Saturday, October 24, 2015

Predictions, Strongest Hurricane Ever

CHART: Is Hurricane Patricia The Strongest Hurricane Ever? : The Two-Way : NPR:

We awoke yesterday AM to news that "the strongest hurricane ever" was bearing down on Mexico. Those of us with some skepticism always have the thought cross our mind ... "ever"? Just how long is that?

Turns out "ever" in this case is sometime in the 1970's.
"To make things easier, Klotzbach looked at just U.S. data, and he came to the conclusion that this is the strongest hurricane since the 1970s, when wind measurements are reliable."
Patricia formed very rapidly, it was not predicted to be nearly that strong, so we only had to deal with a single day of maximum hype as to it's likely devastation -- "catastrophic" was a word prominently displayed. Some might question our ability to predict climate decades and even centuries in advance when within a 48 hour period our current weather prediction capability goes from "storm" to "worst ever" to "tropical depression".

We awoke today to discover that there was no loss of life at all, very little property damage, and Patricia is no longer even a hurricane, but has been downgraded to a lowly "Tropical Depression", not even worthy of being a "Tropical Storm".
Patricia, which at its peak was a massive Category 5 storm with 200-mph winds before making landfall, quickly tapered as it crossed mountainous terrain and withered into a tropical storm early Saturday. By mid-morning, it had been downgraded further to a tropical depression.
As always with stories like this, there are two explanations -- incompetence and/or having an agenda. I'm sure this story has lots of both -- the rapid rise of the storm shows how little we really know about even weather, let alone climate. The hype shows how starved the media is to report "massive strong storms" that we were assured would be commonplace after Katrina. The ease with which these are foisted on a largely compliant population shows the extent to which the vast majority of people are simply pawns being told what to think by the dominant political party.

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