453: Upcoming Hurricanes

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Upcoming Hurricanes
I'd like to see more damage assessments for hurricanes hitting New York and flooding Manhattan -- something like the 1938 Long Island Express, but aimed a bit more to the west.  It's just a matter of time.
Title text: I'd like to see more damage assessments for hurricanes hitting New York and flooding Manhattan -- something like the 1938 Long Island Express, but aimed a bit more to the west. It's just a matter of time.


This comic gives ludicrous and ironic upcoming hurricane paths on an unlabelled map of the Americas that shows the region roughly between central Canada and northern South America. Blue and red dotted lines indicate the future hurricane paths.


Hurricane Where-The-Hell-Is-Bermuda

Enters from the east side of the map, wanders around the Atlantic Ocean in a scribble that seems to take the shape of an Ampersand. Then it goes north for a while, and then peters out without entering the Bermuda Triangle. The Bermuda Triangle is a location in the Atlantic Ocean loosely framed by the three corners Bermuda, Miami, and Puerto Rico. The myth is that (too) many ships and planes get lost once they enter inside the area of this triangle and disappear without a trace. In this case, the hurricane gets lost before entering and can't even find the triangle. It may also simply be a reference to the statistic that Bermuda is affected by many Atlantic hurricanes, and that this hurricane got lost on its way to its target.

Hurricane Illinois-Has-It-Too-Easy

Comes from somewhere to the north-west, goes through Illinois, and then back to the north-west. Illinois is located far from the ocean, and thus suffers few hurricanes - this particular one is extremely unlikely, and according to the name, exists purely so that Illinois will have a hurricane to deal with. Interestingly enough (though it did not affect the Chicago area or correspond with the path displayed in the comic), roughly one year later, a Super derecho, a storm resembling a hurricane or tropical storm in movement and form, struck central and South Illinois, in addition to much of Missouri and Kansas.

Hurricane Freud

Refers to Sigmund Freud, who believed that accidental sexual expression was a reflection of the unconscious mind's sexual desires. The hurricane's path forms a pair of testicles beside Florida. Florida, due to its shape and location, resembles a penis,[citation needed] and the hurricane's shape and position exemplify Freud's ideas.

Hurricane Screw-It-Let's-Just-Trash-Florida-Again

Comes from the east, starts to curve to the north, and then turns sharply to head straight for Florida and zigzag through it four times before dying out. Sticking out from the rest of the US, Florida is prone to hurricanes from the East, South, and West. And with the state not being very high or wide, it is common for a hurricane to run over Florida, lose some strength, then rebuild strength over the hot waters in the Gulf of Mexico, only to do a U-turn and strike again. This is not exactly what happens with this particular hurricane, where it turns out into the Atlantic Ocean again each time, suggesting a malicious intent.

Hurricane Red and Hurricane Blue

Blue is the only hurricane path drawn in blue. The two hurricanes are playing a game zipping in straight lines and right angles around Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba. When Red successfully cuts off Blue, the latter instantly dies, and then Red dies shortly thereafter. The game they play is the game of Light Cycles from the video game based on the movie Tron. Hurricane Blue lost because it crashed into the wall of light left by Hurricane Red's light cycle. (Note that real hurricanes are not dotted lines[citation needed]; the two hurricanes would have merged long before Hurricane Blue "lost.")

Hurricane cos(x)

Forms a curve in the shape of a sinusoid above the bottom edge of the map. Its path resembles a sine wave. This kind of trigonometric functions can, however, both be expressed as sin(x) or cos(x), the latter being a cosine wave. They look exactly the same when there is no clearly defined coordinate system as in this case. Given this oscillates between six and ten degrees north (using Paramaribo and the southern shore of Trinidad as references) perhaps this hurricane might be better described as Hurricane 2 cos (x) + 8.

Title Text

The title text refers to the 1938 New England hurricane (also known as the Long Island Express) that caused $4.7 billion in damage. Had it been further west, it could have caused more damage, as the right side of a hurricane is stronger and more destructive than the left side, as the winds on the right side push water inland. Randall asks for more damage assessments for such a hurricane that would be able to flood Manhattan in New York. Only four years after this cartoon was published, making it almost prophetic, Hurricane Sandy did strike the New York–New Jersey area as a post-tropical cyclone storm. Hurricane Sandy caused an estimated $74 billion in damage.

