Friday, October 07, 2016

Doomsay or Happy Talk?

Port Charlotte, FL

I see a controversy in today's news about whether NOAA's weather forecast do or do not exaggerate dangers.

I listened to Governor Scott's news conference on the radio today.  He said there was danger of a 10 foot storm surge in downtown Jacksonville from the Saint John's River.  I called my friend Terri who lives nearby.   She said only 4-6 feet near the mouth of the river and 1 foot in downtown.  Did the governor exaggerate by a factor of 10?

Libby and I, like many other cruisers, grow weary of the ceaseless alarmist tone of NOAA weather forecasts.

It is a valid debate question whether or not to err on the side of caution when making public warnings.   On the other hand, I heard Dr. Dean Odell on his radio show say that the normal level of anxiety in today's kindergarten kids was considered neurotic in the 1950s.   Adults too and our society as a whole I think show sings of neuroses and too much anxiety.   Anxiety and helicopter parenting will not prepare children to beome tomorrows adults very well.

I got an email once from a NOAA weather forecaster commenting on this blog.  I had written about a severe cold front that hit us near the Little Shark River.   He scolded me for being out on the water in the first place, citing how many Floridians are killed by cold fronts every year.  If we all listened to him, nobody would ever sail across oceans or circumnavigate.

On the whole, government employees appear to be most motivated by avoiding criticism.  Failure to give a sufficiently scary warning about Katrina is severely criticizes.  Overly scary warnings making people afraid to go outside ever is only mildly criticized.

So, what is the right balance in life?  I recommend the 80-20 rule.  Live with the most common 80% of risks without worry.  Avoid only the most severe 20% of risks.

Edit: That needs clarification.   I mean risks to you and your family personally.  If a weather event approaches threatening to kill 100 people in an area with a population of 1,000,000  the chance of it killing you is only 1/10,000.

1 comment:

  1. How right you are! The weather forecasts were calling for complete devastation to the east coast of Florida.....


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