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|Posted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:51 pm Post subject: the woman or the man
|Posted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:51 pm Post subject: Re: the woman or the man
"Federal Forecasters Got Hurricane Right"
For all the criticism of the Bush administration's confused response
to Hurricane Katrina, at least two federal agencies got it right: the
National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center.
They forecast the path of the storm and the potential for devastation
with remarkable accuracy.
The performance by the two agencies calls into question claims by
President Bush and others in his administration that Katrina was a
catastrophe that no one envisioned.
For example, Bush told ABC on Sep. 1 that "I don't think anybody
anticipated the breach of the levees." In its storm warnings, the
hurricane center never used the word "breached." But a day before
Katrina came ashore Aug. 29, the agency warned in capital letters:
"SOME LEVEES IN THE GREATER NEW ORLEANS AREA COULD BE OVERTOPPED."
National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield also gave daily
pre-storm videoconference briefings to federal officials in
Washington, warning them of a nightmare scenario of New Orleans'
levees not holding, winds smashing windows in high-rise buildings and
flooding wiping out large swaths of the Gulf Coast.
A photo on the White House Web site shows Bush in Crawford, Texas,
watching Mayfield give a briefing on Aug. 28, a day before Katrina
smashed ashore with 145-mph winds.
The National Weather Service office in Slidell, La., which covers the
New Orleans area, put out its own warnings that day, saying, "MOST OF
THE AREA WILL BE UNINHABITABLE FOR WEEKS ... PERHAPS LONGER" and
predicting "HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS."
Mayfield and Paul Trotter, the meteorologist in charge of the Slidell
office, both refused to criticize the federal response.
But Mayfield said: "The fact that we had a major hurricane forecast
over or near New Orleans is reason for great concern. The local and
state emergency management knew that as well as FEMA did."
And the risk to New Orleans in particular was well-recognized long
"The 33 years that I've been at the hurricane center we have always
been saying Ã¢â‚¬" the directors before me and I have always said Ã¢â‚¬" that
the greatest potential for the nightmare scenarios, in the Gulf of
Mexico anyway, is that New Orleans and southeast Louisiana area,"
The hurricane center and the weather service have not been without
critics. Some private meteorologists laud the accurate forecasts but
wonder why those dire predictions were not issued earlier. They also
argue that residents were bombarded with too much information from
As early as three days before Katrina pulverized the Gulf Coast, the
hurricane center warned that New Orleans was in the Category 4
hurricane's path. Storm-track projections released to the public more
than two days (56 hours) before Katrina came ashore were off by only
about 15 miles Ã¢â‚¬" and only because the hurricane made a slight turn to
the right before hitting land just to the east of New Orleans.
That is better than the average 48-hour error of about 160 miles and
24-hour error of about 85 miles.
Two days before the storm hit, the hurricane center predicted
Katrina's strength at landfall; the agency was off the mark by only
about 10 mph. That kind of accuracy is unusual, because forecasters
find it particularly difficult to predict whether a storm will
strengthen or weaken.
AccuWeather Inc. senior meteorologist Michael Steinberg said emergency
managers and the public could have been given an earlier warning of
Katrina's threat to New Orleans. He said the private company had
issued forecasts nearly 12 hours earlier than the hurricane center
warning that Katrina was aiming at the area.
He said that difference was significant because it would have given
more daylight hours for evacuations.
Mayfield said hurricane watches and warnings are issued so as to give
36 and 24 hours' notice, respectively. Lengthening that time could
mean larger areas than necessary would be evacuated, he said. That
could cause larger traffic jams and put people in danger of being
stuck on the road when the hurricane hit.
Trotter also wanted to make sure the public knew of the Category 4
hurricane's threat beforehand. His forecasters publicly warned that a
hurricane of that magnitude could cause widespread destruction of
buildings, hurl small cars into the air and cause the levee system to
But Trotter went even further and called Katrina "A MOST POWERFUL
HURRICANE WITH UNPRECEDENTED STRENGTH...RIVALING THE INTENSITY OF
HURRICANE CAMILLE OF 1969." That storm wiped some towns off the map
along the Gulf Coast and killed 256 people.
Mayfield also did something he rarely does before a hurricane hits: He
personally called the governors of Mississippi and Louisiana and New
Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin two days ahead of time to warn them about the
monstrous hurricane. Nagin has said he ordered an evacuation because
Mayfield's call "scared the hell" out of him.
