Tag Archives: dorian

US citizens see weather disasters worsening, according to new poll

In line with scientists’ findings, about three-quarters of United States citizens consider that weather disasters are now worsening, most of them blaming global warming to some extent, according to a new survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

US President Donald Trump looks at the trajectory of the recent Dorian hurricane. Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The study, carried out in mid-August before the Dorian hurricane, showed 72 percent of Americans think catastrophic weather is more severe, while 4 percent see it as less nasty. About one-quarter say those disasters are about as extreme as they always were.

At the same time, half of those who think weather disasters are worsening said it’s mainly because of man-made climate change, with another 37 percent who think natural randomness and global warming are equally to blame.

Most of the adults across demographic groups think weather disasters are getting more severe, according to the poll. College-educated US citizens are slightly more likely than those without a degree to say so, 79 percent versus 69 percent.

There were wide differences in assessments by partisanship. Nine in 10 Democrats think weather disasters are more extreme, compared with about half of Republicans. Also, those surveyed are slightly more likely to say disasters are more severe when compared with a similarly worded question asked after hurricanes in 2013 and 2017.

The unveiling of the results comes only a week after the Dorian hurricane arrived in the Caribbean and the US. Dorian wiped out neighborhoods in the northern Bahamas, leaving at least 43 people dead. It then closed in on the southeastern coast of the United States, where five deaths have been blamed on the storm so far.

According to data from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), about 36 hurricanes have hit the U.S. from 1995 to 2017, 13 of which have been considered major hurricanes, or a Category 3 or above, at the time when they made landfall.

One of the most visible consequences of a warming world is an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. The US National Climate Assessment found that the number of heatwaves, heavy downpours, and major hurricanes has increased and the strength of these events has increased, too.

At the same time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said intensifying climate change will make extreme weather events more likely. They stated that it is “virtually certain” (99-100% probability) that more regions in the world would experience increases in warmer days and a decrease in colder days.

Mini-satellite shows the inside of Hurricane Dorian

A small NASA satellite offers important insight about the structure of the storm and its different layers.

Hurricane Dorian off the coast of Florida, as seen by the small satellite TEMPEST-D. Image credits: NASA.

TEMPEST-D is no larger than a cereal box, and it’s inexpensive to boot — but its capability is remarkable. Above is a visualization of Hurricane Dorian, taken by TEMPEST-D at four depths (with four different radio wavelengths). The colors depict the heaviest rainfall inside the storm: pink and red are the most intense, whereas green and blue are the least intense. Essentially, the multiple vertical layers in the image above show where the strongest convective “storms” within the hurricane are moving into the atmosphere and can be used to study and predict the development of such storms.

After ravaging the Bahamas and causing unprecedented damage, Dorian seemed to dip in strength, but ramped back to a Category 3 hurricane as it struck the North and South Carolina coasts on Thursday. Its evolution came as a bit of a surprise, and the storm remains dangerous.

The unusual visualization can prove valuable exact in this sort of situation. The TEMPEST-D technology is essentially a radio wave instrument capable of measuring rain and moisture within the clouds with remarkable accuracy — on a low-cost, short development schedule. If it can track storms like Dorian (and early results suggest that it can), it could lead to a revolution in how we monitor such storms.

The complete TEMPEST-D spacecraft with the instrument integrated and ready for launch, shown with the solar panels deployed. Image credit: Blue Canyon Technologies.

By measuring the evolution of clouds from the moment of the onset of precipitation, a satellite constellation could reveal the ongoing cloud processes and help constrain the largest source of uncertainty in weather models (this could also be an important input larger-scale climate models).

A fleet of such satellites could be used to tracks storms all around the world, at a fraction of the cost of traditional satellites. This would improve our coverage of global storms, as well as generate more accurate forecasts.

Hurricane Dorian devastates Bahamas, reaches Florida

Hurricane Dorian slammed into Florida with 110mph winds after devastating the Bahamas. Americans in its path told to leave their homes and remain vigilant over the upcoming days.

Credit: Flickr

The mega-storm reached 225mph as it hovered over the Caribbean, killing at least seven people and causing massive destruction of homes, crippling hospitals and forcing people to take cover in attics.

It has now moved on to the US mainland, sparking a mass evacuation with more than two million people in Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina being told to flee. It began moving up the shore with its eye passing 95 miles east of Cape Canaveral in the early hours of this morning.

But even if the storm’s epicenter doesn’t make landfall, Americans were warned the storm surge would likely cause severe flooding up the east coast.

“All interests from northeast Florida to the Carolinas should remain vigilant to the possibility of experiencing destructive winds, flooding rains, and life-threatening storm surges from this hurricane,” the hurricane center said.

Hurricane-force winds extend up to 60 miles from its center, while tropical-storm-force winds can be felt up to 175 miles from the core. The US coast from north of West Palm Beach, Florida, through Georgia, is expected to get up to nine inches of rainfall in places.

Across the southeastern US, motorways leading away from beaches in South Carolina and Georgia were turned into one-way evacuation routes. Several airports announced closings, and 823 flights within, into and out of the U.S. were so far canceled, according to FlightAware, an aviation data company.

In Florida, Walt Disney World closed its four theme parks by mid-afternoon on Tuesday amid fears for tourist safety, vowing to reopen today. Universal Orlando Resort also closed its theme parks early for the day because of the threat of the vicious storm.

Whatever the exact tract that the hurricane takes in the coming days, “life-threatening storm surge and dangerous winds” are expected along with parts of Florida’s east coast and Georgia and the Carolinas, the hurricane center said.

