As we near the end of one of the most glorious outbursts of insanity in human history, aka. the 2012 election, a giant "superstorm" called Sandy is threatening to wipe out ... New Jersey? What did those poor people do? If we thought the current hysteria could get no worse, we were wrong. Now we've got Sandy hysteria piled up on election hysteria, which can only mean one thing — Widespread Panic!
There's some good news: the Federal government has shut down and we could get some serious flooding in the low-lying financial district in lower Manhattan. Unfortunately, Nature does not act with the precision we might wish for, selectively targeting Bankers, Private Equity Capitalists, Hedge Funders, Politicians, Think-Tankers, Lobbyists and Bureaucrats. Innocent civilians are also threatened. That's a shame.
Sandy is a Category 1 hurricane with wind speeds topping out at about 85 90 miles per hour. Wind speed-wise, that's nothing to write home about, as any Gulf Coast resident can tell you. However, the Important People and Media Personalities living in the overpopulated corridor which stretches from Washington D.C. to New York City up to Boston only recently found out there are other humans living on the Gulf Coast, and thus have no way of judging just how large a disaster Sandy actually is.
Some intrepid researchers are asking for Federal government funding so they can dispatch a crack team of curious anthropologists down to the Gulf Coast, a place which Civilized People have never explored, to study how these alleged humans eke out an existence in Godforsaken Places with exotic names like "Corpus Christi", "Mississippi", "Louisiana" and "The Yucatan".
Although the storm's wind speeds are relatively benign, the storm surge from Sandy is expected to be pretty severe. It will be worst in New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey (and see the map below).
KENSINGTON, Md. (AP) — The projected storm surge from Hurricane Sandy is a "worst case scenario" with devastating waves and tides predicted for the highly populated New York City metro area, government forecasters said Sunday.
The more they observe it, the more the experts worry about the water — which usually kills and does more damage than winds in hurricanes.
In this case, seas will be amped up by giant waves and full-moon-powered high tides. That will combine with drenching rains, triggering inland flooding as the hurricane merges with a winter storm system that will worsen it and hold it in place for days.
Louis Uccellini, environmental prediction chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA], told the Associated Press that given Sandy's due east-to-west track into New Jersey, that puts the worst of the storm surge just north in New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey. "Yes, this is the worst case scenario," he said.
In a measurement of pure kinetic energy, NOAA's hurricane research division on Sunday ranked the surge and wave "destruction potential" for Sandy — just the hurricane, not the hybrid storm it will eventually become — at 5.8 on a 0 to 6 scale. The damage expected from winds will be far less, experts said. Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters says that surge destruction potential number is a record and it's due to the storm's massive size.
"You have a lot of wind acting over a long distance of water for hundreds of miles" and that piles the storm surge up when it finally comes ashore, Masters said. Even though it doesn't pack much power in maximum wind speed, the tremendous size of Sandy — more than 1,000 miles across with tropical storm force winds — adds to the pummelling power when it comes ashore, he said.
There will no doubt be some large-scale power outages as well.
I should also add that this diaster will be a great boon to Barack Obama—what disaster is not?—who will get to look Very Presidential in the days preceding the election.
Some powerful Americans have been very naughty these past 30 years. Many of them live in areas lying directly in the storm's path. Is Sandy the Wrath of God?
Certainly not, but a little Wrath of God falling upon various Unrepentent Sinners would be very welcome right about now.
Unfortunately for us, to quote Kurt Vonnegut, God is the laziest man in town.