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Caribbean 7.7 Quake: Two Terrible Myths And One Great Piece Of Advice

Shaken, not stirred.

As plenty of you have likely noticed, a rather powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake took place underwater, 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) beneath the seafloor, northwest of Jamaica and south of Cuba on Tuesday 28th. What is for now the mainshock in the sequence – the most powerful in a series of earthquakes – the 7.7 temblor was intense enough for its shaking to be felt all over the region, even as far as Miami, 710 kilometres (441 miles) away from the epicentre.

A few hours later, a magnitude 6.5 quake took place a little closer to the Cayman Islands, likely a potent aftershock of the 7.7 mainshock. Plenty of aftershocks will continue to rock the region for several weeks or months, with a small but non-zero chance that an earthquake more powerful than the current mainshock may also take place in the area.

Fortunately, despite some infrastructural damage in spots around the region, and the initial tsunami warning, this turned out to be nothing close to a tragedy. Apart from the fact that this earthquake took place a decent enough distance from settlements, the fault that ruptured was a strike-slip variety, wherein one ‘block’ moves sideways with respect to another. This normally doesn’t permit the mass movement of significant volumes of water – i.e. a tsunami – although there are some exceptions to this. In this case, no such hazardous tsunami was reported anywhere.

As with all powerful earthquakes, a few myths and pieces of misinformation skittered about online shortly after it happened. Right at the end of 2019, I put together a piece outlining some of the commonest, aggravating and sometimes downright dangerous misconceptions about major geological events – and surprise surprise, several of them reared their heads yet again during yesterday’s earthquake and tsunami scare.

First misconception: “Wow, this earthquake took place really close to the ones afflicting Puerto Rico at the moment. They must be connected, and I bet they’re going to trigger all kinds of earthquakes now around the Ring of Fire!”

Nope. The Ring of Fire doesn’t overlap with any of the quakes or fault lines within the Caribbean Sea, which contains Puerto Rico, Cuba and Jamaica, along with a myriad of other islands and several of the shorelines of Central and South American countries. The Ring of Fire is over in the Pacific, not the Atlantic. So there’s that. At least get your geography right.

In any event, the Ring of Fire is silly. This loop, which surrounds much of the vast Pacific Ocean, features constantly shifting, sliding and grinding plate boundaries, all with their own network of segregated or closely spaced faults. This continuous activity means that 75 percent of the world’s (known) volcanic activity and 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes take place along it.

Once more, for the people at the back: none of the eruptions that take place on the Ring of Fire are related to each other. And for the most part, none of the earthquakes are either. (There is a chance that some earthquakes can trigger volcanic eruptions if they are literally right on top of one another, but this is a very contentious subject with no concrete answers available at present.) It is a designation that really doesn’t make sense, geologically speaking.

If two faults are close enough, a powerful earthquake on one can trigger an earthquake on another. In this case, the rule doesn’t apply, even though both earthquake sequences – Puerto Rico and Jamaica/Cuba/Cayman Islands – are taking place in the same sea. The general rule of thumb is that this triggering mechanism only applies when the second fault is no further away than three to four times the length of the original fault that ruptured.

As Caltech seismologist Lucy Jones took to Twitter to explain, the Puerto Rico mainshock took place on a 24-kilometre (15-mile)-long fault. That 7.7 quake yesterday was more than 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) away, or 53 times the distance of the fault that ruptured near Puerto Rico. There is no way these two earthquake sequences are connected.

Second misconception: “There are a lot of earthquakes happening around the world at the moment, right?”

Nope. Earthquakes happen around the world on all flavours of fault lines in an essentially randomised manner. Most never get reported on, because they are too weak to be felt or, even if they could be felt, are too far away from human populations to cause any damage, or at least any significant damage.

Puerto Rico’s earthquakes have been making the news because they have produced intense enough shaking to cause damage and some deaths. Yesterday’s earthquake made headlines because it was very powerful, close to major population centres, and came with a potential tsunami risk. If both happened in the middle of nowhere with no tsunami risk, they wouldn’t have made the news.

More powerful earthquakes also happen far less frequently than less powerful ones. In the past 24 hours alone, there have been 137 earthquakes detected coming in at or above a magnitude 1.5. In the past week? 1,350 of them. This is all completely normal, and the vast majority of these haven’t made the news. The ones that did were, once again, the powerful ones that may have, or did, pose a risk to human populations.

The Earth is rocking no more, or less, than it was a year, decade, century or millennium ago. Don’t let the way it’s reported in the media distort that set-in-stone fact.

Amidst all this bemusement, a piece of advice from Susan Hough, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, stood out. Even though there was no tsunami accompanying this latest Caribbean temblor, and even though there was unlikely to be one, if those on the shorelines felt strong shaking, they should – no matter what, even if there aren’t sirens or alerts – have headed to higher ground.

