Archive for the ‘Hurricane Ike’ Category

HURRICANE SEASON BUSY IN CARIBBEAN ISLANDS AND BAHAMAS

LEFT CLICK TO ENLARGE
TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS TO ENLARGE

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/dbc.nsf/doc100?OpenForm

Immediately above you will find a link to ReliefWeb, from which this graphic was derived.  This gives you an idea of what the Caribbean and Bahamian islands have had to deal with this season.

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IKE MISSING – SEARCH LINK

Photo Source = Getty Images

Photo Source = Getty Images LEFT CLICK TO ENLARGE

Bodies of hurricane Ike victims continue to be recovered – mostly in debris fields.  Here is a recent story on that subject:

http://www.khou.com/ike/stories/khou081007_tj_ike_body_found_goat_island.efe8b898.html

The Red Cross has a webpage where those living in the regions effected by the hurricane and those who have evacuated/relocated can register.  I urge you to do so.  There is also a search feature for those of you who are looking for particular survivors.  Here is the link:

https://disastersafe.redcross.org/default.aspx

For those of you looking for a person or persons, it is my most sincere hope that you find all is well.  For those of you not looking, it is also my hope that all is well.

There is a wide range within the estimate of the number of people still missing.  Here are some examples:

http://www.khou.com/news/state/stories/khou080928_mp_missing_people.bfbce24e.html

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5glUtWAW1BlcQcj1enZzk-kmvVSvwD93JQV980

http://www.click2houston.com/news/17651522/detail.html

The Coriolis Effect In the Real World – A Tutorial (Part 2) – Cyclones & Anticyclones

Left Click To Enlarge Image

I suggest that, though there may be some repetition, please read Part 1 first.  To go to it quickly, either scroll down or click on this link:

https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/the-coriolis-effect-in-the-real-world-a-tutorial-part-1/

The set of weather maps, provided by NOAA, shows the remains of Ike after it began to head toward the northeast. At this latitude there is a tendency for weather systems in the middle latitudes to travel generally from west to east.  Notice the cold fronts which indicate that Ike had changed from tropical to extratropical.  The cold fronts represent the leading edge of cooler air being thrown out of the anticyclone (high with rotation) centered over the Eastern Dakotas. That air is coming “down” from some component of the north whereas the air on the “warm” side of the cold fronts is coming up from some component of the south and is being thrown out of the anticyclone centered off Florida.  So, we have a cyclone (low with rotation), Ike, between two anticyclones.

The only alterations I have made to the first map are 1) cropping of the original, 2) labeling of the fronts 3) placement of the red L and the two blue H’s, and 4) darkening of two of the isobar values making it easier for you to read.

Isobars are imaginary lines, of course, and plot equal pressure.  For example, every point on the 1020 isobar was believed to have had a pressure of 1020 millibars at the time of observation. In many ways isobars are analogous to contour lines on topographic maps.  In fact, the two “highs” on a topographic map would be hills and the “low” would be a trough-shaped valley between the hills.  Sticking with that analogy, surface runoff water would tend to flow down the hillsides along a stream gradient (or gravity gradient) toward the lower valleys.  In the simplest of topographic and geological settings the water would flow down the hills in a radial pattern, just as air would flow out of the highs were it not for the Coriolis effect.  Though water flowing down hillsides in stream channels does not respond to the Coriolis effect, air flowing on the scale depicted here does by deflecting to the right of the pressure gradient direction.  So, in the second version of the weather map I have drawn blue lines of which two are comparatively long, showing the direction that the air would flow if the earth did not rotate on it’s axis.  But, remember, rotation of the globe causes the Coriolis deflection to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere.

It’s important to note that the deflection is with reference to the object or fluid in motion.  For example, if someone driving directly toward you turns right, he/she will have turned to your left.  Though that person’s turn would be to your left, it is still a right turn.  So, in northern Texas the green line shows that the air is moving to the right of the pressure gradient direction (light blue) – even though that green arrow points toward the left side of the map.  Just put yourself in the position of the air in motion and you should not have difficulties with this.

This, then, shows why air in the northern hemisphere moves clockwise around anticyclones and counterclockwise around cyclones.

