There seems to be rather a huge amount of confusion about how hurricanes operate. When people hear of hurricane wind velocity, the main scale for determining the ‘size’ of a hurricane, they believe this is the only facet that determines if a hurricane is dangerous or safe. Nothing is further from the truth. A very tight, small hurricane with high wind speeds is destructive but brief but the biggest killers by far are the huge, lumbering giants like the present storm that is afflicting the East Coast. These move rather majestically along, ambling about, taking their sweet time. And dropping immense amounts of rain in the process. The biggest killer modern times was Hurricane Mitch which, once it ceased being a ‘hurricane’, killed 22,000+ people due entirely to flooding.
The hurricane moved westward, resulting in land interaction with Honduras. This weakened Mitch slightly, and after passing over the Swan Islands on October 27, the hurricane steadily weakened. A ridge of high pressure built further, forcing the hurricane to drift southward along the Honduran coastline. Mitch made landfall 80 mi (130 km) east of La Ceiba in Honduras on October 29 as a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale with 80 mph (130 km/h) winds. It continued to weaken over land, drifting westward through Central America, and its low-level circulation dissipated on November 1 near the Guatemala-Mexico border.
The remnant area of low pressure drifted northward into the Bay of Campeche, and reorganized on November 3 into a tropical storm while 150 mi (240 km) southwest of Mérida, Yucatán. Mitch moved to the northeast, making landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula near Campeche on November 4. It weakened to a tropical depression over land, but restrengthened to a tropical storm over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. As Mitch accelerated to the northeast in association with a cold front, it gradually intensified, and made landfall near Naples, Florida on November 5 as a tropical storm with 65 mph (100 km/h) winds. Mitch became extratropical later that day, but it continued to persist for several days before losing its identity north of Great Britain on November 9.
In other words, this storm meandered all over the place, killing people mainly by dumping heroic amounts of water on the landscape. The winds were the least of the difficulties and do note it was a category 1 hurricane or a tropical storm during much of its life. In Central America, this laggard, category 1 or less storm dropped 3 feet of rain. That is 36″ of water which is massive no matter how we look at it. The present mega-hurricane hitting the East Coast is nearly identical in nature to that terrible storm. It, too, is a category 1 storm as it drifts into New York City.
It is supposed to dump over 10″ of rain on my own home here, 170 miles due north from the ocean in NY harbor. This estimate by the weather service is based on the notion, this hurricane will hurry up and leave my home rather quicker than Mitch left Honduras. On the other hand, hurricanes are notorious for doing whatever they wish. Earlier this week, it was supposed to arrive early today instead of tomorrow, for example. On top of all of this, to my greatest distress, there are now tornado warnings not just in New Jersey but even Manhattan, itself. This is common in category 1 hurricanes: when they finally go entirely over land, they spawn tornadoes.
This brings me to Katrina and other events that have many similarities to what will unfold here for us: floods from when the hurricane leaves the ocean and goes deep inland where there is a major river system and huge watershed area. That is, hurricanes, when they travel up great rivers, cause great floods.
Note that the biggest watershed volume and area is the mighty Mississippi valley systems. It is immense, one of the biggest on earth. The Hudson Valley system is significantly smaller but more concentrated: there are few mountains in the center of the country, mainly to the east but NY is nearly all mountains, like Pennsylvania or West Virginia. So water collects rapidly and moves at great speed when there is excess rain.
Once it reaches the Hudson River, it moves very fast indeed for this river, unlike the lazy, meandering Mississippi, is straight as an arrow often between high cliffs and steep banks. This brings any floods nearly instantly to NYC. When Katrina passed New Orleans, Bush and Brown both claimed nothing much happened so they ignored the obvious next stage, the terrible floods.
.For Katrina moved deep into the Mississippi watershed and being a very big, well-endowed Lady Hurricane, she dumped immense amounts of water there all of which rushed right back to New Orleans which was enjoying sunny, warm, balmy weather in the wake of the storm. To everyone’s horror, this tsunami of flood waters from the entire interior came rushing south, destroying all of the flimsy water control systems just like the Japanese tsunami rolled right over the world’s biggest and most intense sea walls.