Tsunami warnings are not always that precise, nor are they able to be given with sufficient time to trigger appropriate evacuations. The lethal Sulawesi tsunami in Indonesia in 2018 occurred on another strike-slip fault within a bay; compared to deep-sea tsunamis, it was able to slam into densely populated coastlines within a fraction of the time. Earthquakes were detected the moment they occurred, but the unique geography of the narrow bay produced a far more devastating tsunami that the strike-slip rupture otherwise would have done. This underestimation by the local authorities was combined with another problem: several cellphone towers were downed due to the quake, meaning that tsunami alerts were not sent out to all vulnerable populations. Thousands of people perished that day.

Crucially, strong shaking was felt on several coastlines within the bay prior to the tsunami’s arrival. And thus the mantra still stands: no matter what warning you have or haven’t got, and no matter what anyone else around you is or isn’t doing, if you feel strong shaking on a beach, get to higher ground.

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Robin George Andrews is a doctor of experimental volcanology-turned-science journalist. He tends to write about the most extravagant of scientific tales, from eruptions and hurricanes to climate change and diamond-rich meteorites from destroyed alien worlds – but he’s always partial to a bit of pop culture science. Apart from Forbes, his work has appeared in The Atlantic, National Geographic, Scientific American, The New York Times, The Verge, Atlas Obscura, Gizmodo, WIRED and others. You can get in touch with him at robingeorgeandrews.com.

Source: Caribbean 7.7 Quake: Two Terrible Myths And One Great Piece Of Advice

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Mystery Sounds From Storms Could Help Predict Tornadoes

Mysterious rumbles that herald tornadoes could one day be used to predict when and where they will strike, according to researchers.

Storms emit sounds before tornadoes form, but the signals at less than 20Hz are below the limit for human hearing. What causes these rumbles has also been a conundrum.

Now researchers said they have narrowed down the reasons for the sounds – an important factor in harnessing the knowledge to improve warnings.

“The three possibilities are core oscillations [in the tornado], pressure relaxation, and latent heat effects,” said Dr Brian Elbing, of Oklahoma State University, who is part of the team behind the research. “They are all possibilities because what we have seen is that the signal occurs before the tornado touches the ground, continues after it touches the ground, and then disappears some time after the tornado leaves the ground.”

The latest work was presented at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics in Seattle.

The low-frequency sound produced by tornadoes has been known about for several decades, but Elbing said a big problem has been a lack of understanding of what causes the sounds, and difficulties in unpicking them from a tornado and other aspects of the weather.

The subject has seen renewed interest in recent years, with Elbing saying it could prove particularly useful for hilly areas such as Dixie Alley, which stretches from Texas to North Carolina. “Infrasound doesn’t need line of sight like radar, so there is hope that this could significantly improve warnings in Dixie Alley where most deaths [from tornadoes] occur,” he said.

The team’s setup involves a microphone capable of picking up low-frequency sounds sealed inside a dome which has four openings at right angles to each other, each of which is attached to a hose. Three of these domes are arranged in an equilateral triangle, 60 metres away from each other.

The team say the setup allows them to filter out sounds from normal windand work out which direction the twister is travelling, while the signal itself offers an idea of the tornado’s size: a frequency of 1Hz indicates a very large tornado, while a 10Hz indicates a small one.

In their latest work, Elbing and colleagues reported a case in Oklahoma in which they were able to pick up audio clues eight minutes before the twister formed, with a clear signal detected four minutes before it hit the ground. That, they say, is important as the tornado was not picked up by radar.

“There is evidence that the amount of lead time before the tornado is dependent on how large the tornado is,” said Elbing, adding that low-frequency sounds have been detected up to two hours before a tornado forms. “This tornado we detected was very small, there was no warning issued for this tornado … which is why even a four-minute warning is a big deal.”

While the Oklahoma tornado was only 12 miles from the setup, Elbing said once the sound signal was better understood, the technique could be used over even greater distances.

“If we know the acoustic signature of a tornado, it is realistic to expect to detect a tornado from over 100 miles,” he said.

Dr Harold Brooks, a tornado expert at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who was not involved in the work, said many questions needed to be answered before the approach could be harnessed, including whether all tornadoes make such sounds, whether such sounds can be made from other storms, and how accurate the approach is.

“No system will be perfect so there will be errors of missed events and false alarms,” said Brooks, adding that it is also not clear how many microphone arrangements would be needed to offer good coverage, saying that since the approach was based on sound waves rather than light waves, a far smaller area can be examined by each system in a given time than for radar.

“At this point it is a really intriguing thing, but there is a lot more work that needs to be done in terms of a relatively large scale experiment to actually test it,” he said.

