Irene Over-Hyped? My Butt.


I’m an admitted Accuweather junkie. In college, I took weather and climate classes to squeak in that science requirement I needed to graduate, and loved them. I just find the whole forecasting thing fascinating.

That means I’ve been reading their comments, as well as those on other weather sites, in the aftermath of Irene. A lot of folks are saying that Accuweather, other major weather sites and stations, and even their local forecasters “hyped” Irene too much.


Here are a few of the reasons I don’t think so at all:

Mom and Dad's Pool
Mom and Dad’s Pool


Mom and Dad's Yard




















All that damage is in one yard – my mom and dad’s. I live just a few minutes away from them, and had nothing more than a few downed branches in my yard.

If, like me, you are one of the people who got through it relatively unscathed, it doesn’t mean the media overhyped things. It means we got frickin’ lucky.

There are still over 100,000 people here in Maryland without power 3 days after the storm. Many are being told things could be “lights out” for them until the weekend.

Even though they have four downed trees and lots of damage, even my family is lucky compared to those who had a tree land on their roof or who are being driven out of their homes by flooding coastlines and rivers. Two women right in my office suffered major flood damage to their homes.

And hey, we’re in Baltimore. We didn’t even get hit with the same punch the coastline got.

In spite of all that, my whole state got lucky when you look at what people are still dealing with in New Jersey and Vermont. There are people there being air-lifted food because they can’t get out for provisions.

Doesn’t sound overhyped to me at all.

I wonder what the people who say that would consider a serious deal. Does it have to be a Katrina to warrant extensive media warnings and coverage?

Personally, I’d like to congratulate the media on a job well done. I am someone who chose not to go into journalism because I hated the whole ambulance chasing, story-creating culture. But in this case, I think they were spot-on.

If some of the worst case scenarios that were presented didn’t happen, that’s because we were fortunate. They COULD have happened, and I’d rather know that than be blindsided by them.

If the media coverage kept a few potential daredevils from braving shorelines or keeping potentially distastrous outdoor plans during the storm, they did their job.

If the media coverage helped a few Northeasters who aren’t as used to hurricanes as those in more southern areas be better mentally and physically prepared, they did their job. For us, it was a big deal. Lives were lost up and down the East Coast. I had to laugh at one guy who said something about how he didn’t get it because he was “used to” dealing with category 4 and 5 hurricanes. OK. We don’t get those enough for anyone to be “used to” them, do we? And even if we did, that’s like a heavyweight boxer telling me I should have no problem kicking a 250-pound buff bully’s ass just because he regularly knocks out 300 pound tough guys.

I hope the criticism doesn’t deter the media from keeping us as informed as possible. I’d rather know of the potential for serious problems and be pleasantly surprised when things aren’t as bad as they could have been than be blindsided by an unexpected wallop in the ass, any day of the week.




About hawleywood40

Writer, Steelers Fan in Baltimore, Frequent Visitor to the Shot Fairy
This entry was posted in Baltimore, Rants and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Irene Over-Hyped? My Butt.

  1. akamonsoon says:

    Those pictures are incredible. I hope they have regained power by now. Hurricanes are serious stuff and I’d also want to be well prepared and then pleasantly surprised later on. I’d also agree that the weather people got it right.

  2. l'empress says:

    No, it’s not that it was overhyped. It was misinterpreted by some of the younger guys (or gals) with less experience).

    I’m planning posts about our experience, but I have to winnow out the curses first.

  3. Glad you are all safe and sound. It’s amazing what effect the media can have, both positive and negative. I have a rant on my page about the hockey riots here because I think the media over-hyped the whole thing and then the riots fed into the machine. Just my opinion. In the case of a terrible Irene or other disaster that affects so many, I hope common sense rules the reporting to keep all as safe as possible. Someone should control the media (no, not those who already do, lol). My favourite Aunt is named Irene just to end on a positive here or I’ll go off again, LOL. Glad to know no one was in the path of those trees at your folks home 🙂

  4. tsonoda148 says:

    I think all the proposed “hype” probably saved a lot of lives. What’s that worth? Extra effort from everyone by taking more precautions? I’d say it’s worth it.
    Good post.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      I totally agree. Heck, if it made even a few people go pick up supplies before the mad rush in the days before, I’m okay with that. I got some last minute requests from my grandmother and the stores were insane!

  5. Jess Witkins says:

    I’m glad you and your family is ok. Those photos remind me of the damage we had this summer when a tornado came through, and like you our yard only had some branches and leaves debris, but across the street were uprooted trees, damaged cars, houses missing shingles and siding, and downed power lines. It’s tough to say we ever over-hype the weather, because we would never want to underestimate its power. I’ll be keeping you guys in my prayers, hope the worst is over now.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      I’ve never lived through a tornado – I’d be terrified! Things are looking up here. Power is back on at the parents house and work on cleaning up the yard is progressing slowly but surely …thanks Jess!

  6. Wow. I’m glad you are alright, even if the areas around you aren’t. This was one hellacious storm. I try not to pay attention to the media–media “personalities” make me a bit crazy. I have enough “crazy” in my life.

    I actually heard one guy on the Weather Channel say he was “bummed” that when Irene hit NYC that it was “only” a tropical storm. He wanted to see a record set of at least a Cat 1 hurricane hit the Big Apple. Can you believe that? He said that out loud! Sheesh!

  7. Patti Kuche says:

    My goodness, the anticipation here in NYC was overwhelming but the relief was enormous. I’m with you on wanting to know rather than being blindsided and so sorry to hear of the damage in your parent’s lovely garden but good to hear you are all well!

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