Thursday, September 02, 2010

Hurricane Hysteria Aside, Air Travel Is Still Operating Normally

[Map shortly after midnight Friday showing no delays at East Coast airports -- map via]


There must be a hurricane in the ocean because I'm getting all these urgent e-mails from PR people trying to entice me to interview one "expert" or another who will pontificate on the imminent, or possible, or potential ... hurricane disaster about to strike the East Coast. What should travelers do?!

Meanwhile, in the media, the Hurricane Hysterics are at full cry. But as you can see from the map above, air travel was still operating normally tonight (and into the earliest hours of Friday), despite predictions of massive delays.

[UPDATE: Just you wait, says the USA Today newspaper: Sometime later tonight, "conditions will deteriorate very quickly."] And here's a late-afternoon update from the AP out of North Carolina, where hurricane preparations are very serious.

That did not happen in North Carolina as of midnight. Now the hysterics are rushing to station themselves farther north.

So OK, so maybe a hurricane will brush the Northeast coast tomorrow and we'll all die. (Well, not me, as I am in the southwestern desert, where our local TV hysterics have lately been sagging under the mournful realization that the vastly overhyped annual "monsoon" season has been something of a bust this year. What will they be alarmed about next, as dry season looms?)

Maybe not. The day's narrative was that a Great Battle is about to occur between the Terrible Hurricane and a Powerful High Pressure Ridge loping eastward from the Midwest. Will it arrive in time to overpower the vile hurricane and force it far out into the Atlantic Ocean, where the only one who will have to worry is that 16-year-old girl whose parents let her sail around the world by herself? Will the Monster Storm break through and triumph? Oh, the drama. The conflict. The humanity. Media weatherpeople are wetting their pants. Again.

Massive air-travel delays?

Well, not so far, as that map above shows.

Airlines, unlike the usual desperate suspects in the cable and broadcast media, are being cautious and careful. So far, the airlines have not pulled the trigger on preemptive flight cancellations. Airlines also employ weather experts (you don't think they rely on that nitwit on the 11 o'clock news, do you?) -- and theirs don't panic and run around shrieking speculation into the breeze.

I'll watch the boards tomorrow, and if and when airline cancellations start mounting I'll let you know.


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