By: @NicolaKSDavis

Source: Mystery sounds from storms could help predict tornadoes

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Are your kids wondering: “Why are tornadoes so hard to predict?” This question came from Hai Ming, a 2nd Grader from the US. Like, share and vote on next week’s question here: https://mysterydoug.com/vote

The Century’s Strongest Super-Typhoon Hagibis Is About To Hit Japan—1,600 Flights Canceled

The streets of Tokyo outside my window are currently getting a little quieter, but there is absolutely no sense of panic in Japan’s capital. Typhoons are common-place in Japan, and the infrastructure has been built to withstand regular storms each year.

There are two major sporting events in Japan this weekend; the Rugby World Cup which has now canceled two games. England versus France and Scotland versus Japan. The other major event is the Japanese Grand Prix, who have moved qualifying to Sunday, with the race going ahead almost immediately afterwards.

24-Hour Travel Disruption

The biggest impact will likely be on flights. The eye of the storm is 55 miles wide alone, and satellite imagery shows the entire storm is currently larger than the entire nation of Japan. Hagibis will be one of the strongest typhoons to directly hit the island nation in decades.

Today In: Lifestyle

All Nippon Airways have now canceled all domestic flights departing from Tokyo on Saturday. The capital looks set to receive a direct hit from the storm but no one in the capital seems to be too concerned at this point. Although the Meteorological Agency has classified the storm as “violent”—the highest strength categorisation—rail operators have so far only warned that there may be cancellations.

With a storm this size, or any major storm, safety is paramount, however, Japanese authorities seem confident with their planning preparations. Japan Airlines have followed ANA’s example and canceled 90% of domestic flights, yet both airlines are optimistic of early morning departures on Saturday which remain scheduled until 8am. Additionally, both airlines are hopeful that some international flights will resume by late Saturday evening.

Tokyo airports have been worst affected by the disruption, with both major Japanese carriers, ANA and JAL, canceling 558 and 540 flights respectively. Flight cancellations are being seen around the globe to and from Tokyo, with British Airways scraping flights from London, and flights to North America also being affected. Almost every major airline around the world has been impacted by one of the largest storms to ever hit Japan directly, but the feeling on the ground here is that disruption shouldn’t last beyond a 24-hour window.

What Makes Typhoon Hagibis Different?

The Size:

Storm Hagibis’ has a diameter that covers an immense 1,400km. Until the very last moment, no-one or nowhere in vast areas of Japan is safe from this expansive storm.

The Time Of The Month: This weekend is a full moon, meaning that sea levels are higher than average. With potential storm surge and waves being predicted to be up to 13m in some areas, coastal flooding could be devastating.

Force: With wind gusts predicted to be over 240km/h, and a direct hit to Tokyo looking increasingly likely over the next few hours, Typhoon Hagibis could be one of the strongest storms to hit Japan in decades.

In terms of pressure, Hagibis could also be the strongest on record, ever. With a current pressure of 900 hPa, this is already lower than hurricane Dorian which devastated the Bahamas earlier this year, clocking in at a pressure of 910 hPa. The strongest Tropical Cyclone ever recorded was Typhoon Tip which reached 870 hPa and made landfall in the Philippines in 1979. All Japanese airlines suggest checking their websites before travelling tomorrow.

I spend 360 days a year on the road traveling for work discovering new experiences at every turn, trying out the best and the worst airlines around the world. I set the Guinness World record for being the youngest person to travel to all 196 countries in the world by the age of 25, and you could perhaps say I caught the travel bug over that 6-year journey. I now take over 100 flights every year and I am still discovering many new places, both good and bad, whilst writing about my experiences along the way. In addition to rediscovering known destinations, I visit some of the World’s least frequented regions such as Yemen to highlight untold stories. Join me on an adventure from economy to first-class flights, the best and worst airports, and from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

Source: The Century’s Strongest Super-Typhoon Hagibis Is About To Hit Japan—1,600 Flights Canceled

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Japan is bracing for what is expected to be the most powerful storm in decades. Typhoon Hagibis is advancing north towards Japan’s main island of Honshu, with damaging winds and torrential rain. Subscribe to our channel here: https://cna.asia/youtubesub Subscribe to our news service on Telegram: https://cna.asia/telegram Follow us: CNA: https://cna.asia CNA Lifestyle: http://www.cnalifestyle.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/channelnewsasia Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/channelnews… Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/channelnewsasia

Current Hurricane Activity Raises Questions About The AMO – What Is It And Why Is it Relevant?

Have you taken a look at satellite view of the tropics right now? Hurricane Humberto, a major hurricane, threatens Bermuda. The remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda are drenching Southeast Texas, and several potential systems lurk in tropical regions that we look to at this time of the year. National Hurricane Center tropical meteorologist Eric Blake captures it best in this Tweet:

Anyone want a tropical storm? They are forming like roaches out there! 6 at once in both basins combined is thought to tie a modern NHC record , with two other disturbances adding the cherries on top of a crazy busy day!

Eric Blake, National Hurricane Center on Twitter

The hurricane basins of the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic are very active as seen in the picture below that I took at The Weather Channel early Wednesday morning. While likely not at the forefront of your thought processes this week, this active week prompted me to wonder about the status of something called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). What is it and why am I bringing it up during hurricane season?

