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Hurricane Ike Update 9/10

Posted by feww on September 10, 2008

Ike Update 9/12: Who Rubbed the Oil Lamp?

Ike Loves Open Waters!

Ike has strengthened to a Category 2A on FEWW Hurricane Scale, and is expected to become a major hurricane (category 3A or above with winds of at least 178km/hr) before making landfall in the northern Gulf of Mexico (Southern Texas).

FEWW Comment: Ike left behind up to 200 people dead in Haiti and Cuba (the death toll could still rise) as it churned through the Caribbeans and is now bringing much wind and rain to the US.

Having previously strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane, Ike struck eastern Cuba as a category 3 hurricane, and there’s a significant probability that it might strengthen again to a category 3 hurricane, possibly stronger, as it moves over the warm waters of Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane Ike has shown a remarkable ability to self organize since almost immediately after birth. The hurricane previously strengthened steadily, but rapidly, as it moved west on the open waters of the Atlantic ocean. Ike loves open waters and with its nascent ability to strengthen rapidly he could prove to be the strongest and most dangerous hurricane of the season to date; however, it’s still too early to forecast with high certainty the hurricane’s wind forces at landfall.


Ike on his way out of Cuba. GOES East Unenhanced Image Frozen for the purpose of comparison. Date and Time: Sept 11, 2008 at 00:15UTC – Credit: NOAA/NHC/NWS


GOES East Floater (Updated Image) Unenhanced – IR CH 4 – Date and Time: Updated  (see foot of image). Credit: NOAA/NHC/NWS

IKE CONTINUES NORTHWESTWARD TOWARD THE CENTRAL GULF

  • Source: NHC
  • Forecaster: Knabb/Berg
  • Date and Time: Sept 10, 2008 at 00:00UTC
  • Hurricane Watch Area: From Cameron westward to port Mansfield, Texas.  Hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area by Friday.
  • Tropical Storm Warning Area: From the mouth of the Mississippi River westward to east of Cameron Louisiana.  AND from west of Key West to the Dry Tortugas.
  • Location: At 00:00UTC the center of hurricane Ike was located near latitude 24.7 north, longitude 86.3 west or about 1,125 km east of Brownsville Texas and about 555 km south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.
  • Category and Wind Speed: At 160 km/hr, with higher
    Gusts, Ike is a Category 2A hurricane on the FEWW Hurricane Scale.  Ike is expected to become a major hurricane by Thursday.
  • Direction: Ike is moving toward the northwest near 13 km/hr.  A turn back toward the west-northwestward is expected tonight or early on Thursday and a general west-northwestward motion over the central and western Gulf of Mexico is expected on Thursday and Friday.
  • Breadth: Ike is a large tropical cyclone.  Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 185 km from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 335 km. 
  • Estimated minimum central pressure: 947 mb (27.96 inches).
  • Storm surge flooding: Coastal storm surge flooding along the coasts of Cuba and in the Florida Keys should continue to subside tonight.  coastal storm surge flooding of 3 to 5 feet above normal tide levels, along with large and dangerous waves, can be expected within the tropical storm warning area.  Above normal tides of 2 to 4 feet are expected elsewhere along much of the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico during the next day or so, but will be increasing along the western gulf coast as Ike approaches.
  • Rainfall: Ike is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 15 to 30 centimeters (cm) over western Cuba, with isolated maximum amounts of up to
    50cm possible.  These rains are likely to cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides over mountainous terrain.  Rainfall amounts of 2 to 5cm are possible over extreme southern Louisiana and over the extreme northern Yucatan Peninsula.

Ike’s Forecast Path


Latest
NCEP/Tropical Prediction Center (TPC) Forecast Positions. Credit: CIMSS – Space Science and Engineering CenterUniversity of Wisconsin- Madison

Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day Track Forecast Cone


Credit: NOAA/NHC/NWS

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A Haiku for Earth

Posted by feww on September 10, 2008

Haiku submitted by a reader:

Behold the shrinking ice
Vanish from Earth
Broiling by lifestyle.

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Hurricane Ike Update 9/9

Posted by feww on September 10, 2008

Ike Update 9/12: Who Rubbed the Oil Lamp?

2009: A New Climate

What if each time a storm struck your area it turned out to be a major hurricane?

Based on MSRB/CASF dynamic energy models and FEWW climate model there’s a high probability that:

1. The duration of Atlantic Hurricane season may be longer in 2009. It could start earlier than June 1, and end later than November 30. The FEWW model forecasts an 11-18 day increase in the season.

2. The storms could get stronger throughout the season. Our model indicates average increases in the maximum wind speeds of tropical storms as follows

  • Category 5 hurricanes [Saffir-Simpson scale] : 16 to 19 percent increase
  • Category 4 hurricanes : 14 to 17 percent
  • Category 3 hurricanes : 8 to 11 percent
  • Category 2 hurricanes : 4 to 6 percent
  • Category 1 hurricanes : 2 to 4 percent

Now, back to Ike

Latest Headlines:

  • More than 1 million are evacuated but there are four deaths as 20 inches of rain and 100-mph winds pound Cuba. Reports mount of earlier deaths and destruction in Haiti. Texas could be next. (LA Times)
  • Oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico remained at a trickle on Tuesday as Hurricane Ike moved toward the region, triggering the second storm-related wave of offshore platform evacuations and production shutdowns in less than two weeks. (Reuters).
  • Some two million Cubans had been driven from their homes by the storm’s winds topping 130 km/h (80 mph) more than 24 hours after it first made landfall on Sunday. (AFP)
  • Ike earlier caused 66 deaths in Haiti and reportedly damaged 80% of the homes in the Turks and Caicos Islands. (BBC)


Latest
NCEP/Tropical Prediction Center (TPC) Forecast Positions. Credit: CIMSS – Space Science and Engineering CenterUniversity of Wisconsin- Madison:

CENTER OF IKE APPROACHING WESTERN CUBA

  • Source: NHC
  • Forecaster: Franklin
  • Date and Time: Sept 9, 2008 at 12:00UTC
  • Location: At 12:00UTC the center of hurricane Ike was located near latitude 22.4 north, longitude 82.4 west, or about 65 Km south of Havana, Cuba.
  • Category and Wind Speed: At 130 km/hr, Ike is a Category one hurricane  on FEWW Hurricane Scale.  Some strengthening may occur this morning before Ike moves over Western Cuba.  Additional strengthening is forecast to occur once Ike reaches the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Direction: Ike is moving toward the west-northwest at 20 km/hr and  is expected to continue in that direction in the next 48 hrs.  The center of Ike should reach the south coast of western Cuba in the next few hours, and emerge into the Gulf of Mexico by this evening.
  • Breadth: Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 355 km from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 315 km. 
  • Estimated minimum central pressure: 965mb (28.50 inches).
  • Storm surge flooding: Coastal storm surge flooding of 4 to 7 feet above normal tide levels, along with large and dangerous battering waves, can be expected in areas of onshore winds east of Ike along the southern coast of  Cuba.
  • Storm surge flooding of up to 90cm, along with Large and dangerous waves, are possible in the Florida Keys.
  • Large swells generated by Ike will continue to affect portions of the southeast United States coast during the next couple of days. These waves could generate dangerous and life-threatening rip
    currents.
  • Rainfall: Ike is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 25cm over Cuba, with isolated maximum amounts of up to 50cm possible. These rains are likely to cause life-threatening flash
    floods and mud slides over mountainous terrain. Rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10cm are possible over the Cayman Islands. Rainfall accumulations of 2.5 to 8cm are possible over the Florida Keys.
  • Isolated tornadoes and waterspouts are possible over the Florida Keys and extreme south Florida today.

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Hurericane Ike: Latest Photos and Videos

Posted by feww on September 9, 2008

Ike Update 9/12: Who Rubbed the Oil Lamp?