Near the end of my first tutorial on the Coriolis effect I revealed that the following question had come up often during my teaching career: “If the Coriolis effect is an important influence in large scale weather systems, and since hurricanes are synoptic scale (a type of macroscale) system, why do hurricane winds turn left in the northern hemisphere and right in the southern hemisphere?”

The “obvious” left turning of air within hurricanes causes confusion among many people who are trying to understand air circulation – particularly if they are starting from scratch without knowledge of the Coriolis effect or the pressure gradient force and how the two engage in a tug of war.  I understand the confusion because seeing the shape of hurricane rain bands on radar and arcuate cloud band alignment clearly shows how the air turns left as it gets closer and closer to the hurricane’s eye wall.

Not too many years ago I heard a person who should know better, during a television weather report, explain to the viewing audience that hurricanes were so powerful that they did not respond to the Coriolis effect – referring to the “left turns” that she was showing on the satellite loop that was being projected.  I don’t know whether or not in some previous weather report she had mentioned the Coriolis effect but it seemed to me that might have been the case.  In her honest attempt to educate some of her audience, she gave them information which was entirely incorrect – perhaps because of misinformation given her or maybe some general assumptions she had made.  You see, it is the Coriolis effect that forces the counterclockwise rotation in the first place!

In this last illustration (below) you are looking at a satellite image of hurricane Fran (1996).  I have drawn blue pressure gradient lines and red air flow lines which clearly show the rightward deflection (in spite of the fact that the air does turn left as it approaches the eye wall.  Notice, however, that no matter where pressure gradient lines are placed along the air flow lines, the deflection of the “real wind” is always to the right of the pressure gradient line.

Once again, as in Part 1, I have not truly explained the Coriolis effect; I have merely described it and illustrated it.  I have not explored the nitty-gritty.  I have implied that it is only an apparent force.  You might want to explore other attempts to describe the Coriolis effect – perhaps via an Internet search.

Finally, in the interest of accuracy, I must admit that I have simplified to the point of leaving out some important forces that play a roll in determining the actual direction that air moves (from high toward low) in its quest to reach pressure equilibrium.  Among those are friction, centripetal force, and centrifugal force.  The conservation of angular momentum is an important consideration and accounts for the increase in wind velocity as the air gets closer to the storm’s center.

Left Click To Enlarge Image
Left Click To Enlarge Image

Cement Structure No Match For Ike – Update

I posted an item on Sept. 21, 2008 about the elevated structure with cement block exterior walls at the upper level (pictured at the very end of this entry).  That original post is still contained in this web-log.  In this post that you are now reading, I am adding additional comments in “blue” to get you (and me) up to date.  This has gone back and forth and I hope the identity of the building and the stated design of the block walls is correct.  It worries me because anyone in there could have been seriously injured or worse from collapsing cement blocks.  This first photograph is of a cement block structure In the Naranja Lakes Condominium Development near Homestead, Florida.  In this particular structure there was a fatality due to poured concrete headers and blocks coming down upon a resident huddled inside – a real tragedy.  There were at least 3 such fatalities in that neighborhood; it’s amazing that there were not more. TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS SHOULD ENLARGE THIS IMAGE A GREAT DEAL.

This next paragraph reflects that I had already made a previous change in the original entry.

It is my understanding that the structure (pictured below) belongs to a yacht club. A reader wrote in after I originally posted this because I had misidentified it as the Houston Yacht Club.  However, he indicated that the Houston Yacht Club is “a three story coral colored structure and while some water entered the first floor it is essentially undamaged.”  You can check out his comment.

Since then, a couple of readers have identified the building as belonging to the Seabrook Sailing Club just north of the Clear Creek channel.  “Kent” adds, “The cinder-block wash-away walls collapsed as designed, leaving the shell structure intact. It was originally built after Hurricane Carla in the early 1960s. Hurricane Alicia did a similar number on the building in 1983. I think the club is trying to decide if they should rebuild on the current shell or scrap it.”  End quote.