According to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) website, the AMO is:

a coherent mode of natural variability occurring in the North Atlantic Ocean with an estimated period of 60-80 years. It is based upon the average anomalies of sea surface temperatures (SST) in the North Atlantic basin, typically over 0-80N.

Kevin Trenberth, Rong Zhang, and NCAR Staff: The Climate Data Guide: Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO)

The AMO has been at the center of many of the discussions about whether hurricane activity changes naturally or is being affected by climate change. I remember a particularly vigorous debate about these topics after the anomalously active 2005 hurricane season that gave us Hurricane Katrina and a series of storms taking on “Greek-letter names.” I haven’t heard as much about it recently, but it is still a “thing.” I often found the AMO-natural variability or anthropogenic climate change debate to be silly. I continue to be baffled by why these things are framed as “either/or” rather than “and.” The current scientific literature suggests the climate change signal on hurricanes will likely be apparent in intensity, forward motion, and surge inundation. The outstanding NOAA GFDL page on hurricanes and climate change points out that there is less conclusiveness on frequency. However, natural climate variability like the AMS is certainly in the mix. A 2017 study in Nature Scientific Reports argues that a negative AMO is emerging in spite of a warm subtropical region. A negative or cool phase is typically associated with fewer Atlantic hurricanes (graphic below).

I reached out to tropical expert Dr. Phil Klotzbach to get his latest thoughts on the AMO, and how this all aligns with what he is seeing in recent years. His group at Colorado State University issues seasonal hurricane forecasts. In their August update, they called for a “near normal” season in terms of activity.

I posed the question to Dr. Klotzbach, “So what’s going on with the AMO right now?” His answer:

That’s the million dollar question. The winters have looked like a very negative AMO with a cold SST tripole. But those cold anomalies have been much weaker in the summer when the far North Atlantic has a much shallower mixed layer.

Dr. Phil Klotzbach, CSU Tropical Meteorology Project

Dr. Klotzbach also told me that when he examined sea surface temperature differences (SSTs) from 2014-2019 minus 1995-2012 averaged over the period August to October (excluding 2019), the far North Atlantic remains colder but the tropical Atlantic SSTs haven’t shown much change. Klotzbach goes on to say:

There has been quite a bit of discussion about a weakening of the Atlantic Meriodional Ocean Circulation (AMOC) in the literature – including a couple of high profile papers published in Nature. The cold SST in the far North Atlantic bares that point out. However, the connection between the polar regions and the tropical regions doesn’t seem to be there during the summer months. Normally a cold far North Atlantic drives a stronger subtropical which drives stronger trade winds that then anomalously cool the tropical Atlantic. This has certainly been the case in the winter months, but the relationship has broken down in the summer

Dr. Phil Klotzbach, CSU Tropical Meteorology Project

I am providing links to 2017 and 2019 studies, respectively, in the Nature Climate Change.

Ultimately, September is a climatologically-active month so there is nothing unusual about seeing tropical waves, depressions, storms and hurricanes at this time of year. Eric Blake’s tweet just inspired me to revisit what people are thinking about the AMO since it was such a hot topic after the 2005 hurricane season.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, a leading international expert in weather and climate, was the 2013 President of American Meteorological Society (AMS) and is Director of the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Atmospheric Sciences Program. Dr. Shepherd is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor and hosts The Weather Channel’s Weather Geeks Podcast, which can be found at all podcast outlets. Prior to UGA, Dr. Shepherd spent 12 years as a Research Meteorologist at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center and was Deputy Project Scientist for the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. In 2004, he was honored at the White House with a prestigious PECASE award. He also has received major honors from the American Meteorological Society, American Association of Geographers, and the Captain Planet Foundation. Shepherd is frequently sought as an expert on weather and climate by major media outlets, the White House, and Congress. He has over 80 peer-reviewed scholarly publications and numerous editorials. Dr. Shepherd received his B.S., M.S. and PhD in physical meteorology from Florida State University.

Source: Current Hurricane Activity Raises Questions About The AMO – What Is It And Why Is it Relevant?

On Dorian-Battered Island, What’s Left? Virtually Nothing

MARSH HARBOUR, Bahamas — No schools. No banks. No gas stations. No supermarkets. No restaurants. No churches. No pharmacies. No hardware stores. No water, no electricity and no phone lines.

In this part of the Bahamas, nearly everything is gone.

Hurricane Dorian didn’t just upend life in Marsh Harbour, the biggest town in the Abaco Islands. Dorian crushed it, stripping all essentials, schedules and routines — everything residents and visitors had taken for granted.

And there’s no sense when those things might be restored.

Five days after the storm struck the northern end of the Bahamas, the total death toll remains unknown, but fears abound that it will be far higher than the 43 confirmed as of Friday. Many people were still missing. By some estimates Dorian did at least $7 billion in damage.

