Exaggerated or not?

My “healthy” interest in (threatening) disasters, for instance as result of flooding, brings me all (virtual) all over the world. Flooding in different countries, amongst others in Australia January 2011, Thailand in autumn of 2011, retrieve truly attention in the media.

At this moment the situation in the Netherlands due to the large amount of rain, unfavorable directions and power of the wind, results in high water problems all over the country. In my own home province a dike is likely going to be flooded or might even breach. At the moment (12:30 hours) the fire department announced (after inspection of the dike) that the probability of a dike breach is minimal, however flooding of the dike is real. The situation is constantly monitored and future critical moments are constantly updated by Rijkswaterstaat, depending amongst others on weather forecasts.

In the rural area of Tolberter Petten the local people are strongly advised to evacuate.

Source: RTVNoord

Especially local farmers decided not to follow this advice and stay with their cattle. The Groningen sobriety is perhaps well summarized in the words: “It is not too bad”. For a specific part of the area an emergency ordinance  is issued to avoid disaster tourism.

The media pays a lot of attention to this situation. Local and national news channels send a lot of reporters to the specific area and an enormous amount of tweets is spend on Tolbert. According to Twimmer, a site that presents de top 100 of Dutch “trending topics”, #Tolbert was ranked number 8 in the list at a certain moment. The information spread by twitter varies from serious updates about the local situation to bad jokes.

How will this end? The uncertainty with respects to the forecasts (is the dike going to be flooded or breached, and if so when?) makes it very difficult to forecast exactly what is going to happen. If not is going to happen, was the advice of evacuation justly beaten up in the wind and will the attention in the media (especially Twitter) mostly turn into sarcasm and more bad jokes. Time will tell if it was exaggerated or not…