‘Weather Nerd’ Attracts Attention After Predicting Katrina Disaster

‘Weather Nerd’ Attracts Attention After Predicting Katrina Disaster 

SOUTH BEND, Ind.

A University of Notre Dame student whose Web site is drawing thousands of hits following his correct prediction of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact says he isn’t a clairvoyant — he just paid attention to computer models of the storm.

Brendan Loy, a self-described “weather nerd,” was interviewed by the New York Times this week about his Web site — www.irishtrojan.com — which is attracting more than 20,000 hits a day.

Loy, 23, started his site three years ago, exploring everything from football to violent weather. The site’s popularity grew in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina’s assault on New Orleans as Loy frantically detailed the potential deadly effect of the storm.

“If I were in New Orleans, I would seriously consider getting the hell out of Dodge right now, just in case. Once the evacuation orders are issued, if it comes to that, it’ll inevitably be an absolute madhouse, despite officials’ best efforts,” Loy wrote on his Web page on Aug. 26 — three days before Katrina hit New Orleans.

Loy, a Notre Dame law student, said he simply studied the computer models of the storm’s path and read the bulletins issued by the National Hurricane Center.

By Aug. 27, his anxiety had increased, and he was wondering why New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin didn’t order an evacuation of the city, knowing such an evacuation would take 72 hours.

Looking back on Loy’s blog from the two days before the storm struck, readers see a series of increasingly frantic posts pointing out the dire threat and urging people to leave the city.

“As soon as I saw (the storm) turn left over Florida, I knew New Orleans better watch out,” Loy said this week..

He persuaded a blogger who lives in New Orleans to evacuate early Aug. 29. The storm struck the next day.

Although Loy has no formal training in meteorology, he has long studied hurricanes — a fascination that dates from his childhood in Connecticut, when he was captivated by reports of Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

“During the summers, I would religiously watch the ‘Tropical Update’ on the Weather Channel,” he said.

Eventually, he began culling his weather data online, from the National Hurricane Center and online weather forums. Based on his reading of weather books, Loy said he’d known for years that New Orleans was a catastrophe waiting to happen.

He believes Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, should be fired because the magnitude of the approaching hurricane was clear.

Loy said Nagin should share in the blame, too, for waiting to order the city evacuated.

“If the hurricane had come 30 miles to the west, Nagin wouldn’t have the luxury of criticizing the rescue effort, because there would have been no one left to rescue,” Loy said.

Associated Press 



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