Tens of thousands of traumatized survivors, with nothing but wreckage encircling them and no way to communicate, do not even know where to begin. In the Abacos, they simply had to start by leaving.

“This ain’t no place for anyone at the moment,” said Durana Francis, 35, a cook who, like most other residents, was trying to flee.

[The storm in photos: Devastation, fear and relief.]

The storm’s blast across the Abacos on Sunday damaged the vast majority of structures, erased entire neighborhoods and effectively rendered many residents homeless.

Hundreds of people swarmed Marsh Harbour’s wharf at the port on Friday after having heard rumors that ferry boats would arrive to evacuate people. Many others thronged the airport terminal, hoping to land a seat on private flights, which began arriving on Thursday after floodwaters had receded from the tarmac. As of Friday, commercial service in Marsh Harbour had not resumed, residents said.

Renaldo Bowleg, 37, who worked as a charter boat captain before the storm, passed by Marsh Harbour’s wharf after hearing about a possible humanitarian ferry to Nassau, capital of the Bahamas. He had his two pit bulls and was hoping to secure space for the three of them.

“I was going to stay and volunteer, but it doesn’t make sense,” he said. “I just feel it best to be closer to extraction points right now. People are becoming more desperate now.”

Mr. Bowleg was carrying an unlit cigar, a gift from a police officer he had encountered in the street a couple of days after the storm. Mr. Bowleg wasn’t a smoker but said the occasion would make him one.

McLean’s Town on Grand Bahama Island on Friday.
CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

“If I get on a boat I’m going to light this,” he said. “I’m going to enjoy it on my ride back to Nassau.”

The larger and more populated Grand Bahama Island also took a direct hit from Dorian, leaving some areas destroyed and survivors stupefied. Surrounded by wreckage, many wondered how they could meet their most basic needs.

In Lady Lake, a ravaged neighborhood near Freeport, Grand Bahama’s largest city, the yard of Nicole Sweeting-Bain’s gutted, one-story home was littered with the shredded remnants of what had been inside. A large Bahamanian flag was the only recognizable object. Whether to salvage and rebuild was the last thing on her mind.

“I don’t even care about the house,” she said, scrambling through the rubble in an attempt to find anything still intact. “My kids don’t have underwear.”

Her brother, Sean, 51, who shared the house, said there was no option but to relocate. “Home is home,” he said, “but in this particular area, I don’t think so.”

Other Dorian victims, in Grand Bahama, said they would rebuild.

O’Neil Wildgoose, 43, said he, his wife and their dog spent two days on the roof of their home in Freeport’s Lincoln Green neighborhood, ravaged by a 12-foot storm surge that “came like a tsunami.”

“I watched every piece of my furniture float through the back door,” Mr. Wildgoose said. But he insisted he would not leave Grand Bahama, where he has lived since birth. “We have to be resilient. We can’t give up.”

In the Abacos, no area seemed to have been hit as ferociously as Marsh Harbour. It was as if someone had lifted up the entire town and dropped it.

Houses smashed to bits. Commercial buildings split open as if with a sledgehammer, their contents splayed on the sidewalk. Boats and cars tossed here and there like toys.

Some residents shared the food and water they had stockpiled, while others took whatever they could from wrecked food shops, offices and pharmacies.

Waiting for evacuation by a boat in Marsh Harbour.
CreditDaniele Volpe for The New York Times

Hundreds of people, many from destroyed shantytowns that had been mostly populated by Haitian immigrants, fled to the main government complex in Marsh Harbour and took up residence in its damaged offices.

Maxine Duncombe, the administrator of the central Abaco district, said the government had admonished residents, particularly in low-lying areas, to evacuate to proper shelters before the storm. Officials had even gone door to door, broadcasting their warnings.

“We thought people would heed the warnings,” Ms. Duncombe said Friday at the government complex.

The first refugees started arriving at the complex as the hurricane’s eye passed over Marsh Harbour. “We saw this multitude and my first instinct was to save lives,” Ms. Duncombe said. “I pushed them into every office.”

At their peak, nearly 2,000 people were sleeping in the building’s courtyard, along its colonnaded balcony and walkways, and in its administrative offices. They dried their wet clothes on the branches of bushes in and around the building, and children played on the trunk of a palm tree felled in the storm.

Their numbers had ebbed considerably by Friday as they found other sanctuaries, or a way off the island.

Ebony Thomas and Phil Thomas Sr. cleaned the floors of their home in McLean’s Town. Four members of their family are missing.
CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Andrew MacCalla, vice president of emergency response at Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization that was flying pallets of medical supplies to the Bahamas, said the evacuation was not a choice. He likened it to Hurricane Irma, which wiped out several Caribbean islands in 2017, including Barbuda where all 3,000 people had to be evacuated.

“There wasn’t anything there, no housing, no structure, no clean water,” he said of Barbuda. This is not a quick rebuild. In the short term, it’s moving them off.”