Dorian smashed into the Bahamas on Monday as a 225mph category 5 Hurricane that parked over the area.  Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told reporters the latest death count of seven included two people who were injured earlier and taken to New Providence Island.

Minnis said he flew over the Abaco Islands and expects to do the same in Grand Bahama as soon as the weather clears. In Abaco, he saw groups of desperate and trapped people waving yellow sheets and shirts. He said 60 percent of homes were damaged in Marsh Harbor.

Hurricane Dorian hits the Bahamas as it approaches the United States

Described as the strongest storm so far this year, hurricane Dorian is causing catastrophic damage as it makes its way across the Bahamas. The storm has already claimed at least one life and is expected to begin trudging toward the mainland US later in the day.

Credit: Flickr

The Category 5 storm made landfall on the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island Sunday night and will continue to pound the island for most of Monday as it creeps toward the southeastern US coast.

The death of an 8-year-old boy is being reported by local media outlets.  The boy’s grandmother, Ingrid McIntosh, said that her grandson died on Abaco island. She said her 31-year-old daughter found the body of her son, who she believed drowned in the rising waters.

The storm had winds of 165 mph while it was 115 miles east of West Palm Beach early Monday. It will get close to Florida’s east coast Monday night through Wednesday evening. But the state has already begun to feel Dorian’s effects, as wind picked up throughout the day.

As it pummeled islands in the Bahamas, the hurricane left behind “catastrophic damage,” Hope Town Volunteer Fire & Rescue said. The damage was reported in Elbow Cay, Man-o-War and Marsh Harbour in the Abaco Islands, where buildings were destroyed and many were partially submerged, with water flooding all around them.

The Abaco Islands are a group of islands and barrier cays in the northern Bahamas, east of southern Florida. Dorian made landfall there as a Category 5 hurricane just after noon Sunday. The northwestern Bahamas will be drenched in up to 24 inches of rain, with some areas expecting up to 30 inches of water, the hurricane center said.

The terrifying storm could be making its way toward the East Coast of the United States, but it’s still unclear if Dorian will make landfall and where on the mainland US. The hurricane’s forecasted track shifted east Friday, making a Florida landfall less likely, but not impossible.

Models now show the storm skirting along Florida’s coast Tuesday and then next to Georgia late Tuesday and into Wednesday. But just because the center of the storm may not hit land doesn’t mean there won’t be damage. Early Monday, hurricane-force winds from the storm extended outward up to 45 miles.

Heavy rains and life-threatening floods are expected in parts of the southeast and lower mid-Atlantic US later this week. The storm will dump up to 6 inches of rain in Florida through Georgia. A coastal flood advisory was issued early Monday for South Carolina and Georgia by the National Weather Service, which warned of a high rip current.

Evacuation orders were in place for 13 Florida counties as of Monday morning, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management. The agency urged residents who were in areas not under mandatory evacuations to “plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power & water for several days.”

“To see a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane closing in our 3rd most populous state is wildly unnerving,” FEMA Strategic Planner Michael Lowry said on Twitter. “Dorian is already a disaster for so many tonight. Please, please heed the warnings of local officials in the hours ahead.”

More than 900 flights were canceled going in and out of Florida airports, according to data from Flightaware.com. The Orlando Melbourne International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will suspend commercial flights and close terminals at noon Monday.

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp ordered mandatory evacuations Sunday night across six coastal counties east of Interstate 95. Possible downed trees, power lines, debris and flooding as well as roads and bridges possibly becoming impassable were reasons behind the evacuations, the order said.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster also ordered the evacuation of coastal South Carolina residents starting at noon on Monday. Christy Hall, the secretary of South Carolina’s Department of Transportation, said the agency has more than 2,200 employees working on hurricane plans.

Hurricane Dorian intensifies and heads towards the US

Dorian is no longer a tropical storm and was now upgraded to a hurricane, impacting Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The hurricane could soon turn into a major cyclone, with a good chance of slamming Florida’s Atlantic Coast by Labor Day.

Florida gets ready for the arrival of Dorian. Credit: Flickr

Dorian is now moving northwest in the Atlantic with sustained winds of up to 85 mph. By Friday it should strengthen, smack the northern Bahamas on Sunday and likely crash somewhere along the Florida or Georgia coasts on Monday with sustained winds around 125 mph.

“People have got to be ready before Sunday,” Ken Graham, director of the United States National Hurricane Center, said.

The affected areas in the US will feel tropical-storm force winds — at least 39 mph — on Sunday. And the center could pause before it runs into the land — potentially whipping cities with inches and inches of rain an hour.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis already declared a state of emergency for 26 counties and urged all residents on the coast to get ready for the storm.

“It’s important for Floridians on the East Coast to monitor this storm closely,” DeSantis said. “Every Florida resident should have seven days of supplies, including food, water, and medicine, and should have a plan in case of disaster.”

Dorian has cleared the Caribbean Sea, but not before lashing the British and US Virgin Islands — first as a tropical storm and then as a Category 1 hurricane — on Wednesday.

Local authorities declared a state of emergency as trees toppled and power lines went down on the islands.

And while the storm was strong, the response was swift. Restoration processes began around 4 p.m. local time in the St. Thomas and St. John districts, and about 25,000 power outages in St. Croix were restored around 7 p.m. local time Wednesday, Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Director of Communications Jean Greaux said.

“Within an hour of its passage, The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority mobilized crews to conduct a damage assessment. We immediately commenced restoration of service. Crews are now dispersed addressing isolated or pocket outages in a few locations,” Greaux said.

President Trump approved an emergency declaration in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday night. The president had declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico on Tuesday ahead of the storm’s expected arrival.