Tropics Stirring Up Again In Both Atlantic And Eastern Pacific

Posted in Commentary, General, Storm Track at 11:34 pm by gmachos

Good morning everyone. Sorry that I haven’t put up a post in the past few days, but I’ve been caught up with work on other sites for clients of mine. Anyway, I have continued to watch the tropics with interest in not only the Atlantic, but also the Eastern Pacific. Obviously, this week has special meaning when it comes to the tropics, especially if you live along the Central Gulf Coast of the United States. Two years ago on Wednesday, Hurricane Katrina slammed into Southeastern Louisiana, and the Mississippi coastlines after becoming one of four Category Five Hurricanes that formed in the historic 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The anniversary was marked by rememberances, memorials, and even protest in the region as many are still dissatisifed with the pace of the rebuilding and recovery process. The government continues to perform miserably in the wake of this storm.

Meanwhile, things have picked up throughout the tropics for the first time in the wake of Hurricane Dean, which became the seventh Category Five Hurricane to form in the Atlantic in just the last five years. It was also the third most powerful Atlantic Hurricane to make landfall since records have been taken. Dean skirted the island nation of Jamaica after rolling through the Lesser Antilles, and then made two landfalls across Mexico. The first was in the Southern portion of the Yucatan Peninsula near the town of Chetumal, and then the second was along the Mexican Gulf Coast near Tuxpan. Dean eventually weakened as it moved further inland, and encountered more rugged terrain of the Sierra Madre. Even after losing depression status, the storm’s remnants still held together well enough to bring high humidity and severe thunderstorms to Southern California including San Diego.

In the wake of Hurricane Dean, things have been quite tranquil in the tropics until the past couple days. Since that time the tropical waters in both the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific have picked up. The EPAC has been the most active thus far recently with a named storm, and a depression. Tropical Storm Gil became the seventh named storm of the 2007 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season as it formed first as a depression during the morning of August 29th, and then becoming a minimal tropical storm in the afternoon. Right on its heels was yet another depression, the eleventh of the season in the EPAC, TD 11-E, which developed during the day on August 30th. While Gil is no threat to any land areas at the moment, TD 11-E is in close proximity to the West Mexican coastline, particularly the resort areas including Acapulco. That is why you’ll notice that the NHC web site depicts a Public Advisory for TD 11-E, and not for Gil.

Moving over to the Atlantic Basin, there isn’t anything in the way of hurricanes, storms, or depressions, but that could very well change in the not too distant future. Right now, as I’m typing this article, there are five areas of concern in the region. First, there is a non-tropical low located several hundred miles off the coast of Northern Florida including Jacksonville. Now, this particular low formed during the early morning hours after another non-tropical low in a nearby location weakened on Wednesday night. Reconaissance aircraft was scheduled to fly into the system if necessary, but didn’t go out. Time is running out for this disturbance to become a tropical cyclone since a front that is accompanied by severe thunderstorms is expected to push it to the Northeast, and then overtake it in the next couple of days. Meanwhile, the other non-tropical low is now near the Georgia coast, and is currently disorganized, and shower activity is minimal. Moving into the Central Atlantic, we have probably our best threat of the group this evening. Located approximately some 525 miles from the Lesser Antilles, this tropical wave became better organized on Thursday, and is showing signs that it could become a depression in the next day or two.

Further east in the Eastern Atlantic, a few hundred miles from the Cape Verde Islands is another tropical disturbance. Centered approximately some 250 miles to the West-Southwest of the Portuguese island chain just off the West African coast, the wave still has a long way to go, and for the time being, shower activity is minimal, and development is expected to be slow. Finally, there is another tropical wave in the Bay of Campeche region of the Gulf of Mexico. This wave is expected to move over the main portion of Mexico in the next few hours, and head further inland. So, while no further development is expected, heavy rains, flooding, and landslides are quite possible in an area that was impacted by Hurricane Dean just a week earlier. The tropics are heating up again after a slight lull in the action, so be ready to make necessary preparations and precautions to protect yourself, others, and your property.


Is It Me…Or Are We Having A Ton Of Severe Weather Lately?

