Monday, October 18, 2021

Hurricane Ida was a strong contender for hit of the season, but it never got there – until this map

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This and other maps that kept forecasters at the bottom of their bed in 2011 come back, counting down the hours until a new hurricane season

These Updating Maps Show Where Hurricane Ida Could Hit Hardest

Hurricane Ida made landfall on 14 February 2011, as a hurricane on the Yucatan Peninsula. Since that time, many damage projections have gone through the floor (or been swept out to sea) – but projections have one thing in common: they aren’t correct.

In this reconstruction, inspired by the publication of our Waring’s Buoy Watch on Hurricane Ida’s impact – the first attempt to analyse hurricane impact in full – we tracked Hurricane Ida from its earliest arrival at landfall to its nearest landfall – some 4,000 miles away – at Valentine, Florida.

Proportional damage … but we’ve never been more wrong about who gets hit by a hurricane

The effect of even a small hurricane on infrastructure: after being expertly analysed, we’ve been warning against tornado-strength damage and illustrating hurricanes’ speed and direction as estimates of the damage wrought by the storm.

But we’ve never been more wrong about who gets hit by a hurricane. Here, you can see how wrong we were; guess how many first and last landfalled winds we got right?

Because we didn’t know where it was hitting.

What’s striking isn’t so much that we’ve repeatedly underestimated a hurricane’s effect but that we’ve just never known where a hurricane was going to hit.

We’ve been wrong again – by how many? – so whether we’re ever accurate in our forecasts – and how often we’re wrong – depends on where we’re saying the storms are headed. Here’s our final tally from Hurricane Ida in 2011.

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