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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Wonder if Gro's 'I Saw It First' storm and the low pressure out near the Azores could become Valerie and William.
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Quoting Grothar:
Since I was the first to see this, I thought I might share it.

CMC



GFS



NOGAPS




I posted about this the day after Sandy made landfall in the night blog but Im sure you beat me to it..

Good night NY, NJ, PA, CT, MI, Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, VA, FL and NC!
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16284
Quoting wxchaser97:

Valerie in the makings?

Pretty unlikely. The models all keep it cold core... cold core vs. warm core is tough to predict for the models though so we'll see.
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Since I was the first to see this, I thought I might share it.

CMC



GFS



NOGAPS


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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
That big low pressure system looks interesting...


Valerie in the makings?
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That big low pressure system looks interesting...

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Quoting nash36:
Sandy has absolutely NOTHING to do with politics. I think it's pretty sad when EVERYTHING in today's world is now political.

I couldn't care less who endorses who. Do you??? All that matters is these people who have had their lives turned upside down are getting the help that they need.

I am beyond sick and tired of these people (term used loosely) on both sides of the mainstream media....FOX and MSNBC. Their only purpose in life is to demean, deflect, defend, marginalize and be downright disgusting pieces of human trash. Anyone that looks up to these jackballs needs to have their head thoroughly examined! Rational discourse in this country, whether it be about the weather (global warming), or politcs is gone. It's either you agree with me, or you're a complete idiot.

It's time for people to simply grow up and realize that differing opinion is good. Partisan political pundits should be chained and dropped off a mountain top.

Prayers to all those affected by Sandy. If you haven't done so already, please donate what you can, be it time, money, clothing.... They all need it.


I will not disagree with anything that you have stated, but at the same time, i think if people's perception of climate change-- no matter how directly relevant it is to Sandy-- is one of the tipping points in who people vote for in a presidential election, then that is a strong indication of its growing significance.

Also, different political ideals do have direct impacts on the kind of prevention methods that we take for future events, and the care that people are allowed access to after a catastrophic event like this.

The article is relevant to the blog, because it is highlighting the response, both personally and otherwise, of the mayor of one of the cities affected most directly by Sandy.

..I didn't mean for it to be upsetting or offensive to anyone.
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Quoting Tazmanian:



pcola57 was not talking too you so this mine your own bees waxs



Hey, Taz. Ever heard of Macy's Window????
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Rosa's center is exposed due to wind shear(CIMSS page isn't showing the amount of shear right now for the epac). She only has a few days left to live imo.
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People from New Jersey that didn't leave in the mandatory evacuation zone said they would have had there been hurricane warnings in effect. "Without a doubt."
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Quoting Tazmanian:



pcola57 was not talking too you so this mine your own bees waxs


See that little Ignore button Taz?
Please push it..
You have no sense of humor..

On another note..
Rosa not going anywhere fast..



WTPN31 PHNC 012200
MSGID/GENADMIN/JOINT TYPHOON WRNCEN PEARL HARBOR HI//
SUBJ/TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING//
RMKS/
1. TROPICAL STORM 17E (ROSA) WARNING NR 011
01 ACTIVE TROPICAL CYCLONE IN EASTPAC
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS BASED ON ONE-MINUTE AVERAGE
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
---
WARNING POSITION:
011800Z --- NEAR 13.5N 118.4W
MOVEMENT PAST SIX HOURS - 225 DEGREES AT 03 KTS
POSITION ACCURATE TO WITHIN 060 NM
POSITION BASED ON CENTER LOCATED BY SATELLITE
PRESENT WIND DISTRIBUTION:
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 045 KT, GUSTS 055 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 090 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
070 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
070 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
REPEAT POSIT: 13.5N 118.4W
---
FORECASTS:
12 HRS, VALID AT:
020600Z --- 13.3N 118.4W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 040 KT, GUSTS 050 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 080 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
070 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
070 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 24 HR POSIT: 205 DEG/ 01 KTS
---
24 HRS, VALID AT:
021800Z --- 13.1N 118.5W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 040 KT, GUSTS 050 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 080 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
070 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
070 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 36 HR POSIT: 270 DEG/ 00 KTS
---
36 HRS, VALID AT:
030600Z --- 13.1N 118.6W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 040 KT, GUSTS 050 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 070 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
060 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
060 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 48 HR POSIT: 335 DEG/ 01 KTS
---
EXTENDED OUTLOOK:
48 HRS, VALID AT:
031800Z --- 13.3N 118.7W
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 035 KT, GUSTS 045 KT
WIND RADII VALID OVER OPEN WATER ONLY
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 060 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
050 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
000 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
050 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
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Quoting Tazmanian:



pcola57 was not talking too you so this mine your own bees waxs

Not to be mean, but I didn't know pcola couldn't talk to himself.
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Quoting AldreteMichael:
I tracked Sandy, pretty much from it's birth, to now. I knew it caused extensive damage to the U.S., and yet I knew almost nothing of the devastation in Haiti.
I thank Dr. Masters for informing the people of Haiti's significant troubles.

I was in Haiti 3 days after the earthquake. A people who had little, they then lost everything. Some off the things I saw there I never told anyone either because I thought no one would believe me or I couldn't believe what I saw. One thing I came away from there with was the conviction that , no matter what I will never take being an American for granted again.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Well actually, this is a public blog, so it's everybody's business. But keep going.


+++++
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Quoting popartpete:
Hello again to my blog friends. Sandy devastated my home. It's unliveable. My business at Hiering Avenue and the Boardwalk was washed to sea. My community (Seaside Heights, New Jersey) took Sandy's surge like the atomic bomb. EVERYTHING IS GONE!!!!


My sincere condolences for the loss of your home, business, and community (!). I cannot imagine how it must feel to be in your shoes right now. Take care of yourself and your family and just keep putting one foot in front of another... It'll take a lot of time and hard work, but life will eventually seem "normal" again. Best of luck and keep us posted.
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Amazing. I didn't know you could have 11,000 people ignore.
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Quoting Tazmanian:



pcola57 was not talking too you so this mine you own bees waxs

Well actually, this is a public blog, so it's everybody's business. But keep going.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pcola57:


Hadn't heard that one in awhile..LOL!!



????????????



pcola57 was not talking too you so this mine your own bees waxs
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115557
Quoting popartpete:
Hello again to my blog friends. Sandy devastated my home. It's unliveable. My business at Hiering Avenue and the Boardwalk was washed to sea. My community (Seaside Heights, New Jersey) took Sandy's surge like the atomic bomb. EVERYTHING IS GONE!!!!


so sorry for your losses..I will be praying that you find renewed strength to forge ahead and rebuild your livlihood.
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118 guygee: People have to die...Everybody's time comes.

Quitter. With that kind of defeatist attitude, you'll be lucky to make it past your first millennium.
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Quoting indianrivguy:


well raise my rent


Hadn't heard that one in awhile..LOL!!

Quoting Tazmanian:




you go right a ahead


????????????
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Quoting indianrivguy:


well raise my rent




you go right a ahead
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115557
Quoting Tazmanian:




you seen nothing 1st


well raise my rent
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Quoting aspectre:
107 BahaHurican: Deleted due to excessive politics.

Do quite a bit of that myself... ~95plus% of the time, deleted before posting.


Sincere to thanks to you both -whether I would agree with your politics or not.
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Quoting Grothar:



I saw it first. :):)




you seen nothing 1st
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115557
Quoting popartpete:
Hello again to my blog friends. Sandy devastated my home. It's unliveable. My business at Hiering Avenue and the Boardwalk was washed to sea. My community (Seaside Heights, New Jersey) took Sandy's surge like the atomic bomb. EVERYTHING IS GONE!!!!


Things can be replaced. You are still here, and that's more important than anything. Thanks for the post and I hope you stay well :)
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107 BahaHurican: Deleted due to excessive politics.