Though this building is elevated and held fast on its foundation, the surge was too high and the waves too forceful for the cement block.  I don’t believe this damage can be attributed directly to wind force but rather, the surge with its waves on top.  For those of you who have felt the pounding of moderate surf against your body – imagine what this cement block must have endured before yielding.  I see wires and perhaps some straps but I see no evidence of corefill in the block nor do I see very much rebar reinforcement in the image.  At the time that I wrote this I had no idea that upper level walls were deliberately built to wash away.  If this is true, so much for the contents and/or anyone who might have been unable to get out because they waited too long.  On the other hand, maybe it was just used for storage.  I had heard of “break-away” lower level walls.  In fact I have a friend who built a pole house with that design. For quick information rebar and poured concrete reinforcement read the second paragraph in the following link and click on the photo on the bottom right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinder_block

Please visit the rest of this web-log go to “blog” at the top of this page or click here.  https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  If you are interested in weather, there are some tutorials scattered about and more will be added in time.

HURRICANE MISCONCEPTIONS – A LIST OF 23

Image source of Ike radar loop = WeatherUnderground.com

Image source of Ike radar loop = Weather Underground

LEFT CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE AND SEE A RADAR LOOP OF IKE AS HE COMES INTO VIEW AND EVENTUALLY MAKES LANDFALL.  WATCH FOR A DISTINCT RIGHT TURN TRACKING DIRECTLY TOWARD HOUSTON JUST BEFORE REACHING THE COAST.  IF IT HAD CONTINUED STRAIGHT, THE WINDS AND THE SURGE ALONG THE COAST AT GALVESTON AND SOUTHWESTWARD WOULD HAVE BEEN EVEN WORSE BECAUSE THAT COAST WOULD HAVE BEEN CROSSED BY THE RIGHT-HAND LEADING QUADRANT OF THE STORM

(see item 13 below).

23 COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT HURRICANES

©* Tonie Ansel Toney (see conditions for copying at the end)

https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/

I have learned of these misconceptions by communicating through the years with my students, friends, neighbors, attendees of some of the hurricane seminars that I have conducted and visitors to hurricane expos where I have given presentations.  Most of this occurred in Florida.  I learned that these items have been relatively “common” misconceptions through informal pre-tests I have given to college students at the beginning of certain semesters, answers to questions I have asked in classes during the course of myriad semesters, through conversations with people of all walks of life (and a broad range of ages and experience), and by listening carefully.

ALL 23 UPPER CASE STATEMENTS ARE FALSE IN SOME WAY.  BRIEF EXPLANATIONS FOLLOW.

1. IF THE SPEED OF WIND BLOWING DIRECTLY INTO THE SIDE OF A DWELLING CHANGES FROM 40 MPH TO 80 MPH, THE FORCE THAT IT EXERTS INTO THE STRUCTURE WILL INCREASE TO TWICE WHAT IT WAS. THE TRUTH: A doubling of the velocity will cause a four-fold increase of the force upon a surface being struck at right angles.  The relationship is “exponential,” not “linear.”

2. IF, DURING A HURRICANE, YOUR TRUE WIND DIRECTION IS FROM THE SOUTH, THE HURRICANE’S EYE IS TO THE NORTH OF YOU. THE TRUTH:  It is generally west of you.  Hurricane winds move approximately parallel to (or concentric with) the nearly circular eye-wall.  A good rule-of-thumb for eye location (in the Northern Hemisphere) is: Imagine standing with the wind at your back.  Extend your left arm out from your side and your hand will be pointing toward the eye.

3. IF AN APPROACHING HURRICANE IS ABOUT ONE DAY AWAY, PRUNING OF TREES IS ADVISABLE. THE TRUTH:  It is too late to prune at that time – it should have been done much sooner, preferably prior to the hurricane season.  Pruned material must be disposed of properly – if lying around the items can become a dangerous airborne hazards. Please read on by clicking here; there are 20 more which might interest you. And, don’t miss viewing the animated image of Ike at the beginning of this post.

Tropical Wave AL 93 Might Dance Within a Few Days!

A second left click should enlarge image further.
A second left click should enlarge image further.

