Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene killed at least 21 people from Puerto Rico to Connecticut, caused an estimated $3 billion in damage and cut electric power to more than 4 million homes and businesses across the eastern U.S.
The deaths were concentrated in Virginia and North Carolina, where at least 10 people were killed. Virginia also sustained the second-largest power outage in state history. The storm’s cost to insurers may have fallen to $3 billion in the U.S. as the storm weakened on its path toward New England. An earlier estimate was for insured losses of as much as $14 billion. Federal officials are still assessing damage and haven’t released a value on the damage yet. Maryland is expected to be one of the hardest hit. “The Maryland numbers, from what I know, are going up exponentially."
President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for 11 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico was the only area declared a “major disaster” by the agency, a level above an emergency declaration.
Hurricane Irene’s Damage: Deaths, Flooding and Power Losses State-by-State

**Early to bed and early to rise
Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.**

**Early to bed and early to rise
Makes the girls go out with other guys!**

This morning -

Yesterday -
8/28/11 -

10,000 earthquakes over three days in West Bohemia, a region located close to the Czech Republic’s western border with Germany. The earthquake swarm started late on Tuesday and continued through Friday. While many have gone unnoticed by the local population, some of the larger tremors, including eight quakes exceeding 3 magnitude, have been felt in the towns of Chemnitz, Karlovy Vary, Birch, and Luby. “The activity started in the evening of 23 August and is almost continuous till now (26 August morning). Almost 10 000 events were recorded in total up to now. Already eight events M>3.0 and 200 M>2.0 occurred. The location of hypocenters directly below the NKC station, so it appears a NEW patch of the fault plane is being activated”.
In recent years, scientists have noted an increase in the movement of magma towards the earth’s surface in the Cheb Basin, western Czech Republic. They say rising magma could be one of the causes of the earthquake swarms, which regularly occur in the Vogtland, North-West Bohemia, the Fichtelgebirge and the Upper Palatinate. The last earthquake swarm to occur before this week’s activity was in 2008.

- Post-Tropical cyclone Irene was located about 50 mi / 80 km N of Berlin, New Hampshire and about 105 mi / 165 km S of Quebec City, Quebec. Gale-force winds are expected to affect coastal areas from eastern Long Island to Maine through early today.

-Tropical storm Jose was located about 190 mi / 305 km NNW of Bermuda. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

-Tropical Storm 14w (Nanmadol) was located approximately 140 nm south-southwest of Taipei, Taiwan.

-Tropical Storm 15w (Talas) was located approximately 700 nautical miles south of Tokyo, Japan.

Typhoon Nanmadol has slammed into Taiwan, closing schools, workplaces and government offices. It has dumped more than half a metre of rain (20 inches) in the mountainous south, where vulnerability to catastrophic landslides prompted the evacuation of some 8000 people. Nanmadol made landfall just before daybreak today in Taidung county in the remote south-east and headed toward heavily populated coastal areas on the west coast. It is packing winds of 108km/h, down from earlier peaks almost twice that high. It is expected to pass about 200km south of Taipei before heading for the Taiwan Strait and the eastern China coast.

Tropical Storm Jose spun over the open Atlantic just to the west of Bermuda on Sunday, buffeting the wealthy British territory with gusty winds and intermittent showers. It is the 10th named storm of the season.

