Flooding death toll in Southeast U.S. floods rises to 24; oil slick moving little

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:11 PM GMT on May 04, 2010

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The death toll from last weekend's record flooding in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi has risen to 24, making it the deadliest non-tropical storm or hurricane flood disaster in the U.S. since the October 1998 Central Texas floods that killed 31 when a cold front stalled over Texas. As flood waters recede today, the toll from last weekend's floods is expected to grow higher. Particularly hard-hit was the Nashville, Tennessee area, where ten fatalities were reported. The city had its heaviest 1-day and 2-day rainfall amounts in its history over the weekend. A remarkable 7.25" of rain fell on the city Sunday, breaking the record for most rain in a single day (6.60", set September 13, 1979.) Nashville's third greatest day of rainfall on record occurred Saturday, when 6.32" fell. Nashville also eclipsed its greatest 6-hour and 12-hour rainfall events on record, with 5.57" and 7.20", respectively, falling on Sunday. And, only two days into the month, the weekend rains made it the rainiest May in Nashville's history.

Rainfall records were smashed all across Tennessee, Kentucky, and northern Mississippi over the weekend, with amounts as high as 17.73" recorded at Camden, TN, and 17.02" at Brownsville, TN. According to Chris Burt, the author of the excellent book Extreme Weather, the 13.30" that fell on Camden in 24 hours just missed eclipsing the state's all-time 24-hour precipitation record, the 13.60" inches that fell on Milan on September 13, 1982. Jackson, Tennessee had its rainiest day in its 63-year weather history on Sunday, 7.93". Bowling Green Kentucky had its heaviest 2-day precipitation event on record, 9.67". Records in Bowling Green go back to 1870.


Figure 1. Satellite-estimated precipitable water at 23 UTC (7 pm EDT) Sunday, May 2, 2010. Precipitable water is a measure of how much rain would be produced if all the water vapor and cloud moisture through the depth of the atmosphere were to fall as rain. Values above 50 mm (about 2 inches) are frequently associated with flooding. Sunday's precipitable water image showed a tropical disturbance crossed Mexico into the Gulf of Mexico, dragging a plume of very moist air northwards over the Southeast U.S. Image credit: University of Wisconsin GOES Satellite Blog.


Figure 2. Flood forecast for the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. Image credit: NOAA.

The record rains were accompanied by a surge of very warm air that set record high temperature marks at 21 major airports across the Eastern U.S. on Saturday. This is not surprising, since more moisture can evaporate into warmer air, making record-setting rainfall events more likely when record high temperatures are present. Accompanying this warm air was moisture from a tropical disturbance that crossed over Mexico from the tropical East Pacific over the weekend (Figure 1.)

The record rains sent the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville surging to 51.86' this morning, 12' over flood height, and the highest level the river has reached since a flood control project was completed in the early 1960s. The previous post-flood control project record level was 47.6', set on March 15, 1975 (the river hit 56.2' in 1929, before the flood control project was built.) The river has now crested (Figure 2) and is expected to recede below flood stage by Wednesday morning. There are no further rains in the forecast this week for Tennessee. At least four rivers in Tennessee reached their greatest flood heights on record this week. Most remarkable was the Duck River at Centreville, which crested at 47', a full 25 feet above flood stage, and ten feet higher than the previous record crest, achieved in 1948 (to check out the flood heights, use our wundermap for Nashville with the "USGS River" layer turned on.)

Funding issues to take 17 Tennessee streamgages offline
According to the USGS web site, seventeen Tennessee streamflow gages with records going back up to 85 years will stop collecting data on July 1 because of budget cuts. With up to eighteen people in Tennessee dying from flooding this weekend, now hardly seems to be the time to be skimping on monitoring river flow levels by taking 17 of Tennessee's 94 streamflow gages out of service. These gages are critical for proper issuance of flood warnings to people in harm's way. Furthermore, Tennessee and most of the northern 2/3 of the U.S. can expect a much higher incidence of record flooding in coming decades. This will be driven by two factors: increased urban development causing faster run-off, and an increase in very heavy precipitation events due to global warming. Both factors have already contributed to significant increases in flooding events in recent decades over much of the U.S. The USGS web site advertises that users who can contribute funding for the non-Federal share of costs to continue operation of these streamgages should contact Shannon Williams of the USGS Tennessee Water Science Center at 615-837-4755 or swilliam@usgs.gov. Tennessee is not the only state with streamgages at risk of closing down; fully 276 gages in 37 states have been shut down or will be shut down later this year. If you have questions about specific streamgages, click on the state of concern on the USGS web page of threatened stream gages.