Posted in Commentary, General, GWC News at 5:33 pm by gmachos

Good afternoon everyone. Well, things in the tropics are tranquil at the moment, which gives me an opportunity to reflect on some of the things we’ve been seeing with the weather on the television. As the title of this article states, is it just me, or have we been seeing an incredible amount of severe weather this year, particularly this summer? It seems like everyday I turn on CNN, or any other news outlets, there is always some severe weather event occurring in the country. Outside of Hurricane Dean this past week, there was flooding in the Great Plains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin. Oklahoma and Texas were hit very hard. Those rains didn’t stop there either.

Instead, the storm system that Erin’s remains joined up with produced devastating and deadly flooding in the Midwest including Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, and Iowa. As of Friday, August 24th, there were 26 reported dead from the severe weather that included three deaths from lightning. That Friday then saw four tornadoes including an EF3 twister on the Enhanced Fujita Scale roll through several counties in the Detroit suburbs in Michigan. In addition, we still are just getting rid of the remnants of Hurricane Dean as they have brought increased humidity and thunderstorm activity to portions of Southern California including San Diego, a place not known for either.

Add that to some of the recent severe weather that affected the New York Metropolitan area recently including an EF2 Tornado that rolled through the Borough of Brooklyn in New York City, and it has made me wonder. Are we going through a period of increased severe weather activity? Is it being produced by global warming, or is it a part of a cyclical pattern? Maybe it is just the extensive media coverage and technology that we have today. But there just seems to be an endless litany of storms, heat waves, drought, and brush fires occurring. Moreover, it is not just limited to the United States. Over the past few days, brush fires started by arsonists in Southern Greece has killed 51 people, and is now threatening the treasured and historic Olympia site, where the idea of the modern Olympics originated from.

Ironically, we are not in the midst of an El NiƱo pattern, which dissipated earlier this year after wreaking havoc in 2006 including decreased hurricane and tropical activity in the Atlantic. Yet, we are having a severe heat wave in the Southeastern United States, devastating floods in North Korea that killed some 600 people, and only our fifth named storm, first hurricane, and major hurricane in the Atlantic within the past week. Today holds the potential for more severe weather as a frontal boundary pushing out searing heat and humidity, and bringing in a touch of fall, will be bringing showers and strong to severe storms to the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.

While there are more ways to detect severe weather, and collect data and information pertaining to our weather, it just seems as if we are in a relentless period of rough weather throughout the United States, and many other parts of the world. I have had discussions with many people about the weather, and some of these people are from different parts of the world including India, Africa, and the Middle East, and the general theme I get from these conversations is what is happening with the weather? These people tell me of situations happening in their homeland that either never happened before, or very rarely happened. Stories like how the monsoon pattern seems to be stronger than usual across India, and not just in places that usually get plenty of rain such as Cherrapunji, but areas that are usually much drier. I talked with a former co-worker that is originally from Iran about the two rare cyclones that threatened the Arabian Peninsula including Oman as well as Southeastern Iran earlier this year. He had never recalled that happening before.

The 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season brought much of our concerns about global warming and greenhouse gases to the forefront. It also increased an already heightened media scrutiny about the weather. With media outlets such as the Weather Channel along with weather services such as AccuWeather, WeatherPlus, NEMAS, and WeatherBug, there are a great deal of eyes focused on weather. Along with hurricanes, severe weather events are documented more thanks to satellite, radar, and other weather related technologies. People are also able to use cell phones, digital cameras, and digital video recorders to document severe weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards, and post it to sites such as YouTube, CNN, ABC, and the Weather Channel.

One thing is for sure, man is becoming more observant of the weather around him, and our times are seeing the effects and benefits of that. Not only are we seeing the devastation and deadly consequences of our abuse of nature, but we now have more than enough evidence to discuss it, and compel change to come about.


Dean’s Death Toll And Damages Starting To Pick Up

Posted in Commentary, Storm Aftermath, Storm Facts at 11:06 am by gmachos

Good morning. Well, we finally have Dean out of our hair as it was downgraded to a tropical depression late Wednesday night, but the amount of death and devastation from the storm is just beginning to be realized. As of Thursday morning, the number of dead from Hurricane Dean had risen to twenty throughout the Caribbean including nine in Haiti, six in the Dominican Republic, two in Dominica, two in Jamaica, and one in St. Lucia. Reports from Mexico on the number dead, missing, or injured there is yet to come. There was still not enough information, however, on how the storm hit the indigenous populations of the Yucatan, which raised fears that many could be dead.

