Every now and then, President Trump has what we like to refer to as “curious thoughts”. They’re scientifically illiterate notions or remarks that are just fascinating to behold. He’s previously suggested that doing too much exercise will deplete a person’s “finite amount of energy”, that coal can be physically scrubbed clean, and that wind is “very deceitful”.
Speaking of wind, the latest in his line of curious thoughts comes in the form of his hurricane knowledge, or lack thereof. First, while on the way to Florida on Air Force One, he told reporters that when it comes to Irma, “we’ve had bigger storms.” Then, while at a dinner reception at the White House, he said that he “never even knew a Category Five existed for hurricanes.”
The latter comment is plainly silly. Someone like the President should be aware of such basic facts about common natural disasters, but apparently not. What type of scale did he have in his mind before he was given the correct information? Was Hurricane Harvey a “bigly” storm, and was Irma ultimately just “sad”?
Either way, this is why the President desperately needs a science advisor. He’s the first president in living memory not to have one, and it’s looking likely he will never get one. Not having a scientific expert on hand during natural disasters is like going to war without consulting any military experts.
What about the first point then regarding bigger storms? Is Trump correct?
Hurricane Irma, in terms of the (somewhat flawed) Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, was the most powerful Atlantic Ocean storm on record. It didn’t do as much damage to Florida as it did to several Caribbean islands, some of which have been completely annihilated.