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November-December 2011

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Letter to the Editor

In the July/August Issue of Weatherwise, Don Lipman wrote about the weather events of the 20th century. On page 27, he made some comparisons between the hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900 and Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in 2005. He argued that there were many similarities. I do not challenge his arguments, but there is one thing he did not address. I would like you to consider the following paragraph as an addition:

A major difference between the hurricanes that hit Galveston in 1900 and Katrina in 2005 is what we knew about the storms beforehand and our predictions. In the 1900 event, personality differences kept the U.S. from sharing data with Cuba, so we had little information from off the coast. The U.S. Weather Bureau forecast the storm to move up the east coast.

By contrast, the forecast for Katrina was superb, and the world watched on TV and the Web as the storm moved ashore. The weather forecasts for Katrina were one thing that was never called into question.

James R. Carter, PhD, Emeritus Professor Normal, Illinois

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