This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



June 2024

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Echoes of Ivan

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner…

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Libya
  • Steve Jobs
  • Earthquake
  • Hurricane

Just click to listen now:

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Recorded 28 Aug 2011″]


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Reporter Fighting the Wind Time

We are now at that part of the process. So just watching it roll up the coast now and seeing what happens. Stay safe East Coast people!


Well, not really panic, but finally there is an update from the NHC that starts to justify the hype. (Well, OK, the charts below came out about 3 hours ago, but I was at dinner…) Lets see, where are we…

OK, that’s the odds of hurricane force winds map. Where does that put us?

  • NC Coast: 30% to 60% depending where on the coast
  • Jersey Shore: 5% to 15% depending where on the coast
  • NYC: 5% to 10%
  • Boston: 5%
  • DC, Baltimore, Philly, Maine Coast: <5%

Now, 5% doesn’t sound like much, but it means there is a 1 in 20 shot of getting hit by some really violent weather, and that is nothing to sneeze at or take likely. Yes, it means there is a 95% chance it WON’T happen, but if the 5% does happen, it would be pretty bad, so you take it seriously. Not to mention the 30% to 60% on the NC coast. And those are the odds at particular points, the odds that SOMEWHERE on the NC coast will get hurricane force winds are probably over 90% at this point. So the evacuations in NC are definitely justified, and NYC and Boston most likely are as well. But I hear they are waiting to make a decision on FRIDAY. What, are they waiting until there is more than a 50% chance? That would be too late for most people to get out.

And of course, aside from the hurricane force winds, there is a much larger area with a good shot at tropical storm force winds…

And where to our lovely locations look on this front?

  • NC Coast: 90%+ along the whole coast. No question they are getting at least TS force winds
  • Jersey Shore: 55% to 70% depending where on the coast
  • NYC: About 55%
  • DC, Baltimore, Philly, Boston: All about 50%
  • Maine Coast: 30% to 50% depending where on the coast

All very much not to sneeze at. And of course that is just winds. It looks like depending on how this plays out, storm surge might be more significant.

Or of course it could just veer out to sea. But that is looking increasingly unlikely. What the news reports are hyping is true, this has the POTENTIAL to cause a lot of problems and be very serious. Which places get hit and how hard of course is very hard to predict, which is always the trouble with these things. Most of the places I listed above will probably dodge the worst of this thing. But at least NC is likely to get hammered pretty good, and most likely at least one of the other places will too.

Ever since I lived in Florida and we went through several of these (OK, and maybe a bit before) I’ve been a bit of a junky for these things. Well, not like @brendanloy or anything, but enough so I’m closely watching his feed, and refreshing the NHC site at the times the updates are due, and will be turning on one cable network or another to watch once they have the hapless reporters trying to stand against the wind and all that.

And I’ll be glad I NO LONGER live somewhere in the path of hurricanes. Instead here in Seattle there are earthquakes and volcanos to worry about. Much better. Right? Right?

Irene Update

No time to grab the pictures and stuff this time, but of course everything comes from the NHC. As of the latest update of the wind probability charts I like a couple of hours ago, this is where we stand odds wise for a few east coast places:

Hurricane Force Winds:

  • NC Coast: 20% to 35% chance depending on where on the coast
  • DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Jersey Shore, NYC, Boston, Maine Coast: All less than 5% chance
Tropical Storm Force Winds:
  • NC Coast: 70% to 90%+ chance depending on where on the coast
  • Jersey Shore: 40% to 60% chance depending on where on the coast
  • NYC: 45% chance
  • DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia: 40% chance
  • Boston: 35% chance
  • Maine Coast: 20% to 35% chance depending on where on the coast
Of course, winds aren’t the only potential source of trouble for storms like this. Storm surges and the like can cause a lot of damage, even in areas that do not get hit by the winds. Those are of course also just the chances of winds in specific spots. The chance of winds hitting SOMEWHERE is of course much much higher. It is just a question of where.
And those tropical force storm wind odds are pretty high in ALL of those places, and they are not anything to be sneezed at.
But with the hype building rapidly on the “major city hit by hurricane” front, keep in mind that even though some of the models have things going in that direction, the odds of hurricane force winds in each of those cities is still pretty small. That may change over the next 24 hours of course.
The exception of course is the NC coast. We’re already talking about 20% to 35% chance of hurricane force winds. That’s enough to be quite concerned and doing whatever needs to be done to prepare for a hit.
Having said that, if I was in any of those other areas, I’d still be getting ready for a pretty big storm, as the chances for at least tropical storm force winds is pretty high. And watching carefully of course, to see how these odds develop. These things accelerate pretty quickly once they start heading north.

To Follow up the Shaking

Enjoy the next few days East Coast!

To be fair, the odds of tropical storm force winds in each of the major East Coast cities appears to be a bit less than it was a few hours ago as the models predict more recurvature out to sea. (I should have posted then!)

But still… DC and Baltimore around 15%… Philly, NYC and Boston all around 20%. That ain’t nothing! Enough to be paying attention to.

(But despite the hype now building on TV, each of those cities still have a less than 5% chance of hurricane force winds… at least for now.)