There is a possibility that the very interesting Fujiwhara effect might occur within the next few days.  In the image above I have placed a red dot upon the tropical disturbance that is tormenting Puerto Rico and Eastern Hispaniola and a light blue dot upon an extratropical low that is off the Eastern Seaboard and probably kicking up some big waves.  If the tropical system shoots north as the models are predicting, the two could interact in the Fujiwhara effect.  Here is a well-written link about that phenomenon.

http://weather.about.com/od/hurricaneformation/a/Fujiwhara.htm

The extratropical system might even back up a bit in response to a rotation around a common axis with the tropical system.  Go to this link now if you would like to see a rendition of what might happen:  (There are four helpful buttons – reverse, stop. forward, and single step).

http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ovens/loops/wxloop.cgi?eta_pcpn_slp_thkn+///6

SPECIAL NOTE:  THE LINK IMMEDIATELY ABOVE IS VERY TIME SENSITIVE.  IT MAY NOT SHOW WHAT I’VE DISCUSSED IN THIS BLOG UNLESS YOU VIEW IT ON THE DAY THIS WAS POSTED.   AFTERWARDS THE FORECAST MIGHT CHANGE.  IF THE FUJIWHARA EFFECT ACTUALLY COMES TO FRUITION WE WILL BE ABLE TO SEE IT VIA LOOPS THAT ACCELERATE TIME.

Of course, I did not come up with this notion on my own.  My tip came from the WeatherUnderground blog posted by Dr. Jeff Masters at 10:43 AM EDT today (September 23, 2008).  He also mentioned it yesterday.

Natural processes can be lethal and cause heartbreak but they can also be breathtakingly beautiful.  If the Fujiwhara effect happens to occur, perhaps we will have the opportunity to watch two spiraling systems dance together for a while, just as spiraling galaxies can do as they get close to each other.  Let’s hope the prediction is “right on” and that we can focus upon an event that is NOT creating havoc as did Ike.  Enjoy!

Cement Block Structure No Match for Ike

It is my understanding that this structure (below) belongs to a yacht club. A reader wrote in after I originally posted this because I had misidentified it as the Houston Yacht Club.  However, he indicated that the Houston Yacht Club is “a three story coral colored structure and while some water entered the first floor it is essentially undamaged.”  You can check out his comment.

Though this building is elevated and held fast on its foundation, the surge was too high and the waves too forceful for the cement block.  I don’t believe this damage can be attributed directly to wind force but rather, the surge with its waves on top.  For those of you who have felt the pounding of moderate surf against your body – imagine what this cement block must have endured before yielding.  I see wires and perhaps some straps but I see no evidence of corefill in the block nor do I see very much rebar reinforcement in the image.  For quick information on that type of reinforcement read the second paragraph in the following link and click on the photo on the bottom right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinder_block

A footnote for my regular readers:  You can check for yourself but it looks according to the models as though the tropical disturbance addressed in the previous post is going to move northward.  Still, I fear for those in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico.  The rains are something they don’t need right now.

Please visit the rest of this web-log at https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  If you are interested in weather, there are some tutorials scattered about and more will be added in time.

GILCHRIST LONE HOUSE “BEFORE” PHOTO AVAILABLE

If you would like to see a photo of the “Lone House” taken back in May click on the link below.  Some of the dialog is interesting too.

Thanks to “DewDrop” for letting me know about it.

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-89312

Please visit the rest of this web-log at https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  If you are interested in weather, there are some tutorials scattered about and more will be added in time.

Lone Gilchrist House – Why This ONE? – What Now?

Left Click to Enlarge

Things Look Gray for this surviving house. Left Click to Enlarge

FOR IMAGES, VIDEOS, AND INTERVIEWS – READ ON.

Thankfully, no one has asked me, “Why focus on this one house, when so many others were totally destroyed?”  I have asked myself that question and I’m not sure how to answer it.  I suspect it has to do with my regard for the architecture that withstood the force of the surge, the wind, and the backsurge and my curiosity over the building codes, and the type of special measure taken to construct such a strong house.  Then, there is also the curiosity about the history of the house, especially when it became apparent through Google Maps and Google Earth images that the house either underwent a major remodeling or was totally new (as it turns out the latter is the case).  Now, in spite of its survival and the great pains the owners must have taken to make it a secure structure, it looks as though the house might not be reoccupied.  Time will tell.

