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Telegraph Calls Irma “Most Deadly Storm In History”

September 7, 2017

By Paul Homewood






It is hard to imagine that the Telegraph once used to be a serious newspaper.

As well as continuing to wrongly claim that Irma is the most powerful Atlantic hurricane, their latest report today quite ludicrously states:

The American state is on high alert for the arrival of the Atlantic’s most deadly storm in history, which has already left at least 10 people dead and thousands homeless.

The “most deadly”?

Perhaps they ought to consult Wikipedia:


  1. HotScot permalink
    September 7, 2017 12:50 pm

    Anything for a headline to prop up their flagging readership.

  2. Jack Broughton permalink
    September 7, 2017 1:02 pm

    Doom and Gloom they say sells papers. They need to watch The Wizard of Oz to see a storm!

  3. September 7, 2017 1:02 pm

    How can any so-called news outlet be so incredibly dumb? Deadliest? No way. Strongest—maybe close. Haiti gets hit by hurricanes on a regular basis and those are generally quite deadly. The US is better prepared, so deaths are lower.

    When we talk economics, the cost to the US in dollar value is greater because we have a modern society. People living in huts have much less economic loss in dollars, but more difficulty in terms of ability to recover.

    This constant screaming of “deadliest” “strongest” “apocalyptic” etc is just making the media look like clueless fools. They make Chicken Little look absolutely calm and collected.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      September 7, 2017 6:48 pm

      They are more like Henny Penny than Chicken little!

  4. CheshireRed permalink
    September 7, 2017 1:09 pm

    O/T….Reuters on UK energy demand for electric vehicles. They paint a grim picture.

  5. September 7, 2017 1:14 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  6. September 7, 2017 2:57 pm

    If it’s the most deadly storm ever, then it must have killed thousands and thousands of people.

    • nigel permalink
      September 7, 2017 3:21 pm

      The 1970 cyclone in Bangladesh killed more than 500,000 people and destroyed at least 400,000 houses.

    • Mick J permalink
      September 7, 2017 6:31 pm

      As with this one that the Telegraph reported while it was still a newspaper. 🙂

      “Britain’s worst storms

      By Lucy Cockcroft

      1:45PM GMT 10 Mar 2008

      26 November 1703 – A catastrophic 80 mph hurricane ripped across East Anglia, decimating villages from Northamptonshire to Suffolk and killing between 8,000 and 15,000 people. Hundreds of vessels were sunk, homes destroyed and animals drowned in floodwater. It has since become known as the worst storm in British history.”

  7. September 7, 2017 3:47 pm

    Wasn’t cheap sensation supposed to be the m.o. of the red tops, back in the day?

    Anyway, Wikipedia says: ‘The combined effects of ship destruction and remote landfall severely limit the number of intense hurricanes in the official record before the era of hurricane reconnaissance aircraft and satellite meteorology.’

    Take note DT readers and writers.

  8. Athelstan permalink
    September 7, 2017 4:42 pm

    Execrable hyperbole on the torygraphs’ part but the really shameful thing is, in today’s Britain truly, sadly, honestly will anyone notice?

  9. Count Rollo permalink
    September 7, 2017 4:45 pm

    As ever some newspapers spout ‘warmist’ doctrine and policy. Irma is NOT the most deadly storm ever, but similar in ferocity to about SIX in the past 90 years or so. Worst KNOWN to date was 1935, with HIGHER wind speeds than Irma. NOTHING whatever to do with global warming, just a natural phenomenon occurring every few years over MILLIONS of years. IT’S NORMAL!

  10. The Old Bloke permalink
    September 7, 2017 4:49 pm

    Was the wind speed of Irma, reported to be in excess of 185 mph (where did that come from?) given for ground level or for 40,000 ft?

    • September 7, 2017 4:54 pm

      It’s a theoretical calculation made from satellite images

      • Athelstan permalink
        September 7, 2017 5:21 pm

        Hmm, no one here would dispute the fact that Irma is generating wind speeds in incredible gusts that can flatten buildings and cause havoc in areas of poorly constructed housing, but then, I really shudder to think what gusts of wind calculated at 185 mph would do here in Britain – I’m sure the damage would be considerable to probably far worse than that.