Let’s not forget the fact that just because Dean has been downgraded, and the last advisory was issued, it doesn’t mean that more casualties and damage could come. The remnants of Dean can still pack a powerful punch. The tropical moisture from the former Category Five Hurricane is presently interacting with the very high and rugged terrain of the Sierra Madre, which is resulting in torrential downpours, flooding, and mudslides. In addition, the interior regions of Mexico including the capital, Mexico City, is more densely populated. So, more problems could occur. In the meantime though, initial damage estimates made on Wednesday had the third most powerful Atlantic Hurricane to ever make landfall causing some $1.5 billion in damage. Since then, later assessments computed an estimate of nearly $2 billion.

Among some of the damage from the areas affected by Dean were: Mexico’s oil fields maintained by that nation’s oil company, PEMEX, which are located in the Bay of Campeche region of the Gulf of Mexico, and an aluminum plant in Jamaica that is run by Pittsburgh based Alcoa, one of the largest aluminum making companies in the world. In a flat world now driven by a global economy, these developments aren’t good news for markets that have been reeling as of late. Nevertheless, the damage could have been much worse, but Dean veered south of the major tourist areas of Cancun and Cozumel in the Yucatan Peninsula. Those areas have been hit hard in the past by very powerful hurricanes including Hurricane Gilbert in September 1988 and Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Wilma, the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, ended up causing some $3 billion to the hotel and tourism industry in Cancun and Cozumel.

Fortunately for the United States, this storm stayed well to the south of any coastal areas along the Gulf Coast, which are still trying to pick up the pieces after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and Hurricane Rita in September 2005. Consequently, there were no damages or deaths in the U.S. attributed to Dean. However, the peak of the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season is upon us, and while there are no other immediate threats in the basin, things can expect to pick up again, especially with forecasts calling for an above average season.


Hurricane Dean Becomes Third Strongest Atlantic Storm To Ever Make Landfall

Posted in Commentary, Storm Facts, Storm History at 11:53 am by gmachos

Good morning everyone. I’m in a bit of a rush since I have to go to work in a bit, but I’m going to try and hurry a blog entry through before I leave. With Hurricane Dean strengthening prior to its first landfall along the Yucatan Peninsula near Chetumal early Tuesday morning, it became not only the seventh Category Five Hurricane in the last five years as well as the ninth most powerful of all time in the Atlantic Basin, but also it became the third strongest Atlantic Hurricane to make landfall anywhere in the region. Dean’s minimum central pressure dropped to 906 millibars prior to coming ashore, which placed it behind the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 (892 mb), and Hurricane Gilbert (888 mb), another storm to make landfall in the Yucatan back in 1988.

When I first hear this on the radio while driving to work on Tuesday morning, I immediately reacted by saying that was wrong. The reason I felt that way was because the way the person on the radio referred to it, which is similar to the headline in the Yahoo article that I’ve linked to above. The headline stated that Dean was the third most intense hurricane ever, which is not correct. While it is still one of the most intense storms ever in the Atlantic, it is not the third most intense. As mentioned above, it is the ninth strongest behind Hurricane Camille (1969) and Hurricane Mitch (1998). It is also ahead of Hurricane Ivan (2004). The strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin was Hurricane Wilma back in October, 2005 with a minimum central pressure of 882 millibars. Wilma is then followed by Gilbert, the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Rita (2005), Allen (1980), Katrina (2005), Mitch, and Camille.

Another interesting statistic is that six of the top ten most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic have occurred within the last ten years or so Mitch (1998), Ivan (2004), Katrina (2005), Rita (2005), Wilma (2005), and now Dean (2007). Looking at the top twelve, you then have all seven Category Five Hurricanes in the last five years, and all eight in the last ten when you add Hurricane Isabel (2003) to the mix. This can be further proof that the recent trend in hurricanes has seen increased intensity according to the Saffir-Simpson Scale, and can be fuel to the fire for the debate about the relationship between Global Warming and Hurricane Intensity.