Hurricane Ike Video and Photo Links [See following pages]


View of the sky over Havana’ s harbor on the impending arrival of Hurricane Ike, September 7, 2008. Adalberto Roque. Image may be subject to copyright.

Image Galleries:

Videos are embedded on the below linked pages:

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Hurricane Ike, TS Hannah, TS Josephine – Update 9-5

Posted by feww on September 5, 2008

Ike Update 9/12: Who Rubbed the Oil Lamp?

Tropical Storm Hannah

FEWW Comment: Big Hannah’s torrential rains have already submerged parts of Haiti in more than  two meters of floodwater, leaving about 140 people dead. A nightmare scenario in the US Atlantic coast could unfold, if Hannah were to move in slow motion over the U.S. east coast, as already predicted by NHC, without necessarily making landfall, repeating a similar performance to her Haiti debut.


Updated Tropical Atlantic Imagery – Aviation color enhancement – GOES East – Date and time as shown on image. Credit NOAA/SSD/NESDIS

TS Hannah: Coastal Watches/Warnings and 3-Day Track Forecast Cone


This graphic shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow). The orange circle indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone. The black line and dots show the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast track of the center at the times indicated. The dot indicating the forecast center location will be black if the cyclone is forecast to be tropical and will be white with a black outline if the cyclone is forecast to be extratropical. If only an L is displayed, then the system is forecast to be a remnant low. The letter inside the dot indicates the NHC’s forecast intensity for that time. NOAA/NHC

TS Hannah

  • Source: NHC
  • Forecaster: Rhome
  • Date and Time: Sept 5, 2008 / 06:00UTC
  • Location: The center of tropical storm Hanna was located near latitude 27.2 North, longitude 77.2 West or about 90 km north of Great Abaco Island and about 790 km south of Wilmington, North Carolina.
  • Direction: Hanna is moving toward the northwest. NHC expects a gradual turn to the north with an increase in forward speed later today. The center of Hanna will be near the southeast coast of the United States later Today. However, rains and winds associated with Hanna will reach the coast well in advance of the center.
  • Speed: About 30 km/hr.
  • Wind Speed: About 105 km/hr with higher gusts. It is still possible for Hanna to become a hurricane.
  • Breadth: Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 510 km (v. large) mainly to the north and east of the center.
  • Estimated minimum central pressure: 984mb (29.05 inches).
  • Additional Information: Hanna could produce rainfall totals of 2 to 3 inches over the Northern Bahamas and the eastern portions of south and north Carolina, with maximum isolated amounts of 5 inches possible.  Rainfall totals of up to 3 inches are possible from the Georgia coast southward to the central Florida coast. Very heavy rainfall amounts are likely to spread rapidly northward into the mid Atlantic states and New England from Friday night into Saturday and may result in flooding.

Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike: Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day Track Forecast Cone


NOAA/NHC

FEWW Comment: Ike, having strengthened to a very dangerous Category 4B on the FEWW Hurricane Scale just over 24 hours ago, is now slightly downgraded to a category 4A hurricane churning in a westerly direction. If Ike remains on its 5-day NHC-predicted path, and maintains its current strength as a major hurricane (Category 3A or above,) it would sweep over the northern edge of Haiti and the Island of Cuba causing additional destruction on a grand scale, compounding the misery caused by TS Fay, Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Hannah during the last 19 days.

  • Source: NHC
  • Forecaster: Brown
  • Date and Time: Sept 5, 2008 at  03:00UTC
  • Category and Wind Speed: About 215 km/hr, with higher gusts. Ike is an extremely dangerous category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale [Category 4A on FEWW Hurricane Scale.] Some weakening is forecast during the next 24 to 48 hours.
  • Location: The center of hurricane Ike was located near latitude 23.6 North, longitude 59.5 West or about 760 km north-northeast of the Leeward Islands and about 1,215 km east-northeast of Grand Turk island.
  • Direction: Ike is moving in a westerly direction. A turn toward the west-southwest is expected on Friday, and this motion is expected to continue through Saturday.  On this track the hurricane will continue to move over the open waters of the west-central Atlantic during the next 48 hours.
  • Speed: About 22 km/hr.
  • Breadth: Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 55 km from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 185 km.
  • Estimated minimum central pressure: 945mb (27.91 inches).


TS Josephine

Coming soon …

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Ike Becomes the Third Major Hurricane in 2008

Posted by feww on September 4, 2008

Ike Update 9/12: Who Rubbed the Oil Lamp?

With sustained winds of 185 km/hr Ike strengthens to a Category 3A Hurricane


GOES Floater – Tropical Imagery – Water Vapor Image – Date and Time: Updated. Credit NOAA/SSD

FEWW Comment: Hurricane Ike has shown a remarkable ability to self organize since almost immediately after birth. Ike has been strengthening steadily, but rapidly. There are no obvious reasons yet why Ike might change its nascent characteristics. While there’s still a long way to go to forecast the possible impact of Ike on any specific land areas, Ike could prove to be the strongest and most dangerous hurricane of the season yet.

Hurricane Ike’s Latest Update

Source: NHC
Forecaster: Brown/Blake
Date
: Sep 4, 2008
Time: 00:01UTC
Location: The eye of hurricane Ike was located near latitude 21.7 north, longitude 53.2 west or about 1,035 km east-northeast of the Leeward Islands.
Direction: Ike is moving toward the west-northwest . This general motion is expected to continue tonight and early Thursday. By Thursday night early Friday a turn to the west is expected taking Ike over the open waters of the west-central Atlantic during the next 48 hours. It is too early to determine what if any land areas might eventually be affected by Ike.
Speed: About 30 km/hr (unchanged from previous report).
Wind Speed: Maximum sustained winds are about 185 km/hr with higher gusts.  Ike is a dangerous category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, or a category 3A on the FEWW hurricane scale.  Some fluctuations in intensity are expected during the next 48 hours.
Breadth: Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 55 km from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 260 km.
Estimated minimum central pressure: 960mb (28.35 inches)

Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day Track Forecast Cone [NHC/NWS/NOAA]


This graphic shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow). The orange circle indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone. The black line and dots show the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast track of the center at the times indicated. The dot indicating the forecast center location will be black if the cyclone is forecast to be tropical and will be white with a black outline if the cyclone is forecast to be extratropical. If only an L is displayed, then the system is forecast to be a remnant low. The letter inside the dot indicates the NHC’s forecast intensity for that time.

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Canada’s Ice Shelves Lose Quarter of their Cover

Posted by feww on September 3, 2008

Canada’s Ice Shelves Disappearing Much Faster than Previously Thought

The Markham Ice Shelf break-up animated using cloud-free MODIS images. The animation shows an area that is approximately 40 km wide. MODIS image from the Rapid Response Project at NASA/GSFC. Animation courtesy Derek Mueller, Trent University.

[Kudos to Derek Mueller for his plain, yet revealing animations. See  below also for Serson Ice Shelf break-up and Ward Hunt Ice Shelf break-up animations.]

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Markham Ice Shelf, a massive 50 square km ice shelf, almost the land size of Manhattan Island, in Canada’s northern Arctic broke away in August. The remaining shelves are shrinking at a “massive and disturbing” rate, as a result of of accelerating climate change, scientists reported.

The Markham Ice Shelf, one of just five remaining ice shelves in the Canadian Arctic, calved from Ellesmere Island in early August. Additionally, two other large chunks measuring a total of about 122 square km calved from Serson Ice Shelf, reducing its size by nearly two-thirds.


Chunk of ice are drifting away after calving from the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf off the north coast of Ellesmere Island in Canada’s far north. Photo: AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

“The changes … were massive and disturbing,” said Warwick Vincent, at Laval University in Quebec.

