All those who relied exclusively on CNN for their weather news had reason to be very concerned about Hurricane Arthur. Last Thursday, as the storm was spinning toward the coast of North Carolina, afternoon meteorologist Chad Myers was delivering a near-calamitous message.
“This thing is going to be 100 miles per hour right over the top of you,” said Myers in one segment. “I consider that a hurricane.”
Also: “This storm is going to go right along that North Carolina coast. It is going to scour the beach. It’s going to devour the beach for that matter.”
Not to mention: “This couldn’t be a worst case than what we have right now.”
How did those warnings bear out? For the verdict on that matter, let’s turn to Claims Journal, which provides “insurance news and resources for the claims industry.” Here’s how it puts the impact of Hurricane Arthur: “State officials said no casualties have been reported and the earliest assessments indicated minimal damage.” Sure, trees went down, water flooded, power went out and Highway 12 buckled. But this was hardly a worst-case scenario.
Even North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory reported that there were “minimal reports of damage.” The storm flopped.
So did Myers over-hype Arthur?
“Everybody can be a Monday morning quarterback. I’m really, really happy with this one,” said Myers in a chat today with the Erik Wemple Blog. “I didn’t call it a monster.”
The dire warnings of Myers were predicated on a certain path for Hurricane Arthur. As he and other CNN talent were looking at the storm early on Thursday, they saw that it was “absolutely on the left side of the cone” — meaning that it appeared likely to wash onto shore and “really hit land.” Indeed, Myers on Thursday afternoon riffed on a storm that would rock “Carolina beach, into Wrightsville beach, into Surf City, and all the way up the Carolina coast.” As it turned out, Hurricane Arthur stopped about 18 miles short of that scenario, says Myers. As CNN reported, the storm came ashore late Thursday night between Cape Lookout and Beaufort, far beyond the landfall in Myers’ nightmarish scenarios. Had it followed the left-of-cone course, says Myers, the “governor would be in there and the president would be visiting today.”
So the storm didn’t “devour” North Carolina beach country, though Myers still notes that the damage in places like Ocracoke and Hatteras Island is still pretty severe. “The fact that zero people are dead, I think we win,” says Myers. “We at least scared those people out of the water.”
That’s a great result, no doubt. The downside to frothy forecasts that don’t bear out, however, is that “those people” may not heed those warnings the next time.