Now let’s look at how crazy Texans are when it comes to hurricanes and droughts. Here is poor Ron Paul response to this hurricane “We should be like 1900” – War Room – Salon.com
“We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960,” Paul said. “I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with hurricanes all the time. Galveston is in my district.
“There’s no magic about FEMA. They’re a great contribution to deficit financing and quite frankly they don’t have a penny in the bank. We should be coordinated but coordinated voluntarily with the states,” Paul told NBC News. “A state can decide. We don’t need somebody in Washington.”
Wow. He represents Galveston. Back then, people were not protected by FEMA or the national weather service people and no government satellites put into space via NASA. Back in the good old days, people who couldn’t ‘read’ the weather would…die. And naturally, the military would then scare up a rescue operation but only if they were ordered to do this by the government. With Katrina, Bush and Cheney sent our National Guards to fight distant Muslims in our eternal oil-soaked religious wars so no one bothered to rescue anyone in New Orleans. It was ‘every man and woman for themselves’.
I personally know good people who were forced to loot stores a week after Katrina to get something to eat. The place was in chaos and Bush thought this was rather amusing, sort of like when he was a lad and used to laugh after thunderstorms while blowing up frogs with firecrackers (yes, this sociopath actually did that).
In the hurricanes following Katrina, the elderly were left to drown like rats during Hurricane Rita, for example. As if old people confined to beds can evade a hurricane! The US has a responsibility to protect its citizens and this is what both the left and the right are losing. The left thinks it is hunky-dory for aliens to come here illegally and take US jobs. The right thinks it is OK to drown elderly bedridden people during hurricanes. Both seem to overlook what is important here: fellow citizens who need sane people to protect them from the slings and arrows of life, not expose them to all sorts of destructive forces.
Texas is hav ing a big, fat drought and you can bet, the cattle men there who pretend to be independent, self-ruling cowboy heroes will go whining to DC, demanding to be saved. I see this all the time. A blizzard which we farmers in the Northeast are quite used to, comes to the Wild West and every cattle creep has to whine about how the government has to fly in food and save his darn cows from snow drifts.
Ever hear of building barns, buckeroos? Nope! They don’t bother because blizzards are unusual there whereas, they are normal up here! So it goes: everyone wants to evade the need for national systems to help us struggle with Mother Nature but a large group insists on feasting on government largess while whining about paying for anyone else to dine. Especially Texans.
Back to hurricane Mitch and hurricane Irene: both Florida and Texas are mainly flat places with no huge river systems. The Rio Grande is pretty big in Texas but hurricanes usually don’t travel up into the watershed there, they usually move towards the Mississippi system instead, flooding New Orleans. Florida is flatter than Kansas by far so any water simply runs off in various directions pretty randomly. So they don’t worry about say, mudslides. California does, on the other hand. NY doesn’t have mudslides so much as bridges and roads washing out.
We happily rebuild whatever is amiss in Texas and Florida and expect the people there to return the favor. And not sneer at us due to a ‘category 1 hurricane is no big deal’ when it is a huge deal when it is as huge as this number, Irene. She is fatter than a woman playing slot machines in Atlantic City on a bus pass.
Here is a stupid editorial story by the sort of nut cases the Washington Post hires where this flaky female claims that ‘too much information’ makes her stupid. Duh. I agree, in her case. Here is some of her dumb things she did prior to this dangerous hurricane knocking at her silly door: Planning — or not — for the next disaster – The Washington Post
All day Friday I have watched the precise movements of Hurricane Irene on the Internet and on television. Sophisticated graphics and brilliantly colored radar whorls are measuring the second-by-second advance of its wind and rain on the coastline…Why didn’t I think to collapse that innocent-looking canvas deck chair before the wind took it and sailed it like a Frisbee into the neighbor’s window?
I’m beginning to think that the more information we have available, the less we seem able to deal with that information...Why didn’t I prepare? Why didn’t I see it coming? Because there’s too much coming! We are hammered with data and directives in advance of natural disasters, corporate collapse or economic downturns, and then we are scolded about our own ineptitude — personal, governmental and institutional — in the aftermath.
