Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane Gustav media coverage, many videos are available already

There are already some good videos about Hurricane Gustav on Youtube. Al Jazeera Enlsih has a 2 minute video that shows some of the damage in Cuba and then relatively orderly evacuation from New Orleans this time here. This can be watched in “high quality.”

The Associated Press has a video “Hurricane Gustav Roars Over Haiti” and the country does not look as poor as one expects. There was some footage of the capital Porte-au-Prince. It also includes footage of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. The link is this.

CNN is airing a Special Report Sunday night from 8-10 PM EDT hosted by Anderson Cooper, who is in New Orleans. He reported the sky suddenly turning as black as night from storm clouds in the French Quarter as the bands of rain begin. Anderson Cooper will be reporting in detail on specific levees in New Orleans.

Evacuations appear to have gone much more smoothly than before Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Republican Convention in St. Paul MN is scaling back its program out of respect for those affected by the disaster, and probably because the Bush Administration was so slow to respond to Katrina in 2005.

CNN reporter Ali Velshi is staying in a steel-reinforced home of a fisherman on the southern coast SW of Houma. He will ride out the storm.

There were reports from the tip of the Mississippi River Shipping Channel, where so much imported and Gulf oil is processed. The hurricane eyewall seems to be ready to go through that part of the Gulf with the heaviest concentration of oil rigs.

CNN reports that the barometric pressure inside Gustav is dropping and the eyewall winds may pick up. There are tornado warnings south of New Orleans (8:30 PM EDT), but these will change constantly.

Roy Nagin, mayor of New Orleans, calls this the "storm of the century" (like the Stephen King miniseries) and warns that any looter will be sent right to "Angola Farm" (the penitentiary).

ExxonMobil has an important page on its preparedness for Hurricane Gustav here. About 25% of domestic oil goes through the New Orleans ports. Much of this production, as well of imports, is shut down; Ali Velshi will report on the oil production situation. information (offered free to bloggers; if you visit the main site you can view the entire national map and choose any area):

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Discovery Channel "Storm Chasers" and tornadoes

The Discovery Channel “Storm Chasers” presented a four one hour (probably repeat) segments about the work of Shawn Craig chasing tornadoes from Texas to Kansas.

He (along with Josh Horman) designs a tank, actually welding some of it himself, capable of withstanding being inside an F4 or F5 tornado. An IMAX camera is placed inside the tank. He and his team do practice runs with truck imitating the path of a fictitious tornado.

He just misses a big tornado near Tulia, Texas that devastates the town with 135 mph winds.

The show demonstrates the 3-d graphs of the mesocyclones in clouds that drop tornadoes.

After many misses, they finally sit in the path of an early evening Kansas storm that passes over with 200 mph winds. The show still breaks up during the “Passover.”

In subsequent episodes the hunts continue. But one of the vehicles has a major breakdown, needing $3000 repairs to the clutch and transmission. The men, running low on money, double up on motel rooms and make a joke about “Brokeback Mountain” (“I’m going to quit you.”) On the last day of a storm season they drive on empty stomachs to a storm in SE Kansas and film the middle of an F1 tornado.

One of the episodes shows Greenberg, KS devastation. There is a video that covers many of these tornados, previewed on YouTube here.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

CNN: "Road to Ruin": anticipates California central valley flood mega-disaster

Last night (Aug. 1, at 8 PM EDT), CNN ran a report “Roads to Ruin: Why America Is Falling Apart”. A portion of the program had the effect of a History Channel “Mega-Disasters” segment, exploring what could happen in the central valley of California (the San Joaquin Valley) in an earthquake and heavy Pacific rains (usually in the winter) combined. The levees around the irrigated agricultural fields in the flat portions along I-5 would liquefy, inundate everything, and render 300,000 people homeless -- an prove catastrophic for the nation's food prices. The housing crisis would be comparable to that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Some of Sacramento would be inundated.

I last visited that area myself in February 2002, and, believe it or not, it was actually cold.

The show then covered the bridge collapse on I-35 across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis on Aug. 1, 2007. The replacement bridge is almost rebuilt and is due to reopen by Dec 24, 2008.

The show discussed the massive expense required to shore up America’s levees – not just around New Orleans, but in California and along major Midwestern rivers and flood plains. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared.

Last night, ABC’s “Person of the Week” presented, as “person of the week”, a 16 year old teen who spent the summer cleaning out houses gutted by the catastrophic floods in Cedar Rapids, IA.