Hurricane Dean Becomes Seventh Cat Five Storm In Last Five Years

Posted in Commentary, Global Warming And, Storm Facts, Storm History, Storm Track, Storm Warning at 6:27 am by gmachos

Good early morning to everyone. Sorry that I didn’t update the site during portions of the day and evening. On Monday, I began training for a new job, which ran from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. In addition, when I got home, I was up until about a bit past 7:00 PM EDT, and fell asleep. As you can see, my sleeping patterns are adjusting from the three years of night shift work I did in computer operations. Anyway, I’ve just gotten myself up to speed on the latest with Hurricane Dean, and as expected, it became a Category Five Hurricane a bit after the 8:00 PM Advisory. The National Hurricane Center issued an update at 8:35 PM EDT on Monday night.

At 5:00 PM EDT, maximum sustained winds were still at 150 mph with a minimum central pressure lowering to its previous lowest point at 918 millibars, or 27.11 inches of Hg. Still a strong Category Four storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, Dean raised its intensity a notch three hours later with 155 mile per hour winds, and a minimum central pressure of 915 millibars, or 27.02 inches equaling that of Hurricane Isabel back in September 2003. A little more than a half hour after that, Dean was reclassified as a Cat Five storm as its winds were bumped up to 160 mph. Pressure then dropped another millibar, but seemed to stabilize at the 11 PM EDT advisory. The storm appears to be pushing toward a landfall in the area of the Southern Yucatan near Belize. More specifically, the coastal area some 20 miles to the east of the town of Chetumal, which according to CNN, has a population of about 100,000 people.

With Dean becoming a Category Five Hurricane, we’ve had seven such monster storms in the Atlantic since 2003: Isabel (2003), Ivan (2004), Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005, and Dean. In addition, Hurricane Mitch was a powerful Category Five Hurricane prior to coming ashore in Honduras, and dumping torrential rains that produced devastating and deadly floods and mudslides that claimed the lives of an estimated 11,000 people in October 1998. So, this active cycle has produced more than its share of monster storms. All seven of these highly dangerous storms are ranked in the top dozen of all time Atlantic hurricane powerhouses including the strongest ever recorded (Wilma), and five in the top ten (Wilma, Katrina, Rita, Mitch, and Ivan). Cat Five systems are usually a rare breed since they represent the optimal condition of a tropical system. These storms require the most ideal conditions to not only develop, but to maintain itself. However, since 1970, there has been an increasing number of powerful storms not only in the Atlantic, but throughout the world according to Kerry Emanuel, a professor at MIT.

Once again, this raises the debate on whether or not the occurrence of more Category Four and Category Five Hurricanes is due to the increased presence of global warming, or is this just a part of the periodic, decadenal cycle that we are going through. Obviously, one key contributor to this debate is the fact that researchers, forecasters, and even the general public have more data and information to go on these days than in past years. As mentioned many times on this web site, the 1933 Atlantic Hurricane season, which had the previous high for most named storms with 21, may have had more named storms, and perhaps hurricanes and major hurricanes had the technology we enjoy today been around then. Satellites didn’t come about until the Tiros I was launched in 1961, and Radar wasn’t used until World War II. In addition, reconaissance flights weren’t routine until the 1950s although there had been some during the 1940s. These tools are also a big reason why we are so much more aware of the presence of such storms well before they come ashore, which has saved numerous lives over the years.

Regardless of what side you are on in the global warming debate, one thing is for sure. These are dangerous times we are living in along the coast. With populations increasing year after year, and people wanting to have a nice view of the ocean, risk is increasing. Consequently, there is a chance for a large loss of life as we saw with Katrina and Rita back in 2005, and even more importantly, monumental costs in property damage. Insurance companies are going to find it tougher to stay in business, and those difficulties will be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher rates, or an unwillingness to provide coverage. Emergency management officials at all levels will also feel the strain since evacuations will become more troublesome, and shelters will not be equipped to handle the increased number of people.


Thunderstorms Roll Through Central Jersey–August 17, 2007

Posted in General, GWC News, Storm Footage, Weather Channel Vi, YouTube Videos at 3:20 pm by gmachos

Good late morning to you all. As you have been probably seeing on the home page, I’ve been keeping up to date with the latest developments surrounding Hurricane Dean since yesterday, and have added some articles in the blog about it as well as an update to both the Hurricaneville Storm Report, and Tracking the Tropics. Simultaneously, I’ve been compiling some footage of the couple waves of severe thunderstorms that rolled through the Central Jersey area on late Friday afternoon.