Oil spill update
The oil slick from the April 20 explosion and blowout of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon has retreated from the coast, thanks to a slackening of the persistent onshore winds that have affected the northern Gulf of Mexico over the past week. According to the latest NWS marine forecast, winds will be light and variable through Wednesday, resulting in little transport of the oil slick. Winds will then resume a weak onshore flow at 5 - 10 knots, Thursday through Friday, then reverse to blow offshore at 5 - 10 knots over the weekend. The net result of this wind pattern will be little transport of the oil slick. The only areas at risk of landfalling oil over the next five days will be the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, and the Chandeleur Islands. The latest forecast of Gulf currents from the NOAA HYCOM model (see also this alternative view of the HYCOM ocean current forecast) show weak ocean currents affecting the region during the remainder of the week. These currents will not be strong enough to push any oil southwards into the Loop Current over the next five days, so the Keys and South Florida are safe from oil for now. I'll have a post on the long-range prospects for oil to enter the Loop Current later this week, and a discussion of how a hurricane might affect and be affected by the oil spill.


Figure 3. Forecast location at 6pm CDT Tuesday, May 4, 2010, of the oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Image credit: NOAA Office of Response and Restoration. See also the trajectory maps available at State of Louisiana web site.

Jeff Masters

Alice Aycock sculpture (laughingjester)
If you saw my other pics of this sculpture you cam get an idea how high the Cumberland river has risen. when I left it was still getting higher.
Alice Aycock sculpture
Harpeth River Flooding (XMLP)
Harpeth River Flooding
Removing the flood damaged cars and trucks. (laughingjester)
I am a wrecker driver for Martin's wrecker service. We were called to remove the vehicles that got caught in the flooding on interstate I 24 westbound near the Bell Road exit in Nashville Tennessee. Of course this is after the waters had subsided. It was roughly 200, 250 cars and trucks that got caught up in the flood..
Removing the flood damaged cars and trucks.
Nashville Flooding (jadnash)
This is looking east - the Cumberland River is just on the other side of the buildings.
Nashville Flooding
Parking via Mother Nature (jadnash)
This car drove into the swiftly moving water at the Belle Meade Kroger and was thrown up against a parking deck. Luckily someone got a ladder and dropped it down to break the rear window and the driver climbed out safely!
Parking via Mother Nature

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Howdy Flood......You've got mail
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Quoting NRAamy:
is that better, Groth?

:)



Yes, and you may call me Gro!
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is that better, Groth?

:)
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MARCO!!!!


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Quoting Floodman:


Why would we be paying $10 a gallon? The oil from the GOM DOES NOT MAKE IT HERE, at least not for sale


Flood, correct me if I am wrong here but I thought it was world oil prices per barrel that drive our gas prices. If China buys more oil and the barrel price goes up, our gas price goes up. So it does not matter where the GOM oil goes, it just decreases the world supply and that drives the price per barrel up. We are,like it or not after all, in a world economy.
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Quoting NRAamy:
Domo-kun!

:)


Watch your language on the blog, Amy!!!! This is a family blog.
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Domo-kun!

:)
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166. xcool
Prolefeed lmao
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Quoting CaneAddict:
Wow..it's almost like my post isnt appearing?


i see it just fine

what you expect
there are so many canes its funny
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 176 Comments: 55671
Quoting mlauth:


I disagree with your last statement. Make the third world country richer, feed them more money to plan attacks on USA. Yes i know not all countries, just one is enough. I'm not saying lets drill, drill, drill, but I'm saying we cant stop. Would you pay 10$ per gallon for gas? I sure wouldn't, but that's the road you open if you ask for them to stop drilling all together.


