Haiti Faces New Tragedy as Storm Isaac Swells
By Agence France-Presse
Friday, August 24, 2012 7:52 EDT
PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Haiti hunkered down Friday as forecasters warned that Tropical Storm Isaac could dump large amounts of rain on the impoverished country still recovering from a killer earthquake.
Packing maximum sustained winds of 75 kilometers (45 miles) per hour, Isaac was centered some 265 kilometers south of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic at 0900 GMT, the Miami-based US National Hurricane Center said.
“Tropical storm conditions are expected over portions of the Dominican Republic and Haiti today,” it said.
Earlier Friday, the NHC had projected that parts of Haiti could see hurricane conditions.
The fierce weather could spell misery for the roughly 400,000 residents of the western hemisphere’s poorest country who live in makeshift squatter camps two years after the earthquake that killed an estimated 250,000 people.
“They remain amongst the most vulnerable, should the storm hit the city,” said Jean-Claude Mukadi, Haiti’s national director for the humanitarian group World Vision.
“Without a stable sanitation system or permanent housing, heavy rain and wind can create much larger problems like disease from water contamination,” he added.
Residents in the neighboring Dominican Republic and nearby Puerto Rico rushed to erect defenses against the expected wind and rain, set to churn on to Cuba and the southern United States by the weekend.
The NHC said the eye of the storm would near or pass over Hispaniola, the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, on Friday before heading to southeastern Cuba, home to the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, on Saturday.
Isaac could reach Florida as a hurricane early next week, just in time for the Republican Party’s National Convention.
“Some strengthening is forecast while the center remains over water,” the NHC said.
Republican delegates from around the country will be in Tampa for four days to formally nominate former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to challenge President Barack Obama in the November 6 election.
City officials have urged residents to prepare for the worst, and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus has expressed concern about the storm but insisted the show would go on.
|Cloud Control Could Tame Hurricanes, Study Shows
By Science Daily
They are one of the most destructive forces of nature on Earth, but now environmental scientists are working to tame the hurricane. In a paper, published in Atmospheric Science Letters, the authors propose using cloud seeding to decrease sea surface temperatures where hurricanes form. Theoretically, the team claims the technique could reduce hurricane intensity by a category.
The team focused on the relationship between sea surface temperature and the energy associated with the destructive potential of hurricanes. Rather than seeding storm clouds or hurricanes directly, the idea is to target marine stratocumulus clouds, which cover an estimated quarter of the world’s oceans, to prevent hurricanes forming.
“Hurricanes derive their energy from the heat contained in the surface waters of the ocean,” said Dr Alan Gadian from the University of Leeds. “If we are able to increase the amount of sunlight reflected by clouds above the hurricane development region then there will be less energy to feed the hurricanes.”
Using a technique known as Marine Cloud Brightening (MCB), the authors propose that unmanned vehicles could spray tiny seawater droplets, a good fraction of which would rise into the clouds above, increasing their droplet numbers and thereby the cloud reflectivity and duration. In this way, more sunlight is bounced back into space, thereby reducing sea surface temperature.
The team’s calculations, based on a climate ocean atmosphere coupling model (HadGEM1) suggest this could reduce the power of developing hurricanes by one category. Somewhat different cloud-seeding projects, designed to directly influence rainfall amounts, already exist around the world and were most famously used in China during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“Data shows that over the last three decades hurricane intensity has increased in the Northern Atlantic, the Indian and South-West Pacific Oceans,” said Gadian. “We simulated the impact of seeding on these three areas, with particular focus on the Atlantic hurricane months of August, September and October.”
The calculations show that when targeting clouds in identified hurricane development regions the technique could reduce an average sea surface temperature by up to a few degrees, greatly decreasing the amount of energy available to hurricane formation.
One potential drawback to the idea is the impact of cloud seeding on rainfall in neighboring regions. The team noted concerns that seeding in the Atlantic could lead to a significant reduction of rainfall in the Amazon basin and elsewhere. However, if different patterns of seeding were used, such rainfall reductions were not found over land.
“Much more research is needed and we are clear that cloud seeding should not be deployed until we are sure there will be no adverse consequences regarding rainfall,” concluded Gadian. “However if our calculations are correct, judicious seeding of maritime clouds could be invaluable for significantly reducing the destructive power of future hurricanes.”
Double typhoons on course to slam China: six storms since the start of August
August 23, 2012 – CHINA – Two powerful typhoons are heading toward China, putting the weather-beaten nation on alert again after four storms have caused landfalls across the country since the start of August. Typhoons Tembin and Bolaven may have a combined impact on coastal areas in the coming 10 days,” Zhang Chang’an, chief forecaster at the China Meteorological Administration, said on Wednesday. Both storms are strengthening, with Bolaven expected to be the strongest typhoon to hit China this year if it lands in the country, Zhang said, adding that the storm will bring maximum winds of 220 km/h. The National Commission on Disaster Reduction issued a typhoon alert on Wednesday, warning authorities to make emergency plans. Tembin was about 2,000 km from the coast of Zhejiang province on Wednesday, moving at a speed of 5 km/h. The administration has asked authorities in potential affected areas to set up warning signs in high-risk areas such as construction sites and low-lying areas, and open emergency shelters including schools and stadiums for evacuation of affected people. The Fujian Meteorological Bureau urged boats to take shelter in ports by Wednesday to avoid possible damage brought by Tembin.
