Writing for Quartz, meteorologist Eric Holthaus says that the super typhoon Haiyan about to hit the Philippines is the worst storm he has ever seen. With sustained winds of 190mph (305km/h) and staggering gusts of 230mph (370km/h), its “intensity has actually ticked slightly above the maximum to 8.1 on an 8.0 scale.” Updated: It broke 235mph. Videos of the impact added.
Holthaus says that Yolanda—its Filipino name—beats “Wilma (2005) in intensity by 5mph—that was the strongest storm ever in the Atlantic,” which makes it a member of the select club of Worst Storms Ever in the Planet. Only three other storms since 1969 have reached this intensity.
That’s certainly foreboding enough, but the humanitarian disaster that may Read more…
The chances that a 15-inch rainfall might hit Central Texas in any given year have long been about 1-in-1,000. But with the warming of air that scientists expect over the century, some predict those chances might jump to 1-in-50.Kerry Emanuel, a prominent Massachusetts Institute of Technology meteorology professor, will lecture on the topic in Austin on Tuesday. The talk, titled “Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico: The History and Future of the Texas Coast,” is free and open to the public, part of the University of Texas’ Hot Science-Cool Talks series.
“We expect hurricane-related rainfall is going to get worse over next 100 years,” Emanuel said in an interview.
While that news might seem welcome in drought-stricken Central Texas — especially since moister, hurricane rain-saturated soils are likely to Read more…
Super Typhoon Sanba poses a growing threat to southwestern Japan and South Korea.
As of Friday evening, local time, Sanba remains a super typhoon, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, according to The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). A super typhoon is a storm with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph or higher.
The Japan Meteorological Agency estimates Sanba’s central pressure to fall to 26.58 inches (900 mb), which would allow Sanba’s strength to rank in between Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Katrina from the Atlantic. Only one typhoon in the western Pacific, Super Typhoon Megi, had a lower pressure in the past 10 years.
Sanba’s movement to the north and northwest is expected to continue through at least Saturday.
The projected path brings Sanba close to Okinawa, Japan, by Saturday night, local time. While the island is well-prepared for typhoons, damage, power outages and flooding are likely.
“It will be a life-threatening situation for the Read more…
Every hurricane season, climate scientists are asked how climate change is impacting hurricanes.
The short answer is that global warming makes the ocean warmer and increases sea surface temperatures, which can make hurricanes stronger. But several factors, including differences in wind speed and direction, can break up hurricanes. Many future projections show a decrease in the frequency of all hurricanes globally, but a higher chance of intense hurricanes forming when they do occur. The changing nature of hurricanes in a warmer world remains an active area of research.
In any case, focusing on climate change and hurricanes can obscure the consequences of less sensational climate-related threats to America’s coasts, including sea-level rise and more intense precipitation. Further, extreme Read more…
Computerworld – Communications networks took a hit from Hurricane Irene, as 1,400 cell towers and cell sites were damaged or disrupted — mainly in Virginia, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina, the Federal Communications Commission said Monday.
In addition to cell site disruptions from power outages or other problems, 132,000 wired voice subscribers lost service as of Sunday, while 500,000 cable customers lost service, mostly in Virginia, an FCC spokesman said in an email early Monday. Three broadcast radio stations were also down for at least part of the storm, he said. The FCC didn’t say what percentage of the thousands of cell towers along the East Cost were affected.
On Sunday afternoon, when Irene was downgraded to tropical storm status, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said there Read more…
More than 500,000 homes and businesses across Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire were left without electricity, as rivers around the north-east burst their banks.
Another 285,000 homes and firms in eastern Canada lost power after being struck by Irene as it left the US, bringing the total dealing with blackouts to more than 5.5 million people.
“The impacts of this storm will be felt for some time,” President Barack Obama told Americans late on Sunday. “And the recovery effort will last for weeks or longer”.
Millions of commuters in New York City faced delays and packed trains upon their return to work on Monday morning, as thousands of evacuated residents continued to return to their homes.
It was their upstate neighbours, however, who bore the brunt. Several small towns throughout the Catskill Mountains were totally submerged by water after local rivers and streams flooded.
Already waterlogged following the wettest August on record, the outer Read more…
(Photo: NASA/NOAA GOES Project) Hurricane Irene began to pound Virginia on Saturday, yet its governor warned the worst is yet to come.
Hurricane Irene began to pummel Virginia on Saturday night — killing three and leaving millions without power — yet Virginia’s governor warned the worst is still to come.
Irene began her heavy assault on Virginia’s Hampton Roads region on Saturday night around 8 p.m., though Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell unfortunately thinks much worse is on its way.
“This period of time right now and over the next couple of hours will be some of the most dangerous for southeast Virginia with Read more…
While residents along the New Jersey and New York coasts rush to the store for batteries and bottled water, scientists at Stevens Institute of Technology are heading to the laboratory to help predict the impact of Hurricane Irene.
At the Stevens Center for Maritime Systems (CMS), ocean researchers manage a large network of submerged sensors throughout the New York Harbor region, from the South Jersey shore to the eastern end of Long Island and north up the Hudson River. This Urban Ocean Observatory combines real-time and historic data with advanced understanding of Read more…
Astronaut Ron Garan tweeted this picture of Hurricane Irene from the International Space Station (NASA)The city is planning to shut down the entire transportation system on Saturday in anticipation of Hurricane Irene‘s arrival, officials revealed Thursday.
A mandatory evacuation of all nursing homes in flood-prone areas of the city was also ordered Thursday.
The monster storm is expected hit New York as a Category 1 storm sometime Sunday, barreling in with winds of 90 miles-per-hour and torrential rains.
Mayor Bloomberg said Thursday that it was “very conceivable” that he will order a mandatory evacuation of all low-lying areas of the city by Saturday.
“The storm is predicted to be very dangerous,” the mayor said.
“We’re going to have a very large tropical cyclone move up the eastern seaboard over the next five to seven days,” Bill Read, director of the National Hurricane Center, said on Wednesday.
But Read said it was too early to be certain where Irene would hit the coastline.
Latest data showed the hurricane strengthening back into a category two storm as it moved closer to Read more…