Starting at about 3:45 PM EDT on Friday, August 17th, a couple lines of thunderstorms moved through the area with a brief break in between before everything finally wrapped up after 6:00 PM EDT. Since I had worked on Thursday night, I slept through most of it, but did manage to hear some of the commotion. My mother told me that there was plenty of wind, rain, and thunder so it was wonderful to be able to capture some of it on the GWC Webcam. I’ve made a timelapse video of the stormy weather that lasts a little under four minutes. I’ve posted it at YouTube as well as the user video portion of the Weather Channel web site. You can view it by taking a look below:

Dean Bringing Back Memories Of Hurricane Gilbert

Posted in Commentary, Storm Track, Storm Warning at 8:19 am by gmachos

Good morning everyone. Well things continue to get very interesting with Hurricane Dean, the first hurricane and major hurricane of the 2007 Atlantic season. The storm appeared to have gone through a reorganization phase, or eyewall replacement cycle during the day on Saturday. After reaching a peak intensity of 150 mph winds, Dean dropped a bit in that department down to 145 mph starting in the mid-afternoon. In addition, the wind field or diameter of the storm increased. Hurricane force winds extended some 70 miles from the eye while tropical storm force winds extended some 230 miles.

Then, in the late afternoon, things began to change with the storm has the pressure dropped some twelve millibars to 918 mb, or 27.11 inches of Hg at the 11 PM EDT Saturday evening advisory while the storm’s size seemed to shrink a bit with hurricane force winds extending 60 miles while tropical storm force winds extended some 205 miles. Looking at the 11 PM EDT discussion from the NHC, reconaissance aircraft detected concentric eyewalls and a double maxima, which is symptomatic of a storm going through such a replacement cycle. I’ll have more details on this in the Hurricaneville Storm Report, which is long overdue to have another update.

However, I wanted to talk now about the situation with the storm in the Caribbean, bearing down on the island of Jamaica, which hasn’t seen a direct hit from such a powerful storm since Hurricane Gilbert back in 1988. Ironically, Gilbert, followed a similar track as to the one forecasted for Dean. Back in September 1988, Gilbert formed in the weeks leading up to my departure for college at Drexel University in Philadelphia. By the time it reached the islands, winds in Gilbert were already above minimal hurricane strength at 80 mph. However, following a track in the Southern Caribbean, the storm strengthened thanks to the very warm waters of that particular part of the world, and by the time it reached Jamaica, it had grown into a Category Four monster with 140 mph winds.

Gilbert decimated the island as it crossed it from one end to the another. The last storm to do that was Hurricane Charlie back in 1951. Forming on August 12, 1951, Charlie grew to be a Category Four Hurricane with winds peaking at 135 mph. When the storm began crossing the island, it had winds just below major hurricane strength at 110 mph with a minimum pressure of 964 millibars or 28.47 inches of Hg. It would be the deadliest and most devastating storm of that year as it killed over 250 people, and left some $75 million in damages ($583 million in today’s dollars). Gilbert was much more powerful as it went on to become the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, a mark that wouldn’t be broken until October 2005 when Hurricane Wilma strengthened to have winds of 185 mph, and a minimum central pressure of 882 millibars, or 26.05 inches of Hg. I can vividly remember the video footage from the local tv stations back here in New Jersey showing the devastation across Jamaica. It is amazing how tiny countries like that can recover at all from such a catastrophe. By the way, Typhoon Tip still holds the mark for the lowest pressure ever recorded on earth at 870 millibars, or 25.69 inches of Hg back in 1979.

Dean has the potential to do much the same to the island. As of now, its intensity is slightly stronger than what Gilbert was with 145 mph winds, and a pressure down near that of Hurricane Andrew when it made landfall in Homestead, Florida back in 1992. The official NHC storm track has the system heading either just south of the island, or moving over its southern tip, which means the brunt of the hurricane’s furty will be felt over the entire island since the northern semicircle is the stronger half due to the counterclockwise motion of the air rotating around the center, or eye. With conditions still ideal for further intensification, and no land masses in front of it to hinder strengthening, it is possible that Dean could be a Category Five by the time it reaches Jamaica later on Sunday.

Hurricane Ivan came very close to the island nation back in September, 2004 when it was flirting with Category Five intensity. Thankfully, Ivan just missed, but it did hit the Caymans quite hard before coming up across Western Cuba, and then into the Gulf where it eventually came ashore for the last time near the Florida and Alabama border on the Florida Panhandle. Hopefully, Jamaica will be lucky again, but right now, it doesn’t look good.


