Dear Media Idiots: Hurricane Isaac Is Not Hurricane Katrina

Let’s get one thing clear: Hurricane Isaac — or, at the moment, Tropical Storm Isaac — is not Hurricane Katrina.

Katrina was a monster, scaling the heights of the Saffir-Simpson scale to become a rare Category 5.

Katrina was also huge. At one point, she covered almost the entire Gulf of Mexico.

Worse, Katrina arrived in the middle of a relentless hurricane season — one that produced so many storms, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ran out of names for them and had to start using Greek letters.

In New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast, our nerves were shot. By the end of August 2005, we felt like we were swimming in a shark tank, with paper cuts etched across our ankles. (Don’t ask me how the cuts got there, just go with the metaphor.)

In short: when Katrina hit, we were exhausted and terrified and un(der)prepared. We are none of those things now. Or if we are, we are far less so.

That’s not to say that we’re treating Isaac casually. We learned the hard way not to do that seven years ago.

Businesses and schools have closed for the next few days, and although few residents are actually evacuating — due to Isaac’s lack of power or size — most have stocked up on supplies. We have an intelligent mayor in place, as well as improved storm protections, like pumps and levee walls. And as much as I dislike Bobby Jindal, I have to admit, he’s been more clear-headed and decisive in the past 24 hours than former Governor Blanco ever was.

So, no matter how many times you say it, no matter how many parallels you try to draw, the only real similarity between Katrina and Isaac is that both will have made landfall on August 29. And given the fact that the Atlantic hurricane season peaks around September 10, is that really such a big deal?

You want a story? Focus your attention to the east, to Tampa. See if Republicans learned anything from George W. Bush’s failed tests of compassion, caring, and swift action following Katrina. See how many at the GOP convention reference Isaac (or Katrina for that matter). See how many pay lip-service to helping those in the affected areas, and how many prefer to follow the Tea Baggers’ favorite talking-point of letting people fend for themselves. And while you’re at it, see how many Democrats follow suit.

Trust me: it’ll be far more interesting than finding specious links between Katrina and Isaac, and more enlightening than picking apart soundbites from idiots on either side of the aisle.

11 Comments so far

  1. mike grimm (unregistered) on August 27th, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

    This is hilarious. You probably live up north somewhere all safe
    and sound. You must live a boring life.


  2. Soapy Johnson (unregistered) on August 27th, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

    People along the Gulf Coast would take hurricanes like Isaac more
    seriously, if they had more alarming names —
    http://placeitonluckydan.com/2011/09/better-hurricane-names/


  3. Jerrico (unregistered) on August 27th, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

    So… you are criticizing the media for inaccurate reporting of
    this tropical storm when you are doing that same thing yourself?
    Katrina was a Category THREE when it hit. It was a five at peak
    intensity out in the gulf before it came to shore. I just read a
    report that Hurricane Isaac could end up being MORE damaging to the
    gulf region because of the longevity of it. Also, at one time
    Katrina was completely written off and not considered a threat.
    Where do you get your information on this storm that the experts
    don’t? There is not one reputable forecaster that has said there is
    no possibility this storm is not going to be as damaging or
    possibly more damaging than Katrina. I would say there are many
    many parallels to this storm and Katrina. Who exactly is the media
    idiot here?


  4. richard (rico) on August 27th, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

    Mike: I’ve lived in New Orleans for most of my life. I still live
    in the Upper 9th, which is north of Algiers and little else.


  5. richard (rico) on August 27th, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

    Jerrico: Isaac is small. Also, it’s about 24 hours from landfall,
    and it’s still a tropical storm. Isaac’s winds are nowhere near as
    strong as Katrina’s, and those winds were largely responsible for
    the damage Katrina did. True, rainfall was a factor, but wind and
    tidal surge were key to the federal flood. If you want to get
    worked up and draw parallels between Isaac and Katrina, you go
    right ahead. But those parallels are specious and sloppy. In the
    recent past, Isaac is maybe closer to Gustav than anything — but
    no one wants to talk about Gustav because few people remember it.


  6. Gulf Coast Rising News | Dear Media Idiots: Hurricane Isaac Is Not Hurricane Katrina – Metroblogging.com (blog) (pingback) on August 27th, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

    [...] Dear Media Idiots: Hurricane Isaac Is Not Hurricane
    KatrinaMetroblogging.com (blog)August 27th, 2012 @ 1:02 PM
    Katrina,News. Let’s get one thing clear: Hurricane Isaac — or, at
    the moment, Tropical Storm Isaac — is not Hurricane Katrina.
    Katrina was a monster, scaling the heights of the Saffir-Simpson
    scale to become a rare Category 5.and more [...]


  7. Hurricane Katrina | NewsTrendr (pingback) on August 27th, 2012 @ 11:13 pm

    [...] Dear Media Idiots: Hurricane Isaac Is Not Hurricane
    KatrinaMetroblogging.com (blog)August 27th, 2012 @ 1:02 PM
    Katrina,News. Let’s get one thing clear: Hurricane Isaac — or, at
    the moment, Tropical Storm Isaac — is not Hurricane Katrina.
    Katrina was a monster, scaling the heights of the Saffir-Simpson
    scale to become a rare Category 5. [...]


  8. Anonymous (unregistered) on August 29th, 2012 @ 6:13 am

    Well, I’ve been hearing people who rode out Katrina are claiming
    Isaac is already causing more damage in their areas than it did.
    Some people have been trapped in their homes because they decided
    not to leave. Of course, it’s no on the same scale as Katrina.


  9. Anonymous (unregistered) on August 29th, 2012 @ 6:16 am

    Also you shouldn’t just assume it’s going to behave like the
    meteorologists expect it to.


  10. richard (rico) on August 29th, 2012 @ 6:35 am

    @Anonymous: I’ve not heard any of those reports, though the two
    storms are following different paths, so I wouldn’t be surprised if
    some folks for more wind/rain with Isaac than they did with
    Katrina. As for how we should “assume it’s going to behave”,
    though: if we don’t follow the predictions of meteorologists, whose
    should we follow? The predictions about Isaac aren’t coming from
    weathermen and women at the local TV station: they’re coming from
    NOAA and teams of atmospheric scientists. I’m not religious, but I
    have pretty strong faith in science — even imperfect science like
    meteorology.


  11. AJ (unregistered) on August 29th, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

    Isaac actually is the same size as Katrina was when it made
    landfall. Still a very large storm.



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