About the hurricane

We just had some friends move to Florida, Punta Gorda to be exact. (About halfway down on the Gulf side.) Why they moved is a mystery except “she’s always wanted to live there.” Well, OK.

They settled in less than a month ago (and are currently in Italy, so the hurricane doesn’t really affect them so long as their house doesn’t blow away, but I digress.)

I noted that the current hurricane is named Idalia, which makes it the “I” hurricane, the 9th named storm of the season. I didn’t realize so many had already passed without striking land, or at least my notice.

Because of the warming gulf waters hurricanes are said to be forming earlier, contain more moisture, and stronger winds. Here’s a chart from, uh, the WSJ I think:

I see a trend, though it’s not as dire as I might have expected. But in this is one case where “more” is not better. They also have a chart showing the difference between El Niño years and La Niña and “nothing” years. That one is thrown in for effect even though it doesn’t mean that much to me.

Here’s the link to the whole story for those who have access:


windy.com is a great source to “see” the storms before the new horror machine winds up. Take a look at Bermuda at the current moment.


Doesn’t matter. The media will make each storm out to be the worst in recorded history. Remember all the blather in the media yesterday about this storm being “catastrophic”? The storm made landfall some time ago. Not much about it on the news pages I look at.



Florida man here.

The storm ended up following a path that was, with little exaggeration, the ideal track to avoid threats to life and property. It hit in almost the exact center of the least populated/developed portion of the west coast, the stretch where almost all of the coastal area is part of various state preserves and protected forests. Taylor County (where landfall occurred) has only 20,000 residents - and virtually none on the coast.

The storm wobbled to the left, and so had the “perfect” landfall to avoid damage.
Had the storm wobbled to the right instead (like Ian did), it would have hit the northernmost edge of the Tampa/St. Pete metro area, and could have caused a lot of damage and loss of life.

Here’s an aerial of that portion of the state. Yesterday afternoon, the center of the track was projected to hit Cedar Key (in red), which is just to the north of the Greater Tampa Metro (which mostly runs up to Spring Hill, in blue). Even a minor change in course to the east would have brought landfall closer to areas where development is on the coast. Instead, the track wobbled to the west, and landfall was near Perry (the area in yellow) - where unlike points south, the entire coast is mostly environmental preserve.


great site !
Bermuda looks like a pretty scary place to be right now.


I was a Category 4 for a brief time. You would prefer they not mention it?


They do the same with climate change! The sky is falling.

The Captain


IIRC, it was a Cat 3 when it made landfall.

I think the point is that hurricanes are a normal phenom in that part of the world. No particular need for hyperventilating.



As was Katrina when it made landfall. Yet more than a thousand people died. Because it hit in a place that was heavily populated and very vulnerable to flooding and with a lot of people left in the landfall area. Any major hurricane (Cat 3 or higher) can be very devastating.

Hurricanes are indeed a regular occurrence in this part of the world. And they are extremely important and consequential events when they happen, if they hit the wrong place at the wrong time from the wrong direction. Whether they hit in the wrong place can be a matter of a few dozen miles, well within the margin of error of our current forecasting abilities. Which means that it is completely appropriate to pay a lot of attention to any major hurricane.


Yes it was. It was a Cat 4 a few hours earlier,

Idalia attained Category 4 intensity on the five-step Saffir-Simpson wind scale early Wednesday before landfall, but by 7 a.m. had weakened into Category 3, the NHC said.

More from the story:

Video footage and photographs from the region around Idalia's landfall showed ocean waters washing over highways and neighborhoods swamped by extensive flooding at midday. Power outages were widespread.

Fierce winds ripped down the roof of a gasoline station in Perry, a town of about 7,000 residents roughly 20 miles (32 km) inland and north of where Idalia came ashore, CNN video showed.

At a late afternoon news conference, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said no hurricane fatalities had been confirmed and that it seemed most residents in vulnerable, low-lying areas had heeded evacuation orders and warnings to move to higher ground.

It seems Steve would prefer the hurricane get mentioned once or twice, and the media move on to the local flower & garden show or something as equally unfrightening.


A couple photos of the hurricane effects the media overhyped:

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That would seem appropriate for someone who lives in Michigan. Not so if you live on the Gulf coast. And someone in Apalachicola probably wouldn’t care about blizzard warnings for Ann Arbor.


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No - but we get lots of news coverage on especially deadly wildfires, tornados, or even polar vortices that might end up killing more than a handful of people. Even though they’re happening far, far away from where we live. As Don Henley said, “It’s interesting when people die.”

A major hurricane has the potential to kill a lot of people. Unlike most natural disasters, you often have several days’ warning (if not longer) before it actually starts killing people or causing damage. And the damage/death caused by a major hurricane depends enormously on where, when, and what direction it makes landfall - so even though every major hurricane that’s going to make landfall has the potential to be catastrophic, most won’t be. But you’re still going to get lots of coverage, because (again) every major hurricane is exceptionally dangerous.

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Local Michigan “severe weather” hysteria is nearly non-stop here too. Any time the weather service declares a “marginal risk” within 100 miles, the Detroit media goes into freak out mode. A “marginal risk” is a 5% probability, but the media always goes into it’s default forecast of 60mph winds and 1" hail, rather than the most probable conditions. I can’t imagine how many times the media has screamed about “severe weather” this summer, vs 3 occasions when conditions actually got a bit dicey. On those 3 occasions, the weather service had metro Detroit in an “enhanced risk”, which is a 30% probability.