Vincent’s team have recorded peak temperatures of about  20 degrees Celsius (°C), some 12 degrees (250%) higher than the average of about 8°C. The team’s estimate that the shelves would lose 22 square km of ice this summer proved to be highly optimistic. The actual figure was closer to 220 square km—ten times higher than their estimate.

Before


A MODIS image of the Markham Ice Shelf (2006 extent outlined in red) on July 28, 2008 prior to calving. Note the open water in Markham Fiord south of the ice shelf. MODIS image from the Rapid Response Project at NASA/GSFC. Map courtesy Derek Mueller, Trent University.

After


A MODIS image of Markham Fiord on August 12, 2008 following the loss of the Markham Ice Shelf (2006 extent outlined in red). MODIS image from the Rapid Response Project at NASA/GSFC. Map courtesy Derek Mueller, Trent University.


The Serson Ice Shelf break-up animated using cloud-free MODIS images. The animation shows an area that is approximately 80 km wide. MODIS image from the Rapid Response Project at NASA/GSFC. Animation courtesy Derek Mueller, Trent University.

Scientists believe that global warming is increasing the temperatures in the Arctic far faster than the global average in the last 30 years.

“These substantial calving events underscore the rapidity of changes taking place in the Arctic,” said Derek Mueller, a specialist at Trent University in Ontario.


Markham Fiord in August 2008 after the Markham Ice Shelf broke away. Compare with the photograph above. Photo courtesy of Denis Sarrazin, Laval University.

“These changes are irreversible under the present climate and indicate that the environmental conditions that have kept these ice shelves in balance for thousands of years are no longer present,” he said.


The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf break-up animated using cloud-free MODIS images. The animation shows an area that is approximately 75 km wide. NB: The events displayed here were already widely reported at the end of July. MODIS image from the Rapid Response Project at NASA/GSFC. Animation courtesy Derek Mueller, Trent University.
According to Mueller a totl of about 215 square km of ice was lost from the shelves along Ellesmere Island this summer.

“Reduced sea ice conditions and unusually high air temperatures have facilitated the ice shelf losses,” said Luke Copland of the University of Ottawa.

“Extensive new cracks across remaining parts of the largest remaining ice shelf, the Ward Hunt, mean that it will continue to disintegrate in the coming years,” he said.


Calving of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf into Disraeli Fiord during August 2008. Photo courtesy of Denis Sarrazin, ArcticNet/Centre d’Etudes Nordiques.

Ellesmere Island previously home to a single giant ice shelf measuring about 10,000 square km, now has four very small shelves covering only about 800 square km—less than a tenth of the original size!

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TSs Hannah, Ike and Josephine

Posted by feww on September 3, 2008

Latest: Hurricane Ike Update 9/9

Photos and Videos

Hurricane Ike Update 9/8

Hurricane Ike Update 9/7

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Messy Hannah looks like a big baby left alone with a bowl of milk chocolate mix on the kitchen table!

Tropical Storm Front Update 9-3


L to R: Gustav (the ‘Fake Hurricane’), TS Hannah, TS Ike, TS Josephine    (Still Image)  – NOAA


Tropical Atlantic Imagery – GOES East  – RGB Image – (Updated) – NOAA/SSD

Brief Update:

Gustav (The ‘Ghost Hurricane’)

GUSTAV is now a tropical depression located [Sep 2 at 21:00 UTC] near latitude 33.0 north, longitude 93.9 west, or about 56 km north of Shreveport Louisiana moving slowly into the ArkLaTex region.

Storm total rainfalls are expected to be five to ten inches with isolated maximum of fifteen inches over portions of Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.  Four to six inches with a maximum of eight inches is expected over portions of Missouri and west central to northern Illinois.  Two to four inches of rain is
possible over far eastern Oklahoma. – Forecaster Petersen, NHC

TS Hannah


Tropical Storm Hanna is seen southeast of Florida in this satellite image on September 2, 2008. REUTERS/NOAA/Handout

Maximum sustained winds: 105 km/h

Sep 3 – 03:00 UTC – The center of TS Hanna was located near latitude 20.5 north, longitude 72.4 west or 105 km southeast of Great Inagua Island  and about 720 km southeast of Nassau.

[Great Inagua is the third largest island in the Bahamas at 1550 km² located about 92 km northwest of eastern tip of Cuba.]

Hanna has been almost stationary in  the past few hours. However, a north or northwestward motion is expected to begin early on Wednesday followed by a northwestward motion with some increase in forward speed Wednesday night.  On the forecast track, Hanna will be moving across the southeastern Bahamas overnight, and near or over the central Bahamas Wednesday and Wednesday night, and the northwestern Bahamas on Thursday. – Forecaster: Brown/Avila

The Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos islands, Haiti and the Dominican Republic have experienced substantial downpours.

In Haiti, at least 25 people were killed by severe flooding and mudslides. Heavy rains inundated the northern port city of Gonaives.

“The city is flooded and there are parts where the water gets to 2 meters,” said an official. “A lot of people have been climbing onto the tops of their houses since last night to escape the flooding.”

Reuters report: Storms swirl in Atlantic, deadly floods hit Haiti

TS Ike

Date: Sep 3, 2008
Time: 09:00UTC
Location: TS Ike was located by NHC near latitude 20.6 north, longitude 49.6 west or about 1340 km east-northeast of the Leeward Islands.
Direction: Ike is moving west-northwestward and a gradual turn toward the west is expected over the next 48 hours
Speed: About 30 km/hr and
Wind Speed: Satellite images indicate that the maximum sustained winds remain near 100 km/hr with higher gusts.  Ike is forecast to
Become a hurricane later today, and continue to strengthen over the next 48 hours.
Breadth: Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 220 km
from the center.
Estimated minimum central pressure: 996mb (29.41 inches)

TS Josephine

Date: Sep 3, 2008
Time: 09:00UTC
Location
: The center of tropical storm Josephine was located by NHC near latitude 13.7 north, longitude 27.5 west or about 355 km west-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands.
Direction: Josephine is moving toward the west-northwest and is expected to continue in that direction for the next 48 hours.
Speed: About 20 km/hr
Wind Speed: Sustained winds are about 95 km/hr with higher gusts.  Some strengthening is forecast in the next 24 hours.
Breadth
: Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 150 km from the center.
Estimated minimum central pressure: 1000mb (29.53 inches)
More updates will follow …

If Hannah manages to organize herself, the conditions are conducive to a major hurricane, at least a Category 4A hurricane, according to FEWW model.

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Palin’s Polar Pests Love Their Cubs, Too!

Posted by feww on September 2, 2008

Main Entry: It’s All About Big Oil, Stupid!

Photograph by Norbert Rosing. (Source: National geographic). Image may be subject to copyright."”]”]

IS THIS RELATIONSHIP ANY LESS IMPORTANT THAN THE ONE BELOW?

Bristol Palin , the 17-year-old daughter of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is seen holding her brother Trig at a campaign event in Dayton, Ohio, August 29, 2008. REUTERS/John Gress. Image may be subject to copyright.

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Posted in Corporate Shill, Gov. Sarah Palin, offshore Drilling, polar bears, threatened species, Tourism, Transportation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Gustav spares New Orleans levees

Posted by feww on September 2, 2008

Insured losses could still reach $10 billion

Hurricane Gustav slammed ashore near Cocodrie, Louisiana, about 115 km southwest of New Orleans on Monday.

Gustav weakened to a Category 2 hurricane with 177 kph winds [just 1kph shy of a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale] before landfall and as it moved inland weakened to a Category 1 hurricane with 130 kph winds.


A street at a railroad crossing near the Inner Harbor Navigational Canal is flooded as Hurricane Gustav hits New Orleans, September 1, 2008. REUTERS/Lee Celano. Image may be subject to copyright.

