Sandy by the numbers: trying to comprehend a stunning disaster

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:19 PM GMT on November 01, 2012

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The immensity of the impact of Superstorm Sandy on the Eastern U.S. is difficult to comprehend, and the scenes of devastation coming from the impact zone are stunning and heart-wrenching. To help understand the extraordinary scale of this historic storm, I've put together a list of notable statistics from Sandy:

Death toll: 160 (88 in the U.S., 54 in Haiti, 11 in Cuba)

Damage estimates: $10 - $55 billion

Power outages: 8.5 million U.S. customers, 2nd most for a natural disaster behind the 1993 blizzard (10 million)

Maximum U.S. sustained winds: 69 mph at Westerly, RI

Peak U.S. wind gusts: 90 mph at Islip, NY and Tompkinsville, NJ

Maximum U.S. storm surge: 9.45', Bergen Point, NJ 9:24 pm EDT October 29, 2012

Maximum U.S. Storm Tide: 14.60', Bergen Point, NJ, 9:24 pm EDT October 29, 2012

Maximum significant wave height: 33.1' at the buoy east of Cape Hatteras, NC (2nd highest: 32.5' at the Entrance to New York Harbor)

Maximum U.S. rainfall: 12.55", Easton, MD

Maximum snowfall: 36", Richwood, WV

Minimum pressure: 945.5 mb, Atlantic City, NJ at 7:24 pm EST, October 29, 2012. This is the lowest pressure measured in the U.S., at any location north of Cape Hatteras, NC (previous record: 946 mb in the 1938 hurricane on Long Island, NY)

Destructive potential of storm surge: 5.8 on a scale of 0 to 6, highest of any hurricane observed since 1969. Previous record: 5.6 on a scale of 0 to 6, set during Hurricane Isabel of 2003.

Diameter of tropical storm-force winds at landfall: 945 miles

Diameter of ocean with 12' seas at landfall: 1500 miles


Figure 1. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image of Superstorm Sandy around 3:35 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (7:35 Universal Time) on October 30. This image is from the “day-night band” on VIIRS, which detects light wavelengths from green to near-infrared. The full Moon lit up the tops of the clouds. Image credit: NASA.



Figure 2. Preliminary death and damage statistics for Sandy as compiled by Wikipedia on November 1, 2012.



Figure 3. Precipitation from Superstorm Sandy for the 7-day period ending at 8 am EDT Thursday, November 1, 2012. Image credit: NOAA/NWS/AHPS.



Figure 4. Top five weather-related power outages in the U.S.



Figure 5. Strong winds from Sandy blow snow in West Virginia on October 30, 2012. Image credit: Beau Dodson


Sandy's snows
Several cities set records for snowiest October day on record during Sandy: Elkin, WV (7", previous record, 4.6" in 1917) and Bluefield (4.7", previous record 3.2" in 1993.) Heavy snows caused roof collapses in West Virginia, and snows of two feet or more fell in four states--West Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, and Virginia. However, Sandy fell short of setting the all-time record for snowfall from a hurricane. The Vermont Journal estimated that the Snow Hurricane of 1804 dumped up to 4 feet of snow in Vermont.

36" Richwood, WV
34" Mount Leconte, TN
34" Sevier, TN
33" Clayton, WV
32" Snowshoe, WV
29" Quinwood, WV
28" Frostburg, WV
28" Davis, WV
28" Huttonsville, WV
28" Flat Top, WV
26" Redhouse, MD
26" Garret, MD
26" Craigsville, WV
24" Oakland, MD
24" Alpine Lake, WV
24" Nettie, WV
24" Norton, VA
24" Quinwood, WV
24" Alexander, WV

Links
Impressive loop of 1-minute visible satellite imagery spanning 6 days of Sandy's life.

A one-day time lapse video from a New York City webcam showing Sandy's impact on the city. It's eerie to see the city suddenly plunged into darkness.

First round of damage assessment aerial imagery collected by NOAA's National Geodetic Survey on Oct. 31 along the New Jersey coast.


Figure 6. Flooding in Haiti from Hurricane Sandy. Image credit: The Lambi Fund of Haiti.

Charities mobilize for Sandy
The outpouring of charitable donations in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy has been one of the bright spots in the gloomy aftermath of the storm. The main owners of The Weather Channel have agreed to match donations of up to $1 million to the American Red Cross, if you text SANDY to 90999 ($10). I also recommend my favorite disaster relief charity, Portlight.org. They are focusing their response efforts exclusively on the post-Sandy neeeds of people with disabilities.Check out the Portlight blog to see what they're up to; donations are always needed.