Tropical Storm Issac poses threat to southern coast of Florida
August 23, 2012 – CARIBBEAN - The churning center of Tropical Storm Isaac spun over tiny islands at the eastern entrance to the Caribbean, where many seafront bars and restaurants stubbornly remained open Wednesday evening as lightning and thunder crackled and choppy surf slapped against piers and seawalls. U.S. forecasters said Isaac was likely to approach Hispaniola, the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, as a hurricane late today or early Friday after intensifying over the Caribbean Sea. It was predicted to move on to Cuba as a tropical storm and perhaps eventually menace Florida as a hurricane. By late Wednesday, the storm was 270 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, with maximum sustained winds of 45 m.p.h. Isaac was moving west at 20 m.p.h., the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Forecasters also said a tropical depression formed far out in the Atlantic Ocean and was expected to strengthen into a tropical storm today. It was about 1,045 miles west of the Cape Verde islands. But most eyes were on Isaac. The storm unleashed downpours on Guadeloupe, said local chief meteorologist Norbert Aouizerats. In Martinique, officials warned of swollen rivers and flooding. Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit urged people to stay home from work Wednesday. “I want us all to be safe,” he said. “I don’t want lives to be lost.” Military authorities in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, canceled several days of pretrial hearings in the case of five prisoners charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They also planned to evacuate about 200 people, including legal teams and relatives of 9/11 victims. In the foothills of Dominica’s Morne Aux Diables volcano, Tess Hunneybell, owner of Manico River Eco Resort, said most of the day was “weirdly quiet’ after she and others wrapped the resort’s signature tree houses in tarpaulin and nailed shut louvre doors. In Puerto Rico, Gov. Luis Fortuno declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard. He canceled classes and closed government agencies. Federal officials also closed the popular San Felipe del Morro castle. The storm was expected to pass south of Puerto Rico today. The U.S. Coast Guard closed all ports in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to incoming commercial ships. The U.S. Virgin Islands commissioner of public works, Darryl Smalls, said crews distributed sandbags to residents in St. Croix, where schools and government offices will close today. St. Kitts also announced similar closures for Wednesday.
Heavy rains and flooding kill four in southern Russia
August 23, 2012 – RUSSIA – Russian authorities said Wednesday that a flash flood had killed four people in the southern Krasnodar region where 172 people drowned in rising waters last month, many trapped in their homes. “Four people have died,” a spokeswoman for the regional emergency situations ministry told AFP. “Three people are listed as missing,” the Krasnodar regional government said in a statement. Heavy rain battered the coastal Tuapse area overnight causing many rivers to overflow and flood the houses and apartments of around 1,837 people, the regional authorities said. In July, 172 people were found dead after severe flooding in the Krymsk area not far from Tuapse. Around 35,000 people lost some or all of their possessions. The local authorities faced widespread censure for their failure to warn people in time of the need to evacuate. Three officials have been arrested and accused of negligence leading to the deaths. On Wednesday the regional government stressed that this time the warning system had functioned “in time” so that the public was not caught unaware by the flooding. “There will not be a second Krymsk,” the regional government promised, saying that residents had been warned this time with an onscreen message on local television and officials driving the streets with loudspeakers.
|Double Trouble Continues In The Philippine Sea: Tembin and Bolaven
By NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Typhoon Tembin and Typhoon Bolaven continue to churn in the Philippine Sea, and infrared satellite data from NASA showed the power within both storms.
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument that flies onboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured imagery of both storms on Aug. 21 in two different overpasses. Aqua flies over the same locations during early morning and early afternoon (local time) as it orbits the Earth. Aqua passed over the Philippine Sea on Aug. 21 at 04:41 UTC (12:41 a.m. EDT) and 16:47 UTC (12:47 p.m. EDT). The two satellite passes were combined to show the proximity of the storms from each other. Typhoon Tembin is located east of Taiwan and Typhoon Bolaven west of the Marianas Islands.
The AIRS image of Typhoon Tembin showed a wide area of very high, cold cloud top temperatures, exceeding -63 Fahrenheit (-052 Celsius) surrounding the eye of the storm, which has warmer temperatures (indicating open air). The AIRS data revealed a large area of strong thunderstorms north, east and south of the center of Typhoon Bolaven.
Bolaven has strengthened into a typhoon. It has maximum sustained winds near 80 knots (92 mph/148 kmh) and is expected to continue intensifying. Bolaven is about 270 miles in diameter (310.7 miles/500 km), now larger than Typhoon Tembin. It is located about 685 miles east-southeast of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, near 19.3 North latitude and 137.5 East longitude. Bolaven is moving to the west at 9 knots (10.3 mph/16.6 kmh), and is expected to begin moving northwest.
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