Weaker than Katerina on landfall, Gustav spared the levees which were breached by Katrina in 2005 flooding the city killing about 1800 and stranding hundreds of thousands of people.

About six inches of water flooded streets around New Orleans Industrial Canal, and strong winds knocked down trees, but no substantial damage has yet been reported.


In case you wondered what Gustav looked liked! –  Clouds looming over New Orleans looked like a scene right out of “Independence Day.” (Stephen Morton/Getty Images). Image may be subject to copyright.

It is  estimated that Gustav’s insured losses could reach $10 billion. Katrina’s insured losses were reported at about $40 billion and total damage was more than $81.2 billion [2005 dollars.]

Gustav seemed to have caused more damage in the Caribbeans while near full strength. It killed a total of about 100 people in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba. According to Cuban authorities more than 90,000 houses were damaged or destroyed by Gustav. Reuters reported.

As Gustav swept inland over the United States, tropical storm Hanna strengthened to a hurricane near the Bahamas, and Tropical Storm Ike formed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Click here for Gustav’s latest image.

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Gustav and Hannah: A picture’s worth …

Posted by feww on September 1, 2008

Latest: Tropical Storm Front Update 9-3

Gustav Chased by ‘Rapid Fire!’


Composite (‘realtime’) Image developed by Rick Kohrs at the Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin, using McIDAS.


Eastern Conus Sector (Infrared Channel)
– NOAA – [Note: For IR data, the highest pixel values correspond to the coldest temperatures.] – Still Image.

Rapid Fire: Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook – NOAA/NHC/NWS – Still Image – Date/Time: See Inset

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Image of the Day: While You Were Away …

Posted by feww on September 1, 2008

NO: A Ghost Town


A copy of The Times-Picayune is displayed on a deserted downtown street after the evacuation of New Orleans, prior to the arrival of Hurricane Gustav, August 31, 2008. REUTERS/ Mark Wallheiser. Image may be subject to copyright.

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Another Deadly Earthquake Cluster Hits China

Posted by feww on August 31, 2008

China quake damages more than 100,000 homes, 25 dead

Revised figures in brackets are from a more recent report by AP.

BEIJING, Aug 31 (Reuters) – An earthquake that hit southwest China’s Sichuan and Yunnan provinces has killed [32] people [another 467 people injured], damaged or destroyed more than 258,000 homes and affected at least 600,000 residents [about 152,000 were evacuated,] state media said on Sunday.


Li Fucui, 47, cries in front of the debris of her collapsed house, which buried her brother-in-law, in Huili County, Sichuan Province. (Image: Reuters). Image may be subject to copyright.

The epicenter of Saturday’s quake, which struck around 4:30 p.m. (0730 GMT), was about 20 miles (30 km) southeast of Panzhihua, near Sichuan’s border with Yunnan, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake was about 6 miles (10 km) deep.

The USGS put the magnitude of the quake at 5.7, while China’s official Xinhua news agency said it measured 6.1.

A 5.6-magnitude aftershock hit the same area 24 hours later, the USGS said on Sunday. There were no immediate reports of further damage.

Xinhua said Saturday’s quake had injured more than 250 people, and three more were missing.

It added that 656 schools had also been damaged and that heavy rain and difficult terrain were hampering rescue efforts, with mobile telephone communications patchy.

State television showed pictures of houses with large cracks in their sides, broken tiles on the road and people receiving medical attention under tents.

The government was rushing disaster relief to the affected areas, including thousands of tents and blankets and tonnes of food and water, Xinhua said.

Parts of Sichuan province were devastated by an earthquake that killed about 70,000 people in May. The province, known for its pandas and fiery cuisine, has struggled to rebuild after the disaster, which left 10 million people homeless. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Alex Richardson)

China should prepare for another massive earthquake in the Sichuan and Yunnan border area this winter!

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Gustav Now a Category Four Hurricane, as Forecast

Posted by feww on August 30, 2008

As forecast by FEWW model, Gustav has now strengthened to an extremely dangerous category four hurricane

The National Hurricane Center in Miami confirmed a few minutes ago that Gustav now has maximum winds approaching 230 km/hr which makes him an extremely dangerous category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. The following excerpt is from their advisory update:

Hurricane Gustav Tropical Cyclone Update
NWS TPC/National Hurricane Center Miami Fl   Al072008
13:20 EDT Sat Aug 30 2008

… Gustav has continued to strengthen and now has maximum winds near 230 km/hr (145 mph) with higher gusts.  This makes Gustav an extremely dangerous category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.  A special advisory will be issued at about 14:00 EDT to modify the initial and forecast intensities. The special public advisory will take the place of the intermediate public advisory previously scheduled for that time. —Forecaster Knabb


Hurricane Gustav
– GOES Imagery – Floater (updated image) – IR Aviation color enhancement – Credit: NOAA Satellite Information Service/SSD


Hurricane Gustav
– GOES Imagery – (still image saved for comparison Aug 30, 2008 22:15 UTC) – IR Aviation color enhancement – Credit: NOAA Satellite Information Service/SSD

Gustav’s current characteristics including his rapid ability to strengthen, his temperament and projected path, suggest that he could cause substantial damage to structures, especially to the 3,900 or so offshore oil and gas facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gustav could bring up to 10 meter storm surge along the northern Gulf Coast. According to the Census Bureau estimate, as many as 12 million U.S. residents may experience Gustav’s impact.

The storm has already left a trail of destruction and some 90 people dead in its wake as it swept across the Caribbeans over the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica. The storm’s human cost in Cayman Islands and Cuba may exceed the standing death toll.

What about Hannah?


TS Hannah (C) Chasing Hurricane Gustv (L) – GOES Caribbean Imagery – (Still Image) – August 30, 2008 Credit: NOAA Satellite Information Service/SSD

According to NHC TS Hannah advisory No. 11, at 21:00UTC the center of tropical storm Hanna was located near latitude 22.4 north, longitude 67.2 west or about 415 km east-northeast of Grand Turk Island. The center of Hanna is forecast to move near or just northeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands late Sunday or Monday.

Hannah has maximum sustained winds of near 85 km/hr, with higher gusts.  Some gradual strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hrs. Minimum central pressure:1000mb.

Hannah seems to have the potential to “pack a big punch!”

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Breaking News: Gustav Now Category Three Hurricane

Posted by feww on August 30, 2008

Latest Update: Gustav Now a Category Four Hurricane, as Forecast

Gustav Strengthened to a Dangerous Category Three Hurricane

As of a Few minutes ago Gustav strengthened to a dangerous category three hurricane, National Hurricane Center reported.

Hurricane Gustav Tropical Cyclone Update
NWS TPC/National Hurricane Center Miami Fl   Al072008
06:00 EDT (02:00 UTC) Sat Aug 30 2008

… Gustav continues to rapidly strengthen and now has maximum winds near 185 km/hr (115 mph) with higher gusts.  This makes Gustav a dangerous category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane
scale, the second major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season.  Forecaster Blake/Avila


Hurricane Gustav – Category 3 – GOES (still satellite image printed for comparison) Rainbow Color Enhancement IR CH 4. Credit: NOAA – NHC


GEOS Floater (updated) Rainbow Color Enhancement IR CH 4. Credit: NOAA – NHC

Based on the FEWW model, Moderators believe there’s a very strong probability that Gustav, as he gets closer to the Isle of Youth, could strengthen to a category four hurricane within the next 12 hours before making landfall in the west-southwestern Cuba. There’s a medium to strong probability that Gustav could remain a category four hurricane as it leaves Cuba and strengthen to a giant category five hurricane within the next 24 to 36 hours, after it enters the southern Gulf of Mexico.

Watch this space!

For additional images see:

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TSs Hannah and Gustav

Posted by feww on August 29, 2008

Latest: Tropical Storm Front Update 9-3

Tropical Storm [‘Big’] Hannah Chases Gustav

Tropical Storm Hanna regional imagery, 2008.08.29 at 08:45UTC.
Centerpoint Latitude: 21:17:12N Longitude: 62:25:56W.