Why would we be paying $10 a gallon? The oil from the GOM DOES NOT MAKE IT HERE, at least not for sale
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CaneAddict! Wazzup!
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Quoting tomas5tex:
132. jackzig 8:01 PM GMT on May 04, 2010
"Quoting tomas5tex:

You have head the nail on the head. There are groups in this country that will raise a stink about drilling for oil and our government lets them rant and rave and give into them. The government does not care if it drive companies to buy from foreign sources. They spend billions and billons buying oil when they could use that money to put people to work in our country by building drilling rigs and exploring for oil. The extra jobs that it would create if the restriction were lifted is endless. When we open up those jobs then lots of other industries will also benefits from it. From the drilling companies to the hamburger joint would benefit. Our government need to take quit thinking about how to line their pockets and start thinking of how to put money in the peoples pockets."

You do understand that any oil drilled in the Gulf (or any off shore location) goes on the world market, and is sold at the going rate. That oil does NOT come directly to the United States for use in your car. That's why the mantra of "drill...baby...drill" doesn't make any sense.

I understand that and that is the problem...Why not bring the oil here and quit buying foreign oil. If it is there why not use it. Why spend money on foreign oil when we don't have to.

\
Atmoaggie is right...thanks to our contractual agreements, Saudi oil is cheaper (marginally) than oil drilled here...besides, the oil companies are making nice profits selling our oil under contract at a higher rate...
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Quoting jackzig:


Who is asking for the oil companies to be nationalized? I haven't heard anyone even mention that.

As to blame, it's as lain as the nose on your face the BP is to blame. They ran the rig, they are responsible for it's operation. The last time I heard they were only to happy to rake in the profits of their operations in the Gulf. Now they should be willing to pay for the disaster that happened on their watch.

When something like this happens, blame does have to be placed, so it doesn't happen again. To say that "accidents happen" is very callous and cold. We should be trying to find out WHY this accident happened, and until we know, no more oil should be drilled in the Gulf.


I disagree with your last statement. Make the third world country richer, feed them more money to plan attacks on USA. Yes i know not all countries, just one is enough. I'm not saying lets drill, drill, drill, but I'm saying we cant stop. Would you pay 10$ per gallon for gas? I sure wouldn't, but that's the road you open if you ask for them to stop drilling all together.
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I see that so far the experts (Drakoen,Levi32,Hurricane23,StormW and others that I forgot their nicknames) have not posted today. Is my opinion but we need them in a daily basis to have orientation about what is going on with the different factors that are fundamental to see how the upcomming season will shape up.
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Another MODIS image, VERY LARGE: http://cyclops.marine.usf.edu/modis/level3/husf/mriver/2010/124/250m/pass/final/MODIS.2010124.18480 9.mriver.rgb.png
(true color, 250m resolution plot of South LA and the Northern Gulf)
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156. CJ5
Quoting jackzig:


Who is asking for the oil companies to be nationalized? I haven't heard anyone even mention that.

As to blame, it's as lain as the nose on your face the BP is to blame. They ran the rig, they are responsible for it's operation. The last time I heard they were only to happy to rake in the profits of their operations in the Gulf. Now they should be willing to pay for the disaster that happened on their watch.

When something like this happens, blame does have to be placed, so it doesn't happen again. To say that "accidents happen" is very callous and cold. We should be trying to find out WHY this accident happened, and until we know, no more oil should be drilled in the Gulf.


First of all, stopping drilling in the gulf would be dumb.