Sandy's greatest devastation occurred in Haiti, where rains of up to 20 inches in 24 hours unleashed rampaging flood waters that killed at least 54, left 200,000 homeless, wiped out thousand of acres of crops, and killed massive numbers of livestock. For impoverished families in Haiti still struggling to recover from the earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Isaac in August, Sandy was devastating.  These crops are the very essence of rural Haitian’s livelihoods, and there are fears widespread starvation will result. A disaster relief charity in Haiti that I've contributed to for many years, The Lambi Fund of Haiti, is seeking donations to help farmers purchase local seeds so that they can replant their crops in the wake of this latest terrible Haitian catastrophe.

Jeff Masters

Hurricane Sandy - Davis, W.V. (beaudodson)
Hurricane Sandy, Davis, W.V. - photos taken by Beau Dodson
Hurricane Sandy - Davis, W.V.
We Survived (teach50)
Everyone has seen photos of the damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy that destroyed New Jersey, NYC, & Long Island as well as other areas on the East Coast. I am finally back on line after 4 days without power. It has been a long ordeal. My block was extremely fortunate. We didn't have any trees fall and no flooding but the entire area is devastated. This is a photo of a tree that fell between the street, smashed, the car, and blew out the tires. No one was hurt.
We Survived

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Quoting Neapolitan:
During the internal combustion process, carbon atoms in the gasoline combine with the oxygen molecules in the intake air to create CO2. Since internal combustion engines burn roughly 15 pounds of air for every pound of gasoline, burning a gallon of gasoline burns 93 pounds or so of air. Of that 100 pounds or so of fuel and air burnt per gallon, roughly 17-20 pounds is CO2. (The rest is mostly nitrogen that was in the air to begin with, and water vapor created when hydrogen in the gasoline bonded with oxygen in the intake air.)
Might I suggest going to wiki and looking up "air/fuel ratio",also "stoichiometrics" of the combustion process of the internal comustion engine?
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
I love how the ones who call Fox stupid don't even offer any alternatives.....

I guess they want me to become stupid!!


BBC News.
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Quoting yoboi:



next time you talk to your friend chue ya know the top guy at dept of energy saying he wanted our gas prices to go to 7-8 dollars a gallon tell him thanks i have such a great feeling every time i am at the gas pump....
And that has to do with the "non-union relief workers told to go away" lie how?
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14179
457. yoboi
Quoting Neapolitan:
Nope. Al Jazeera, actually, among others. It's a shame that an American has to go overseas to find journalists doing what journalists are supposed to do, but, well, that's the sad state of the U.S. news media.



then i guess you seen 83% of china supports obama....i wonder why????
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
I love how the ones who call Fox stupid don't even offer any alternatives.....

I guess they want me to become stupid!!


?

Anything but Fox News is an alternative. This blog is a great source of information because there so many diverse people here with different view points that offer input on all different news sources . You don't want just one source of information. Diversity is always best.

The Media will play what gets them the ratings. It's a bias every news source has, I would think you if you had a half a dozen view points of the same event you get a better idea of what happened and how people are perceiving it, even if it is Fox News. Fox isn't bad all the time, they have credible people, it's just that I have heard a higher frequency of some of the most idiotic unintelligent statements from that particular news source versus others. Doesn't mean that MSN doesn't do it either. They do. They all do.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Didn't even have too. Was out at the pig yesterday...the lines were so long I breezed through the whole thing even before I had time to scan over Kim K. on the cover of Cosmo! Good stuff!
Myself, and many others work our butts off to have a safe secure and happy life, and these freekin' ******* do nothing, and have no talent like the Kim K's and the sisters and Paris Hilton....and all of the rappers that have NO talent make millions.....What did I do wrong
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6001
Quoting TomballTXPride:
I love how the ones who call Fox stupid don't even offer any alternatives.....

I guess they want me to become stupid!!
1. Turn off TV news altogether (except for breaking news coverage, which for the moment television captures far better than anyone else).

2. Read from a wide variety of online and print sources, and not just the ones with a stated bias that agrees with your ideologies, prejudices, and points of view.

