But my comments were to the follow up posters, and I mentioned specifically
"the two previous poster's compassion". They're the ones I don't
understand. Comments like "When did we become weather wimps?" and
"They were good for parties afterwards while the gov tried to get the
electricity back up."
I think the general public has become "wimps" in many ways besides
weather. That doesn't minimize the effect on those affected, but there
is a rising level of unawareness of what Nature has to offer and an
apparent expectation that the results of poor judgement should be
mitigated by others than those who made the poor decision.
As for the parties afterwards, those could only be true in the aftermath
of something much less destructive than areas in the middle of such a
storm as Katrina. It's a case of thinking one has been through an event
when in fact the actual event is <far> worse than that particular person
can imagine. The difference between 100 mph and 150 mph windspeeds and
being on the actual coast and below the storm surge is absolutely
incomparable to the effects inland and higher elevation.
Same thing as the difference between an F0 little tornado and the
massive F5 that scours absolutely everything down to bare earth--one can
ride out the former w/ reasonable chances of success--the latter is
something else again entirely.
That's what happens when the only contact the average citizen has
with nature is among smelly hippies hiking in their local Sierra Club
chapter. If more people were exposed to nature as it is - for example
by hunting, fishing, and camping without the benefit of a microwave, RV,
and satellite TV - they would develop a much finer appreciation of the vast
power and potential for devistation found in natural processes. Instead,
we get the earth-worshipping freaks as the only contact many people have
with real nature.
Tim Daneliuk email@example.com
PGP Key: http://www.tundraware.com/PGP /
OK, I'll point something else out that you must not have thought of.
Houses with tin roofs don't last long in those winds. W/o electricity
there's no water, or food, or much of anything else. In a large country
you can get lots of help from a bunch of people, on an island you're on
your own. Do a search on typhoon and see what it does to the
Phillipines. Compare that to what happens in the gulf. The parties
were to use the food so that people didn't starve before it rotted.
Last I'm saying on this topic.
Dave in Fairfax
reply-to doesn't work
use: daveldr at att dot net
But the question remains: When did we become weather wimps?
This hurricane, and the ones of the last few years since the advent of
24 hour filler posing as news (damn you, Ted Turner), were no less
devastating than those in the more distant past. Difference is that we
are now forced to look at the same flooded streets every 5 minutes
throughout the day. If you are affected by the storm(s), you are
looking at it real time, without the TV running. This "reporting"
doesn't help you. If you have loved ones in the area, I am sure
property damage and death estimates are not what you wish to pass the
time with while you wait for the phone to ring.
Personally, I wish there was still the test pattern after Carson that
lasted until The National Anthem and "High Flight", followed by
As far as the parties after the storm are concerned, what else would
you have a community do? Sit around bemoaning their plight? No.
People are resilient, the community will find ways to bond, rebuild,
and help each other through the devestation.
Living as I currently do, on a little rock in the Pacific prone to
typhoons (2 coming in the next 4 days, one last week), I would have to
say that long term preparedness goes a long way towards developing the
"post storm" attitude. The houses are concrete, hotels and high rises
are angled so as to avoid the brunt of the prevailing wind. I'll go
out in the morning, put the van back upright, and see if my neighbor
has any beef he doesn't want to have to throw away.
The biggest real difference in the US is the continued expansion into
the vulnerable areas w/ insufficient preparation for the inevitable.
Thus the amount of damage is bound to be more and the <apparent> (as
opposed to real) severity is exaggerated. Of course, as you note, it
doesn't help that the 24-hr channels "need" events and the public
attention span in the US is now on the order of milliseconds...
The discussion started out about the stupidity of the newcasters and
those who watch them so avidly.
Most of this world has to deal with far worse weather related
destruction on a regular basis. The death and destruction is taken is
stride without the hype by the news people. Take a look at the Pacific
and see what a typhoon is like then compare the results to what happened
with Katrina. I wasn't being hard-hearted, I was pointing out a
different way of dealing with the same phenomenon. If you think it's
hard-hearted, try keeping a store running in 100 mph winds so that
people can buy supplies then closing out the store and driving home in
what are now, far more than 100 mph winds.
Dave in Fairfax
reply-to doesn't work
use: daveldr at att dot net
Well, I don't think OP meant to underrate the severity of the
storm, rather it was a criticism of the reporting. The
reporters in the street were commenting on how much it was raining
and how hard the wind was blowing, neither of which was exactly
newsworthy, INSTEAD of giving us hard facts like how large an
area was flooded and inhabitable, how many buildings destroyed,
how many people were now homeless and so on.
Of course the reporters in the field didn't have those facts at
hand because the storm cut them off from communicating with anybody
but their home station and people immediatedly at hand.
It is apparent that my remarks are not being properly understood.
My remarks are NOT about a lack of compassion for those affected by
truly major disasters. For those affected by weather events of truly
epic proportions, my heart goes out to them.
My remarks though do apply to the "storm team" forecasters that turn
the most minor weather event into a harbinger of doom. It's the wall
to wall coverage of a snow storm that leaves the ground barely covered
or the "thunderstorm" that hardly leaves my lawn wet that grind my
beans. Those people are doing a great job of desensitizing people to
the times when a real disaster is happening. When every storm is life
threatening, how do you know when the real thing comes along? A real
disaster is not the normal 5" snowfall. The real one is the 20 incher
that paralyzes the city, not the one that makes it inconvenient for
the Dominoes delivery guy. The same could be said for temperatures.
There is a difference, not that you could tell by watching WTMJ or
We also know that hurricanes have high winds and prodigious amounts of
rain. Is it necessary, does it add anything to our knowledge to show
a reporter announcing those facts in a live report? For the 10th (or
Although I feel bad for those that are losing everything, they also
know they live in a risky area weatherwise. Why live so close to the
shore? Why live in a city where significant amounts of it are below
sea level? Where do they think the water's going to go when the big
hurricane finally comes calling?
And why aren't houses in such areas built a little more sturdily? I
recall stories about the home the mother of former attorney general
Janet Reno built. Apparently when hurricane Andrew came calling
several years ago her home was one that sustained no or minimal
It started, to my mind, with the TV reporting of oil spills in gallons
instead of barrels, progressing to the point that "teacups" will soon be
required to maintain the impact value. From there we've gone to routinely
reporting, and accepting without question, current weather temperatures in
"feels like" terms, which are unquantifiable but certainly more sensational.
Actually the "feels like" factors were developed from data collected in
extensive studies of which a professor at Uni was a major participant
while I was an undergrad. A complete lab was built and volunteers were
paid the princely some of something like $1.50/hr to participate. It
was a pretty popular way to get paid for studying albeit sometimes a
little hard to concentrate... :)
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