The Fine Print

I would not be doing my job if I failed to mention the possibility of this storm missing the region completely.  There is evidence that the storm will veer off into the Atlantic and miss the chance at phasing with the frontal system approaching from the west.  Although the overwhelming majority or meteorologists are in agreement that a portion of the Northeast US will be heavily impacted by the system, it is not unheard of for all the atmospheric models being wrong, especially in such a transition time of year.  Sometimes you can choose red or black on the roulette wheel…and green hits.

Notice a few of the runs bringing Sandy out to sea. Those are the 00 and 0 on the roulette wheel.

At times we as scientists like to get caught up in the extreme and fail to acknowledge the mundane, and this storm is no different.  Communicating information to the public is dicey at times because people have a tendency to latch on to certain words or phrases.  If I say strong winds will cause massive power outages, and you don’t lose power, suddenly I was wrong; even if half of your state is without power.  Educating a large population on something as fickle as the movement of a tropical cyclone is a monumental task, and it takes on a new level of importance when there is the risk of property damage and harm to a number of humans.

I take the “apologize for overstating a storm” rather than “apologize for you being unprepared”.

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