As Irene batters North Carolina and the rest of the coast eyes it nervously, here’s a bit of perspective. (OK, not really. But in the spirit of whistling in the dark, etc.)
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a anti-cyclonic storm (a hurricane, in essence) that has persisted for over 300 years. Oval in shape, the long axis is more than twice Earth’s diameter — approximately 30,000 kilometers across. The wind speeds are measured to be 432 km/h (about 270 miles per hour). Jovian television weather reporters really hate getting assigned to the Red Spot for JNN (Jovian News Network) coverage.
On a more serious note, everyone who is in affected areas, please stay safe. Don’t take unnecessary risks, don’t drive over flooded roadways. Here in Richmond, we’re not expected to get the really severe weather, so I’m staying put, watching disaster movies, and thinking about my friends closer to the coast. Be safe, everyone!