Prev | List | Random | Next
Having ridden out our share of hurricanes and tropical storms along the Gulf Coast, we tend to notice the quality of media coverage these events receive.
Last month we noticed the ludicrous reporting on "Hurricane" Dennis as it passed through Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. That bit of sensationalist journalism led to our watching closely as the storm struck the Florida Panhandle, causing damage to the immediate beachfront, snapping a few trees, and causing other damage consistent with a strong tropical storm, or perhaps a weak hurricane. However, no hurricane level winds were reported by any observing stations as Dennis made landfall.
None the less, the media insisted that the storm was a category 3 hurricane, and the National Hurricane Center went along for the ride.
Our final post on the topic explained why this was a problem:
But what about next time? Sensational type reporting - and exaggeration of minor storms into major stories - contributes to the lack of response on the part of many to a major storm when one does come along. People who erroneously believe they've survived a cat 3-4 storm will be in for a rude surprise when a real one moves in.As postscript, I'll add that I sincerly hope this didn't contribute to the death toll from Katrina - a number far too high for an event like this in an age of modern technology and communications. (Comparison, Andrew killed 26 while striking both Miami and the New Orleans area. Historical totals here.)