A post-apocalyptic sense of despair claws at Marsh Harbour. There are no public utilities, and no reliable sources of food or drinking water. Gasoline supplies are dwindling and are a black-market trade now — for those fortunate enough to have a functioning vehicle.

Only one of the Abacos’ two cellphone companies has restored partial service in Marsh Harbour, but the regular phone lines remain down, leaving most people without a way to make calls.

Verifiable information of any sort was in short supply, so people fell back on rumors.

Kenson Jean Louis, 25, a roofing company worker, was at the wharf, hoping to get on a rumored ferry. But the storm left him without identification papers, credit cards or other documentation, and he worried he would be unable to travel.

What little remains of the Mudd neighborhood of Marsh Harbour.
CreditDaniele Volpe for The New York Times

The first step for recovering lost documents was to file a police report, he said, but the police department had been seriously damaged and there was nobody to file a report with.

Mr. Louis said he viewed the hurricane as a test of human will.

“This is what we made of,” he said. “We are men.”

Government emergency officials have been scarce, if not invisible, to residents, angering many.

“The government has to do better,” said Ms. Francis, 35, who was waiting at the wharf with her two sons, 4 and 7, and her boyfriend. The only belongings they salvaged from their destroyed home fit in a black duffel bag and small backpack at their feet.

“They need boats,” she said. “They need to bring all them things in here.”

At the government center, Keven Pierre, 34, was charging his cellphone off a generator, one of the few available to the public in Marsh Harbour, and plotting his next move. He was trying to figure out a way to get himself and nine family members off Abaco Island. He had heard about the commercial flights on Bahamas Air leaving from Treasure Cay, but was angered at the idea that the airline might charge for the seats. (The airline said Friday that “all persons wishing to leave Abaco will be provided passage free of charge.”)

Without banks and ATMs in operation, many residents were left without cash.

At the Marsh Harbour airport, where part of the tarmac was still underwater, Lakeria Simms, 29, and her husband, David Gardiner, 31, and their three young children, had joined hundreds of others seeking a seat on a plane.

The hurricane, Ms. Simms said, had “put everybody on square zero.”

Her family had started the day at the wharf, arriving at 5 a.m. in pursuit of the rumored ferry. Late in the morning they took their chances at the airport. But they had little accurate information, and found themselves amid a cluster of storm refugees stuck outside the entrance. The police prevented them from entering.

“Sit and wait,” Mr. Gardiner said, describing their plans. “And hope.”

Reporting was contributed by Rachel Knowles from Grand Bahama Island, Frances Robles from Miami, Elisabeth Malkin and Azam Ahmed from Mexico City, and Rick Gladstone from New York.

By

Source: On Dorian-Battered Island, What’s Left? Virtually Nothing

Powerful hurricane lashes the Bahamas with some of the strongest winds they’ve ever seen; Ellison Barber reports from Juno Beach, Florida. #FoxNews FOX News operates the FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX Business Network (FBN), FOX News Radio, FOX News Headlines 24/7, FOXNews.com and the direct-to-consumer streaming service, FOX Nation. FOX News also produces FOX News Sunday on FOX Broadcasting Company and FOX News Edge. A top five-cable network, FNC has been the most watched news channel in the country for 17 consecutive years. According to a 2018 Research Intelligencer study by Brand Keys, FOX News ranks as the second most trusted television brand in the country. Additionally, a Suffolk University/USA Today survey states Fox News is the most trusted source for television news or commentary in the country, while a 2017 Gallup/Knight Foundation survey found that among Americans who could name an objective news source, FOX News is the top-cited outlet. FNC is available in nearly 90 million homes and dominates the cable news landscape while routinely notching the top ten programs in the genre. Subscribe to Fox News! https://bit.ly/2vBUvAS Watch more Fox News Video: http://video.foxnews.com Watch Fox News Channel Live: http://www.foxnewsgo.com/ Watch full episodes of your favorite shows The Five: http://video.foxnews.com/playlist/lon… Special Report with Bret Baier: http://video.foxnews.com/playlist/lon… The Story with Martha Maccallum: http://video.foxnews.com/playlist/lon… Tucker Carlson Tonight: http://video.foxnews.com/playlist/lon… Hannity: http://video.foxnews.com/playlist/lon… The Ingraham Angle: http://video.foxnews.com/playlist/lon… Fox News @ Night: http://video.foxnews.com/playlist/lon… Follow Fox News on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FoxNews/ Follow Fox News on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoxNews/ Follow Fox News on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/foxnews/

Why The Track Forecast For Hurricane Dorian Has Been So Challenging

Here is something that you can take to the bank. We will not see the name “Dorian” used in the Atlantic basin for any future hurricane. The names of particularly destructive or impactful storms are retired. According to the National Hurricane Center, Dorian is now tied with the 1935 Labor Day hurricane for the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall on record. In a 3 pm advisory on September 1st, the National Hurricane Center warned of gusts to 220 mph and 18 to 23 feet storm surges for parts of the Abacos.