3. Read with a mind open to possibilities other than the ones you've always been taught.

4. Be prepared to accept that everything you know may be wrong.

Do that, and you'll be okay. I promise...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14179
Quoting longislander102:
Checking in from Massapequa, Long Island, NY. (Well, actually from work in Babylon).

I am thankful I wasn't south of Merrick Road. No damage to my house. I haven't had electricity since Monday night. I have some cash, batteries, and flashlights and gas top stove. I can't complain.

I really curse the media (listening to the radio)for adding to the hype about gas running out. The word of mouth spread quickly, and bingo. Can't find gas along my route to work. But you know what? I know as power comes back, the stations with gas will be able to pump. Just takes time. OMG...the people panicking. Crazy!

Probably the same people complaining that LIPA isn't restoring power fast enough...just so they can sit on their asses and watch TV.

On the other hand, so many people pooring out support to those who lost everything in the surge. One large group of Massapequa moms, who live north of the Merrick road disaster, have opened their homes to anyone who needs to do laundry, charge cell phones, hot meals, or just a cup of hot coffee. They are getting donations together of clothes, or toys, baby strollers, and other items to give to those in need.

Where there is bad, also remember there is good.

Can't believe a coastal storm may head this way....jeez. *faintly lol*


we have till late sunday for models to drop it

if its still showing on monday well
looks like weather coming
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Quoting TomballTXPride:
I love how the ones who call Fox stupid don't even offer any alternatives.....

I guess they want me to stay stupid!!



KoolAid Tx....Koolaid
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Quoting yoboi:




seems your an msnbc guy.....
Nope. Al Jazeera, actually, among others. It's a shame that an American has to go overseas to find journalists doing what journalists are supposed to do, but, well, that's the sad state of the U.S. news media.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14179
449. yoboi
Quoting Neapolitan:
That's a great story that has the unfortunate problem of being entirely untrue. The utility whose workers were supposedly turned away for being non-union says it isn't true. And the only crews who packed up and headed homes were ones that were finished with their part of the relief effort and needed to get back home.

It's understandable that with a monumental election just four days away, there'll be some amount of desperation. But that's no reason to repeat desperate lies here.

It's been said here a million times, and proven by imperial scientific research: watching Fox News makes you stupid.

("Shrimp on a treadmill"? What?)FYI, workers from another utility who were supposedly turned away for being non-union--Joe Wheeler Electrical Membership Cooperative--are indeed union. And they're from Alabama, which is, as you know, very much in the South.



next time you talk to your friend chue ya know the top guy at dept of energy saying he wanted our gas prices to go to 7-8 dollars a gallon tell him thanks i have such a great feeling every time i am at the gas pump....
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Didn't even have too. Was out at the pig yesterday...the lines were so long I breezed through the whole thing even before I had time to scan over Kim K. on the cover of Cosmo! Good stuff!
No Piggly Wigglys here in south Florida....The biggies here are Publix and a few Winn Dixie's that are left
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6001
Quoting KarenRei:


1. Nuclear has low *marginal* costs, but extremely high capital and decommissioning costs. People like to pretend that the reason that no nuclear power plants were built for over two decades in the US is because of some sort of environmental regulations, when the reality is, there was just no investment money. Even the current wave of "next gen" reactors designed to reduce costs has slowed down a lot.

2. You are completely wrong about solar. First off, you act like all solar is PV. The large scale solar plants are solar thermal. Solar thermal is nearly grid cost-competitive in the desert southwest of the US, and the price keeps going down. PV panels have been plunging in price, to the point that now for home installations the cost of installing the panels is more than the panels themselves. But PV is still more expensive, whether on the residential scale or grid scale, than solar thermal.


Not "completely wrong". I didn't mention solar thermal because I didn't want to confuse some of the novices here. Solar thermal is a sunlight to heat system, whereas PV or Photo voltaic is solar cell - light converted directly to DC electricity (clarified only for those who need to know).

Granted, yes: Solar thermal on an industrial scale is somewhat more efficient than PV. Yet even with federal subsidies it still is not grid competitive. Even in the overly regulated and way overpriced west-coast electricity grid, solar thermal can't compete. But you already admitted that in your post. I may have omitted solar thermal, but my earlier post is still no less correct.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Well then gimme some good alternatives. I don't wanna be the stupid guy!!
Tomball, Pick up a copy of the "National Enquirer" at your local super market..... It's the real deal.......
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6001
441. yoboi
Quoting Neapolitan:
That's a great story that has the unfortunate problem of being entirely untrue. The utility whose workers were supposedly turned away for being non-union says it isn't true. And the only crews who packed up and headed homes were ones that were finished with their part of the relief effort and needed to get back home.

