Why Hurricane Irene Did (or Did Not) Prove Forecasters Wrong

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A man walks across 42nd Street in Times Square in New York on August 28, 2011 as Hurricane Irene hits the city and Tri State area with rain and high winds. A man walks across 42nd Street in Times Square in New York on August 28, 2011 as Hurricane Irene hits the city and Tri State area with rain and high winds. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty)

In preparing for Hurricane Irene’s weekend arrival, communities along the East Coast prepared for the worst. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg insisted on Friday that New Yorkers "must, I repeat the word 'must,' evacuate beginning tomorrow and complete the process by 8pm tomorrow night." But his historic preparations turned out to be for a less-than-historic storm, at least in New York City. While all Americans are glad that the loss of life, property and infrastructure was relatively minimal, many people are now wondering: why was Irene so much less the threat we were told it would be?

Adam Sobel, professor of earth and environmental sciences at Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, on the complexity of predicting the weather.

Comments [1]

jim from nyc

meteorology economics apparently the same so just how powerful are those computers you use

Aug. 30 2011 01:04 PM

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