Yes indeed, THINGS LOOK GRAY!  It’s far from over.  Close to 40 people from that peninsula were fished out of the water in successful rescues but it is feared that many more are lost and will never be found.  There are hearts that are broken and more breakage is on its way.  In my opinion, survivors should be counting their blessings and I’m sure that most of them are.

My house in Homestead, Florida having been totaled in 1992’s Andrew might have played a role in the awe and wonder I felt when I saw photos of the lone house that survived in that Gilchrist neighborhood.  I know what it’s like when a killer storm is bearing down, experiencing the unknowns, wondering if you’ve done enough to protect your loved ones and the structure, and going through the rebuilding process (which in some respects is more of a nightmare than the storms themselves}.  I was very lucky.  I had a job, I had good insurance, and I had resources to purchase a 25′ travel trailer to live in during the year it took to rebuild the house.  I also had an understanding family who knew how to roll with the punches.

The reason why I emphasize that “I had a job” is because after Andrew, many businesses that were destroyed did not revive.  The region suffered a great deal.  Post traumatic issues were abundant, and the divorce rate increased dramatically.

Thanks to a “heads up” from Kimberly, a reader of this web-log, I am able to provide you the following links:

Watch and listen to this video on CNN.com.  You will hear an interview with the house owner’s sister and in addition to current aerial images you will see a before image of the house.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/09/18/ike.last.house.standing/index.html#cnnSTCVideo

For more details read this from CNN.com.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/09/18/ike.last.house.standing/index.html

Listen to an Anderson Cooper interview with the owner of the house, Pam Adams.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/09/18/ike.last.house.standing/index.html#cnnSTCVideo

Please visit the rest of this web-log at https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  If you are interested in weather, there are some tutorials scattered about and more will be added in time.

HURRICANE SEASON – IT’S NOT OVER!

We have been enjoying a few days of tropical inactivity after a “whirlwind” bout with some storms.  The news about Ike has tapered down greatly but lest we forget, there are many, many people suffering over that storm.  By the time Ike lost its hurricane status we had gone for 29 straight days with at least one named storm – Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike.

By the end of next week there will probably be at least one named storm out there again.  Experts have been keeping an eye on the Madden/Julian Oscillation (MJO) which is an observed oscillation of tropical convection that is not well understood.  Interpretations are that within 3 to 6 days conditions will again be “ripe” for the development of tropical disturbances that have the potential to develop further – some eventually into named storms.  Understanding the graphical representations of the Madden-Julian Oscillation is not easy but I’m providing a link for those of you who are inclined to dig in deep or those who are simply curious about it.  If you are a meteorologist or a physicist (or just curious), I recommend you click on the “expert discussions.”

I’LL END THIS POST ON A HAPPY NOTE:

I received an e-mail today from the daughter of the owner of the “lone house standing” in Gilchrist.  I have asked her permission to put her comments in the main body of this web-log and will do so if she agrees.  I know that so many of you have been concerned.  The occupants evacuated and are A.O.K.  I will attempt to learn the extent of the damage but I doubt that they know at this time.  I don’t expect that they have been able to return to assess the damage.  I am very relieved to know that they didn’t try to ride out that storm even though they surely would have survived if they had stayed inside.  Now – let’s all hope that none of their neighbors got swept away with their homes.  In my opinion, if there are no fatalities among the Gilchrist residents, it will be a miracle.  It may very well be that all of them, knowing the hurricane history of that peninsula, decided to get out of there.  The location of her comment is at the end of my September 16 post titled Location of Gilchrist, Texas House – Some Clues.

LOCATION OF GILCHRIST, TEXAS HOUSE – SOME CLUES.

Finally, I learned from another sharp reader that the gentleman who first guided me to the location of the house was correct when he said that the house was a few blocks east of Rollover.  I interpreted that to be Rollover Street when in fact, Rollover is also the name of the bridge.  That is just too logical for me to have caught on.  LOL

Please visit the rest of this web-log at https://cloudman23.wordpress.com/.  If you are interested in weather, there are some tutorials scattered about and more will be added in time.