Irene: A National Embarrassment
Politics is part of everything. The weather’s been politicized; the climate’s been politicized; hurricane track forecasts have been politicized. I was over in Hawaii, and they said, “Okay, Hurricane Irene,” and start the first tracks, and I looked at it because if it’s gonna target my house I gotta leave Hawaii early and come home and get the family out. So I’m looking at it and, lo and behold, on the first day or two of the track, dead hit Palm Beach. I said, “Okay, we’re out of the woods. Ain’t gonna happen.” I know damn well it is not gonna happen. They’re gonna move that track, they’re gonna be moving it east. I am looking at hurricane models and they’ve got the track on the far left side of the model guidance, they’ve gotta have this track over land, over populated areas to get people to pay attention to it. After Hurricane Katrina, everybody is just on politically correct alert, fearful.
The funniest thing — there are so many funny things — television networks went out and actually got Ray Nagin as a preparedness expert to advise other communities in the path of Hurricane Irene what to do to get ready. What’s he gonna tell ’em? “Leave your school buses parked so that they get flooded?” There was damage from this thing, but it was not nearly as bad as they said. Some guy did something interesting and I decided to check it myself. He’s a doubter, and he’s watching the reports of 75- to 85- to 100-mile-an-hour winds in Virginia and North Carolina. So he went to the Weather Underground site, and he went to a bunch of cities and towns that were where the hurricane was, and the highest wind speed he could find was 33-miles-an-hour, while they’re reporting 75 to 85 to 95-mile-an-hour winds.