Category Archives: Science
Now into day five, Friday of the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy’s direct hit on the Northeastern United States and still millions are without power.The system was so large, its tropical storm force winds (39-73mph) went almost 1000 miles from its center. From its origins in the Caribbean as Tropical Depression 18, on October22 to Sandy covering not only the Eastern seaboard but reaching inland to the Great Lakes with reports of 15 to 20-foot waves on Lake Michigan only seven days later. Sandy may go down as the fourth costliest storm in U.S. History with, damage estimates totaling 50 billion dollars.
An estimated 4.1 million households and businesses
remained without power across the Northeast — an estimated 530,000 of them in New York — and authorities warned it could take a week or more to restore electricity for many. ABC News reported Con Ed expects to have all power restored in Manhattan by Saturday.
Looking at pictures of the devastation reveals the sheer power of the storms surge in places like Rockaway Beach New York or Atlantic City New Jersey. A record 14 foot surge combined with the new moon tides attributed to the flood damage in parts of Manhattan, New York.
Superstorm Sandy led to power failures in at least 17 states. 95 U.S. deaths are attributed to Sandy with 67 dead in the Caribbean and two confirmed dead in Canada. At least 41 people were killed in New York City. At least 13 people died in New Jersey, and officials said they feared the toll would rise as additional home searches were conducted. Besides New York City and New Jersey other deaths are in:
- Maryland: 11
- Rest of New York state: 8
- Pennsylvania: 7
- West Virginia: 6
- Connecticut: 4
- North Carolina: 2
- Puerto Rico: 1
Subways and buses rolled again in some parts of New York City Thursday and mandatory water restrictions were in effect across New Jersey after Sandy.The stock market reopened Wednesday, but normalcy is not back by any stretch of the imagination across parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Meanwhile with November 6th Presidential Elections around the corner election officials were ordering generators, moving voting locations and figuring out how to transport poll workers displaced from coastal areas as Tuesday’s presidential election became the latest challenge for states whacked by Superstorm Sandy.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York’s trains and subways have been recovering from Superstorm Sandy surprisingly quickly.
Still, frustration is building in the region amid gas lines, food lines, ongoing power outages and even some reports of looting.
An odd stench occurred over a large expanse (10,000 square miles) of Southern California only days ago on Monday. Those concerned Californian residents, who called in about the malodorous odor mostly described it as being ” a sulfur like”, or “rotten egg smell”. The official response, from authorities on the matter
initially said it is either a fish die off in the Salton Sea which is responsible for the pervasive smell or overturning of the lake from strong southeast winds blowing across it from recent storms. Fortunately no health issues arose with pungent smell.The Salton Sea is some 150 miles E.S.E. from Los Angeles.
However what if it were volcanically linked?
Abbott was part of a research group that collected footage of muddy pits and volcanic gases about 100 miles east on the southern end of the Salton Sea. The area is the home of four buttes that are several hundred feet tall.
The buttes are small volcanoes with an explosive past. Miles below them is a pool of magma that is 15 miles wide. About 8,000 years ago, the buttes erupted, causing magma to flow which cooled into obsidian rock.
The damage from those eruptions was limited to the surrounding area, but if a major earthquake hit along the San Andreas Fault, geologists said there could be trouble.”
However U.S.G.S. geophysical studies of seismic activity, of heat flow in the earth, and of magnetic anomalies in the area around the south end of the Salton Sea all suggest that active igneous and metamorphic processes
are now going on associated with an intrusive mass that lies below the sedimentary cover. The intrusion under the Salton Sea is thought to be a pluton, an arm or protrusion from a deeply buried molten magma. This intrusion is parallel to the axis of the Salton Trough. It is about 20 miles long by four miles wide, and is at least one to two miles thick. It lies within the upper 10,000 feet of the crust, and possibly as close as 4,000 feet from the surface. It is centered beneath the community of Niland, at the southeast shore of the Sea.
This pluton is acting upon the sedimentary fill, altering the rocks into a low grade metamorphic series under low-temperature/low-pressure metamorphism. Associated with the metamorphism of the rocks, chemical analysis of hot brines brought to the surface by deep thermal wells in the Imperial Valley and Mexico show that active ore formation is probably taking place around the pluton. This involves the concentration of sulfides of iron, lead, zinc and copper.
Previously on July 24th 2012 Lifeguards in Encinitas, California were first to report the strong, pungent odor at about 5 p.m. The odor was described as a gas-like smell rolling in off the ocean.
Soon after,911 was flooded with calls. Residents from the coast all the way to Rancho Bernardo and 4S Ranch reported experiencing the smell. Some complained of headaches and outdoor activities were canceled.
One Del Mar resident who did not want to be identified was inside the library in Cardiff at about 5 p.m. when the gas-like odor filled the entire building with the doors closed.
