Monday, August 29, 2011

About the "Irene is going to RUIN US!" hype:

The Feral Irishman pointed to this guy(old site here, current site here) who has a bunch of posts on the subject.

Note to media: big difference between immediate accurate coverage of a storm and "Flee, or you're going to DIE!!" idiocy.

Further from the Weather Nerd:
All of which brings us to the inevitable questions about “hype.” Was Irene overhyped? Well, yes and no. The fearful possibility of a monster hurricane hitting North Carolina, then taking an exceedingly dangerous and potentially mega-destructive track of the East Coast, was very real and fully justified as of midweek. And indeed, Irene took precisely the near-worst-case track that was being discussed. It just failed to ever became a true “monster.” There was nothing preordained or inevitable about that failure — indeed, the meta-conditions were broadly favorable for rapid strengthening — yet it didn’t happen, demonstrating once again forecasters’ lack of skill at predicting hurricane intensity (in stark contrast to the ever increasing skill, sharply on display here, at predicting hurricanes’ tracks).

As I wrote in my post about “misconceptions,” the mere fact that a worst-case scenario doesn’t occur is hardly proof that it should never have been considered a possibility, or that precautions taken against such a scenario were therefore unwarranted. That’s totally illogical. I’m sure NOAA officials and others would love to have access to the 20/20 Hindsight Computer Model that some commentators seem to possess, but absent that, I believe it was completely justified and necessary to evacuate the folks who were evacuated, given the uncertainties in the forecast at the time decisions had to made. It’s the nature of the beast that most “alarms” will be “false alarms.” The fact of a “false alarm,” without more, is not evidence of improper “hype.”

Yet overhype certainly exists, not so much in the forecasts but in the media coverage. The primary problem, as I’ve observed many times. is the MSM’s failure to adjust the tone of coverage when it becomes apparent that the worst-case scenario or scenarios, despite having previously been realistic, have now become unrealistic. In other words: the failure to dial down the hype a notch when it’s clearly no longer justified.

Good piece, worth reading.

1 comment:

Windy Wilson said...

The real lesson to take away from all this is not what was predicted or when, or how hysterically the media lackeys hyped the storm, but the disparity between what was predicted only 24 hours previous and the reality, when we're supposed to take predictions of 50 or 75 years from now as to severity of weather on faith along, and pauperize ourselves in reliance on those predictions.