Unexpect the expected.

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

So the print version of the New York Times goes with a headline that says “Unexpected Fury of Storm Pounds Coast of Florida.”

They quote Peter McDavid, who owns a reception venue in Pensacola (because that’s where you go for good weather information):

“We weren’t expecting it,” he said next to a marina in Pensacola, where a big blue sailboat had smashed into the railings of the deck and where water had invaded from flooded streets and a broken skylight.

Except, of course, literally any of the meteorologists and weather people on television, radio, and the internet gave this part of the Gulf Coast days of warning that Sally would be slow-moving and dump lots, lots, lots of rain. If Mr. McDavid read anything on his phone, he would be warned, so…”we weren’t expecting it?”

And in the same article:

Just as forecasters feared (italics mine), the storm maintained its dawdling speed as it crossed over land, leaving residents to hunker down while 105 m.p.h. winds ripped roofs from homes, snapped trees, deluged streets and left hundreds of thousands of people without power.

This was a mess, but it was in no way unexpected. Even the tone of the article that suggested that the hurricane would hit way over there in coastal Mississippi or Alabama, not Escambia County Florida…except, yes, Pensacola and Escambia County border on Alabama, and are a very very short drive from Mobile Bay and the Alabama/Mississippi coast. It’s all a continuum.

Yeesh. The storm did what they expected it to. People had warning. Using a quote like that to headline the top right story on page one of the New York Times is just sloppy.