Archive for the ‘Hurricane preparation’ Category

FLORIDA WEATHER ALERT FOR CERTAIN GULF COASTAL COUNTIES

LEFT CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
LEFT CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Target Area = the following Florida counties:

Levy,  Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough

Event: Coastal Flood Statement Effective:18:38 CDT on 12-10-2008 Expires:09:00 CDT on 12-12-2008 Alert:

…INCREASING WINDS AND SEAS WILL RESULT IN HIGHER THAN NORMAL TIDES AND HIGH SURF ALONG THE FLORIDA WEST COAST THROUGH THURSDAY NIGHT…

.AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP OVER THE NORTH CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO AND QUICKLY STRENGTHEN AS IT MOVES NORTHEAST ACROSS THE SOUTHEASTERN STATES TONIGHT AND THURSDAY AND EVENTUALLY UP ALONG THE MID ATLANTIC COAST THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY. AS THIS SYSTEM MOVES BY TO THE NORTH IT WILL DRAG A STRONG COLD FRONT THROUGH THE GULF WATERS TONIGHT AND THURSDAY.

AHEAD OF THIS FRONT SOUTHEAST TO SOUTH WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO INCREASE TO NEAR 20 KNOTS WITH SOME HIGHER GUSTS LATER TODAY AND

TONIGHT THEN SHIFT INTO THE WEST AND NORTHWEST AT 20 TO 25 KNOTS WITH HIGHER GUSTS DURING THURSDAY AND THURSDAY NIGHT.

INCREASING SOUTHERLY WINDS AHEAD OF A COLD FRONT AND STRONG WESTERLY WINDS IN ITS WAKE WILL HELP TO BUILD SEAS OVER THE ADJACENT GULF WATERS THROUGH THURSDAY NIGHT. THE INCREASING WINDS AND SEAS WILL CAUSE TIDES TO RUN SOME 1 TO 2 FEET ABOVE NORMAL FROM TAMPA BAY NORTH TO THE SUWANNEE RIVER…WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR 2 TO 3 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDES FROM HOMOSASSA NORTH THROUGH CEDAR KEY TO THE SUWANNEE RIVER.

THESE ABOVE NORMAL TIDES MAY CAUSE SOME MINOR COASTAL FLOODING AND OVER-WASH AS WELL AS MINOR BEACH EROSION AT TIMES OF HIGH TIDE THROUGH THURSDAY NIGHT. IN ADDITION THE RISK OF RIP CURRENTS AND STRONG UNDERTOWS AND LARGE BREAKING WAVES ALONG AREA BEACHES WILL ALSO BE ON THE INCREASE.

RESIDENTS LIVING ALONG THE COAST SHOULD MONITOR WATER LEVELS THROUGH THURSDAY NIGHT AND BE READY TO MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND SHOULD FLOODING BE OBSERVED.

STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO OR YOUR LOCAL MEDIA FOR FURTHER UPDATES ON THIS DEVELOPING WEATHER SITUATION.

_______________________________________________

I personally recommend that residents of the counties mentioned above and also adjacent inland counties pay attention to the weather tomorrow (Thursday).  Cyclogenesis is predicted to occur along the front over the Gulf and that could cause it to swing around rapidly – generating a dangerous squall line ahead of it.  The radar image above shows a squall currently out ahead of the front itself and I have no reason to believe that it will dissipate any time soon.  So – expect squally weather tomorrow and plan accordingly.

Yours Truly,

Cloudman 23 (Tonie A. Toney)


Florida Tropical Weather Outlook for November – 2008

LEFT CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE

TWO SINGLE LEFT CLICKS WILL ENLARGE IMAGE ADEQUATELY

THIS CHART IS TIME-SENSITIVE,

AS ARE MOST CHARTS PROVIDED IN THIS WEB-LOG SITE.

Vertical wind shear is defined as the change of the wind (velocity or direction or both) with changes in altitude. Vertical wind shear, particularly in velocity, is a significant factor in the probability for tropical system intensification, or weakening.  Here is a general rule of thumb on that subject: The probability of intensification increases when vertical shear is 20 knots or less – and when shear exceeds 20 knots there is a decrease in the probability of intensification.

The graphic that I have provided (above) shows the wind shear forecast for tomorrow afternoon – Saturday, November 1, 2008, Eastern Time.  I recommend two single left clicks upon the image to enlarge it adequately.  I have marked some belts of high shear and low shear and I have also placed a white arrow on the scale at the bottom of the map showing 20 knots which is about 10.29 meters per second.

It is expected that for the first half of the month high wind shear will protect Florida from storms that might develop over the typical late-season hurricane breeding sites.  If this forecast pans out, it is not likely that the Gulf Coast states will see tropical action for that portion of the month.  However, storm probabilities, with respect to vertical wind shear, may increase during the second half of the month.  Of course there are other factors – e.g. – sea surface temperatures.  I will address that soon.