Do quite a bit of that myself... ~95plus% of the time, deleted before posting.
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Quoting popartpete:
Hello again to my blog friends. Sandy devastated my home. It's unliveable. My business at Hiering Avenue and the Boardwalk was washed to sea. My community (Seaside Heights, New Jersey) took Sandy's surge like the atomic bomb. EVERYTHING IS GONE!!!!


Whats the projected date that an ins adjuster gets there?
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Quoting popartpete:
Hello again to my blog friends. Sandy devastated my home. It's unliveable. My business at Hiering Avenue and the Boardwalk was washed to sea. My community (Seaside Heights, New Jersey) took Sandy's surge like the atomic bomb. EVERYTHING IS GONE!!!!


We shall keep you in our prayers popartpete..
How are your prospects for new living and business arrangements coming along so far?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I tracked Sandy, pretty much from it's birth, to now. I knew it caused extensive damage to the U.S., and yet I knew almost nothing of the devastation in Haiti.
I thank Dr. Masters for informing the people of Haiti's significant troubles.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hello again to my blog friends. Sandy devastated my home. It's unliveable. My business at Hiering Avenue and the Boardwalk was washed to sea. My community (Seaside Heights, New Jersey) took Sandy's surge like the atomic bomb. EVERYTHING IS GONE!!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
He who hesitates is second..







unless you claim jump
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:
12Z CMC!!



I saw it first. :):)
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18z GFS





Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16284
Quoting bigwes6844:
BLOB ALERT GRO?


Not yet!
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Quoting Neapolitan:
Oh, I am absolutely not complaining about FPL. As major utilities go, they're far from being the worst. And when it comes to outages, they are about as responsive as can be. No, my point was that having power out for just a few hours and in a small location is extremely inconvenient, and today's outage made me think--again--about the millions in the Northeast who've been without electricity for four days now, and may have to wait another week or longer. With cold, damp weather coming in.

(If I'm complaining about anyone, it's the soon-to-be-unemployed doofus who was in such a big hurry to complete his route that he neglected to lower his forks before speeding backward out of a parking lot.)


Like the saying goes...

I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes..until I met someone with no feet.

I have family at NYU and they are one of the lucky ones because while they don't have power, they do have running water.


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Quoting Neapolitan:
Sometimes it's the little things. This scene is from Hoboken:

Hoboken

Sort of reminds me of something that happened in the aftermath of Andrew.

The side of the street on which I lived had power restored about two days after the storm hit, while our neighbors on the other side went without for over a week. Wanting to help my cross-street friend, I went to Home Depot and purchased a ridiculously long, ridiculously heavy-gauge extension cord, plugged it into my outlet nearest the street, then ran the cord over to my friend's house so he could run a fan, lights, radio, whatever. I left home to help the relief effort the day after that, and when returning home afterward that evening, I turned onto my street to see dozens of extension cords draped across the avenue, a three-block long, unbroken grid of bright orange cables snaked neighbor to neighbor, the haves helping the have nots. As bad as that storm was, the sight of all those extension cords was both awesome and heartwarming, and one that gave me--for at least a little while--hope for our frequently selfish species...


Adults should take note..this was a a teenager girl who did this..I saw it on GMA this morning..very giving of what she and her family gave back to strangers..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16284
Quoting Neapolitan:
Sometimes it's the little things. This scene is from Hoboken:

Hoboken

Sort of reminds me of something that happened in the aftermath of Andrew.