Data Elements:
Tropical Storm Hanna is located north-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands. This system is moving toward the northwest near 22km/hr. Maximum sustained winds are near 85km/hr.
Observation Device: GOES-12  4-km infrared imagery.
Visualization Date: August 29, 2008 08:05:16 UTC
Credit NOAA – Environmental Visualization Service

noaa logo Gustav and Hannah – GOES Puerto Rico SECTOR IR Image – Updated Image

:
Puerto Rico Sector (IR Ch 4, Mercator Projection) – Credit: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Tropical storm Hanna advisory number 5

  • Hanna is poorly organized at this time.
  • At 09:00 UTC the center of tropical storm Hanna was located near latitude 21.7 North, …longitude 62.3 West or about 400 km north-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands.
  • Hanna is moving toward the northwest near 22 km/hr.   A motion between west-northwest and northwest away from the Leeward Islands is expected during the next  24 hrs.
  • Maximum sustained winds are near 85 km/hr with higher gusts.  Little change in strength is forecast today but Hanna could become a hurricane in a couple of days.
  • Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 85 km from the center.
  • Estimated minimum central pressure is 1000 mb (29.53 inches).

Rain bands associated with Hanna could produce rainfall accumulations of 1 to 2 inches across portions of the Leeward Island. – Forecaster Avila

Tropical Storm Hanna regional imagery, 2008.08.28 at 16:15UTC.
Centerpoint Latitude: 19:10:50N Longitude: 58:37:25W.


Data Elements:
Hanna has become the eighth tropical storm of the 2008 season.
Observation Device: GOES-12 1 km visible imagery.
Credit NOAA – Environmental Visualization Service

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TS Gustav Update 29-8

Posted by feww on August 29, 2008

Update 30-8: Gustav Now a Category Four Hurricane, as Forecast

Gustav is coming, and Big Hannah, too!

More on ‘Big Hannah’ later.

Gustav: The Early US Impact

  • Gustav could make landfall in the US anywhere from Texas to Florida by early next week.
  • New Orleans is planning a possible mandatory evacuation. [Hurricane Katrina struck the city August 28, 2005]
  • Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard.

Gustav Death Toll as of 03:00 UTC – Aug 29, 2008

  • Haiti: 51 people died from storm-related incidents since Tuesday.
  • Dominican Republic: At least eight more deaths were reported after Gustav struck.


TS Gustav is seen moving over Jamaica [near bottom right corner] in this mildly out of focus satellite image. Meanwhile Fay, “born” August 15, is till raining on the U.S., now over the Mid-Atlantic section [top center.] In the bottom left a system may be forming (low/medium probability) over the Bay of Campeche.  Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project.


TS Hannah follows Gustav.
1. A large tropical wave accompanied by a broad low pressure system is producing limited shower activity about midway between the west coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles. 2. A well-defined tropical wave is located along the west coast of Africa. This system is showing signs of organization, and some gradual  development is possible over the next couple of days as it moves westward at 10 to 15 mph. Image and caption: NOAA/NWS

Hurricane Highlights from NHC [TS Gustav Advisory No 17]

  • Hurricane warnings remain in effect for Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. [A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.]
  • A hurricane watch remains in effect for western Cuba, for the Provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio, la Habana and Ciudad de la Habana.  [A hurricane watch means that hurricane Conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 36 hours.]
  • A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Cuban province of Granma.
  • A tropical storm watch remain in effect for the Cuban province of Matanzas.
  • At 3:00 am UTC the center of TS Gustav was located near latitude 17.8 north, longitude 77.3 west, about 55 km west-southwest of Kingston Jamaica and about 445 km east-southeast of Grand Cayman.
  • Gustav is moving toward the west at 11 km/hr.  A turn toward the west-northwest and northwest is forecast during the next 48 hours.  On this track, the center of Gustav will pass near or over western Jamaica in the next few hours, move near or over the Cayman Islands Friday, and approach western Cuba on Saturday.
  • Maximum sustained winds are near 110 km/hr (70 mph) with higher Gusts.  Strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours, and Gustav is expected to become a Hurricane Friday.
  • Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 75 km from the center.
  • Estimated minimum central pressure is 988 mb (29.18 inches).
  • Coastal storm surge flooding of 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels can be expected in areas of onshore winds in the hurricane warning Area.
  • Gustav is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches across Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, with isolated maximum amounts of up to 25 inches possible.  These rains will likely produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. Rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches are possible over southern Cuba.  Rainfall will be diminishing over Haiti tonight, but anadditional 1 to 2 inches of rainfall is still possible.  —Forecaster Beven

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Arctic ice cover second-lowest on record

Posted by feww on August 28, 2008

The extent of Arctic ice is now 10 percent lower than the 1997-2000 period

Arctic sea ice cover shrank to its second-lowest level ever and could set a new low by the and of this year’s melt season. The worst affected area is the Chukchi Sea, home to one of the world’s largest polar bear populations, as well as large oil and gas fields.


Daily Arctic sea ice extent for August 26, 2008, fell below the 2005 minimum, which was 5.32 million square kilometers (2.05 million square miles). The orange line shows the 1979 to 2000 average extent for that day. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. —Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Arctic sea ice extent has declined 2.06 million sq km since the beginning of August. On August 26 sea ice extent stood at 5.26 million sq km, below the 2005 minimum of 5.32 sq km set on September 21 of that year, the second-lowest extent observed by satellite, said National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado.

In 2007 the ice cover melt to its lowest recorded minimum of 4.12 million sq km opening the the Northwest Passage  for the first time on record.

“No matter where we stand at the end of the melt season it’s just reinforcing this notion that Arctic ice is in its death spiral,” said Mark Serreze, a scientist at NSIDC.

Loss of summer Arctic ice could have far-reaching implications for wildlife, especially the polar bear and walrus, which depend on ice shelves to hunt for food.

With more Arctic ice melting, the bears have to swim farther to find suitable ice shelves for hunting. The longer they swim in open waters, despite being capable swimmers, the more likely they get into trouble. A number of bears are known to have been drowned in the recent years.


A polar bear is seen in the water during an aerial survey off the Alaska coast in this photo taken August 15, 2008. Arctic sea ice shrank to its second-lowest level ever, U.S. scientists said on Wednesday, with particular melting in the Chukchi Sea, where at least 12 polar bears were recently seen swimming far off the Alaskan coast. REUTERS/Geoff York/World Wildlife Fund/Handout.

Interestingly, the state of Alaska is suing the federal government because it says listing polar bears as a threatened species is hurting Alaskan oil and gas exploration and development, commercial fisheries, transportation and tourism. In other words, the polar bears had no right to be there!

“We believe that … decision to list the polar bear was not based on the best scientific and commercial data available,” said Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Will 2008 also break the standing record low set in 2007? We will know soon—there are still a few weeks left to the end of melt season!

Related Links:

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Amazing Images of the Day: Mountain Top Removal

Posted by feww on August 27, 2008

Coal is good for you! Don’t let a mountain or two stand in your way!


Mountaintop removal near Hazard (Perry County, KY). Image may be subject to copyright.

In West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee and eastern Kentucky, coal companies blast as much as 600 feet off the top of the mountains, then dump the rock and debris into mountain streams.

Over 300,000 acres of the most beautiful and productive hardwood forests in America have already been turned into barren grasslands. Mountaintop removal mining increases flooding, contaminates drinking water supplies, cracks foundations of nearby homes, and showers towns with dust and noise from blasting. (Photo and Caption:The Mountaintop Removal Road Show).

