Text and Image Photography

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The Perfect Storm

Hurricane Sandy was a fluke of nature.


Hurricane Sandy. A perfect storm. Frakenstorm. Super storm. Monster Storm. The serious hurricane that has barreled into the East Coast will be remembered throughout history. The news about the storm is filled with text and images that can tear the heart out of any American.

What happened? How could a storm with a warm core gain strength as it headed for New Jersey? The weather people have done an outstanding job explaining how and why this storm got so big and strong. As a one-time meteorologist, I’ve found Sandy to be an anomaly, a freak, fluke of nature.

The conditions that produced such a “super storm,” according to some meteorologists is the melting ice in the Arctic, a golobal warming phenomenon. Warmer sea tempertures in the arctic has caused the jetstream to bob up and down over North America. A deep trough in the upper atmosphere caused a mass of cold air to move south just west of the East Coast. Come along a minimal hurricane over the warm Gulf Stream, an area of warm water that moves up the Atlantic Ocean just off the Eastern Seaboard and you have a weird intesification process of a tropical system.

Bang. The hurricane runs into an area of low pressure, combining with it to form the “super storm.”

The text and image resulting from the storm added new words to our vocabulary…Sandy, frankenstorm, super storm, monster storm and so forth, words that describe a “hybrid storm” that has never been experienced by the last few generations.

The media is on overdrive, speaking English as fast as a bullet coming out of a gun with such a sense of urgency that it sends the nerves into a kind of hyperreality that one normally experieces when a speeding car is about to hit them.

One could refer to this as hyperspeak. Beyond that, though, is the image, the beauty of a swirlling system hugging the nook that makes up one of the most densely populated areas of the world. It’s stunning, indeed. A late October piece of art taken from the sky, something we’ve never seen, and probably will never see again.

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