“There was none when I walked in that door and within 10 minutes, the entire library was filled,” she said.
Eventually, she got in her car and drove to try and get away from the smell. At about 5:30 p.m., the woman parked at San Dieguito County Park and took a photo of what she believes is some kind of aerosol compound she says fell from the sky and coated her car windows.
“I tried to wipe it and it was black and sticky and tried to put my window down and it smeared,” she said. She is convinced it was gas that was dispersing something with an oil component.
A volcano erupted Thursday in Guatemala, prompting officials to evacuate 35,000 residents, said a spokeswoman for the Red Cross. The “Volcan de Fuego,” or Fire Volcano, began spewing ash at 10 a.m. and
was continuing to belch forth late in the afternoon near the country’s former capital, Antigua, said Carmen Maria Caballero of the Guatemalan Red Cross.
Volcanologists said powerful eruptions were catapulting burning rocks as high as 1,000m (3,280ft) above the crater and lava was flowing down its slopes.
Local residents reported how the roaring of the volcano shook windows and roofs in nearby villages. Experts say the eruption of Fuego, 50km (31 miles) south-west of Guatemala City, is the biggest since 1999.
Fuego exploded into a series of powerful eruptions outside one of Guatemala’s most famous tourist attractions on Thursday, hurling thick clouds of ash nearly two miles (three kilometers) high, spewing rivers of lava down its flanks.
Guatemala’s head of emergency evacuations, Sergio Cabanas, said the evacuees were ordered to leave some 17 villages around the Volcan del Fuego, which sits about six miles southwest (16 kilometers) from the colonial city of Antigua, home to 45,000 people. The ash was blowing south-southeast and authorities said the tourist center of the country was not currently in danger, although they expected the eruption to last for at least 12 more hours.
Hundreds of cars, trucks and buses, completely blanketed with charcoal grey cash, sped away from the volcano along the a two-lane paved highway toward Guatemala City. Dozens of people crammed into the backs of trucks. Thick clouds of ash reduced visibility to less than 10 feet in the area of sugarcane fields surrounding the volcano. The elderly, women and children filled old school buses and ambulances that carried them from the area.
The agency said lava rolled nearly 2,000 feet (600 meters) down slopes billowing with ash around the Volcan del Fuego, a 12,346-foot-high (3,763-meter-high) volcano whose name translates as “Volcano of Fire.”
“A paroxysm of an eruption is taking place, a great volcanic eruption, with strong explosions and columns of ash,” said Gustavo Chicna, a volcanologist with the National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology. He said cinders spewing from the volcano were settling a half-inch thick in some places and that extremely hot gases were also rolling down the sides of the volcano, which was almost entirely wreathed in ash and smoke. The emergency agency warned that flights through the area could be affected.
New Orleans as Isaac takes direct aim on southeast Louisiana. Plaquemines Parish has had a levee breach at 3:33 am CDT . The breach was confirmed by Homeland Security at 3:51 am CDT. A breach means the levee is being over-topped.
Isaac is turning out to be a more a significant storm than originally expected as the region observes the 7-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Power companies were reporting more than 500,000 without power across the southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi.
Mayor Landrieu says 70% of New Orleans was without power as of early Wednesday.
The National Weather Service has reported severe wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph since late Tuesday across the area with numerous trees and power lines down. Some isolated locations have reported wind gusts over 100 mph.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said part of the roof of his home on the parish’s west bank had blown off. He described wind-driven rain entering his home as “like standing in a light socket with a fire hose turned on.”
Officials said an 18-mile stretch of levees on the east side of Plaquemines Parish was over topped by storm surge.
Meanwhile, on the Mississippi coast, dozens of roads were closed or impassable due to storm surge flooding and heavy rainfall. Trees and power lines were also reported down across roads.
Highway 90 from Gulfport to Biloxi was reported to be experiencing significant flooding, with up to two feet of water reaching the doors of the Hard Rock Casino early Wednesday.
A significant storm surge of 11 feet was reported at Shell Beach, La, late Tuesday while a surge of 6.9 feet was reported in Waveland, Miss., the NHC reported.
Fire officials reported they were unable to get to a home that burned to the ground amid storm surge flooding in the Bay St. Louis area Tuesday evening.
Isaac came ashore Tuesday night near the mouth of the Mississippi River, then went nearly stationary back out over the coastal waters for several hours before making a second landfall in Grand Isle.
and the surrounding communities of this low lying marshland hurricane vulnerable state. After a series of catastrophic levee failures on August, 30th 2005, a day after Katrina passed it led to mass pandemonium and 1,836 dead.
Later this evening Hurricane Isaac will test the resolve of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to see if the levees they worked on can stand up against the impending 6-12 foot storm surge forecasted by the National Hurricane Center.
