Posts Tagged ‘news’

Stupid Storm Tricks

Posted: September 8, 2008 in Uncategorized
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When I left work on Friday, Hurricane Ike appeared to be setting a course straight for us.

The storm wasn’t expected to get here until Tuesday, but by the time I got home, the winds of Hurricane Ike were beginning to blow.

I’m not talking about feeder bands and storm surge. I refer to the cyclonic blasts of hot air issuing from the local news outlets.

This is my first hurricane tip to anyone new to the hurricane experience: turn off the television.

Everything the TV weatherman says is presented in a simpler, more concise and less ambiguous manner on the National Hurricane Center website, supplemented by any number of other weather sites (see my previous post for some favorites.) Keep an eye on the maps showing the 3 and 5 day cones. Think of the line as just the centerline of the cone, and not the actual track. The accuracy is good up to 3 days, but at 4 and 5 days, not so good.

Until the storm gets here (or there,) you can familiarize yourself with the official Horace James Top 10 list of Stupid Storm News Tricks:

  1. Empty shelves at the grocery store. The purpose of showing this bit of reverse product placement is to induce panic spree buying. (Tip: you don’t need bottled water. The shit is just tap water. Load up some empty bottles or the bathtub or whatever and save some hassle.)
  2. Consumers at the Home Depot tying sheets of plywood on the roof of their Corolla. (Nailing up plywood is about as useful as taping your windows, the shit will just blow away and damage something else in a storm of any size.)
  3. Interviews with panicked consumers in the parking lot.
  4. Film of palm fronds waving. Note that palms, having evolved in the tropics, are designed to handle tropical storms, and that the fronds move in the slightest breeze.
  5. Massive ficus tree leaning against someone’s house/crushing a car. These trees have shallow root systems and dense foliage and are like giant sails. They fall over like teenage drunks in a stiff breeze.
  6. Interview with owner of said house/car: “We’re pretty darn sure it had to be a tornado!”
  7. A sand-blasted windbreaker-clad reporter standing on the beach filming idiots on surfboards. The police are telling people to evacuate, and channel X is providing a surf report. Gnarly, dude.
  8. A line of cars driving through water half way up their doors. And you think people aren’t herd animals?
  9. Reporters standing next to a large puddle. Usually happens after the police kick them off of the beach for creating a nuisance. It looks like the ocean with the wind.
  10. People nailing shower curtains and blue tarps over the holes in their roofs.

Someone could make some cash by creating some stock footage of the above items, superimpose the content from the National Hurricane Center over it and do a green screen thing in a studio with strong fan and a hose and cover the storm without setting foot in the state. Throw in some local/state/federal talking heads and you’re done.

Anyway… they kept moving Ike’s track west and south so that we ended up not doing any hurricane prep — shutters, clearing the patio, etc. etc. Looks like Ike’s heading for Texas.

Glad we didn’t get to meet.

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