"I just wanted to be able to go to sleep that night knowing I had done
everything I could," Mayfield said.
"marika" <marika5000 (AT) gmail (DOT) com> wrote in message
news:F9idnaeNicVF0iTVnZ2dnUVZ_uqdnZ2d (AT) rcn (DOT) net...
|*** Hurricane Destructiveness in a Warmer World ****
Hurricanes have always bedeviled the Gulf Coast states, but
global warming is making matters worse. Sea level is rising
and will continue to rise as oceans warm and glaciers melt.
Rising sea levels means higher storm surges, even from
relatively minor storms, causing coastal flooding and
erosion and damaging coastal properties. In a distressing
new development, scientific evidence now suggests a link
between hurricane strength and duration and global warming.
Understanding the relationship between hurricanes and global
warming is essential if we are to preserve healthy and
prosperous coastal communities for ourselves and our
More Intense Storms
Recent research has found that storm intensity and duration
increases as global warming emissions increase in our
atmosphere. Rising sea levels, also caused in part by rising
global temperatures, intensify storm damage along coasts.
For hurricanes to occur, surface ocean temperatures must
exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmer the ocean, the
greater the potential for stronger storms. More destructive
hurricanes not only incur billions of dollars in damage to
communities and businesses, but also put thousands of human
lives at risk.
To understand how global warming can affect ocean storms,
it's important to understand how these storms develop in the
first place. Seasonal shifts in global wind patterns cause
atmospheric disturbances in the tropics, leading to a local
drop in pressure at sea level and forcing air to rise over
warm ocean waters. As warm, moist air rises, it further
lowers air pressure at sea level and draws surrounding air
inward and upward in a rotating pattern called a vortex.
When the water vapor-laden air rises to higher altitudes, it
cools and releases heat as it condenses to rain. This cycle
of evaporation and condensation brings the ocean's thermal
energy into the vortex, powering the storm. Depending on the
severity, meteorologists call these tropical storms or
hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean.
Many factors influence storm behavior, including surface
temperatures, humidity, and atmospheric circulation. A
sudden change in wind speed or direction (wind shear), for
example, may prevent the vortex from forming. But as long as
conditions are favorable, the storm will thrive.
Warming Ocean Waters
Natural cycles alone cannot explain recent ocean warming.
Because of human activities such as burning fossil fuels and
clearing forests, today's carbon dioxide CO2) levels in the
atmosphere are significantly higher than at any time during
the past 400,000 years. CO2 and other heat-trapping
emissions act like insulation in the lower atmosphere,
warming land and ocean surface temperatures. Oceans have
absorbed most of this excess heat, raising sea temperatures
by almost one degree Fahrenheit since 1970. September sea
surface temperatures in the Atlantic over the past decade
have risen far above levels documented since 1930.
Recent Scientific Developments
A 2004 study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of
Climate explored the relationship between today's storms
compared with simulated storms under conditions with
increased atmospheric CO2 (the primary global warming gas).
The study simulated storm behavior under a one percent per
year increase in CO2 over 80 years. Nine different global
climate models projected that storms generated under
increasing CO2 conditions were consistently more intense. By
the end of the projection, maximum surface wind speeds
increased six percent and rainfall increased on average 18
percent over present-day conditions.
A 2005 study published in the journal Nature suggests that
storm intensity and duration is linked to the recent ocean
warming trends associated with global warming. Scientists
tracked measurements of the destructive power of storms,
termed the Power Dissipation Index (PDI), since 1950. The
study, which combined each storm's maximum wind speeds and
storm duration, found that during the last 30 years, the
destructive power of storms has doubled in the Atlantic and
Most of this has occurred during the past 10 years when
global average surface ocean temperatures were at record
levels. Thus far, scientific evidence does not link
worldwide storm frequency with global warming. Individual
ocean basins have multiyear cycles of storm activity. While
the total number of storms in the tropics remained similar
through time, the percentage of category 4 and 5 hurricanes
have increased over the past 30 years, according to a 2005
paper in the journal Science.
