One little difference.
Hurricanes don't leave radioactive fallout trails, and our scientifically illiterate public will likely go moonbat on us. . .
Oh no you won't. If the mad moos detonate a nuke, no matter how small in say NYC, and then announce to the Washington Post, the LA Times, Atlanta Journal, all the TV networks that if their list of demands aren't met (impossible demands, such as Bush shot by a firing squad, all troops out of the middle east in 24 hours, Israeli government arrested and shot) then the next American city will be destroyed.
Immagine the panic and lawlessness as every big city that thinks that it is a target has it's population flee for the hills. It would take months for order to be somewhat restored. Maybe a decade before we got back to where we were.
In the mean time the world economy would come to a halt. All US resources would be used to keep the US together and the mad moos would have pretty much free reign for a while until we got ourselves back together.
The fabric of civilization is thin and fragile and it doesn't take much to rend it.