Five Lessons Learned from Hurricane Isaac

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Roker and Cantore ride out Isaac.
The circus has finally left New Orleans as they begin their cleanup after Hurricane Isaac dropped boatloads of rain on the Big Easy earlier this week. Despite some dire early warnings and a near-miss of the GOP convention in Tampa Bay, Isaac was fairly tame by hurricane standards. That didn't stop it from inundating three states and doing some serious damage.

As we review the aftermath, there are a few things we can take from Isaac and most of them, fortunately, are positive.

5. Major media outlets are largely worthless during storms.
If I had a nickel for every time a big media conglomerate mentioned Hurricane Katrina in the same breath as Isaac, I'd have a big-ass pile of nickels.

CNN, Fox, MSNBC and pretty much every major news outlet spent way too much time scaring the crap out of people and making ridiculous predictions, most of which didn't happen. And when it didn't, they walked away from a pretty nasty flooding disaster earlier than they should have. Even the Weather Channel, with side-o-beef Jim Cantore standing in pelting rain in goggles, looked understated compared to the full-court press from the 24-hour news outlets.

4. Five-day forecast tracks are remarkably accurate, considering.
Five days from landfall, the National Hurricane Center had averaged out the major forecasting models and dropped the center of its cone of uncertainty within about 100 miles of the storm's eventual landfall. While it moved around a bit over the next few days, it demonstrates just how greatly improved the global weather model forecasting has become for hurricane tracking. Even 15 years ago, three-day forecast tracks looked worse than five-day tracks do today.


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