Related Links (Must Watch Videos)

Other links:

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Hurricane Gustav to Feed on Warm Waters

Posted by feww on August 27, 2008

Latest Update: Gustav Now a Category Four Hurricane, as Forecast

Warm Waters in the S and SW Coast of Cuba Await Gustav

Real Time POES Composite Imagery Atlantic/East Pacific
(Daily Sea Surface Temperatures)


Image Source: NOAA

Warm waters in the 30-35ºC temp. range (shown in firebrick red) surrounding the south and southwestern coast of Cuba await hurricane Gustave as it leaves Haiti. Gustav may strengthen into a cat. three/four hurricane.

NHC Hurricane GUSTAV Forecast Discussion (No. 7):

Center of Gustav made landfall around 17:30 UTC.  A minimum pressure of 992 mb was reported just as the center moved inland. As the center is moving over the mountainous terrain of the southwest peninsula of Haiti, Gustav is likely losing strength.  The eye is no longer evident on satellite images, and the system could weaken below hurricane intensity tonight.  However, the upper-level environment remains favorable for intensification with only a little north-northeasterly shear, and therefore Gustav is likely to regain strength as it approaches the Windward Passage and eastern Cuba tomorrow.


Gustav – GOES Infrared Image – University of Wisconsin – Madison – CIMSS Tropical Cyclones page

Latest News Update:

“Given the current track for Gustav and the expectation that it might enter the Gulf of Mexico this weekend, we are making logistical arrangements to evacuate staff who are not essential to production or drilling operations,” Shell said in a statement.

“Evacuations could begin as early as Wednesday. There is no impact on production at this time.” (Source: AFP)


An oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Source: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Hurricane Gustav slammed into flood-prone Haiti on Tuesday, killing at least two people.


The only reliable mode of transport!
Joggers run through flooded streets after torrential rains hit Havana August 26, 2008. REUTERS/Claudia Daut. Image may be subject to copyright.

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) — Hurricane Gustav slammed into Haiti, killing at least five as it lashed the desperately poor Caribbean nation with powerful winds and heavy rain, just days behind deadly Tropical Storm Fay.


People, carrying belongings, crosses a street flooded by rain caused by Hurricane Gustav in Port-au-Prince,Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008. Gustav barreled into Haiti on Tuesday, toppling trees, dumping rain and sending fuel prices soaring on fears the storm could become “extremely dangerous” when it reaches the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos).
Image may be subject to copyright.

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Right on Track for 2009 Cost of Calif Fires Forecast

Posted by feww on August 26, 2008

Submitted by a CASF Member:

Forest Service Metamorphoses into Fire Service!

Forest Service is diverting hundreds of millions of dollars previously set aside for restoration, land acquisition, improvement, research even fire prevention and safety work to meet the tremendous cost of fighting fires, especially the wildfires in California this year.

Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell told regional foresters that cost of fighting fires could reach $1.6 billion, about half the agency’s 2008 budget.

“All of you are aware of the serious nature of this year’s fire season and the issues faced by the agency in paying for fire suppression costs,” Kimbell wrote in a memo. “At this time the only option for financing the shortfall is to use the agency’s transfer authority.”

Kimbell said, the foresters had to curtail spending on all non-critical items this year and “use prudent cost-saving judgment” in hiring and in approving overtime, but stopped short of mentioning layoffs.

“I recognize that this direction will have a significant effect on agency operations,” Kimbell said in the memo. “However, we must be in a position to protect life and property from wildfire, and do so within the funds available to the agency.

“The agency started transferring money in the middle of August and expects to take a total of $400 million from other areas through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Such transfers have occurred several times since 2000.” AP reported.

However, it has been predicted that the cost of fighting fires could reach $2 billion, and the transfers could top $750 million.

Q. What exactly was your forecast for the cost of California fires in 2009?

A. Err…, what exactly did you say the 2009 Forest Service budget was, and the maximum possible transfers by Kimbell?

Related Links:

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Hurricane Gustav [VII]

Posted by feww on August 26, 2008

Latest Update: Gustav Now a Category Four Hurricane, as Forecast

Aug 29 – 03:00 UTC: TS Gustav Latest Update

Aug 27 Update: Hurricane Gustav to Feed on Warm Waters

Hurricane Gustav VII [the seventh storm of the Atlantic hurricane season] is Heading Toward Haiti

With powerful winds of 140 km/h (85mph), Gustav is churning through Caribbeans heading toward south-west Haiti, likely to wreak havoc and cause much devastation in the region.


Hurricane Gustav is seen in this satellite image dated August 26, 2008. REUTERS/NOAA/Handout

Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day Track Forecast Cone – NOAA/NWS


This graphic shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow). The orange circle indicates the current position of the center of the tropical cyclone. The black line and dots show the National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast track of the center at the times indicated. The dot indicating the forecast center location will be black if the cyclone is forecast to be tropical and will be white with a black outline if the cyclone is forecast to be extratropical. If only an L is displayed, then the system is forecast to be a remnant low. The letter inside the dot indicates the NHC’s forecast intensity for that time. NOAA-NWS

These graphics show probabilities of sustained (1-minute average) surface wind speeds equal to or exceeding 64 kt…74 mph (hurricane force). These wind speed probability graphics are based on the official National Hurricane Center (NHC) track, intensity, and wind radii forecasts, and on NHC forecast error statistics for those forecast variables during recent years. Each graphic provides cumulative probabilities that wind speeds of at least 74 mph will occur during cumulative time periods at each specific point on the map. The cumulative periods begin at the start of the forecast period and extend through the entire 5-day forecast period at cumulative 12-hour intervals (i.e., 0-12 h, 0-24 h, 0-36 h, … , 0-120 h). An individual graphic is produced for each cumulative interval, and the capability to zoom and animate through the periods is provided. To assess the overall risk of experiencing winds of at least 74 mph at any location, the 120-h graphics are recommended. NOAA-NWS

Gustav Could Become a Cat. Two Hurricane Before Landfall in Haiti

Gustav became stronger as it neared the south coast of Haiti, NHC reported.  Here’re the highlights of NHC Hurricane Advisory:

  • A hurricane warning remains in effect from Barahona in the Dominican Republic westward to Le Mole St Nicholas Haiti.
  • A hurricane watch is also in effect for the Cuban provinces of Las Tunas, Granma, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo.  A hurricane watch is also in effect for Jamaica.
  • At 8:00 am EDT the center of hurricane Gustav was located near latitude 17.5 north, longitude 72.0 west or about 125 km south-southeast of Port Au Prince Haiti and about 425 km southeast of Guantanamo Cuba.
  • Gustav continues moving toward the northwest at 15 km/hr today with a turn toward the west-northwest and a decrease in forward speed forecast on Wednesday.  On this track this hurricane should move over Southwestern Haiti later today and near or just south of  Eastern Cuba on Wednesday.
  • Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 150 Km/hr with higher gusts.  Gustav is a category one hurricane on The Saffir-Simpson scale.  The hurricane could become a category Two hurricane before landfall in Haiti later today.
  • Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 35 km from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 110 km.
  • The latest minimum central pressure is 981 mb (28.97 inches).


Hurricane Gustav
– GOES Infrared AVN Color Floater Imagery – 30 minute updates

Rainfall accumulations of 4 to 7 inches over southern Hispaniola and Jamaica with isolated maximum amounts of up to 15 inches are possible.  These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. — Forecaster Brown/Pasch

“Oil prices in Asia rose Tuesday on concerns Hurricane Gustav may disrupt oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico.” AP reported.

“It’s hard to predict where Gustav will strike,” an analyst in Singapore reported. “But the market is reacting to it and edging up some.”

“Light, sweet crude for October delivery was up 58 cents at $115.69 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midafternoon in Singapore. The contract rose 52 cents overnight to settle at $115.11 a barrel.”