I have been in the field of meteorology over 25 years and do not recall seeing warnings about 220 mph gusts for a hurricane. Hurricane watches have also been issued for Andros Island and from North of Deerfield Beach to the Volusia/Brevard County Line in Florida. At the time of writing, the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center is for a northward curve and no direct Florida landfall. This is dramatically different from forecasts only a few days ago.

There is still uncertainty with the forecast so coastal Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas should remain on high alert. Why has the track forecast been so challenging with Hurricane Dorian?

Historically, hurricane track forecasts have outpaced intensity forecasts. I discuss the reasons why in a previous Forbes article at this link. With Hurricane Dorian, uncertainty about the forecast track and timing of the storm forced officials to move the Florida State – Boise State football game from Jacksonville, slated for a 7 pm kickoff on Saturday, to noon in Tallahassee. I am certain that many businesses and people are questioning the move given that timing of when impacts are now expected. Unfortunately, officials and emergency managers often must make decision on the best information at the moment.

Some people may be tempted to use uncertainty with this forecast to spew vitriol or skepticism at meteorologists and our models. However, challenges with Hurricane Dorian’s track forecast do not define the legacy of weather forecasts. It would be silly to say that the NFL’s best field goal kicker is terrible based on a few misses.

So what’s going on? I asked a panel of tropical meteorology experts.

Today In: Innovation

Speed of motion of Hurricane Dorian has been a significant challenge. Professor John Knox, a recent recipient of the American Meteorological Society’s Edward Lorenz Teaching Award, offers an important lesson. The University of Georgia atmospheric sciences professor pointed out:

Before you bash the meteorologists for being stupid: one reason the forecasted track has changed is because the forecasts of the forward speed of Dorian have slowed it down more and more. If it had chugged along as originally forecast, it likely would have hit east-central Florida and then maybe gone into the Gulf, before the high pressure above us in the Southeast would break down. But, because it’s moving more slowly, the high-pressure break down is opening the gate, so to speak, for Dorian to go more northward and eastward. So, the change in forecast is tied tightly to the arrival timing.

Professor John Knox, University of Georgia

Dr. Phillippe Papin is an Atmospheric Scientist and Associate Postdoctoctor Scientist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. Papin also points to the high pressure as being a factor. He wrote:

the ridge to the north of Dorian has been steering Dorian off to the west the last few days….But there is a weak trough that is swinging into the eastern US that is going to erode the strength to the ridge enough so that a gap forms to the north of Dorian and it begins to move further to the north.

Dr. Phillippe Papin, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

The timing of when that weakness develops and on how far Dorian makes it west in the meantime has been the source of uncertainty in the model guidance for the last 2-3 days according to Papin. At the time of writing, there is still some spread in the model solutions.

Dr. Michael Ventrice is a tropical weather expert with IBM and The Weather Company. He has been concerned about the storm environment and how well the models are capturing the rapidly evolving situation. He told me:

I believe the uncertainty is derived from how the models are resolving Dorian, locally. The recent intensification of the storm today is not being resolved by the models properly at the time of the 12z initialization. The interaction with the Bahamas, how that interaction might alter the mesoscale structure of the Hurricane, if that interaction induces a wobble, are all valid questions at this point in time

Michael Ventrice — IBM/The Weather Company

A hurricane of this size and intensity can certainly modify its environment and be modified by that environment. Sam Lillo, a doctoral candidate at the University of Oklahoma, tweeted an interesting point on the afternoon of September 1st about how worrisome the rapid intensification and track uncertainty of Hurricane Dorian has been:

The track uncertainty in NWP at under 3-day lead-time is very uncomfortable, especially considering proximity to land. This would be uncomfortable for any hurricane. But then make it a category 5.

Sam Lillo, doctoral candidate in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma

Our best models have oscillated (and in some cases continue to do so) within the past 24-36 hours on just how close Dorian will get to Florida before curving northward. Lillo offers some further insight into what Dr. Ventrice was alluding to about the environment:

As Dorian strengthened faster than expected, diabatic outflow developed an upper level anticyclone to the southwest, adding southerly and westerly components to the steering flow. The westerly component in particular slowed the forward motion of the hurricane, and now its track across the Bahamas coincides with a trough that sweeps across the Mid Atlantic and Northeast on Monday. This trough cuts into the ridge to the north of Dorian, with multiple steering currents now trying to tug the hurricane in all different directions. The future track is highly sensitive to each of these currents, with large feedback on every mile the hurricane jogs to the left or right over the next 24 to 48 hours.

Sam Lillo, doctoral candidate in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma

Lillo offers a nice meteorological explanation. In a nutshell, he is saying that the rapid intensification perturbed the near-storm environment and now there may be other steering influences besides the ridge of high pressure that the models are struggling to resolve.

