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Irene-hype Tweets of the Day

Irene-hype Tweets of the Day

My town in Rhode Island still is mostly without power, as is much of the state.  My wife returned there briefly today (we were in Ithaca when Irene hit) and called me to say “I’ve never seen anything like this.”  Even several days later the roads/yards are littered with debris and downed trees.

It still is bad in drive-through country.

From Al Roker, two tweets:


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Well, my mother was from Rhode Island [Newport, and not the rich side], and she maintained lots of friends there. Often we would spent a couple of weeks at friends’ beach houses on Matunuck Beach. The locals all seemed to remember the 1938 hurricane, which caused substantial damage and killed over 600 people. So, though people of the current generation haven’t seen anything like it, I’m sure that much worse has occurred before.

My power was off for twelve days after the 2008 ice storm in central New England. I found moving the process by which normal conditions were gradually restored.

(As I drove around in a quixotic search for a heated room, I noticed a lit motel sign which had been dark a few minutes earlier. It was my good fortune to pass by right after power was restored to the location.) Had I spent twelve nights in my darkened house at single-digit temperatures, my recollections today would be less philosophical than they are.

When you’ve lost Al Roker….

This is telling. By some estimates, the government intervention cost more than the storm economically, and the evacuation orders may have directly contributed to more deaths than the storm itself!

From the article:

Early estimates indicate that Irene caused somewhere between $7-10 billion in damages. While that’s a significant number – it’s dramatically lower than forecasters were originally projecting. Meanwhile, the economic impact of shutting down the entire Eastern Seaboard for several days could top $25 billion, according to a University of Maryland economist.

In short, the government overreaction was much costlier than the storm itself.

By comparison, Hurricane Katrina caused more than $130 billion in inflation-adjusted damages – and resulted in more than 1,800 deaths. Meanwhile Irene has been blamed for approximately fifty deaths in thirteen states – although a careful examination of the circumstances surrounding these fatalities is revealing.

For example, a man in North Carolina died of a heart attack while installing plywood on his home in advance of Irene’s arrival. A man in Florida was killed after falling off of his surfboard the day after the storm passed. A man in Connecticut died when his canoe capsized, while a man in New York was killed in a windsurfing accident.

Meanwhile at least a dozen Irene-related deaths occurred as a result of traffic accidents or flooded cars – raising questions about the efficacy of evacuation orders. By contrast, only a handful of fatalities appear to be linked to people who stayed in their homes.