On its forecast track and anticipated strength, Gustav could cause significant disruptions to offshore oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

REM: You read it hear first! 😉

Latest Update: Gustav Now a Category Four Hurricane, as Forecast

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Shameful EPA slammed with yet another lawsuit

Posted by feww on August 26, 2008

Mr Johnson, Americans Need Clean Air, Despite Your Misplaced Loyalties!

12 states, NY city and District of Columbia are suing Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, the federal environmental regulators, over greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries in the US.

The suit is led by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who “charges that EPA violated the federal Clean Air Act by refusing to issue standards, known as new source performance standards, for controlling global warming pollution emissions from oil refineries.” Reuters reported.


Anacortes Refinery (Tesoro Corp), on the north end of March Point southeast of Anacortes, Washington. Image credit:Walter Siegmund. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

“The EPA’s refusal to control pollution from oil refineries is the latest example of the Bush Administration’s do-nothing policy on global warming,” Cuomo said in a release. “Oil refineries contribute substantially to global warming, posing grave threats to New York’s environment, health, and economy.”

Stephen Johnson, the EPA head has insisted that it is the responsibility of Congress to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases that are heating the planet, despite the US Supreme Court ruling in 2007 that EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Additionally, other coalition of states have sued the EPA demanding that it should set standards for GHG pollution from power plants, and and to uphold the right of states to regulate pollution emissions from automobiles, as well as to require stronger reporting on toxic chemicals.

According to the latest suit, filed yesterday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, “about 15 percent of U.S. industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, come from crude refineries, which burn some oil as they make products like gasoline and jet fuel.”

The other plaintiff states and cities in the suit are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia and the City of New York, representing nearly one third (29%)of the entire US population.

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Stars-and-Stripes-Draped Carson Refinery (owned by the patriotic British Petroleum), Carson, California. Capacity: 260,000 bbl/d (41,000 m³/d). Image Credit: USATODAY. Image may be subject to copyright.

Related Links:

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Country in Focus: Thailand

Posted by feww on August 24, 2008

Do No Evil [sic] Google  Has Blocked This Page!

Time to Abolish Thai Monarchy!

Thailand’s Wealthy King Bhumibol Adulyadej


Thailand’s “revered” King Bhumibol Adulyadej waves to guests from the balcony of the Grand Palace in Bangkok on his 80th birthday December 5, 2007. (Royal Palace/Handout/Reuters)

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The Wealthy King:

King Bhumibol, 80, monarch for 62 years, is the world’s richest royal. His fortune is estimated at 35 billion dollars, Forbes said.

Crown Property Bureau, which manages most of the royal family’s wealth, “granted unprecedented access this year, revealing vast landholdings, including 3,493 acres in Bangkok.”

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A Right Royal Tragedy

In a country were up to 20 percent of population have no sustainable access to clean water, where at least a quarter of the children under the age of five are malnourished and with a third of the people living in abject poverty, IT IS UNACCEPTABLE for anyone to accumulate so much wealth!

Thailand: Geography

Southeastern Asia, bordering the Myanmar, the Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea to the west, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar to the north. Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand to the east, and Malaysia to the south.

Poverty:

  • Population without sustainable access to an improved water source (2000) : 10.5 million people (16%)
  • Children under weight for age (% under age 5) 1995-2000 : 19 percent
  • Population below $2 per day income (1990-2001) : 21 million people (32.5%) – [source: unsiap]

Population

2008 estimates: 65,493,298
2000 census: 60,606,947

Note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.) – [source: CIA World Factbook]

Population in Municipal Area (%) : 31.1 percent (about 15.1 % in the capital, Bangkok, and 16 % in Thailand’s other big cities)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 21.2% (male 7,104,776/female 6,781,453)
  • 15-64 years: 70.3% (male 22,763,274/female 23,304,793)
  • 65 years and over: 8.5% (male 2,516,721/female 3,022,281) (2008 est.)
  • 15-59 labor force: 66.5%
  • Women in reproductive ages : 17,032,000

Sex ratio (Males per 100 females): 97.0

Median age:

  • total: 32.8 years
  • male: 32 years
  • female: 33.7 years (2008 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.64% (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%

Main Religion: About 95 percent of the population are Buddhists.

Prostitution

[Source: peopledaily, December 14, 2001] Thailand ranks third after India and the U.S. in the number of child prostitutes, the United Nations (UN) said in its report prepared for the Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation which will be held in Japan Saturday, the Nation Newspaper reported Friday.

Number of women and children that are believed to be sexually exploited in

  • India: about 400,000 [population of 1,137 million]
  • United States: between 244,000 and 325,000 [305 million]
  • Thailand: 200,000 [65.5million]
  • Eastern and central Europe175,000 [about 200 0million]
  • Brazil: 100,000 [187.5 million]
  • West Africa: 35,000 [about 250 million]

However, based on the national/regional populations, a larger percentage of women and children are sexually exploited in Thailand than in any other country/region in the world.

Thai Sex Tourism and Prostitution

[Source: Coalition Against Trafficking in Women] Estimates on the number of women in prostitution range from 300,000 to 2.8 million [many NGOs conform the larger figure] of which a third are minors. Thai women are also in prostitution in many countries in Asia, Australia, Europe and the US. About 4.6 million Thai men regularly, and at least 500,000 foreign tourists annually, use prostituted women.

Statistics from Tourism Authority of Thailand

  • Number of International arrivals (2007): 14,464,228 foreign visitors
  • Total expenditure: $15,868.53 million (USD)
  • Average length of stay: 9.19 days
  • Per capita spending: $119.38 per day

Calculated as a percentage of the visitor country, the largest per capita number of tourists visiting Thailand in 2007 were from:

  1. Singapore (17.4% of own population), Hong Kong (6.4%), Malaysia (5.7%), Brunei (3.2%)
  2. Sweden (4.1% ), Finland (2.6%), Denmark (2.5%), Norway (2.3%), Switzerland (2%), UK (1.2%), Netherlands (1.1%), Austria (0.9%), Germany ( 0.7%), Belgium ().7%), France (0.5%), Italy (0.3%), Russia (0.2%), Spain (0.2%)
  3. Australia and New Zealand (2.9%)
  4. UAE (2.3%), Israel (1.7%), Kuwait (1.2%)
  5. Korea (2.2%), Taiwan (1.9%), Japan (1%), Philippines (0.2%), China (0.1%), India ( 0.05%)
  6. Canada (0.5%), U.S. (0.2%)

About 60,000 Thai women work as prostitutes in Japan. With 150,000 non-Japanese women, Japan is the largest sex industry market for Asian women ( Filipinas account for about 80,000 of Asian female prostitutes in Japan.)

Child Prostitution in Thailand

The following excerpts are from Child Prostitution in Thailand by Sirirat Pusurinkham, from the Witness:

