Good bye Gustav, Hello Hanna

Well, yes, it is too early to say good by to Gustav. Gustav is still a hurricane and is still affecting the Louisiana coast. The worst that can happen may still be in the future for this storm, depending on the effects of rain over the next 72 hours. It does not seem as though any major levees are going to break, but nothing can be certain yet.


Hello Hurricane Hanna

One thing that MIGHT be certain, and I truly hope it is:

It was predicted that Gustav could hit the coast as a Category Four storm, possibly in just the right place to do serious damage to New Orleans. But it did not.

In the old days, i.e., four or more years ago, this would mean the following: People would think “Oh, they always tell us how bad it is going to be and they are always wrong.” … and then, the next serious hurricane comes along and very bad things happen because people are not prepared.

This is essentially what happened with Katrina. Katrina was bad because people are fundamentally, by nature, utterly stoopid.

But people can learn. I think it will take quite a bit of time before people stop paying attention to the meteorologists again. A few weeks, at least. But we are probably still OK when speaking of the next Atlantic Hurricane in lie: Hurricane Hanna, which just now became a hurricane, which will probably affect Florida, Georgia and South Carolina with at least tropical storm or near tropical storm winds and/or heavy surf. This storm will probably come ashore in or near the Georgia/South Carolina border, then plow up along the Appalachian Mountains. Such a storm track may lead to serious mountain flooding and is not to be taken lightly.

It is way to early to say much about Hanna. Stay tuned.


  1. #1 Alan Kellogg
    September 1, 2008

    No, people aren’t stupid. They don’t even do stupid things. People do ignorant things because they are not kept properly informed. Officialdom and the media get people all upset and out of sorts, instead of providing information needed to handle a crisis effectively.

    Honesty is the important thing. Governor Jindal of Louisiana ordered the evacuation of New Orleans, while admitting it might not be as bad as all that. He just didn’t want to make matters worse by failing to act. As it turns out, it wasn’t as bad as all that, and I suspect some people will try to profit at Jindal’s expense because of it. But he was willing to risk it rather than see people hurt because he failed to do anything. New Orlean’s mayor took action and thus showed himself capable of learning from his mistakes.

    No matter what you do people are going to bitch about it. Better to take something like a storm more seriously than it turns out to be, than less seriously than it turns out to be.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    September 1, 2008

    Alan, you seem to start off disagreeing with me but then provide a perfect example (though a post-Katrina example) of what I am talking about. The rational truth to the extent that we can know it says that Jindel did the right thing by ordering this evacuation. If people are not fundamentally stoopid, why is this a political risk at all?

    Although, yes, the media need to take a large part of the blame. But of course, we buy the media. We pay them to do what they do. That makes us stoopid.

  3. #3 Josh in California
    September 1, 2008

    Gustav is still a hurricane and is still affecting the Louisiana coast.

    Don’t you mean the Gulf Coast? Katrina destroyed dozens of coastal cities in Mississippi and Alabama (many more than in Louisianna), but the only city that gets any press is New Orleans. It’s a shameful denial of the true scale of Katrina’s destruction.

    You should also know that the people who evacuated lost just as much as people who stayed. Do you have any idea how many homes Katrina destroyed?

    People are still living in FEMA trailers in Mississippi and Alabama. People are still waiting on reconstruction grants. People are still suffering, both evacuees and non-evacuees, because of attitudes like yours.

    I’m sure the president tells himself it was the disaster victims’ fault, too.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    September 1, 2008

    Josh: When I say that Gustav is still affecting the Louisiana coast, I mean Louisiana. And yes, calm down, I know all that stuff. I’m not denying any of it. You need to take it down an notch, buddy.

    You are right, of course, that no matter how well (if it goes well) FEMA manages Gustav, they are still no where near done with managing Katrina.

  5. #5 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    September 2, 2008

    Hanna is looking like she’s going to land right on my head.

    Ike is one a similar path but typically storms on that path hit FL or in the gulf but you never know.

    If things keep up things are not going to be good here in Charleston over the next bit.