COMMENTS: Fooled by Gender Change

To demonstrate what a light day of news this was, NBC chose to lead not with concrete events but with predictions of future ones. Mark Potter covered the update by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of its forecast for this year's hurricane season--even though the same event last year was useless: "Scientists, who used satellites, computers and complex weather calculations, got fooled." In 2006, to their surprise, the waters of the Pacific Ocean were warmed by El Nino and their forecast of a stronger-than-average year was contradicted. For 2007, NOAA again predicts "an above average season," said Potter, arguing that the warm El Nino has been replaced by the cool La Nina.

Just in case, CBS' Hari Sreenivasan took a walk around the edges of New Orleans with Col Richard Wagenaar of the Army Corps of Engineers. He showed us the new flood control pumps--they can "empty out the equivalent of an Olympic-sized swimming pool in just 12 seconds"--and some of the $2bn in repairs to 220 miles of levees surrounding the city. And then came the bad news: "The Corps admits that it may be 2011 before completion." Let's hope NOAA gets Nina's gender wrong again.


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