Hurricane Dean Brings To Halt Dormant Start To 2007 In Atlantic

Posted in Commentary, Storm Preparation, Storm Track at 11:41 am by gmachos

After two months of relative dormancy, the Atlantic Basin has picked up in activity this past week with the development of Tropical Storm Erin and Hurricane Dean. Erin, which formed in the Central Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday evening, was a weak and short lived storm as it made landfall into Texas near the town of Lamar early Thursday morning. However, lurking further to the east in the Central Atlantic was another tropical storm system that had formed earlier in the week. The storm would be named Dean.

With these latest two storms, the Atlantic Basin has had five named storms this season with one of them being subtropical in nature. Dean not only became the first hurricane of 2007, but also the first major hurricane, and possibly the first Category Five storm. Prior to this week, there had only been three named storms, and no hurricanes. Seasonal forecasts by Dr. William Gray of Colorado State University and NOAA, which both predicted well above average activity for the season, were scaled back slightly within the past few weeks in reaction to the slow start. A feeling that I was getting from this sluggish beginning was that perhaps this active cycle of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic had come to an end.

With the development of Dean this week, and its subsquent strengthening into a strong Category Four Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, governments and people of all different kinds from across the Caribbean to the Gulf Coast of the United States and Mexico have gotten the wake up call that the Cape Verde season has begun for 2007, and that it is time to get prepared if you haven’t done so already. As of Saturday morning, August 18, 2007, which by the way is the 28th anniversary of Hurricane Camille’s coming ashore along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Dean had 150 mph winds, and forecasts indicated that the storm would head into Jamaica with 155 mph winds, or simply put, a much stronger storm than Gilbert was when it cut across the island back in September, 1988.

And it doesn’t appear that it will be stopping there either. Dean is forecast to head across the Western Caribbean, and pose problems for the Cayman Islands before slamming into the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category Five Hurricane with at least 160 mph winds. Dean will probably weaken if it does come ashore in the Yucatan due to its elevated plateau, but it will eventually have to re-emerge in the very warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, which according to CNN the other day, currently has water temperatures ranging between 86 and 90 degrees. On top of that, there is always the Loop Current, which played a key role in the explosive development of both Katrina and Rita back in that tumultuous summer of 2005.

Governors along the Gulf Coast have made superb steps in anticipating this storm. Yesterday, Governor Perry of Texas stated that the storm is an “Imminent Threat” to the Lone Star State while Governor Blanco of Louisiana, which absorbed plenty of the devastation from Katrina and Rita, issued a State of Emergency. Mississippi Governor, Haley Barbour, told his beleaguered residents to be prepared and ready, but not to panic. While the 2005 season as well as the 2004 season caused a lot of devastation, and a great loss of life, it did help leaders in affected states to realize that we must be better prepared.

After Dean, there was still things stirring out in the Atlantic earlier in the week. There were a couple disturbances in the Eastern Atlantic as well as plenty of shower and thunderstorm complexes moving across the sub-Saharan region of Africa. So, the Cape Verde Season is now underway, and Dean should just be the beginning of what is expected to be another dangerous peak of hurricane season.

Hurricaneville Book Reviews For 2007 Coming

Posted in General at 8:24 am by gmachos

Good morning again everyone. While I haven’t been updating the site much at times this summer, I still have stayed focused on reading books on past hurricanes. This summer, I’ve read ten books so far this summer including several major reads that I plan to have reviews on. They are the following:

All of these books were wonderful books to read and enjoy while I had free time. The Great Deluge is a book written by Douglas Brinkley, a famous historian from Tulane University, who has just completed a book about former President Ronald Reagan. Of all the books I’ve read in my life, Brinkley’s book about Hurricane Katrina, and the breaching of the levees in New Orleans was the longest book ever with 624 pages. It seemed like a rather daunting task for me to read such a huge book by my standards, but knowing that I had to turn it back in to my local library, I got going on it in the middle of June, and actually finished it with a day or two to spare. It was a very riveting book that caught my attention from start to finish.