        On some of the more low lying islands, perhaps the damage from waves and the tidal surge made the destruction far worse.

      • September 7, 2017 7:27 pm

        That method using wave height is still experimental. The speed measurements come from hurricane hunter aircraft actuals at 2500 meters, corrected down to ground level (10 meters for the S-S scale) by a combination of dropsonde doppler effect measurements and models.

  11. The Old Bloke permalink
    September 7, 2017 5:16 pm

    Paul, that is how I understood it. the thing is, as with last years storms, I have tracked Irma all the way through to its present position. Using ground based data, that of Wunderground (weather underground (yes I know)) reporting stations and Flightradar 24, which shows airports the world over with up to date weather reporting for those stations, I have yet to find winds above 57 mph at ground level. A few gusts, yes but not the wind speed being talked about by all streams of the media. I might have missed some data, but using the Wunderground history data, I cannot find wind speeds any where near hurricane at ground level.
    At the moment, Irma is only flagging up 57 kph at ground level in one or two places, many stations only showing up to 30 kph in both Wunderground and Flightradar24 data sets to include buoys under the storm, yet Nullschool is showing 162 kph in the same locations.
    At the moment, at ground level Irma has no signs of being a huriicane and hasn’t for some time.

  12. September 7, 2017 5:26 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    WHAT’S happened to the Telegraph? This alarmist stupidity is even beyond groupthink!

  13. The Old Bloke permalink
    September 7, 2017 5:44 pm

    And just for the record, Irma is just off the Turks and Caicos Islands (British). There are 3 reporting stations within the islands.
    Ambergris Cay is showing 24 km/h with gusts of 45
    Moments Centre is showing 37 km/h with gusts of 55
    Pine Cay is showing 32 km/h and gust of 53.
    The so called Hurricane Irma is well above these islands, yet no sign of hurricane force winds.

    • Joe Public permalink
      September 7, 2017 5:52 pm

      A set of intriguing comments/observations. Thanks.

    • Joe Public permalink
      September 7, 2017 6:00 pm

      Is there, & do you have, similar data for Saint Martin / St. Maarten?

      This report “Hurricane Irma batters Turks and Caicos islands as death toll hits 13” posted by
      Ashitha Nagesh for Thursday 7 Sep 2017 4:57 pm shows images of devastation not in T&C, but in Saint Martin / St. Maarten (!?!)

      • The Old Bloke permalink
        September 7, 2017 8:02 pm

        Hi Joe, Yes the data is available for St Martin and for the airport. I had a look at the 5 day record yesterday and the greatest gust was on 6th Sep of 52 mph. However, I have just gone back to look at the data and guess what? No data available for the 6th at the airport! How typical. No doubt folk are beginning to ask questions.
        However, there is an automatic buoy a few miles away and the data has not yet been removed for the 6th. The data shows, average wind speed on the 6th as just 18 km/h with a max gust of 53 km/h
        These are the sort of figures I saw throughout the region throughout the 6th when the supposed Hurricane hit. Yes, it was windy but Scotland gets stronger winds during their winter.

      • Joe Public permalink
        September 7, 2017 9:34 pm

        Thanks for your response TOB.

        1. “I have just gone back to look at the data and guess what? No data available for the 6th at the airport! ”

        Anything on Wayback Machine?

        2. To a certain extent, wind speed is academic – it’s the damage caused that’s most important.

        The Metro’s images Saint Martin show the devastation – but (rhetorical question) would the island’s infrastructure that susceptible to winds of (just) 50-60mph?

    • September 7, 2017 6:34 pm

      Thanks Old Bloke for putting this perspective. I note the accuweather forecast has Irma approaching with winds expected this afternoon 126 up to 137 km/hr, before dropping below 100 this evening. Let’s see what is reported.

    • Nigel S permalink
      September 7, 2017 7:32 pm

      I was a VSO on T&C many years ago so I’ve been interested, Cockburn Town (Grand Turk) showing 75mph at moment on weather .com. Ambergris Cay and Pine Cay are 60 miles west, the storm is heading their way.

