Friday, August 29, 2008
Maps can tell a story. They can also hype a story and in almost every map I've seen illustrated by the media of the projected path of Tropical Storm and potential hurricane Gustav, it places the storm on a track to make a direct hit on New Orleans. For example, the map at right published by the McClatchy newspapers is a prime example. Only one TV reporter I heard emphasized the "cone" denoting the "possible" path of the storm. No doubt citizens of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region should be concerned and watchful but I must question some of the prognostications. Even the map of the storm path from NOAA is not quite ready to predict such a direct hit. As a nation, we don't want another Katrina, but we also need to be cautious on how we report threats. The city of New Orleans was accused on not preparing ahead of time. We don't want that this time but weather prediction is not an exact science and some of these maps may show more than what we know currently. We'll be watching.