Good morning everyone;
I wanted to share with you my opinion on Hurricane Sandy. Please note that this opinion does not reflect the views of Starlab or is meant in any way to downplay the devastation and pain caused by this storm.
We've all heard Sandy referred to as the 'superstorm'. As a scientist I have to take issue with this designation. Certainly Sandy was unusual, but hardly unique. She was downgraded to tropical storm strength just before making landfall, which is not unusual with hurricanes. The track can easily be explained by the comparatively warm north Atlantic. While Sandy was vast and had an ill defined eye, she was still a tropical storm.
I take offense to the name 'superstorm' because it denigrates actual superstorms that may strike in the future. A wild, category 5 hurricane striking New York City is a superstorm. A blizzard lasting weeks on the great plains is a superstorm. A barrage of tornadoes ripping up half of Texas is a superstorm, and so on and so forth.
If we get in the habit of calling every unusual bit of weather a superstorm, we will insulate people. When the actual superstorm strikes, people won't be concerned because they'll think it is like all the other so called superstorms that have struck in the past. This is dangerous and wrong.
Sandy was a horrific tropical storm that caused a lot of damage. It cut a wide swath of destruction and pain. Let's leave it at that, and save the superstorm label for the real monsters.