A storm surge, is dome of water that is pushed onto the land where onshore flow
pushes the sea inland near the land falling tropical low pressure center. This aspect of Hurricanes is one of the most mortally threatening to humans and wildlife.
Winds have been increasing in Southeast Louisiana as Isaac approaches, up to 60 mph has been recorded by buoys close to the shore. Winds off Lake Pontchartrain have varied around 35 mph from the northwest this afternoon. So far New Orleans (KMSY) is seeing wind gusts up to 40 mph, with light rain.
Before Isaac was a threat to the northern Gulf Coast, it passed through the leeward islands just days ago as a tropical storm, from there it passed just south of Puerto Rico, then the Dominican Republic and eventually turned more northwesterly going over the western peninsula of Hati. Thereafter it hugged the northeastern coast of Cuba missing the mountainous terrain. Moving away from land the center of still Tropical Storm Isaac moved west northwesterly through the Straits of Florida to the south of Key West and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Though the storm never reached hurricane status until earlier today, rainfalls along its path were impressive and its affects were felt far away from the center. Issac dumped 10-20 inches of precipitation along and to the north of its path through the Caribbean, the Straits of Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico toward the North Gulf Coast.
Now continuing to strengthen at 6pm CDT, just hours away from landfall Isaac is looking more impressive on satellite. Winds are sustained at 80mph making Isaac a category one on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 60 miles and tropical storm force winds of 39-73mph reach 185 miles from the center. Air force Reserve Hurricane Reconnaissance Hunters
measured a recent central pressure of 970 millibars, or 28.64 inches of mercury. Storm surge flooding is already occurring in southeast Louisiana.
Hurricane Season lasts form June1st through November 30th, with the climatological peak on September 9th. Forecasters increased their prediction for the total number of named storms upward to 15-19 storms. If they are right we are only about half way done.
Make sure to monitor the latest tropical weather forecasts or news and be prepared before the storm is at your door. Have a Hurricane Preparedness plan in place for you and your family. The up two week supply of essentials are Canned Foods, Bottled Water, Weather Radio, Batteries, First Aid Kit, Multivitamins, Sunscreen,Extra Cash from ATM’s, Bug Repellant, Flashlights, Other non-perishable food items, extra gas for generators or vehicles as gas stations will not work after a storm passes due to power outages.
The heat gripping the United States in a seemingly never ending fashion eased a bit this past Saturday as a cold front came through along the eastern half of the country .This has given a slight respite from the horrendous triple digit heat there. It’s a marginal silver lining, but at least temp’s will be in the low to mid 90’s in the eastern United States. Temperatures will begin to creep past the 100 degree mark in the Western states in cities like Salt Lake City, Utah by Wednesday in response to a developing high pressure over the Rockies.
Out west high pressure will continue to build in further over the week pushing the jet stream northward into southwestern Canada, allowing the heat to advance north as well. The unbearable conditions from the heat wave have unfortunately claimed 74 lives across the U.S. since it began just two weeks ago.
The hot spell caused highways to buckle in Illinois and Wisconsin, officials said. In Maryland, investigators said heat likely caused rails to kink and led a commuter train to partially derail Friday. No one was injured. Many states in the Midwest have not seen heat like this since the Dust Bowl of 1936. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association 2012 has broken well over 40,000 daily heat records nationwide. It was the countries hottest July 4th since recording began. Agriculture like corn and soy crops are being heavily damaged from the pressure cooking heat. Severe thunderstorms blew through over a week ago knocking out power to millions in the eastern part of the U.S. . This has only added insult to injury from the already sweltering summer.
In lakes and rivers across parched areas of the U.S., heat and lower water levels are reducing oxygen levels thereby killing fish populations by the thousands. When water becomes hypoxic or lacks oxygen these large water animal die offs can occur. Wildfires continue to burn across the western United States, including wildfires in Colorado and the Fontenelle Fire in Wyoming.
NASA says the fires have a warming effect on the atmosphere due to the increased emission of aerosols, which are suspended solid or liquid particles in the air. These particles can absorb more radiation from the sun hence causing hotter weather and poorer air quality in the form of smog. Children and the elderly are the most susceptible to these adverse weather events. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids and wear sunscreen when venturing outside.
There are two areas of disturbed weather having only a slight potential of development over the next 24-48 hours according to the National Hurricane Center.
Our first area is the remnants of what was once Tropical Storm Debby. It is now just a disorganized low pressure system 490 miles south-southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The other is a disturbed area of weather in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico interacting with an upper-level low over Northern Mexico.
Make sure to monitor the latest tropical weather forecasts or news and be prepared before the storm is at your door. Have a Hurricane Preparedness plan in place for you and your family. The up two week supply of essentials are Canned Foods, Bottled Water, Weather Radio, Batteries, First Aid Kit, Multivitamins, Sunscreen,Extra Cash
from ATM’s, Bug Repellant, Flashlights, Valuable documentation, non-perishable food items, extra gas for generators or vehicles as gas stations will not work after a storm passes due to power outages. Stay ahead of the storm!!