This poor lady should stick to doing housework and cease writing about reality. She is obviously a dingbat. Most likely, she is not a dingbat at all but is PRETENDING to be one so that everyone ‘laughs.’ Hahaha. Unfortunately, her philosophy in life (stupid is better than sensible and smart) is exactly the ethos which informs our government, our military leaders and above all, our media.
They are dumb. Deliberately dumb. They ignore the hockey stick curve in events. They don’t listen to reason. They throw aside warnings and goof off. They sit around, doing nothing while planes are hijacked and flown into buildings. They can’t examine anything closely, anymore because they are deliberate slackers.
How silly is this? The Washington Post pays this female to be an idiot. I would shoot myself rather than be as dumb as she! Anyway, alas, Hurricane Irene didn’t drown her. Maybe next time, I will make a request that she gets a full mouth of sea water.
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5 responses to “Red Sunset, Safe Sailing, Red Sunrise, Big Blow”
Red Sky at night…Sailor’s DELIGHT
Red sky in the morning…Sailor’s WARNING
Beautiful view from your deck!
It’s clear as Elaine says, that the lack of clarity and foresight of Western leaders has, indeed, much to do with the lack of adversity in their lives. Whether it is living in the NY mountains, or managing overcrowded China, those contrained by limits and hardship cannot afford to be delusional. Elite education and access to confidential information are no substitute for the insight of ascetic life, close to the ground.Accessing the inner sanctums of power blinds more than it reveals.
I work in Dublin with many Eastern European workers and it’s interesting to observe how practical, tough ( specially the women! ) and down to earth they are compared to people like myself from the pampered West, fretting over unimportant stuff and perhaps not planning adequately for the future. Nations are indeed like people, people being a celular like expression of the larger organism.
From this, I think the Chinese have gone past concerns about America’s constant “loss of face” in their diplomatic dealings. To them, it must seem by now like being a competent mandaring class dealing with an old and increasingly mad barbarian Emperor, doomed but still capable of bringing the whole empire down in a final act of lunacy. Slow acting poison and sedatives in the food come to mind…
With Katrina, Bush and Cheney sent our National Guards to fight distant Muslims in our eternal oil-soaked religious wars so no one bothered to rescue anyone in New Orleans. It was ‘every man and woman for themselves’
During Katrina’s romp across Mississippi–aka Saddam’s Divine Wind–the “Mississippi Rifles”(Mississippi NG 155th Armored Brigade) was leveling Fallujah, the City of Mosques , with an artillery barrage that left tens of thousands dead and millions homeless. Rooftop US Marines snipers shot survivors in their compounds. They buried their dead in thei gardens.Mississippi governor Haley Barbour boasted of the Mississippi Rifles’ “exploits” in Fallujah.
But while the massacres went on in Fallujah, the”Guard” was nowhere to be seen to help the hurricane survivors in Mississippi. But US Navy SEAL “Kill teams” were dispatched to New Orleans from south Mississippi where they do their riverboat assault training. Reports from downtown New Orleans were that the MP-5 SEALE-armed “kill teams” went from shop to shop in downtown New Orleans shooting looters.Most looters were scavaging flood-drenched food items. This probably explains the “missing thousands” that are still not accounted for. Oilfield workers down around Venice and beyond reported seeing bodies floating down the Mississippi River into the inland waters where they are quickly “consumed” by crabs and catfish.
SEALE “kill team” snipers also were aboard USCG rescue helicopters, shooting survivors from the rooftops. There was a rumor that survivors were “shooting at rescue helicopters.” What was happening was that survivors who had armed themselves were sitting atop their roofs–they cut holes through the roof– and as a rescue helicopter passed nearby, they would shoot into the air to alert them of their presence. No accounting of how many survivors the trigger-happy SEALE team killed.
Yes, I remember how our troops were acting like New Orleans was filled with al Qaeda terrorists. It was disgusting.
Well…I am TRAPPED in Berlin! My husband has to go see his surgeon tomorrow and there are NO ROADS OUT! At all! Rain still falling, over 10 inches.
And worse, his surgeon’s office is now underwater as the Hudson river is flooding it! Wow. What a mess.