News & Politics

Hurricane Joaquin Will Likely Miss New York City, Civilization Will Probably Continue


As Hurricane Joaquin is busy flogging the hell out of the Bahamas, millions of New Yorkers are losing their minds while they keep an eye on the weather. Will it hit us, too? Should we stock up on beer? And how soon until we must begin feasting on the weakest of our friends and neighbors?

The bottom line is that no one knows yet. But you may not need to break out that Emeril’s Human Marinade™ after all.

After conflicting predictions over the past few days, the latest reports from the National Hurricane Center, released at 5 p.m. today, say Joaquin will likely not make direct landfall in the U.S.

There has been wide divergence between the two primary prediction models, known colloquially as the U.S. and the European models, but they seem to be converging on a path that would bring Joaquin to the east and out to sea.

That doesn’t mean the city won’t be in for bad weather this weekend. The leading edge of Joaquin, whether it turns east or not, could still drop significant amounts of rain, and may prompt “minor to moderate coastal flooding” in Northeastern states. (The Southeast will likely be in really bad shape, however, with extensive flooding.)

The European model was famously credited with predicting Sandy pretty much bang on in 2012. While the American model was calling for the storm to peel off toward the ocean, the European model correctly showed it battering New Jersey and New York, which it most certainly did.

But the European model didn’t do so well during New York’s weather-related freakout last winter, the purported blizzard that was supposed to usher us into a new ice age. The European model predicted more than thirty inches of snow that time, and because it did so well during Sandy, that became the dominant narrative. But only about nine inches actually fell.

There’s nothing like a good extreme weather event to knock the human race down a few pegs. Mother Nature is notoriously fickle; she can’t be controlled, and she can’t really be predicted. Even if we don’t get hurricaned into oblivion, maybe pick up some beer anyway; it’ll help you forget just how tiny and insignificant we actually are.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 1, 2015


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