Wednesday, August 06, 2008

There goes Edouard

Tropical storm Edouard made a slight detour Monday night, making landfall north of Galveston early Tuesday morning and sparing Houston a direct hit. Not that it would have mattered; the storm simply wasn't that strong and, other than some localized flooding, did not cause any major damage as it passed to the north and east of Houston and into the center of the state to dissipate.

Truth be told, Edouard was an enjoyable storm. The cooler-than normal temperatures, the rain and the blowing wind made it feel less like an early-August tropical storm and more like a late-September cold front. Lori got a day off from work, and our yard got a few inches of badly-needed rain. (Besides, having literally gone months without seeing rain, it was actually something of a novelty for me!)

I briefly entertained myself Tuesday morning by flipping back and forth between channels, watching the local news coverage of Edouard. The local stations tried valiantly to justify the hype that they were devoting to the storm, with anchors and meteorologists desperately continuing to insist that conditions "could yet become dangerous" and field reporters pointing to windblown road signs, puddles of rain in parking lots, and even (in Channel Two's case) bark blown off of trees as evidence of Edouard's fury. It would have been funny if it weren't so pathetic. As the Houston Press's Richard Connelly notes:
Everyone complains about TV coverage of potential hurricanes, of course. But if the hype keeps going -- turning a tropical storm/possible cat 1 hurricane into Katrina Redux -- than at some point people are going to stop paying attention. They'll simply remember TV reporters out there talking about swaying trees as if it was evidence of a real storm.

And then you might see a real disaster.


Local media histrionics aside, Edouard was a reminder for that we need to be prepared, because the busiest part of hurricane season has only just begun. For now, however, it's back to the droning heat of August in Houston.

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