When Hurricane Sandy clipped Florida and headed for the northeast, the National Hurricane Center announced that it was not a hurricane but a "post-tropical storm," which was both the first time anyone outside of the National Hurricane Center ever heard the term, and was kind of confusing.
And, apparently, it's so unknown and confusing that it might have (but probably not) led to the northeast getting apocalyptically slammed by Hurricane Sandy more than most living there anticipated.
So, what now?
The National Hurricane Center has decided that it will keep issuing watches and warnings even after a big tropical storm is no longer, technically, "tropical."
But, they say, this will only be the case if the storm has potential to hit land and is a real threat to life and property.
Basically what happened with Sandy, according to most, is that once the National Weather Service stopped talking about the storm as a "hurricane," people began to think the coast was clear and went back to their Facebook and Twitter machines to talk about Kim Kardashian.
People are only on guard, apparently, when they're being yelled at by reporters about how the storm is going to walk into their house and hit them in the face with a sock full of pennies and then take their stereo.
"We know 'post-tropical' throws people for a loop," hurricane center director Rick Knabb said last week at the opening general session of the National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans.
Knabb said at the conference that the change was being discussed. "We just had particular challenges with Sandy. These new options would make it more seamless in a difficult situation like this," he said.
The trick is, of course, to try and figure out what exactly a storm is going to do, and how bad it may or may not be.
Since hurricanes are now becoming more common in places not known for getting hit by hurricanes, the forecasters are going to have their hands full.
Global warming and apathy are going to kill us all.
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