The US media loves hurricanes for the same reason they love school shootings – they believe it helps them politically because they believe they can blame the weather on Republicans for sinning against Gaia, and it also helps whip up religious hysteria among their lunatic base. Florence is the latest in a long line of hurricanes that have been billed as the storm of the century, but may in fact be another dud:
The National Hurricane Center’s best guess was that Florence would blow ashore as early as Friday afternoon around the North Carolina-South Carolina line, then push its rainy way westward with a potential for catastrophic inland flooding.
Florence’s nighttime winds were down to 110 mph (175 kph) from a high of 140 mph (225 kph), and the Category 3 storm fell to a Category 2, with a further slow weakening expected as the storm nears the coast. But authorities warned it will still be an extremely dangerous hurricane.
“Do you want to get hit with a train or do you want to get hit with a cement truck?” said Jeff Byard, an administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Tropical storm-force winds extended 195 miles (315 kilometers) from Florence’s center, and hurricane-force winds reached out 70 miles (110 kilometers).
The National Weather Service said 5.25 million people live in areas under hurricane warnings or watches, and 4.9 million live in places covered by tropical storm warnings or watches.
This AP story is somewhat outdated. As of the writing of this post, the maximum sustained wind speeds are continuing to drop and are now down to 90 mph. By the time this post goes live, Florence could be on the low end of a category one hurricane, much to the anguish of the media.
I was all set to bust out my “underwater gas station” pictures for the next week too!
A category one storm is nothing to sneer at, of course. It can still cause substantial property damage and even loss of life to those unprepared for the storm. But a category one storm is not an apocalyptic, world ending threat either, which is how this hurricane has been presented to the general public by the media.
The one big risk that remains with this storm is the flooding. The storm is being described as a slow moving storm similar to Harvey, which was most noteworthy for the sheer quantity of water it dumped on the city of Houston, which did $125 billion in damage.
However, it’s difficult for me to tell whether these fears are exaggerated or not by a media desperately wishcasting a world-ending weather event that obliterates the states of North and South Carolina. Given how rapidly this storm is weakening, my suspicion is that the flooding is not going to be out of line for a typical category one hurricane.
I can understand why the authorities and media panicked about this storm initially. A giant, slow moving category four storm would have done immense harm to wherever it landed. But as the storm weakened, the media should have acted responsibly by cooling off the talk of the apocalypse.
Instead, they have continued trying to create panic and describe a common category one storm as though it were a unique apocalyptic event. The next time a major hurricane comes at a US city, people may decide not to evacuate since the media isn’t credible when reporting on the actual danger level of a given storm in their fervor to whip up anti-Republican religious hatred.