There have been plenty of calls for nationalizing the oil companies. There is a post in here suggesting it. BP is responsible and there is no doubt about that but that has nothing to do with who or what is to blame. Perhaps it was out of BP's control. Perhaps it was mother nature and something out of the ordinary. BP doesn't make the BOP so perhpas that was the cause. My point being, we don't know what caused this issue yet. BP and the oil industry is being demonized to make the public feel good and that is not helpful. Typical society to immeadiately blame, file lawsuits and demonize the others side. All of the energy could be used to elsewhere at this point. Heck, you even have people demonizing the .gov and the current President over response time. Enough already...just work to fix the problem and start cleaning up. This bickering and fingerpointing does nothing but divide the country.
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I also heard they managed to crimp or shut some annular ram that will slow the leak a good bit. But that was early this morning.
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It's all how you spin things,

If you announce you are going to spray soap over an area the size of Maryland as a part of a geoengineering experiment, you would be stopped and/or hauled away.
If you announce you are spraying dispersing agent across the oil slick that will re-sequester the carbon AND raise ocean PH levels that will help fight ocean acidification, you would be a hero of the industrial right AND green left.
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Regarding oil spill, BP will be lowering an almost 100-ton, 4-story tall concrete and steel containment dome over the largest pipe leak in a few days.

5,000 foot down, guided by a surface crane and really long winch cables and only able to see via unmanned submersibles... this is a risky and high-tech assignment.

This calls for the 'A' team. I think we need Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood and Chuck Norris to get involved. One of them needs to guide the crane, while another stands by looking gruff and worried. The third needs to get into a submersible and hand-guide the 100-ton structure into place. Then, at just the right time, something will go wrong and one of them needs to give a patriotic speech and then sacrifice themselves in order to shut off the oil flow and save the gulf.

I wonder... does BP have the budget to hire the necessary Hollywood cast to get this done right?
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Quoting CaneAddict:
Wow..it's almost like my post isnt appearing?


Well I am just a longtime lurker, but I do like reading your stuff so welcome back Addict.
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Quoting tomas5tex:
Oh I understand that and that is the problem...Why not bring the oil here and quit buying foreign oil. If it is there why not use it. Why spend money on foreign oil when we don't have to.

Thing is, it isn't only about money. If everyone considered costs outside of the wallet, they would never buy things at Wal Mart or outsource jobs to Asia or pay the slightly cheaper cost of shipping oil from Arabia rather than drill for it here (exclusive of any OPEC effects). But, alas, the almighty dollar wins in all decisions, other costs be damned.
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149. IKE
The oil slick from the April 20 explosion and blowout of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon has retreated from the coast, thanks to a slackening of the persistent onshore winds that have affected the northern Gulf of Mexico over the past week.....from Dr. Masters.


Looks like high pressure is the Saving Grace for now....

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While we wait for this season. Some stats
More maps here Link
Member Since: August 15, 2008 Posts: 10 Comments: 3665
132. jackzig 8:01 PM GMT on May 04, 2010
"Quoting tomas5tex:

You have head the nail on the head. There are groups in this country that will raise a stink about drilling for oil and our government lets them rant and rave and give into them. The government does not care if it drive companies to buy from foreign sources. They spend billions and billons buying oil when they could use that money to put people to work in our country by building drilling rigs and exploring for oil. The extra jobs that it would create if the restriction were lifted is endless. When we open up those jobs then lots of other industries will also benefits from it. From the drilling companies to the hamburger joint would benefit. Our government need to take quit thinking about how to line their pockets and start thinking of how to put money in the peoples pockets."

You do understand that any oil drilled in the Gulf (or any off shore location) goes on the world market, and is sold at the going rate. That oil does NOT come directly to the United States for use in your car. That's why the mantra of "drill...baby...drill" doesn't make any sense.

I understand that and that is the problem...Why not bring the oil here and quit buying foreign oil. If it is there why not use it. Why spend money on foreign oil when we don't have to.
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Welcome back, CaneAddict.
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Quoting CaneAddict:
Wow..it's almost like my post isnt appearing?

What post. I don't see no stinking post.
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Quoting CaneAddict:
HEY ALL! GUESS WHO'S BACK! lol...I'm here and ready for what looks to be a very interesting hurricane season...:)
Hey caneaddict greetings from odessa florida just north of tampa.
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Quoting atmoaggie:

I am wondering, myself, what happened to the MODIS images for today. The clouds moved out soon enough for us to get a good, clear pass. But, so far, only East Coast is available from either Terra and Aqua, when we should have had anything in CONUS by now...