  • There are two parts to the Thai policy of promoting tourism: one is to sell the physical and cultural beauty of the country; the other is to promote the Thai people, which of course includes sex-related services.
  • Girls as young as 10-12 years old service men in the sex industry. Many of the girls typically have sex with ten to fifteen men every day, and sometimes as many as 20 to 30.
  • Many parents are “duped” into selling their children and do not realize the lives their children will lead. The parents don’t understand the danger of HIV/AIDS, how prevalent sexual-related diseases, and how they are a death sentence for children.
  • The growth of prostitution in Thailand has had an almost worldwide effect. There are laws against prostitution, but they are not enforced. The police force is corrupt and often joins with the pimps in making money.
  • There are several major reasons why prostitution, including child prostitution, is a growing industry.
  • In Thailand the position of women is a traditional one, remaining from the traditional position they have been assigned in Thai Buddhism. This is found in the traditional cultural attitudes of Thai men, and in the consequences of military presence, and its resulting culture of recreational sex. The social turmoil in Thailand provoked by World War II was a seedbed for the growth of prostitution in the country. It spurred the first example of a sex entertainment center for international tourists in Thailand.
  • The Vietnam War and the resultant R&R activities of service men in Thailand led to a dramatic increase in the use of Thai prostitutes by foreigners in the country. This period was followed by an aggressive tourism campaign, which encouraged tourists to come in great numbers. Most of these tourists were single men. The rapid increase in commercialization was encouraged by the news media.
  • Tourism has brought enormous growth in the construction of hotels, golf courses, condominiums, restaurants and various kinds of entertainment in the cities, and in provincial villages as well. Tourism’s impact on the sex industry — to what is now called sex tourism — has been a major contemporary contributor to the growth of child prostitution in Thailand.
  • In Thailand there has been both migration within the country — from farm to city — and immigration from outside the country. Farming cannot provide a living anymore. Many farmers even go to work in other countries to keep their families from starving. There are no opportunities in rural areas.
  • In Thailand today, women and children are oppressed, abused, exploited, and degraded by society. Daughters of poor families are often sold into prostitution. Some parents sell their children because they need the money for food or dope. Many parents are “duped” into selling their children and do not realize the lives their children will lead. The parents don’t understand the danger of HIV/AIDS, how prevalent sexual-related diseases, and how they are a death sentence for children. According to recent UNAIDS statistics, out of a total population of 60 million people in Thailand, 755,000 are living with HIV/AIDS. (Source: the Witness).

Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation: Thailand

  • In Thailand, trafficking is a THB500 billion [$US = 34 Thai Bhat, THB] annual business, which is 50%- 60% of the government’s annual budget and more lucrative than the drug trade. (Authorites and activists, Kulachada Chaipipat, “New law targets human trafficking,” The Nation, 30 November 1997).
  • Pattaya has a multi-billion dollar multinational sex industry with links to drug trafficking, money laundering and an expanding regional cross-border traffic in women. (Mark Baker, “Sin city can’t shake vice’s grip,” Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May 1997)
  • Thailand is a staging point for the international trade in prostitutes and illegal workers, with facilities for the production of false travel documents and processing of foreign nationals to third countries. (Chulalongkorn University, “There’s money everywhere for Thai police,” The Nation, 25 February 1997)
  • Children are increasingly trafficked across Southeast Asia for prostitution, with Thailand being the main destination. Government policy to repatriate some 300,000 illegal workers was criticized because the measure would push illegal migrants, especially children, “further underground”. (International Labour Organization, “Trafficking of children on the rise,” Bangkok Post, 22 July 1998 )
  • Marut, a well-known pimp in Pattaya, was introduced to Russian traffickers by a local expatriate restaurateur. The Russians needed a local link to clients, especially wealthy Thai men. Over 60% of Marut’s clients are government officials, including policemen. Some do not pay for what Marut describes as “special service,” because they are powerful men. The price for “special service” is 3,000 to 6,000 baht depending on the status of the client. (“Pattaya: Murder, prostitution and tourists,” Bangkok Post, 22 April 1998 )
  • Some trafficked women, who were detained at immigration offices, were escorted out of the office at night with permission from officers or ordered to have sex with officers. In one cases four Laotian girls were gang-raped by inmates at a Rayong police station where the women were detained on charges of illegal entry and gambling (Surita Sandosham, Sirinya Wattanasukchai, “Flesh trade shrugs off new risks,” The Nation, 1 May 1997)
  • Close to 300 million dollars is transferred yearly to rural families by women engaged in prostitution in urban areas, a sum that in many cases exceeds the budgets of government-funded development programs. Between 1993 and 1995, it is estimated that prostitution in Thailand produced an annual income of between 22.5 and 27 billion dollars. (Dario Agnote, “Sex trade key part of S.E. Asian economies, study says,” Kyodo News, 18 August 1998 )
  • In Thailand, up to 400,000 children under the age of 16 are believed to be working in brothels, clubs or bars. (Jill Serjeant, “Asia to launch joint crackdown on child sex trade,” Reuters, 1 April 1998 )
  • 40% of the two million in prostitution in Thailand are under 18, meaning that about 850,000 children are in prostitution. (Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights, Chris Gelken, “Row Over Call to Boycott ‘Paedophile Playground’,” Gemini News, 28 February 1997)
  • 400,000 children under the age of 16 are exploited in brothels, clubs or bars in Thailand. (Campaigners, Robin Cook, “Clampdown on child sex tourism,” BBC News, UK, 4 April 1998 )
  • 250,000 children are bought and sold for sex in Thailand alone. (UNICEF, “UK police join fight against Thai child sex tourism,” BBC, 9 December 1997)

HIV/AIDS

  • Adult prevalence rate: An estimated 1.4% [0.7%–2.1%] of adults in Thailand were living with HIV in 2005 (UNAIDS, 2006b).
  • It is estimated that almost one in five (18%) new HIV infections in 2005 were in sex workers, their clients and those clients’ other partners.
  • Overall, as many as one in five (21%) new HIV infections in 2005 in Thailand were in men who have sex with men, according to one estimate (Gouws et al., 2006), and HIV prevalence in this population is on the rise.
  • HIV/AIDS – deaths: 58,000 (2003 est., CIA World Factbook)
  • Prevalence rate of HIV infection in pregnant women: 1.37 %
  • Prevalence rate of HIV in conscripts : 0.5 %
  • Rate of HIV infection in children aged less than 2 years: 9 % [Source: unescap]
  • People living with HIV/AIDS: at least 755,000 (Source)

Major infectious diseases:

Degree of risk: high

  • Food and waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
  • Vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
  • Animal contact disease: rabies
  • Water contact disease: leptospirosis

Note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country (2008 – CIA Factbook)

Education:

  • Average years of education attainment
    of population aged 15 years and over: 7.8 years
  • Population aged 6-24 years not attending school (%): 34.3 percent

Area:

  • Total: 514,000 sq km
  • Land: 511,770 sq km
  • Water: 2,230 sq km

Land use:

  • Arable land: 27.54%
  • permanent crops: 6.93%
  • Other: 65.53% (2005)
  • Irrigated land: 49,860 sq km (2003)

Water Use:

  • Total renewable water resources: 409.9 cu km (1999)
  • Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): 82.75 cu km/yr (2%/2%/95%)
  • Per capita: 1,288 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:
land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts

Current Environmental Issues:
Air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting

Continued …

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Fay: TS with an Attitude

Posted by feww on August 22, 2008

Will she go north? Will she go west? Will she settle for west-northwest?

Fay is drifting toward the west near 2 mph (4 km/hr). Fay is forecast to move westward or west-northwestward with some increase in forward speed during the next 48 hours.

Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 km/hr) with higher gusts are expected.

Fay is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 inches (25.4cm), across

  • Central to northern portion of the Florida peninsula
  • Florida Panhandle
  • Southern Georgia
  • Southeastern Alabama

Isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches are possible!

Tropical Storm FAY QuickLook – Posted: 18:00 EDT 08/21/2008


Tropical Storm FAY beginning to make landfall on Florida’s East Coast near Flagler Beach. As of 08/21/2008 18:00 EDT, water levels from northeastern Florida to South Carolina are elevated about 1.25 to 2.40 feet above predicted. (NOAA-NOS)

  • Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches are possible across the coastal areas of southern South Carolina.
  • Additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches are possible over southwest and southern Florida.
  • Isolated storm total accumulations of 20 to 30 inches have been observed with this system over the east central coastal areas of Florida.
  • Storm surge flooding of 1 to 3 feet above normal tides is possible along the east coast of Florida and Georgia
  • Isolated tornadoes are possible tonight over portions of northeastern Florida and southeastern Georgia. (Forecaster: Brown/Knabb. NOAA-NHC)

Melbourne Florida: Roads Double as Rivers


Photograph: John Raoux/AP. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

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