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Hurricane Irene and Global Warming

Some idiot named Bill McKibbin writes at the Daily Beast:

Irene’s got a middle name, and it’s Global Warming.  As she roars up the Eastern Seaboard, everyone is doing what they should—boarding windows, preparing rescue plans, stocking up on batteries. But a lot of people are also wondering: what’s a “tropical” storm doing heading for the snow belt?

McKibben is not only a fool, but he’s hardly original.

When the Gulf of Mexico coastline took its direct hit from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a lefty columnist for the Boston Globe blamed the storm on global warming.  “The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service.  Its real name is global warming,” he wrote.

Actually, if the buffoonish columnists wanted to accurately name these hurricanes, they would remove their tin-foil caps and called them, “normal weather.”

Hurricanes are the fascinating grand dames of earth’s natural weather machine.  To pin their frequency and intensity on global warming is foolish, but to the uniformed, it’s a sexy sell.

To try pin frequency and intensity on global warming is folly.  Like all kinds of weather, hurricanes simply happen.  On average, close to seven hurricanes every four years (1.8 per year) strike the United States, while about two major hurricanes cross the U.S. coast every three years.

Consider some other noteworthy hurricanes, none of which occurred in particularly hot years:

Deadliest Hurricane:  More than 8,000 people perished September 8, 1900, when a Category 4 hurricane barreled into Galveston, Texas.  The storm surges exceeded 15 feet and winds howled at 130 mph, destroying more than half of the city’s homes.

Most Intense Hurricane:  An unnamed storm slammed into the Florida Keys during Labor Day, 1935.  Researchers estimated sustained winds reached 150-200 mph with higher gusts.  The storm killed an estimated 408 people.

Greatest Storm Surge:  In 1969, Hurricane Camille produced a 25-foot storm surge in Mississippi.  Camille, a Category 5 storm, was the strongest storm of any kind to ever strike mainland America.  When the eye hit Mississippi, winds gusted up to 200 mph.  The hurricane caused the deaths of 143 people along the coast from Alabama into Louisiana and led to another 113 deaths as the weakening storm moved inland.

Earliest and latest hurricanes:  The hurricane season is defined as June 1 through November 30.  The earliest observed hurricane in the Atlantic was on March 7, 1908, while the latest observed hurricane was on December 31, 1954.  The earliest hurricane to strike the United States was Alma, which struck northwest Florida on June 9, 1966.  The latest hurricane to strike the United States was on November 30, 1925, near Tampa, Florida.

By the way, hurricanes occur off the coast of the “snow belt” because in the summer the ocean waters in the Northeast are above 82 degrees; a hurricane requires at least such a temperature in order to maintain it’s status.


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One Response to “ “Hurricane Irene and Global Warming”

  1. Walter says:

    I think it’s very telling the reaction from the AGW crowd. When it’s 28 in Miami and snowing all across the south, and someone quips, “so much for global warming.” They are quick to point out it’s just local weather patterns. But if it’s a couple of degrees above normal in NY or Chicago, they’re in a panic because it’s clear proof of GW.

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