Another book that purchased this summer was Hurricane Camille: Monster Storm of the Gulf Coast by Philip D. Hearn. This book was perhaps not as detailed as many of the books that I’ve read on past hurricanes, but Camille was a very small storm although it was very powerful. Nevertheless, Hearn does a great job of explaining the damage Camille did as a tropical storm and depression in Virginia. Many people do not realize the devastation that the storm did in much of that state with torrential rains and flooding that cost many lives and did a great deal of damage. In addition, and more importantly, Hearn goes to great lengths to dispel mistruths about what went on at the notorious Richelieu Apartments as Camille, one of three Category Five Hurricanes on record to make landfall in the United States, was coming ashore. For years, Mary Ann Gerlach, who many of you might have seen in hurricane documentaries such as Danger’s Edge by the Weather Channel in 1991, stated that a hurricane party was going on there much to the anger and dismay of some of the survivors from that area. However, Hearn states in the book that no such party occurred on that fateful evening.

The third major book I read in the summer of 2007 was Cathy C. Post’s, Hurricane Audrey: The Deadly Storm of 1957. Post is actually a descendant of the first recorded death from the storm, Alice Cagle Marshall. Moreover, this was the first book ever written by Post. There were several interesting facts about the storm that I didn’t know. One that Hurricane Audrey, the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the month of June, not only intensified, but picked up in forward speed. Two, the storm was the only storm ever recorded to have a direct path north from start to finish, and also strike the coast head on. And, three, that the residents of Cameron Parish as well as nearby areas in Southwestern Louisiana, were never notified about the change in intensity, and more importantly, forward speed of the storm. Consequently, a couple lawsuits were made against the Weather Bureau, the predecessor to the National Weather Service, but they were eventually dismissed. This Category Four Hurricane was also one of the deadliest storms ever with over 500 people killed.

The latest book that I’ve been reading is Killer ‘Cane by Robert Mykle, which is about the deadly Lake Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928. This storm ranks up there with the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 as the deadliest hurricane in United States History with over 1,800 deaths. It describes how the land boom and bust that occurred in Florida back in the early portion of the 20th Century was led on by the fact that the climate was largely dominated by a decadal downturn in tropical activity in the Atlantic resulting from a persistent El Nino pattern, and drought conditions across Africa. In addition, like many in Galveston prior to the 1900 storm, nobody in the Everglades believed that a hurricane could cause such problems there. Helping create the feeling of invincibility was the development of canals, locks, and dikes during the fifteen to twenty years prior to the hurricane. The devastating year of 1926 that included the memorable Miami Hurricane in September, didn’t do much either to sway people from believing that living along Lake Okeechobee was potentially a deadly decision.

The last book that I’ve taken on this summer is another book by Jay Barnes and the University of North Carolina Press called Faces From the Flood: Hurricane Floyd Remembered. I’ve reviewed another book by Barnes called, North Carolina’s Hurricane History, which I’ve read a couple times since purchasing it several years ago. This particular book provides the images of the human toll created by the terrible floods spawned by the torrential rainfall from Hurricane Floyd in September 1999. In addition to the devastation it caused in the Tar Heel State, Floyd brought flooding rains to New Jersey including those that spawned the last great floods in Bound Brook and Manville before the terrible April Nor’easter that took place this spring (2007).

I plan to have reviews of these books out in the upcoming weeks and months. Be on the lookout for them.

Special Announcement For Hurricaneville Viewers

Posted in General at 7:21 am by gmachos

Good morning. If you have been noticing somewhat this season, and particularly, the past few days, the site hasn’t been updated much, or in as prompt a fashion as I would like. This summer has been quite a grind for me. In addition to my work on another web site covering high school basketball, GMC Hoops, I also had a full time job in computer operations. Over a ten week stretch from the end of May until a few weeks ago, I had worked overtime eight of those ten weeks including six where I logged 50 hours per week.

In addition, during the past several months I had been passively looking for a new job, and within the last several weeks became more active in that search. As a result, I’ve recently accepted an offer for a new position from another firm, and will begin this new job on August 20th. It is a 9 to 5 job, which will mean a more normal sleeping pattern after working nights several days a week for the past three years. Hopefully that will mean I’ll have more energy, and be able to report things on a more routine basis. I hope that you all will understand, and I apologize for the inconvenience. Summer is usually a very busy time for me between GMC Hoops and Hurricaneville alone. However, this particular season has been quite a hectic one.

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