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Casual Observations of the Media Coverage of Hurricane Sandy
October 29, 2012
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I freely admit to being a Disaster Diva – a coin termed by Claire Rubin. I’ve been glued to the media coverage about Hurricane Sandy.  The 60th Annual IAEM conference begins tomorrow morning, and I expect there will be a lot of discussion about it – updates, stories, predictions, opinions.  There were a few bits that I found particularly interesting.

The first was a nice article earlier today in The Atlantic summarizing why Sandy has meteorologists scared in 4 images. My favorite line was the mention of an earlier tweet from a reporter with the Wall Street Journal about one of those images:  "Oh my.... I have never seen so much purple on this graphic. By far. Never."

CNN did a live interview with Nicholas Coch, a Coastal Geologist at Queens College talking about the potential effects on New York City.  He talked about the wind tunnel effect through the downtown high rise buildings that is likely to break windows and scatter glass on the sidewalks.  The storm surge on top of the high tides (full moon) is likely to cause flooding into the subway system and extensive damage.  “Salt water and electrical equipment don’t mix well,” he noted sagely.

One channel showed the Flightradar24 map that tracks live air traffic.  Everything was flying out of the northeast, and there were only a couple incoming flights.  (BTW: this is an awesome site and one you should bookmark.)

Again on CNN, a couple took a video of the last night of a 7-day cruise aboard the Disney Fantasy as it encountered rough seas from Hurricane Sandy as they were passing Miami, Florida.  One of his comments: “There was a moment in the night where the ship tilted so far to the right that the furniture moved across our room. If you think about how far a thirteen story ship has to tilt for furniture to move, it says a lot.”

The most satisfying part of the evening was a call from my daughter, who is in the medical school at UMass Worcester.  She told me about everything in her emergency kit and what she had done to prepare herself and her roommates.  She had thought of everything – from $20 in small change to an evacuation kit for Mr. Henry (her cat).  She even signed up with the Worcester emergency alert system. The only thing I could suggest was a car charger for her cell phone.

From the maps tonight, it doesn't look like Worcester will get as much weather as New York City or Washington DC, but it is gratifying to know she is taking it seriously.  Makes a mother proud.

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