One of the most interesting news headlines I heard/read yesterday (Monday, August 29) came from the Today Show, where Ann Curry asked if Hurricane Irene had been overhyped. She even tweeted the question:

#irene killed at least 23 people. That said, do you think the storm was over-hyped? Did authorities over-evacuate?”


Some have even described the tactics of television and local officials as scaremongering.

However, CNN.com said on Monday: “about 3 million Americans in Hurricane Irene’s path are without power today as flood waters continue to flow along the East coast. See how Irene’s estimated damage will exceed $1 billion”. In addition, over 650,000 travelers were left stranded thanks to Irene.

So yes, Irene left quite a bit of damage in her wake; I’d say “at least 23” lives lost is significant, wouldn’t you?

I woke up on Monday to at least 25 of my friends’ posts on Facebook stating that they were without power (until today, in some cases), their roofs were leaking, shingles were dislodged, basements were flooded, etc… And with the kind of damage hurricanes have been known to do (Ike, Andrew, Katrina), is it so wrong to prepare for the worst? Knowing that as much as hurricane experts can track these storms and even predict so much of where they’ll make landfall and with what intensity, they really are utterly unpredictable. And given the havoc previous hurricanes have wreaked, was it wrong to have evacuated so many people and called on the authorities to be on standby?

What do you think? Was Hurricane Irene overhyped?