Notes on Agnes (1972)
We study what we can measure (or think we can measure) and the way we categorize things matters for how we think about the world. One example are "hurricanes." We come up with defining criteria and label what is otherwise some earthly geophysical phenomenon as a concretely bounded concept with a life history of sorts. But we define its beginning and its ed event thought the moisture and energy of the system has a continuous flow within the larger ocean-atmosphere circulation.
Hurricane Agnes of 1972 "caused" widespread flooding in the Northeast but it did so not in its energetic life stage as a "hurricane" but towards the end of its documented life as a tropical depression. In writing about Agnes a meteorologist suggests,
The life history of Agnes is most appropriately divided into two parts- one, a June hurricane that developed, strengthened and moved to its landfall on the coast of the Florida panhandle in close accord with climatological expectancy, and the other, a dissipating tropical depression which, having moved inland, became rejuvenated under the stimulus of a vigorous baroclinic environment.
It is this second movement inland as a tropical depression (an atmospheric condition that otherwise goes with little notice) that caused devastating flooding. That part of its life was categorized as a hurricane caused the flooding to be Angnes's legacy- written and tended to in the history books as one of the great hurricane loss events.