Protecting Coastal Communities
Given the huge price tag from the cleanup of recent
hurricanes such as Andrew ($43.7 billion), Ivan ($14.2
billion), and Katrina ($125 billion projected), it is
essential to do whatever we can to avoid dangerous warming
and preserve healthy and prosperous coastal communities for
ourselves and our children. Because CO2 can stay in the
atmosphere for 100 years or more, even an aggressive plan to
use energy more efficiently and reduce emissions from power
plants and vehicles will not stop warming in it tracks.
Therefore, it is essential that we combine aggressive
emission reduction efforts with improved measures to protect
coastal communities. These measures- including building
codes, storm drainage plans, and preservation and
restoration of wetlands, dunes, and barrier islands- must be
designed to cope with increasing sea level rise and storm
intensity due to global warming.
"marika" <marika5000 (AT) gmail (DOT) com> wrote in message
news:K9udnZoq-bum0yTVnZ2dnUVZ_tbinZ2d (AT) rcn (DOT) net...
"Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Were Like Night and Day"
(Source: Washington Post 9/25/01)
Reinforced armies of federal search teams, medics and National Guard
troops began fanning out into wind-whipped and waterlogged
southwestern Louisiana and coastal Texas yesterday, racing to prove
the government had learned from its disastrous missteps earlier this
month on the Gulf Coast.
And while yesterday's early assessments were positive -- with few
reports of unanswered calls for help or broad communication breakdowns
that crippled the response to Hurricane Katrina -- officials
acknowledged that Hurricane Rita had not presented the ultimate test
for which they had prepared.
Hurricane Katrina "was so much more massive. Most people still don't
understand that," said Michael Lowder, deputy director of response
operations at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in
Washington. In New Orleans, the levees failed, "then you had the civil
unrest piece of it. That was something that was not planned for, not
anticipated. . . . That affects the whole response."
Although floodwater was still rising yesterday in some low-lying towns
and wind restricted damage-assessment flights, state and federal
authorities cautiously projected confidence in their ability to
respond to the storm in coming days, at least partly because it was
far less damaging. President Bush, who visited the Texas emergency
command center in Austin, praised government agencies as
"well-organized and well-prepared to deal with Rita."
Officials also attributed their success to the sometimes chaotic
evacuation of 3 million people from Houston and other cities, an
exodus left incomplete in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina hit
"The damage is not as severe as we had expected it to be," FEMA Acting
Director R. David Paulison said in Washington, despite swamped roads,
failed bridges and extensive structural damage across several cities
and southwest Louisiana. "Every mayor that we have talked to is
crediting the evacuations with the fact we have no reported deaths at
Texas and Louisiana leaders said yesterday's relative calm reflected
greater preparation and cooperation at all levels.
"We learned a great deal from Katrina that was put in place in Texas,"
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) said in Austin at a news conference
with Gov. Rick Perry (R).
"We are all working together as a team," Louisiana Gov. Kathleen
Babineaux Blanco (D) said from Baton Rouge, appearing with U.S. Coast
Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen, in charge of the federal Katrina
response. "Our efforts to keep a communications network up have paid
The differences in the scale of the two storms were plainly visible.
Katrina triggered an "ultra-catastrophe," in the words of Homeland
Security Secretary Michael Chertoff -- cutting a 90,000-square-mile
swath across three states, before triggering a flood that swamped the
nation's 35th-largest city and broke down civil order.
In addition to its bigger size, Katrina also struck later in the day
than Rita and moved north more slowly, hampering efforts by air crews
to get aloft during daylight to grasp its impact.
After Katrina, Lowder said that "basically, everything was shut down
for so much longer. This one [Rita] moved out faster; we were able to
gather more information quicker."
In last week's run-up to the storm, U.S. officials took advantage of a
second chance to test the nation's emergency response system after its
near-collapse in New Orleans. Preparations dwarfed those before Katrina.
Bush appeared yesterday morning with Chertoff at the military's U.S.
Northern Command headquarters in Colorado, which mobilized thousands
of troops and fleets of aircraft and ships.
Two days before landfall, Bush declared Rita an "incident of national
significance" -- which triggers the federal government's highest level
of response -- and Chertoff named Coast Guard Rear Adm. Larry Hereth
as the federal officer in charge. Those steps were taken two days
after Katrina hit.
Texas called 10,000 National Guard members and asked for 10,000
active-duty U.S. military troops, while Louisiana has 22,000 guard
members in place and asked for 15,000 troops. By comparison, Louisiana
readied 5,000 National Guard members before Katrina.
