I’ve spent the better part of the last month forecasting and writing about hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and between my work for Ars and a Houston-based forecasting site, I have probably written about 40,000 words on weather. So I have thought a lot about these storms. I have read a lot about them. And I despair for some of my fellow humans.
Hurricanes are rightly called natural disasters. Essentially, they are the planet’s way of transferring heat from the tropics toward the polar regions of the planet. Unfortunately, human nature (and the behavior of some humans in particular) makes these disasters worse.
During a hurricane, residents in the projected path of the storm feel incredibly vulnerable. And why not? A supermassive, unpredictable tropical system is coming to take their home and their lives. Potential hurricane victims are hungry for information. (Where is the storm going?) They have questions. (Should I evacuate?) Unfortunately, although there are few certainties at these times, bad actors are ready to fill the vacuum with dumb ideas and actions.