It's understandable that with a monumental election just four days away, there'll be some amount of desperation. But that's no reason to repeat desperate lies here.

It's been said here a million times, and proven by imperial scientific research: watching Fox News makes you stupid.

("Shrimp on a treadmill"? What?)FYI, workers from another utility who were supposedly turned away for being non-union--Joe Wheeler Electrical Membership Cooperative--are indeed union. And they're from Alabama, which is, as you know, very much in the South.




seems your an msnbc guy.....
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Quoting KarenRei:


Hmm, wonder if it's the same system that's making it howl outside my window here in Iceland!



Sure howling on your fascinating island, Karen! I always like to watch your webcams, f.e.

Reykjavik

(More to chose on the left panel). Greetings to the north!

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Quoting TomballTXPride:

Well then gimme some good alternatives. I don't wanna be the stupid guy!!


independence, liberal views aren't all that much better..lol. anyways...
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Quoting yoboi:



he is doing the preaching and not leading by example...and it use to be a two way street not anymore it's a one way street it's called do as your told if not you will be fined or taxed....


So no.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 239
NAM model in 24 hours, same as the GFS.................
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

If Fox is number 1, that's a whole lot of stupid American's wouldn't ya think? ;-]


We are all stupid in his eyes because we don't drink the kool aid..we use electricy...oops, petroleum based products...oops....guess you and I aren't the only stupid ones Tx! I for one am tired of the holier than thou attitude of someone who keeps their power company working overtime to keep up with the energy needed to blast us night and day
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431. yoboi
Quoting entrelac:


Are you practicing what you want him to preach?

It's a two-way street.



he is doing the preaching and not leading by example...and it use to be a two way street not anymore it's a one way street it's called do as your told if not you will be fined or taxed....
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

If Fox is number 1 then, that's a whole lot of stupid American's wouldn't ya think? ;-]


Makes a lot of sense. Fox news is one the most biased inaccurate sources of information on the planet and the people of this country do show a lack of IQ on many occasion.
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Today is one of the reasons I live in south Florida......What an absolutely beautiful day.
nice here but chilly, but in the sun its really nice
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Quoting MechEngMet:


I'd put one in my backyard if they'd let me. Produce electricity for 3c/kwh, then sell it to the neighbors for 10c/kwh! (still cheaper than local utilities) Heck yea!!!



Don't be this guy -

A hobbyist in Sweden is gaining notoriety after being arrested for trying to build a nuclear reactor in his kitchen, according to news reports.

....

Oh look! He has a blog.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 239
Quoting Neapolitan:
That's a great story that has the unfortunate problem of being entirely untrue. The utility whose workers were supposedly turned away for being non-union says it isn't true. And the only crews who packed up and headed homes were ones that were finished with their part of the relief effort and needed to get back home.

It's understandable that with a monumental election just four days away, there'll be some amount of desperation. But that's no reason to repeat desperate lies here.

It's been said here a million times, and proven by imperial scientific research: watching Fox News makes you stupid.

("Shrimp on a treadmill"? What?)


Fox has become what they rail against.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

I appreciate the honestly. Thanks.
Fox news doesn't really support/push the GW agenda.With that I'am off so if you bash I won't be here to see it.Have a nice day.
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Today is one of the reasons I live in south Florida......What an absolutely beautiful day.
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6001
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Beth Israel Medical Center is the last hospital standing in lower Manhattan.

With the unprecedented evacuation of every other hospital —  Bellevue, NYU Langone, the Manhattan VA and New York Downtown — the Second Ave. medical center is at near full capacity, its floors and ER bursting, and its staff working double shifts.

“We usually have 300 patients a day in the ER — we had 500 yesterday,” said Jim Mandler, a hospital spokesman. “Beth Israel is holding it together for acute care in lower Manhattan.

"We are very busy and very lucky our generators are holding up. Two more were delivered (Thursday) by the Army Corp of Engineers.”

via
DAILY NEWS LIVE BLOG: LATEST ON RECOVERY EFFORTS


That's no good. Is there any word on when the other hospitals will be back online?
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 239
Quoting TomballTXPride:

If Fox is number 1 then, that's a whole lot of stupid American's wouldn't ya think?
Absolutely.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14179
I cant get to any NWS sites up there due to this..............A cut fiberoptic line belonging to a commercial phone company has disrupted websites serving the Eastern Region. As this issue is being resolved, we are now operating our websites in backup mode.
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Quoting TomballTXPride:

I'm all in for Nuclear. Always was. I know for a fact the state of Illinois has the most nuclear plants in the country per state, that number being 11.