One site to monitor: http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/?subset=USA7.2010124

Another: http://modis.marine.usf.edu/daily/2010124.html

Aha. New Terra data at the rapidfire link (I see no oil...maybe under clouds)

And new Aqua pass at the USF link...oil clearly visible (link directly to a VERY LARGE image: http://cyclops.marine.usf.edu/modis/level3/husf/mriver/2010/124/250m/pass/final/MODIS.2010124.18480 9.mriver.crgb.png)
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Wow..it's almost like my post isnt appearing?
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I still think Amelia Earhart is alive and working at a diner in Orlando. I can't get anyone to believe me. Also, one of the women looks an awful lot like Eva Braun.

Some of you people should go to work for the movie industry as mystery writers!!!! Your imaginations and conspiracy theories are overwhelming.
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Quoting CJ5:
It seems a lot of you guys are putting the cart before the horse. Yes, BP has an obligation to fix and clean up the mess. Yes, the .gov has a responsibility to monitor and help anyway they can. Those are facts. The climate between public, political and business is becoming extremely toxic these days and it does not help our country. How about we concentrate on fixing the leak and doing our best to clean up the damage before everyone goes off half cocked. It does not help anyone to demonize the others at this point and it leads to is an even more toxic climate.

This is a terrible disaster that will eventually affect all of us. But, drilling for oil is required. We have done that relatively safely for a long, long time. Accidents are going to happen, period. Accidents will happen even if the oil companies were nationalized and then it will be taxpayers who pay all of the costs. It is easy to sit back and blame evil corporations for all of societies woes but the .gov itself has a worse track record.

Heck, we don't even know how this happened yet but people cannot wait to demonize someone, file lawsuits and cast blame.


Who is asking for the oil companies to be nationalized? I haven't heard anyone even mention that.

As to blame, it's as lain as the nose on your face the BP is to blame. They ran the rig, they are responsible for it's operation. The last time I heard they were only to happy to rake in the profits of their operations in the Gulf. Now they should be willing to pay for the disaster that happened on their watch.

When something like this happens, blame does have to be placed, so it doesn't happen again. To say that "accidents happen" is very callous and cold. We should be trying to find out WHY this accident happened, and until we know, no more oil should be drilled in the Gulf.
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and you just watch, pretty soon, in direct proportion to the american rage over this, gas prices will start dropping. Then when we relax bam zoom alice
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Quoting Prolefeed:
I think this was all a Hagelian scheme from jump to get the oil industry nationalized.
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HEY ALL! GUESS WHO'S BACK! lol...I'm here and ready for what looks to be a very interesting hurricane season...:)
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if you discover oil on your own property and you contract with an oil company to drill for you, you only get every 8th barrel of oil. so how come they get to drill offshore and take every blessed barrel and then sell it back to us? Even if it isnt foreign oil we are still getting the shaft and not even taken out to dinner first
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walton county is closing off the dune lakes to prevent contamination.
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133. RM706
Its Daily Down Pour time!

http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.html

Crazy flooding in Tenn and the storm approaching Jax... yikes, im sure we'll talk about the spill too.
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"Quoting tomas5tex:

You have head the nail on the head. There are groups in this country that will raise a stink about drilling for oil and our government lets them rant and rave and give into them. The government does not care if it drive companies to buy from foreign sources. They spend billions and billons buying oil when they could use that money to put people to work in our country by building drilling rigs and exploring for oil. The extra jobs that it would create if the restriction were lifted is endless. When we open up those jobs then lots of other industries will also benefits from it. From the drilling companies to the hamburger joint would benefit. Our government need to take quit thinking about how to line their pockets and start thinking of how to put money in the peoples pockets."

You do understand that any oil drilled in the Gulf (or any off shore location) goes on the world market, and is sold at the going rate. That oil does NOT come directly to the United States for use in your car. That's why the mantra of "drill...baby...drill" doesn't make any sense.
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Quoting Floodman:


So let me get this straight: despite the fact that we have what is potentially the worst oil spill in history going on in the Gulf of Mexico, one that will certainly cause environmental damage for generations to come, an oil spill that will at the very least cripple a 10 billion dollar a year industry (fishing) and cripple another (tourism) 10 billion dollar a year industry you want to expand drilling?