In a previous Forbes piece last week, I mentioned that forecasts in the 5+ day window and beyond can have errors of 200 miles and that the information should be used as “guidance” not “Gospel.” Because there is still uncertainty with the models and Dorian is such a strong storm, residents from coastal Florida to the Carolinas must pay attention and be prepared to act. I have complete confidence in my colleagues at the National Hurricane Center, and they should always be your definitive source with storms like this. They still maintain an eventual curve northward before the storm reaches the Florida coast. However, the issuance of hurricane watches in Florida also indicates that they know the margin of error is razor thin.

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Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, a leading international expert in weather and climate, was the 2013 President of American Meteorological Society (AMS) and is Director of the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Atmospheric Sciences Program. Dr. Shepherd is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor and hosts The Weather Channel’s Weather Geeks Podcast, which can be found at all podcast outlets. Prior to UGA, Dr. Shepherd spent 12 years as a Research Meteorologist at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center and was Deputy Project Scientist for the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. In 2004, he was honored at the White House with a prestigious PECASE award. He also has received major honors from the American Meteorological Society, American Association of Geographers, and the Captain Planet Foundation. Shepherd is frequently sought as an expert on weather and climate by major media outlets, the White House, and Congress. He has over 80 peer-reviewed scholarly publications and numerous editorials. Dr. Shepherd received his B.S., M.S. and PhD in physical meteorology from Florida State University.

Source: Why The Track Forecast For Hurricane Dorian Has Been So Challenging

National Hurricane Center director Ken Graham provides an update on Hurricane Dorian. RELATED: https://bit.ly/2NFZCak Dorian’s slow crawl, estimated at about 7 mph on Sunday afternoon, placed it within 185 miles of West Palm Beach, Florida. But forecasters remained unsure of whether, or where, it might make landfall in the U.S. after it makes an expected turn to the north.

That left millions of people from South Florida to North Carolina on alert and preparing for the worst. » Subscribe to USA TODAY: http://bit.ly/1xa3XAh » Watch more on this and other topics from USA TODAY: https://bit.ly/2JYptss » USA TODAY delivers current local and national news, sports, entertainment, finance, technology, and more through award-winning journalism, photos, videos and VR. #hurricanedorian #dorian #hurricanes

A.I. Is Helping Scientists Predict When and Where the Next Big Earthquake Will Be – Thomas Fuller & Cade Metz

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Countless dollars and entire scientific careers have been dedicated to predicting where and when the next big earthquake will strike. But unlike weather forecasting, which has significantly improved with the use of better satellites and more powerful mathematical models, earthquake prediction has been marred by repeated failure. Some of the world’s most destructive earthquakes China in 2008, Haiti in 2010 and Japan in 2011, among them……..

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/technology/earthquake-predictions-artificial-intelligence.html

 

 

 

 

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Hurricane Leslie Is Headed Toward Spain And Africa – Marshall Shepherd

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Before I discuss how weird that is, it is useful to explore Leslie’s history. Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski laid out a timeline of Leslie on Accuweather’s website. I have summarize his timeline:Leslie initially formed as a subtropical storm in the middle of the Atlantic, Leslie becomes tropical on October 3rd, Leslie weakens to tropical storm on October 4th and remains at that level until October 9th,Leslie becomes a hurricane on October 9th…When you look at the latest projected track of Leslie, places like Portugal, Spain, and Morocco appear on the map. If you want to know just how odd this track is, consider a social media post from my colleague Dr. Tom Gill at University of Texas – El Paso…..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/marshallshepherd/2018/10/12/you-are-not-hallucinating-hurricane-leslie-is-headed-toward-spain-and-africa/#33c5719a4453

 

 

 

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IRS Announces Tax Relief For Taxpayers Affected By Hurricane Michael – Kelly Phillips Erb

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced tax relief for victims of Hurricane Michael. Those taxpayers in parts of Florida and elsewhere who have been affected by the storm have until February 28, 2019, to file individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. Relief is available for taxpayers in any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for individual assistance. Currently, affected taxpayers are those in Bay…..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2018/10/12/irs-announces-tax-relief-for-taxpayers-affected-by-hurricane-michael/#11971e7885ff

 

 

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Hurricane Florence Prompts Cruise Itinerary Changes, Delays One Ship’s Next Sailing – Gina Kramer

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Several cruise ships have been forced to either reroute or delay their next sailing to avoid the impact from Hurricane Florence, a massive hurricane zeroing in on the U.S. East Coast with maximum sustained wind speeds of 90 miles per hour. The Category 1 storm (downgraded from a Category 4 major hurricane) is now touching down in North Carolina, near the South Carolina border, with life-threatening swells, high winds, heavy rains and tornadoes. A State of Emergency has been declared for South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Virgina. No cruise ships are sailing from Virginia, this year. Below is a breakdown of the affected cruise ships……..

Read more: https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=8848

 

 

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