The side of the street on which I lived had power restored about two days after the storm hit, while our neighbors on the other side went without for over a week. Wanting to help my cross-street friend, I went to Home Depot and purchased a ridiculously long, ridiculously heavy-gauge extension cord, plugged it into my outlet nearest the street, then ran the cord over to my friend's house so he could run a fan, lights, radio, whatever. I left home to help the relief effort the day after that, and when returning home afterward that evening, I turned onto my street to see dozens of extension cords draped across the avenue, a three-block long, unbroken grid of bright orange cables snaked neighbor to neighbor, the haves helping the have nots. As bad as that storm was, the sight of those dozens of extension cords was both awesome and heartwarming, and one that gave me--for at least a little while--hope for our frequently selfish species...
Which I could go plus those people... totally agree on the little things. Storms like these remind us for a little while that we are not greater than nature and can make us feel small and alone. Sometimes it's the togetherness that counts...
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Quoting BahaHurican:
LOL... you can plus me for staying on topic and not veering off into political statements... lol

Maybe Christie and Bloomberg will lead a return to more centrist policies that allow the GOP to govern the US again in ways that benefit the entire country... It would be great to have a more unified US again.
Heartily agree with that! good.
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Quoting guygee:
hey no fair Baha I cannot delete my plus! Another ticket to admin is in order.
LOL... you can plus me for staying on topic and not veering off into political statements... lol

Maybe Christie and Bloomberg will lead a return to more centrist policies that allow the GOP to govern the US again in ways that benefit the entire country... It would be great to have a more unified US again.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
He's not saying SOCIETY caused the deaths. He's saying the people didn't have to die. In cases like the gentleman who drowned here [in the Bahamas], some people choose to die. Doesn't mean their death is needful or unpreventable.
I do not know what you mean. People have to die. I would not doubt some old people stayed home knowing what the potential consequences could be, most people are not that stupid. Everybody's time comes.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Sometimes it's the little things. This scene is from Hoboken:

Hoboken

Sort of reminds me of something that happened in the aftermath of Andrew.

The side of the street on which I lived had power restored about two days after the storm hit, while our neighbors on the other side went without for over a week. Wanting to help my cross-street friend, I went to Home Depot and purchased a ridiculously long, ridiculously heavy-gauge extension cord, plugged it into my outlet nearest the street, then ran the cord over to my friend's house so he could run a fan, lights, radio, whatever. I left home to help the relief effort the day after that, and when returning home afterward that evening, I turned onto my street to see dozens of extension cords draped across the avenue, a three-block long, unbroken grid of bright orange cables snaked neighbor to neighbor, the haves helping the have nots. As bad as that storm was, the sight of all those extension cords was both awesome and heartwarming, and one that gave me--for at least a little while--hope for our frequently selfish species...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 14001
12Z CMC!!
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On another note, it looks like we could have more tropical trouble again next week.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Deleted due to excessive politics.
hey no fair Baha I cannot delete my plus! Another ticket to admin is in order.
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Quoting guygee:
Are you sure about that? Free rides for all? Social workers to help convince granny to come on out? A giant sweep to find all of the many multiple thousands of homeless people.

I am calling BS on that.
He's not saying SOCIETY caused the deaths. He's saying the people didn't have to die. In cases like the gentleman who drowned here [in the Bahamas], some people choose to die. Doesn't mean their death is needful or unpreventable.
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Come on folks, we can get comment #42 up to 42 pluses. This isn't about me... this is about universal alignment. We're exactly half way there!

On a completely unrelated note, I see Rutgers University (in New Jersey) must have power again as their GOES imagery data server is back online. However, they must not be back to 100% since most of the imagery hasn't been updated since October 29th.

!!NOT A CURRENT IMAGE!! (from Oct 29th, 2012)



!!NOT A CURRENT IMAGE!! (from Oct 29th, 2012)
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Quoting intampa:
micheal brown head of fema under bush stated the president acted to quickly in calling out resources

That anyone would take Michael "heck of job Brownie" Brown's critique of the handling of a natural disaster seriously is laughable. Ha!

I wouldn't trust him to tell me it was raining outside much less listen to him on this subject - which he has clearly demonstrated he knows nothing about.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 239
Quoting entrelac:
...
Every death... every single death... in an area under mandatory evacuation was a needless and preventable one.
...
Are you sure about that? Free rides for all? Social workers to help convince granny to come on out? A giant sweep to find all of the many multiple thousands of homeless people?

I am calling BS on that.
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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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