    • September 7, 2017 8:10 pm

      OB, its not a conspiracy. The Saffir Simpson scale was intentionally designed for eyewall windspeed. The Physics law of conservation of angular momentum (spinning ice skater) applies. Windspeed drops off rapidly as one moves away from the eyewall. So unless the measuring station taks a direct hit, it will never register the SS estimate from hurricane hunter direct measurements corrected from 2500 meters down to the surface. Right ‘now’ according to and NHC (noon EDT)hurricane force winds >73 mph are only about 30 percent of the TS diameter, extending out about 50 miles from the eye. The eye is now about 10 miles in diameter. Barbuda took a direct eye hit, and 95 percent of all its buildings were severely damaged just as the SS5 rating predicts. This physics is why we are not evacuating our beach building in Fort Lauderdale. Looks like the eyewall will be maybe 50 miles offshore went it reaches us. See detailed comment upthread.

      • The Old Bloke permalink
        September 7, 2017 8:33 pm

        Ristvan, Barbuda has a recording station called TAPA. It was alive on the 6th and is still alive today. On the 6th when as you say the eye of the wall hit Barbuda, this station reported the following:
        Max average wind at 32 km/h
        Max gust 52 km/h
        As I say I have not yet found any reporting stations giving more than wind at 57 mph (and that being a gust) throughout the region compromised by the so called hurricane.

      • The Old Bloke permalink
        September 7, 2017 8:38 pm

        Ristvan for the 5th, max average wind at 46 km/h, gust 74 km/h

      • September 7, 2017 9:27 pm

        OB, looked this up just now based on your replies. As we Yanks say, devil is in details. TAPA station is in fact at the V.C. Bird airport on Antigua. The north edge of Antigua is 39 miles from the south edge of Barbuda. Bird airport is on the south central side of Antigua according to Google maps, near Jolly Harbor. So its actual separation from IRMA eyewall could be (dunno exactly) 40-50 miles. IRMA hurricane force winds are reported by hurricane hunter airplanes to extend out from the eye center 50-55 miles (55 dirty side, 50 weak side, both available at or NHC–I am betting my life on this stuff right now, so am quite certain these facts are correct). So TAPA is ~ 40 miles SSW of Barbuda on Irma’s soft side. I will repeat, you have not factored in how narrow and eyewall specific the Saffir- Simpson rating scale was intentionally constructed. Your TAPA measurements are NOT inconsistent with the NHC SS 5 rating. The now visible Barbuda building destruction is.

      • Joe Public permalink
        September 7, 2017 10:52 pm

        Comment from “bw September 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm” (WUWT-time)

        “The Irma eyewall passed directly over NDBC buoy BARA9 on Barbuda with 103 knots sustained winds. At exactly the same time the NHC reports for Irma were 175 mph which is about 150 knots. Time plots of pressure readings clearly show the symetrical response of the BARA9 instrument for long enough to show the eyewall peak to center of the eye minimum. Some minutes later the readings stopped due to power failure, not damage to the station. Scattered photos and videos of palm trees on the island show Category 3 type storm response.”

  14. The Old Bloke permalink
    September 7, 2017 5:45 pm

    “Well above these islands” means nearly directly above them.

  15. September 7, 2017 5:45 pm

    The modern definition of ‘deadly’ seems to mean that which has caused the biggest cost to insurers.

  16. Bloke down the pub permalink
    September 7, 2017 6:18 pm

    The Tsar Bomba was the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated and as such could be said to be the most deadly, even though, in reality, deaths from its detonation were probably limited to those from a slightly raised cancer rate.

  17. Konrad permalink
    September 7, 2017 7:22 pm

    Deadliest storm in history with 10 dead so far?
    Your figures show storms with death tolls of up to 12000.
    I seem to remember that some years ago a storm hit Bangladesh, killing about 300000.

