453: Upcoming Hurricanes
Title text: I'd like to see more damage assessments for hurricanes hitting New York and flooding Manhattan -- something like the 1938 Long Island Express, but aimed a bit more to the west. It's just a matter of time.
It must have been hurricane season in the United States!
This comic gives some ideas on upcoming hurricane paths on an unlabelled map that shows the region roughly between central Canada and northern Brazil. Red dotted lines indicates possible hurricane paths.
Hurricane Where-The-Hell-Is-Bermuda enters from the east side of the map, wanders around the Atlantic Ocean in a scribble that seems to take the shape of an Ampersand. Then it goes north for a while, and then peters out without entering the Bermuda Triangle. The Bermuda Triangle is a location in the Atlantic Ocean loosely framed by the three corners Bermuda, Miami and Puerto Rico. The myth is that (too) many ships and planes get lost once they enter inside the area of this triangle and disappear without a trace. In this case the hurricane get lost before entering and can't even find the triangle.
Hurricane Illinois-Has-It-Too-Easy comes from somewhere to the north-west, goes through Illinois, and then back to the north-west. This hurricane, while actually impossible, comes from Canada to strike Chicago, Illinois, before heading back to Canada. As hurricanes never hits Illinois this particular hurricane "think" they have too easy a time in this particular state. Interestingly enough, (though it did not affect the Chicago area or correspond with the path displayed in the comic), roughly one year later a Super derecho, a storm resembling a hurricane or tropical storm in movement and form, struck central and South Illinois, in addition to much of Missouri and Kansas: May 2009 Southern Midwest derecho.
"Hurricane Freud" refers to Sigmund Freud, who believed that accidental sexual expression was a reflection of the unconscious mind's sexual desires. The hurricane's path forms a pair of testicles beside Florida. Florida, due to its shape and location, can be said to resemble a penis, and the hurricane's shape and position exemplify Freud's ideas.
Hurricane Screw-It-Let's-Just-Trash-Florida-Again comes from the east, starts to curve to the north, and then turns sharply to head straight for Florida and zigzag through it four times before dying out. Sticking out from the rest of the US, Florida is in a nice spot to get hurricanes from the East, South, and West. And with the state not being very high or wide, it is common for a hurricane to run over Florida, lose some strength, then rebuild strength over the hot waters in the Gulf of Mexico, only to do a U-turn and strike again. This is not exactly what happens with this particular hurricane, where it turns out into the Atlantic Ocean again each time. Just proving that it only wish to strike Florida!
Hurricane Red and Hurricane Blue, (which are the only hurricane path drawn in blue), are playing a game zipping in straight lines and right angles around Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba. When Red successfully cuts off Blue, the latter instantly dies, and then Red dies shortly thereafter. The game they play is the game of Light Cycles from the video game based on the movie Tron. Hurricane Blue lost because it crashed into the wall of light left by Hurricane Red's light cycle.
Hurricane Cos(x) forms a curve in the shape of a sinusoid above the bottom edge of the map. Its path resembles a sine wave. This kind of trigonometric functions can, however, both be expressed as sin(x) or cos(x), the latter being a cosine wave. They look exactly the same when there is no clearly defined coordinate system as in this case - see trivia below.
The title text refers to the 1938 New England hurricane (also known as the Long Island Express), that caused $4.7 billion in damage in 2013 dollars. Had it been further west it could have caused more damage as the right side of a hurricane is stronger and more destructive than the left side as the winds on the right side push water inland. Randall asks for more damage assessments for such a hurricane that which would be able to flood Manhattan in New York. Almost prophetically for this comic, Hurricane Sandy did strike the New York–New Jersey area only four years after this cartoon was published, causing an estimated $74 billion in damage.
The 1938 hurricane is also referenced in 980: Money where it is calculated that it would have caused $78 billion had it happened in 2011. However, if that hurricane had taken the same turn as Sandy did, the cost today could have been a staggering $237 billion.
- [An unlabelled map shows the region roughly between central Canada and northern Brazil. Dotted lines indicating hurricane paths cover the map, all red except Hurricane Blue which is blue. Each line is labelled - here follows the labels as they appear from the top and down:]
- Hurricane Where-the-Hell-Is-Bermuda
- Hurricane Illinois-Has-It-Too-Easy
- Hurricane Freud
- Hurricane Screw-It-Let's-Just-Trash-Florida-Again
- Hurricane Red
- Hurricane Blue
- Hurricane cos(x)
- Regarding Hurricane cos(x):
- If Equator is the x-axis and the y-axis goes through the Prime meridian of Greenwich it would be possible to say if this was a true cosine function hurricane.
- A cosine would be 1 (the maximum value) at x=0 (i.e. the maximum value would occur under Greenwich), whereas a sine would be 0 at x=0.
- If it had been a basic cos(x) without any constants added, then it should have been centered along the equator instead of as it is - ranging from about 5.5° to 9.5° north latitude.
- But if the formula was of the form a*cos(b*x)+c with a, b and c given constant, the wave could move to the center of this range with c=7.5°. With the constant a=2° the wave would move between the max and minimum of the range, and then b could be chosen to make the wave length fit with the path shown in the map.
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