[ExI] Hurricane Sandy

Mike Dougherty msd001 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 30 20:19:07 UTC 2012

On Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 3:21 PM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 30, 2012 at 6:21 PM, Mike Dougherty wrote:
>> I wish they had covered more explanation for how that happened.  I did
>> hear one meteorologist refer to it as "unprecedented."
> Predicting the path of a hurricane is not an easy task. They have
> improved their computer models and data-collection a lot in the last
> year.
> IEEE has a good article:
> <http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/software/predicting-hurricane-sandy>

I understand that modelling a hurricane is no small task.  It's the
basic definition of a complex system.

The behavior of people reporting and reacting to those models is also
a problem to be solved.  I am happy to have over-prepared for a
prolonged outage that only lasted 12 hours (I've had 3-4 day outages,
so a half-day event is thankfully short).  However, the likelihood
that proper vigilance can be maintained past a few hysterical
non-events is pretty low.  If the forecasters continue to cry wolf (or
"omg, superstorm, run away!!!") I'd expect uninformed masses to assume
the next big storm will also be uneventful.

Since we still have so much electricity delivered from pole to pole
(are they still called telephone poles?) we import "linemen" to
inspect the wires for the source of outages affecting, in this case,
millions of subscribers.  Interestingly, there are very few
communities that do not subscribe to 'electricity'   I don't
understand why our electric grid isn't smart enough to tell the
provider where the outage exists.  I'm pretty sure our ISPs know or
can find out exactly where each packet is headed on their network.

NYC subways are flooded.  They aren't yet predicting when they'll be
restored.  I'm sure someone thought to use the FDNY pumping trucks...
but how much hose do they have, how much volume per second can it
move, how much water does it take to fill the New York subway?  Even
if you bring in naval fireboats, you'd still need quite a bit of
plumbing to reach into the subway in order to keep supply to those
pumps.  Does NYC have a public disaster plan?  I tried Google but
don't know what the magic word(s) are to get to anything other than
marketing and directions for how to make a personal disaster plan.

I was really looking for preemptive strikes against the hurricane
itself.  If cloud-seeding can make rain, is there a similar something
that can artificially/manually downgrade a hurricane?

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