Obama has warned that flooding and power cuts are still a risk as Tropical Storm Irene moves away north towards Canada. The storm, downgraded from a hurricane, passed New York on Sunday, but the danger was not yet over as swollen rivers could burst their banks. More than 300,000 people evacuated from low-lying areas in New York City are being allowed back home. The storm has killed at least 21 people and caused extensive damage. Irene threatened 65 million people along the US east coast - thought to be THE LARGEST NUMBER OF AMERICANS EVER AFFECTED BY A SINGLE STORM. More than three million people have been left without power in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York.
Widespread flooding is reported in Vermont where hundreds of people have been told to leave the capital, Montpelier. The city faces flooding, once from Irene, and again if the local water company decides to release water to save the Marshal Reservoir, a local dam where waters are reaching record levels. "It's very serious for us at the moment in Vermont. The top two-thirds of the state are inundated with rapidly rising waters, which we anticipate will be an issue for the next 24 hours." Manhattan avoided major damage, despite some isolated flooding.
Obama said, "Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages and flooding which could get worse in the coming days as rivers swell past their banks. I want people to understand that this is not over. Response and recovery efforts will be an ongoing operation and I urge Americans in affected areas to continue to listen for the guidance and direction of their state and local officials. I want to underscore that the impacts of this storm will be felt for some time and the recovery effort will last for weeks or longer."
On Sunday, Irene's wind speeds eased to 50mph (80km/h). The storm headed into Canada still packing 50mph (80km/h) winds. Insurance and rebuilding costs would run into billions of dollars. New York City lifted its evacuation order for 370,000 people and said it hoped to have its subway - CLOSED FOR THE FIRST TIME BY A NATURAL DISASTER - operational again by today, although perhaps not early enough for morning commuters. The New York Stock Exchange said it would be open for business and officials at the 9/11 memorial at the World Trade Center site said they had not lost a single tree. However, experts said the dire warnings and the evacuations had been justified. "They knew they had to get people out early - I think absolutely lives were saved." In Philadelphia, officials lifted the city's first state of emergency since 1986. Several buildings were destroyed by the storm, but there were no deaths or injuries. Airlines said about 9,000 flights had been cancelled, but services into New York and Boston were due to resume today. Further south in North Carolina, some areas of the state were still unreachable. TV footage showed fallen trees and power lines. Officials in Virginia began the clear-up, but said the damage was not a bad as feared.
Computer models are showing that clouds forming off the coast of Africa could threaten the US east coast in two weeks. The hurricane centre gave it a 40% chance of becoming a named storm over the next two days.
Hurricane Irene Lost Steam as Experts Misjudged Structure and Next Move - It began as something far off and dangerous — a monster storm, a Category 3 hurricane that packed winds of 115 miles an hour as it buzz-sawed through the Caribbean last week, causing more than a billion dollars of destruction in the Bahamas alone. But when Hurricane Irene finally chugged into the New York area on Sunday, it was like an overweight jogger just holding on at the end of a run. Its winds had diminished to barely hurricane strength, and the threat from its storm surge, which officials had once worried might turn Manhattan into Atlantis, was epitomized by television news reports showing small waves lapping over reporters’ feet. All hurricanes evolve, and most weaken, as they track northward, their size and strength affected by water, wind and terrain. And all hurricanes eventually die — a relatively quick downgrade to a tropical storm in the case of those, like Irene, that travel inland, a more lingering demise for those that trail out to the colder waters of the higher latitudes. But Irene’s fall — from potential storm of the century to an also-ran in hurricane lore — was greater than most.
Meteorologists were quick to point out that the hurricane was, as forecast, a huge and severe storm, responsible for at least 16 deaths and damaging property from Florida to New England. Given its potential, they said, evacuations and transit shutdowns were well warranted. And they noted that although it was weakened when it hit New York, it was still a Category 1 storm, as predicted several days before, and was still causing extensive flooding even as a tropical storm. But hurricane forecasters acknowledged that they did not quite call the storm right. “We were expecting a stronger storm to come into North Carolina. We had every reason to believe it would strengthen after the Bahamas. What we got wrong was the structure of the storm.”
Forecasters had expected that a spinning band of clouds near its center, called the inner eyewall, would collapse and be replaced by an outer band that would then slowly contract. Such “eyewall replacement cycles” have been known to cause hurricanes to strengthen. While its eyewall did collapse, Irene never completed the cycle. “There were a lot of rain bands competing for the same energy. So when the eyewall collapsed, there were winds over a large area.” That led the storm to be much larger, but with the winds spread over a larger area, they were less intense. What hurricane specialists had forecast to be a Category 2 or possibly Category 3 storm when it hit eastern North Carolina early Saturday, with maximum sustained winds of 110 m.p.h. or higher, roared across the Outer Banks as a Category 1, with winds that were more than 10 percent slower.
After North Carolina, the storm weakened some more. But forecasters had always expected that. By traveling for a time across part of North Carolina, the hurricane was deprived of the heat and moisture of the ocean that it needed to thrive. Once it headed out over water again, east of Delaware and Maryland, it encountered slightly colder sea surface temperatures, which tend to weaken a storm as well. Finally, its energy was sapped when it encountered winds from an unrelated weather system that originated over the Great Lakes. “Any combination of those factors will prevent a storm from intensifying. We also had a little drier air get wrapped into the system,” which helps explain why most of the rain that fell in the New York area was contained in the front portion of the storm. There was little precipitation once Irene’s center passed.
The effect of unrelated winds on a hurricane, called wind shear, can be enormous. “When the wind is different in either speed or direction at different heights, hurricanes don’t like that." The differential winds can remove moisture from a storm, or distort its shape, which affects its ability to gain energy. Irene “seemed to come naturally into an area of shear.” The hurricane center had done better at forecasting the movement of the storm, the predicted track barely budging in the past few days. But it was not surprising that the strength forecasts were off — the accuracy of such forecasts has hardly improved over the past several decades.