  18. September 7, 2017 7:43 pm

    Been monitoring this closely since live literally on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, effectively ground zero. The models for here are now less than three days out so getting more certain. The ensemble GFS eyewall track remains maybe 50 miles offshore for all of Florida– a repeat of last year’s Cat4-5 Matthew where almost nowhere in Florida was anything higher than tropical storm force experienced. More than half the cone of uncertainty is also now offshore. The most recent NHC wind probability maps have us at 90-100% of tropical storm (>38 mph, trivial), 60-70% for 50 knots (58 mph), and only 40-50% for hurricane force (>73mph). Here, a Cat 1 or 2 will do only slight damage other than waves and storm surge. And that is always worst on the dirty side (NE quadrant) facing out into the Atlantic. So prepared for the worse, but it begins to look like we will get the ‘best’ that could be hoped for under the circumstances. So we will not evacuate as are high enough up in a post Andrew code building built to withstand with no damage 150mph winds and wind driven rain.
    Unfortunately, Irma looks to track right through South Carolina, also like Matthew. Several flooding deaths and >$10 billion damage last year.

    • September 7, 2017 9:01 pm

      Good luck, Rud

      • September 7, 2017 10:26 pm

        Thanks, Paul. We are pretty sure we have made the right call tonight, even though was not planned until tomorrow morning. Over a million people evacuating on I70 and I95 north from here– right into the uncertain Irma path a day later. Huge traffic jams, and about 30% of gas stations en route have run out of fuel with no way to be rapidly resupplied because of the traffic. A collassal panicky mess.
        We have 7 days worth of food between our go bag freeze dried (with sterno camp stove) and canned, plus another 7 days in freezer if don’t lose power– or plus two days if do. We will fill all the large kitchen pots tomorrow night or Sat morning for many gallons of drinking water, and the guest bedroom bathtub for flushing water. Hint to those who have not experienced this before. Shut the bathtub drain, then seal it over with waterproof (transparent) packing tape. Bathtub gaskets leak and will not hold for 24 hours otherwise.

  19. The Old Bloke permalink
    September 7, 2017 8:13 pm

    Nigel S, there are two live recording stations on the Turks and Caicos Islands which are very close to Cockburn Town. The data sets are current and updated every 15 seconds. They are showing now:
    Pine Cay: 47/51 kn/h, gusts to 76 and pressure 997 hPa
    Ambercru Cay: 42 km/h gusts to 72 and pressure 995 hPa

    Nothing special and I’m sure pressure will rise shortly.

  20. The Old Bloke permalink
    September 7, 2017 8:23 pm

    Nigel S, I’ve just had a look at the airport data for Cockburn Town. Unfortunately the wind data is not available, but with a local time of 4.20pm, all flight services are scheduled to arrive on time at Grand Turk International over the next 30 minutes. Can’t be to bad at the moment.

  21. Nigel S permalink
    September 7, 2017 9:36 pm showed max speed of about 82 m.p.h. with the eye about 30 miles (SSE) from Cockburn Town at 17:10 AST with 981.0 mbars. Providenciales is showing 50 m.p.h. now (17:30 AST), the eye is at least 70 miles away from ‘Provo’ but heading in that direction.

  22. Nigel S permalink
    September 7, 2017 10:29 pm

    I wouldn’t believe too much from Jags McCartney airport to be frank, I well remember Jags and his merry band taking on the cops in a shootout which resulted in the retreat of the cops followed by the rapid arrival of HMS Tartar and order being restored with the help of Royal Marines, happy days! The VSO house where we lived was near the scene. It was an old two storey timber building with cedar shingle cladding, not very bullet proof.

  23. Nigel S permalink
    September 7, 2017 10:44 pm

    The centre of the eye is about 27 miles SSW of Cockburn Town now (18:30 AST) with wind speed of 76 m.p.h. and pressure rising to 982.4 mbars. It’s about 72 miles SE of Providenciales where the wind speed is about 58 m.p.h. Based on the experience on Grand Turk that will be increasing over the next few hours.

  24. Colin permalink
    September 8, 2017 10:14 am

    And this morning on the Today program we have two talking heads basically arguing that the government should shutdown the fossil fuel industry in order to prevent future reoccurrence of storms like Irma. Both given soft ball questions by the fearless interviewer, no one to argue that weather ain’t climate.


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