The Pentagon moved 500 active-duty troops into the region yesterday.
Blanco asked for 40,000 troops two days after Katrina hit; the White
House sent the first 7,000 three days later.
Rear Adm. Joseph F. Kilkenny, commander of Carrier Strike Group Ten,
1,100 sailors and 650 sometimes queasy Marines were aboard the USS Iwo
Jima in heavy seas yesterday in the Gulf of Mexico as it steamed
toward Sabine Pass, Tex., on the Texas-Louisiana border to help rescue
victims of Rita.
Crews started at daybreak yesterday flying 15 helicopters on search
missions over Lake Charles and Lafayette, La. Kilkenny said the
military is using a grid system designed for fighting wars to carry
out its domestic disaster response for the first time. Grids 15 by 15
nautical miles should make searches much more systematic than the
chaotic searches after Katrina, Kilkenny said, because all the search
parties -- state and local, U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard and
active-duty military -- will work from the same grid.
In "Afghanistan and Iraq we used the grid system. In that instance
they were called 'kill boxes.' In this instance they're called 'rescue
boxes,' " Kilkenny said.
By air and sea, Kilkenny said the Coast Guard was handling rescue from
the Texas-Louisiana border westward, while the U.S. Navy was operating
east of the border.
In terms of ground operations, Kilkenny said, "This will be a pincer
movement. We'll have land forces and FEMA state and local coming from
the north down into these areas. And we will survey and see if we need
to come in from the sea to render assistance" by sending Marines ashore.
Once it stops 25 nautical miles south of Sabine Pass early today, the
amphibious assault ship could also provide medical assistance to
people who cannot get help at local hospitals. The ship has 80 doctors
and nurses aboard.
There are two other amphibious assault ships, the USS Shreveport and
the USS Tortuga, in the Gulf area, as well as the USNS Comfort, a
hospital ship, and the supply ship USNS Patuxent. They and the USS
Grapple, a rescue and salvage vessel, could join the Iwo Jima as
needed. Within about two days, seven or eight Navy mine countermeasure
ships are to arrive to help assess damage to offshore oil platforms.
As Rita approached, federal emergency managers positioned twice as
many search-and-rescue teams in Texas as they did in Louisiana last
month. Officials fueled more that 900 buses for evacuation and rescue,
and placed on standby 12 heavy-lift military helicopters, six
transport aircraft and dozens of civilian aircraft -- equipment in
short supply immediately after Katrina.
FEMA last week stockpiled 45 trailers of water, 45 trailers of ice and
25 trailers of ice in Texas before Rita's arrival, twice as many as
last month at Louisiana's Camp Beauregard.
"The big difference is that we have been gearing up our entire system
for a month now," Robert B. Stephan, assistant secretary of homeland
security for infrastructure protection, said in Washington. "There's
no warm-up period -- the car is started and ready to go."
"marika" <marika5000 (AT) gmail (DOT) com> wrote in message
news:Of-dnZVs6OOA1STVnZ2dnUVZ_tvinZ2d (AT) rcn (DOT) net...
Maybe not with Gustav on the way
"Hurricane expert says Rita will be second worst storm behind Katrina"
(Source: CBS News, 9/21/05)
Fort Collins, Colorado - His name is Dr. William Gray and he is
considered one of the world foremost experts on hurricanes and he
warns that "Rita" is going to be a mother of a storm.
Dr. Gray is at Colorado State University. He is considered a world-
wide authority on hurricanes and he says Hurricane Rita will be the
second worst storm he's seen in his lifetime, with Hurricane Katrina
being the first.
Dr. Gray predicted months ago that this hurricane season would be a
bad one and he predicts that we'll likely see one or two more major
storms before this season ends.
Dr. Gray says if Rita stays on its current path, it's likely the
storm will reach Category 4 strength with massive damage to oil
production, resulting in higher gas prices and potentially doing
about 100-billion dollars in damage.
Dr. Gray says he disagrees with other experts who say the power of
these storms is related to global warming. Dr. Gray says there is
simply no proof of that. He says 1933 was a very active season,
similar to this one. Dr. Gray says 1933 was a year with 21-named
Officials say there have been so many named storms this year; there
is a chance we could run out of designated names this year. It's
reported that has never happened before.
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