Joe Bastardi / September 11, 2012

Weather as a Number One Factor

9/11 and the Kennedy Assassination – the two events on U.S. soil in my life where weather changed history

Weather is the number one factor in everyone’s life. Think about it. No matter where you live, or what you do, you have to deal with the weather every day. Perhaps that is why the irrational Tower of Babel belief has evolved into the idea that somehow mortals on Earth can control what the heavens do. The events of Nov. 22, 1963, and Sept. 11, 2001, are two where the weather played a role and changed history.

Consider this: If the rain that was forecasted to hold on all day in Dallas the day President Kennedy was to speak there had continued, the motorcade would never have had the top down for the president to be exposed to the assassin’s bullets. Who knows what the rest of the Kennedy administration would have brought. As a fan of John Kennedy who is well aware that he is a man with his shortcomings, perhaps there would have been a very different path as far as Vietnam went. Perhaps there would have been no Nixon presidency. The faith people had in our nation was trashed in the ‘60s and then with Watergate, and I think we are still paying the price today. But if it was raining, who knows what would have happened, right?

But it wasn’t raining – the sun was out, and the assassin’s bullets hit their mark.

On 9/11 the sun was shining brightly as high pressure along the East Coast and strong sinking air outside of major Hurricane Erin well offshore allowed for a spectacular day on the East Coast. If Erin were closer, chances are the weather would have been less hospitable or perhaps there would have been flight delays. As it was, the storm was in the perfect spot to allow the usual sinking air to create ideal conditions for the hijackers to do what they did. The course of history changed, forcing the sitting president to wake up every morning for the rest of his presidency thinking about how to prevent another 9/11. The hit our economy took was staggering, and we are still paying for it in many ways, some clear (air travel), some not so clear. But again, the weather played a big role, and the nation reacted in a way that a major part of the population, after an initial outpouring of support, lost faith in those trying to lead.

Erin was out at sea, and the hijackers hit their mark.

Because I love the weather I may be guilty of overstating these two events. But there is nothing else I can think of in my lifetime where the weather being different may have had such a drastic effect on the course of history. We will never know what a Kennedy presidency and re-election would have led to in the years following, just like we will never know what a George W. Bush presidency would have been like without the burden of 9/11 constantly hanging over his head and a press that considered him stupid and illegitimate. But one thing we do know – nature, not man, has the final say in the course of events where nature is involved.

From Robert Burns:

The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

This piece is from Joe Bastardi’s blog at

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