The 1938 hurricane is also referenced in 980: Money, where it is calculated that it would have caused $78 billion had it happened in 2011. However, if that hurricane had taken the same turn as Sandy did, the cost today could have been a staggering $237 billion.


[An unlabelled map shows the region roughly between central Canada and northernmost parts of South America. Dotted lines indicating hurricane paths cover the map, all red except Hurricane Blue, which is blue. Each line is labelled - here follows the labels as they appear from the top and down:]
Hurricane Where-the-Hell-Is-Bermuda
Hurricane Illinois-Has-It-Too-Easy
Hurricane Freud
Hurricane Screw-It-Let's-Just-Trash-Florida-Again
Hurricane Red
Hurricane Blue
Hurricane cos(x)

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I wonder, is there a reason why Randall chose cos(x) over sin(x)? Is there a y-axis somewhere on the map? Not that it matters; just curious... Bobidou23 (talk) 23:24, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

cos(x), sin(x), they're the same thing, plus or minus pi/4... -- IronyChef (talk) 02:57, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Something seems off about this explanation. Like reading a blog. 05:14, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

If something is less than satisfactory, you are fully welcome (and even encouraged) to edit the explanation to be better. lcarsos (talk) 06:37, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

Whoever said hurricanes cannot form within 5 degrees of the equator was wrong... It is not likely but it is possible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Agni http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon_Vamei 14:36, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

This title-text seems strangely prophetic after Tropical Storm Sandy in 2012. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Yes, I agree. David1217 (talk) 17:18, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
There is more to win from predicting something that is going to happen than there is to lose from predicting something that doesn't happen. Tharkon (talk) 19:30, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

Has anyone any idea what the "&" symbol is about in Hurricane Where-The-Hell-Is-Bermuda? 12:32, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Regarding Hurricane cos(x):

  • If Equator is the x-axis and the y-axis goes through the Prime meridian of Greenwich it would be possible to say if this was a true cosine function hurricane.
  • A cosine would be 1 (the maximum value) at x=0 (i.e. the maximum value would occur under Greenwich), whereas a sine would be 0 at x=0.
  • If it had been a basic cos(x) without any constants added, then it should have been centered along the equator instead of as it is - ranging from about 5.5° to 9.5° north latitude.
  • But if the formula was of the form a*cos(b*x)+c with a, b and c given constant, the wave could move to the center of this range with c=7.5°. With the constant a=2° the wave would move between the max and minimum of the range, and then b could be chosen to make the wave length fit with the path shown in the map.

-- -- Kynde (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

There is no reason to assume the axes are on the meridian and equator. Tharkon (talk) 02:41, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
Disclaimer: I know I'm pretty late to the whole "cos(x)" discussion, but here are my 2 cents.
  • Probably no great surprise that Randall wrote "cos" while drawing a sine function. Assuming he did not have any special reason to prefer one over the other, there was a 50/50 chance of him writing "cos" rather than "sin" to label the curve, and a 50/50 chance of him drawing a sine rather than a cosine function -- taking the leftmost point as the origin and not considering other, arbitrary phase offsets. And, finally, there was a 50/50 chance that the choice of label would not agree with the curve drawn.
  • Observation: The letters in "cos" all have the nice feature that, if written in uppercase as is Randall's usual style, they are indistinguishable from lowercase, which is the usual style for trig functions appearing in textbooks and scientific journals. Not so with "sin". So, probably by accident, using "cos" allowed Randall to write in his usual style while still having a function label in the style people are used to seeing in print.
Incidentally, Randall has used both lowercase (see #184) and uppercase (#1047, 3rd row below "World Population" table entry) to write "sin".
Redbelly98 (talk) 23:49, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

The details for Hurricane cos(x) mentions a trivia section, which is not present in this article. Just some random derp 17:41, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

I was about to post the same comment but then I decided to read these first. 07:52, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

Is it just me or is long island missing from the map?? --Effy (talk) 10:15, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

Does anyone know what map projection is being used here? 11:40, 27 May 2022 (UTC)