Wow...that's an interesting point of view, to say the least...you do realize, of course, that the more oil they find, the less they want to drill, right? That there's a make/break cost per barrel, so that if oil goes below say, 85$ a barrel they start to lay people off and slow down exploration, roght? Or were you not aware of that?


Not to mention there is more money and jobs in alternative energy research, development and implementation!
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130. CJ5
It seems a lot of you guys are putting the cart before the horse. Yes, BP has an obligation to fix and clean up the mess. Yes, the .gov has a responsibility to monitor and help anyway they can. Those are facts. The climate between public, political and business is becoming extremely toxic these days and it does not help our country. How about we concentrate on fixing the leak and doing our best to clean up the damage before everyone goes off half cocked. It does not help anyone to demonize the others at this point and it leads to is an even more toxic climate.

This is a terrible disaster that will eventually affect all of us. But, drilling for oil is required. We have done that relatively safely for a long, long time. Accidents are going to happen, period. Accidents will happen even if the oil companies were nationalized and then it will be taxpayers who pay all of the costs. It is easy to sit back and blame evil corporations for all of societies woes but the .gov itself has a worse track record.

Heck, we don't even know how this happened yet but people cannot wait to demonize someone, file lawsuits and cast blame.
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Quoting Floodman:


So let me get this straight: despite the fact that we have what is potentially the worst oil spill in history going on in the Gulf of Mexico, one that will certainly cause environmental damage for generations to come, an oil spill that will at the very least cripple a 10 billion dollar a year industry (fishing) and cripple another (tourism) 10 billion dollar a year industry you want to expand drilling?

Wow...that's an interesting point of view, to say the least...you do realize, of course, that the more oil they find, the less they want to drill, right? That there's a make/break cost per barrel, so that if oil goes below say, $85 a barrel they start to lay people off and slow down exploration, right? Or were you not aware of that?


I can remember when oil was 30-35 dollars a barrle and the oil field was booming. The unemployment was low and people had money in there pockets.

I agree that thiis will hurt the fishing industry and could have some sort of impact on tourism but it will all come back. It has in the past and it will also in the now.

What happen when a hurricane comes into any of the coastal states. There is an impact there also. Do we stop rebiulding what was destroyed...no. There are enviromental impacts also but do we go back and doesn't the animals rebound...yes.

I agree that this is something that sometime is beyond words. I also know that we have billions and billion barrels of oil not only in the gulf but also all over the states and we need to get that oil and quit depending on foreign oil.

I am just saying that why stop something because of this. Lets learn from it and go forward. What would have happen to the airline industry if we would have let 9/11 stop us.
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127. RM706
10 minutes until show time: http://www.wunderground.com/wxradio/wubroadcast.html

Come join some of your favorite WUblog celebs!
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Quoting Patrap:
To be sure,..Im not a conspiracy type atall.

But Imagery has been,er..hard to come by,since ESL hasnt updated their grids in awhile.

Unless someone else has a key to MODIS stuff...?

I lost mine,well..they kinda,well..thats not really important now,..


LOL

ESL by LSU

I am wondering, myself, what happened to the MODIS images for today. The clouds moved out soon enough for us to get a good, clear pass. But, so far, only East Coast is available from either Terra and Aqua, when we should have had anything in CONUS by now...

One site to monitor: http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/subsets/?subset=USA7.2010124

Another: http://modis.marine.usf.edu/daily/2010124.html
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Good times, eh, toontown?
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BP gives genorously to the communities especially in Texas City, TX. Looks like those days are going to end now.
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An interesting side note about BP and liability. BP and US Fish and Wildlife are overseeing the wildlife response. BP is requiring ALL responders/volunteers to take their hazmat/safety training. So even professional rehabbers, etc who have had oiled bird training and eperience, as well as hazmat training, now are scrambling to sign up for BP's own training, which it looks like they'll be offering in various locations.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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