Hurricanes Past and Future

We parochially minded East Coasters suddenly have something to think about other than enduring the ads, chatter, bluster, and attacks of the 12 days until the election. We can be distracted through some of that time by vicarious interest in the World Series (I like the Tigers, but go Giants) -- and, for people in Washington, by the rise of RGIII and the return of Chris Cooley. But quite a big distraction might turn out to be Hurricane Sandy, which as of right now is projected to follow this course.


This may make it a good time to point to a very interesting comparative survey from ESRI, the geospatial info company based in Redlands, California*, of the paths and patterns of the ten most damaging hurricanes in U.S. history. Here is #6 on the all-time list, the New England hurricane of 1938.


And here is the all-time most-destructive #1, the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926.


Much more at the site, including the wide variety of paths hurricanes take and the different kinds of damage that they do. Worth checking out.
* Standard disclosure: ESRI's founder and CEO is a family friend from Redlands.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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