Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nor'Easters are Cyclonic Storms!

In early 1978, a ferocious Nor'Easter hit the Massachuett's coast! The response drove then Governor Michael Dukakis from office. I visited that coast early that summer. Scituate and Hull were badly damaged. Interesting, a 35 foot sea wall in Scituate was breached by the storm and while memory may fail there was a fascination to the 3-6 foot pile of smooth stone rocks that damaged the first row of houses on the ocean and even penetrated the second row. Geology friends said a study was later done to see where these cannon ball size to 4-5 foot diameter rocks has come from during the storm. They claimed no answer ever found but they guessed the ocean floor as far as 50-100 miles offshore.
Dukakis returned to the Governorship later and of course he ran for President against George H.W. Bush in 1988, losing in a campaign featuring the picture and parole of Willie Horton a convicted murdered who on parole murdered again.
Prior to that event many meteorologists and climatologists took the position that cyclonic storms could not occur in the Norther Hemisphere. It happened however that a weather satellite was directly over the event and the picture showed a perfect cyclonic storm with a narrow eye that to outwards appearances could have been any spectacular hurricane. Thus technology advanced science and rebutted ignorance.

Now as the NY City area digs out from a massive event it is time that just as with hurricanes, more preparedness for massive storms and their winter fallout should occur throughout the northeast. This even may still yet turn into a tragic demonstration of lack of preparedness. But perhaps the anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism forces in the Big Apple can be given snow shovels to help out.

In any event this is a huge huge event and Mayor Bloomberg is definitely looking his age and perhaps dreams of a Presidential run are ending in the deep snow. Food and shelter and emergency medical care already show evidence of a highly stressed capability and not much ability to mobilize effectively. This would be a great event to study the preparedness of the metro NYC area and its capabilities.

Well at least the snow is not as far as I know a contaminating agent. See the glass is half-full!