NOAA has a very cool interactive map that allows you to pick a location and show the tracks of all of the known hurricanes that have come near that spot.
Let’s take a quick look at the mid-Atlantic coast. As the politicians in Virginia and North Carolina fall all over themselves to promote the expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling to their part of the Atlantic, it’s worth pausing to think about the potential for future hurricane-related damage to the web of offshore and coastal oil-handling infrastructure that would be built to support that development, and the resulting spills that would inevitably occur:
|Map showing the tracks of all known hurricanes since 1851 that have come within 65 nautical miles of Virginia Beach. Source: NOAA / Historical Hurricane Tracks.|
We’ve seen spills again and again from storm-damaged infrastructure on the Gulf Coast, in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Ike, and Isaac. Industry apologists tend to shrug their shoulders whenever these spills occur and say “Hey, whattaya gonna do?” But these so-called acts of God are entirely predictable, from the perspective that severe storm events are a regular, expected part of life along the Gulf and Atlantic seaboards.
Just spend some time with NOAA’s interactive map. It’s an eye-opener.