Whenever a big storm barrels up the coast, the Erik Wemple Blog barrels into Google News, the better to sample the various forecasts and levels of panic out there in medialand. Hurricane Arthur, a Category 1 jobber, “is not expected to be a very strong one, but it sure looks menacing from space,” notes Marina Koren in National Journal. A fresh report from Reuters notes that the storm is set to begin weakening, yet that’s small comfort to the residents of North Carolina shore communities who are under mandatory evacuation orders.

This is easily the quote of the storm, and it comes from North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory: “Don’t put your stupid hat on.” No self-respecting weather-oriented media outlet can leave that McCrory quote at the curb.

For some genuine broadcast storm froth, check out Chad Myers on CNN earlier today during the 1:00 p.m. hour of “Wolf”:

It’s moving north, it’s going to turn to the Northeast. It’s going to make a glancing blow at Wilmington, North Carolina, but that means it’s going to slam into Carolina beach, into Wrightsville beach, into Surf City, and all the way up the Carolina coast. This couldn’t be worse case than what we have right now with a Category 2, sure it could be 3 or 4, but we’re going to have an eye and an eyewall on land for many miles. Maybe 50 miles. Usually a hurricane will come on shore, you get 10 miles worth of damage and it’s over. This is going to skim along the coast all the way through here for miles and miles and miles taking its onshore wind and also its onshore beach erosion right there along the coast. It couldn’t be any worse than this.

CNN's Chad Myers riffs on Arthur
CNN’s Chad Myers riffs on Arthur

That sounds like a Hurricane Sandy scenario. For a far more measured and technocratic look at things, here’s Carl Parker with Weather.com/Weather Channel:

The new numbers from the Hurricane Center: 981 the central pressure, the movement now north/northeast and so we’ve been wondering about when that turn would occur and it appears that it is now underway and it should come up and right along the coast and head into eastern parts of North Carolina and let’s talk about that track forecast. It really has changed very little in the last several hours here, and so right now the best guess is that the storm is going to come up and along the coast and then probably pass either right over or very close to the easternmost part of North Carolina and then beyond that, the storm comes up and passes well to the east of the Northeast but the exception there would be southeastern New England, because there is gong to be a larger wind field at that time tropical storm force winds storms could be felt there in southeastern New England and we will see most likely heavy rain.

Before taking a look at the Arthur-oriented work of Janice Dean at Fox News, let us pause to give her credit. Back in the run-up to Superstorm Sandy, the Erik Wemple Blog highlighted her hyperventilation about the storm, even as other outlets were more subdued in their forecasts. Dean was 100 percent right.

Armed with that credibility, Dean earlier today went to work on Arthur:

Look at the last few frames — can you see that eye? That is a sign of a strengthening storm . . . we’ve got a lot of warm water to move through, so a strengthening perhaps even a rapid intensification could happen within the next several hours . . . Really can see that concentric eye right there and those thunderstorms wrapping around, so that’s another sign that this is strengthening quickly. [As forecasting models trend westward] my concern is more threats for South Carolina, obviously North Carolina but also up toward the mid-Atlantic . . . We’re really going to have to watch that track, okay, because if it moves a little more westward, more impacts for more people. We really hope that it’s going to get kicked out to sea, that’s the conventional wisdom right now, but again a lot of these models are trending westward so I don’t want you to let your guard down if you live across the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.

(For more recent Dean material, see video at top).

This morning, for “CBS This Morning,” weatherman Eric Fisher of WBZ-TV analyzed things:

Winds at 75 mph, the pressure is down to 985, that is the sign of a healthy storm, one that is continuing to deepen and should continue today. There are hurricane warnings up from Surf City to the Virginia border. There are also tropical storm warnings on either side of that. A lot of folks dealing with some of those evacuation orders. In terms of the track, what we are expecting today is a little turn to the north and the east as we head toward this evening and into the first part of the overnight, a landfall potential over the Outer Banks as a Category 1 hurricane . . . So . . . very early in the season and a lot of folks seeing very disruptive weather just when you don’t want to see it.

Subdued stuff — not the sort of delivery that would spur compliance with evacuation orders.

Want more calm forecasting? Try this quote from Ginger Zee on ABC New’s “Good Morning America” today: “But look, it’s a miss for most of the East Coast, and that’s what I really wanted to focus on.”


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Dylan Dreyer on this morning’s “Today” show: “Now here is where we’re going to see those dangerous rip currents. All the way from the coast of Maine, stretching right down into the northeast coast of Florida — that’s where the surf is going to be roughed up. We’re also looking at the chance of some elevated water levels because of that storm surge but in addition to that, here’s your rainfall, here is Cape Hatteras and the Outer Banks. That’s where we could see 4 to 6 inches of rain.”

This afternoon the National Weather Service issued a warning that included these words, all caps in original: “A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.” Bolded text, not in original, added to highlight some mighty good weather writing by the feds. Were the Erik Wemple Blog on the weather desk of any attention-seeking media outlet, we’d put that nice little quote in headlines, bumping the North Carolina guv’s flourish.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.