Living in Florida, hurricanes are of great concern to me.  Members of my family depend upon me to provide as safe a home as possible.  Even though a storm threat seems unlikely for at least the next two weeks, and we are well into the period of steady decline in tropical weather activity, I have no intention of letting my guard down any time soon and this is what I recommend for you if you live in a hurricane-prone region.  Some very impressive storms have occurred in November.

NOTE: I have tried to help you get your bearings geographically by marking Florida – not because I felt that you couldn’t find it but because the deep color contrast obscure the geographical outlines.  I simply wanted to make it as easy for you as possible in the event your eyes are as bad as mine.  LOL

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.

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.

HURRICANE FOCUS ON CENTRAL FLORIDA

LEFT CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO MAKE IT LARGER.

It was obtained from the NOAA Coastal Service Center.  I prepared this chart using a program with a menu whereby I could select the city and pick the time frame.

I live in Citrus County, Florida.  Our house is 17.5 miles from the Gulf of Mexico (measured with Google Earth) and it sits 50′ above sea-level.  I present short Chautauqua-type seminars at Central Florida Community College’s Senior Institute.  The main campus, located in Ocala, is 69′ above sea level.  Its distance from the Gulf, (to the nearest whole number), is 35 miles.

In the three years we have lived and travelled around here I have become increasingly alarmed at the number of homes and businesses I see in Central Florida that seem to have no window protection.  What I look for are pre-drilled anchors or pre-installed braces for temporary panels, and I hopefully look for permanent shutters.  Permanent protection like accordion or rolling shutters is expensive but can blend in nicely with the building’s architecture and is so very easy, by comparison to “temporaries”  to get ready for a storm.  Temporary protection, such as aluminum panels or plywood (and other newer plywood alternatives) cost less.  Heavy plywood can be a real job putting in place and for some people there are problems with storage space.  The lighter-weight alternatives are improving but if you decide on one of those products, make sure they comply with the codes.  There are also shatter-resistant films for window glass and the same advice about compliance applies there.

There seems to be a notion among many that we in interior Central Florida can’t get a major hurricane – that any that reach the shore will be reduced significantly by friction so that window protection is really not necessary.  Those people are wrong.  What has just happened in Houston is a prime example.

At other places in this web-log I have written a great deal about the importance of protecting windows and the damage, danger, and hardships that can occur when they are blown or broken out.  My 8-9-2008 posting, Window Protection for Hurricanes is Essential, goes into more detail and tells a bit of my family’s story of our hurricane Andrew experience.

Here is the NOAA site for information on storm shutters.  If you live where hurricanes might visit, I suggest you read the questions and answers.

http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/shutters/index1.html

This link is to the web page of the Florida’s Bureau of Mitigation, Division of Emergency Management Office:

http://www.floridadisaster.org/mitigation/rcmp/hrg/content/openings/openings_index.asp

Here is a private posting about window protection that I feel is well done (note – it has several pages):

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/22549/hurricane_window_protection_options.html?cat=6

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.  At the end of this page there is a cue to click to the previous page.

Galveston Occupants and Others Along That Coast – GET OUT OF THERE

I learned while watching the Weather Channel around 12:15 pm EDT that about half of the residents of Galveston are still there.  That is not good news.  I suspect that the wind speeds and category of the hurricane are within the range of what many people feel they can handle – but that is not sound thinking.  What I fear they are failing to consider is the size of the storm.  According to Dr. Jeff Masters from WeatherUnderground, the “Integrated Kinetic Energy” for Ike is 30% higher than was that of Katrina.  So – a huge amount of water is being pushed (and pulled) ashore by the storm.  It is not merely the wind velocity that determines the magnitude of the surge; the size of the storm is a very important factor.  It’s as if you were the quarterback and you had your choice of being sacked by the fastest defender or being “stopped and stomped” by the entire front line.  The linemen would represent far more total energy, even though each is slower than the fastest defender.

IT IS NOT WISE TO FOCUS ON ONE MODEL.  THE FOLLOWING IMAGE IS USED FOR SAKE OF PROVIDING A GENERAL IDEA ONLY.  HOWEVER, THE MODELS ARE ALL IN GREAT AGREEMENT OVER THE NEXT 32 HOURS OF MOVEMENT.

PLEASE, IF YOU ARE IN HARMS WAY – SURELY YOU HAVE BEING WARNED.  IT DOESN’T ALWAYS HAPPEN TO THE OTHER GUY!  THIS TIME YOU COULD BE THAT OTHER GUY!  IF YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND ARE THE DECISION-MAKER WITHIN YOUR GROUP – DON’T BE MR. OR MS. MACHO!  GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE!  IF YOU ARE NOT THE DECISION-MAKER IN YOUR GROUP, IT’S TIME FOR A NON-VIOLENT MUTINY!  GET YOUR POSTERIORS OUT OF THERE!

TWO LEFT CLICKS ON THE IMAGE BELOW SHOULD MAKE IT LARGER.

Source = PSU Department of Meteorology

Source = PSU Department of Meteorology