I'd put one in my backyard if they'd let me. Produce electricity for 3c/kwh, then sell it to the neighbors for 10c/kwh! (still cheaper than local utilities) Heck yea!!!

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Quoting originalLT:
Here's a tiny bit of levity in this bad situation. As most of you know, Sandy formed just ahead of Tony on the hurricane name list Can you imagine if the names were switched , I can just see the headlines in the NY Post or NY Daily news, -- Tony WHACKS NJ.!
Can you imagine all the Simpson's Fat Tony jokes that we missed out on?

Kinda makes me sad in a way. A year with Captain Kirk jokes and Fat Tony jokes would have been a very good year - weather humor wise.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 239
41 fatalities in New York City; number expected to rise
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Quoting Gumbogator:
Utility crews from Decatur Alabama drove all the way to New Jersey to help out with the recovery and were turned back because they were not unionized. Hell, we don't even know what a labor union is in the South. Talk about red tape, another empty promise from Pres Obama!! We need better, rebuilt modernized infrastructure......ie roads power grids and the like but, the government $ spends it's money on crap(says the blonde) on Fox News.......I agree. The shrimp on a treadmill thing is beyond comment........waste.
That's a great story that has the unfortunate problem of being entirely untrue. The utility whose workers were supposedly turned away for being non-union says it isn't true. And the only crews who packed up and headed homes were ones that were finished with their part of the relief effort and needed to get back home.

It's understandable that with a monumental election just four days away, there'll be some amount of desperation. But that's no reason to repeat desperate lies here.

It's been said here a million times, and proven by imperial scientific research: watching Fox News makes you stupid.

("Shrimp on a treadmill"? What?)
Quoting Gumbogator:Hell, we don't even know what a labor union is in the South.
FYI, workers from another utility who were supposedly turned away for being non-union--Joe Wheeler Electrical Membership Cooperative--are indeed union. And they're from Alabama, which is, as you know, very much in the South.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14179
Beth Israel Medical Center is the last hospital standing in lower Manhattan.

With the unprecedented evacuation of every other hospital —  Bellevue, NYU Langone, the Manhattan VA and New York Downtown — the Second Ave. medical center is at near full capacity, its floors and ER bursting, and its staff working double shifts.

“We usually have 300 patients a day in the ER — we had 500 yesterday,” said Jim Mandler, a hospital spokesman. “Beth Israel is holding it together for acute care in lower Manhattan.

"We are very busy and very lucky our generators are holding up. Two more were delivered (Thursday) by the Army Corp of Engineers.”

via
DAILY NEWS LIVE BLOG: LATEST ON RECOVERY EFFORTS
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Quoting yoboi:



i think you lead by example when our current president rams green energy down our throats and uses my tax dollars to support failed green companies he needs to lead by example and kudos to him for planting a 10x20 garden at the white house but the limo he rides in is not battery operated no solar panels at the white house.....practice what you preach.....


Are you practicing what you want him to preach?

It's a two-way street.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 239
Con Ed announced this morning that it has restored power to more than 320,000 customers in New York, leaving approximately 570,000 Con Ed customers without electricity.
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411. yoboi
Quoting entrelac:
Well, the fed did install solar panels on one building and I remember political groups on the right end of the spectrum going nuts because they were of Chinese origin. It seems this administration can't win for losing.

Besides, why are you looking to the federal government to take the lead in this when there are many simple things you can do at your local and personal level. You're criticizing the lack of a massive public works project when there are several more pressing projects on the table (burying utilities, bridge/highway repairs/updates, levee projects, etc...) and using it as a "gotcha" or, more troubling, as an excuse as to why you feel you shouldn't make a contribution to moving in the direction of a collective solution. Unless the real issue here is that you feel there's no need for a collective solution because you fail to see that there is a problem that needs solving.



i think you lead by example when our current president rams green energy down our throats and uses my tax dollars to support failed green companies he needs to lead by example and kudos to him for planting a 10x20 garden at the white house but the limo he rides in is not battery operated no solar panels at the white house.....practice what you preach.....
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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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