As of Sunday 10 am central daylight time tropical storm Debby had sustained winds of 60mph, with higher gusts. The latest estimated minimum central pressure taken by Hurricane Reconnaissance flying near the center was 994mb or 29.35inches. Tropical storm force winds extend 200 miles mainly to the north and east of the center.The most
notable thing about Debby is when it was classified yesterday Saturday June 23, 2012 at 5pm it marked the first time in recorded weather history since 1851, that the 4th storm of any Atlantic Hurricane Season formed before July 1st. Sea surface temperatures in the eastern Gulf of Mexico are 1 degree above normal already for this time of year. A tropical storm warning has been issued for part of the southeast Louisiana coast and from the Mississippi-Alabama border eastward to the Florida Panhandle‘s Ochlockonee River. A tropical storm warning states that there will be tropical storm conditions (winds of 39-73mph) in 24 hours or less. A tropical storm watch is in place for South of the Suwannee River to Anclote Key Florida. That means tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area within the next 24-36 hours. A storm surge of 3-5ft may occur on the West Central Florida to the Alabama Gulf Coast especially at the times of high tide.
As of 10am CDT Sunday, the storm was crawling along toward the northeast at 6mph. Debby’s center was located about 140 miles SSW of Apalachicola Florida, or 190 miles ESE of the Mouth of the Mississippi River. The slow movement of the storm will lead to copious rainfall
accumulations of 3-5inches across South Florida with 10-15inches along the Northern Gulf Coast. The Florida Peninsula has already received 3-5inches of rain in the last 24 hours. There will also be a chance of isolated short lived tornadoes over the southern peninsula of Florida. Authorities there say at least one tornado has already been linked to the storm down in Collier County. Several homes were damaged and tree limbs were torn down.
Debby is already interfering with oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm system has caused nine production platforms and one drilling rig to be evacuated. This means roughly 2 percent of U.S. production has been suspended.
Unless the storm strengthens and forces more production platforms to close the reduced production is not anticipated to impact oil prices.
By: Ryan Matthew Dernick
Not since weather records began in 1851 has a tropical storm ever formed that far north in the Atlantic this early in the hurricane season this past Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center . When Chris took shape, it also marked the third earliest formation of the third tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin. During the years of 1887 and 1959 has such development occurred previously. Tropical storm Chris defied
the lack of warm water and further strengthened on Thursday to a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 75mph before weakening back down to a tropical storm. Tropical storms like Chris have developed north of a latitude of 40.0 degrees, but not until August or later when the northern Atlantic waters were suitably warm enough to support such development.
As of 11 am EDT Friday Chris has become a post tropical cyclone or no longer is deemed to have tropical characteristics. Chris was located 335 miles ESE of Cape Race Newfoundland, moving WSW at 16mph with a minimum central pressure of 990mb or 29.23in. Gale force winds extend outward up to 205 miles from the center. The forecast path of Post Tropical Cyclone Chris is to begin to turn toward the South and at a slower rate of speed.
If that wasn’t enough, as I discussed two weeks ago on the tropical weather post “2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season Gets a Head Start So Should You”, that the latter half of June we would see a tropical system take shape near the Yucatan Peninsula. Low and behold the dynamical models were spot on as we now have a large low pressure off the northern Yucatan coast in the Gulf of Mexico. Its associated disturbed weather is affecting the Yucatan, Northwest Caribbean Sea, South East Gulf of Mexico including Western Cuba and South Florida . This disturbance is now poised to become the fourth named storm of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
All residents along the entire Gulf Coast of the United States are urged by the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida to monitor this evolving weather system. Forecasters at the N.H.C. give the low pressure area a 70% chance of becoming a tropical depression over the next day or so, as it slowly crawls north. The current movement is toward the northeast at 2mph with maximum sustained winds at 30mph. Models hint that this low will either move northeast toward the west central Gulf Coast of Florida or westward towards the Texas coast. At this time it is too early to tell the ultimate track, or strength with 100% accuracy. The fourth storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season has not historically occurred in any previous season before July, since recording began 161 years ago. There is always a first time for everything and this season so far is anything but average.
Make sure to monitor the latest tropical weather forecasts or news and be prepared before the storm is at your door. Have a Hurricane Preparedness plan in place for you and your family. The up two week supply of essentials are Canned Foods, Bottled Water, Weather Radio, Batteries, First Aid Kit, Multivitamins, Sunscreen,Extra Cash from ATM’s, Bug Repellant, Flashlights, Valuable documentation, non-perishable food items, extra gas for generators or vehicles as gas stations will not work after a storm passes due to power outages. Stay ahead of the storm!!