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Wind speeds hit 105 mph as Alex made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane in Mexico, about 110 miles south of Brownsville, Texas.

That area of south Texas is expecting around a foot of rainfall with scattered storms and isolated tornadoes, while northeastern areas of Mexico, near the Rio Grande, will have torrential rains and mudslides throughout the mountainous terrain for the next few days.

Update: Word is that the Jones Act was waived today (6/28), finally, over 10 weeks after the explosion, ships can begin to head for the Gulf to do the clean up job they were designed to do. The Jones Act made it illegal for foreign help (ships) due to US labor union protection.

Gotta Protect Those Unions, Ya Know!

By Dell Hill

It’s absolutely unbelievable!

 

There’s a ship tied up in Norfolk, Virginia.  It’s an oil-skimmer, designed specifically to clean up messes such as the one now in its 66th day in the Gulf of Mexico.  And there it sits, bobbing like a cork on the Atlantic Ocean waters in VIRGINIA.

 

Someone call the White House and alert them to the fact that the oil leak is in the Gulf, not the Atlantic, and there’s absolutely NO reason on Earth for that ship to be sitting in Virginia, doing nothing.

Peter Frost, writing for the Daily Press, files this amazing report.

 

“After making a brief stop in Norfolk for refueling, U.S. Coast Guard inspections and an all-out publicity blitz intended to drum up public support, a giant tanker billed as the world’s largest oil skimming vessel set sail Friday for the Gulf of Mexico where it hopes to assist in the oil-cleanup effort.

The Taiwanese-owned, Liberian-flagged ship dubbed the “A Whale” stands 10 stories high, stretches 1,115 feet in length and has a nearly 200-foot beam.  It displaces more water than an aircraft carrier.

Built in South Korea as a supertanker for transporting oil and iron ore, the six-month-old vessel was refitted in the wake of the BP oil spill with 12, 16-foot-long intake vents on the sides of its bow designed to skim oil off surface waters.


The vessel’s billionaire owner, Nobu Su, the CEO of Taiwanese shipping company TMT Group, said the ship would float across the Gulf “like a lawn mower cutting the grass,” ingesting up to 500,000 barrels of oil-contaminated water a day.

But a number of hurdles stand in his way.  TMT officials said the company does not yet have government approval to assist in the cleanup or a contract with BP to perform the work.

That’s part of the reason the ship was tied to pier at the Virginia Port Authority‘s Norfolk International Terminals Friday morning.  TMT and its public-relations agency invited scores of media, elected officials and maritime industry executives to an hour-long presentation about how the ship could provide an immediate boost to clean-up efforts in the Gulf.

TMT also paid to fly in Edward Overton, a professor emeritus of environmental sciences at Louisiana State University, to get a look at the massive skimmer.

Overton blasted BP and the federal government for a lack of effort and coordination in their dual oil-spill response and made a plea to the government to allow the A Whale to join the cleanup operation.

“We need this ship. We need this help,” Overton said. “That oil is already contaminating our shoreline. We’ve got to get the ship out there and see if it works. There’s only one way to find out: Get the damn thing in the gulf and we’ll see.”

TMT officials acknowledged that not even they’re sure how well the new skimming method will work, noting that it appeared to perform well in limited testing last week.

“This concept has never been tried before,” said Bob Grantham, a TMT project officer.  “But we think we can do in maybe in a day and a half what these other crews have done in 66 days.  We see the A Whale as adding another layer to the recovery effort.”

Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton said the McDonnell administration “still has great interest in offshore oil development in Virginia” and supports the A Whale’s effort to assist in the cleanup.

To join the fight, the ship also might require separate waivers from the Coast Guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The A Whale — pronounced along the lines of “A Team” because there is a “B Whale” coming — is designed to work 20 to 50 miles offshore where smaller skimmers have trouble navigating.  The ship would take in oily water and transfer it into specialized storage tanks on the flanks of the vessel. From there, the oil-fouled seawater would be pumped into internal tanks where the oil would separate naturally from the water.

After the separation process, the oil would be transferred to other tankers or shore-based facilities while the remaining water would be pumped back into the gulf.

Because the process wouldn’t remove all traces of oil from the seawater, TMT will likely have to gain a special permit from the EPA, said Scott H. Segal of the Washington lobbying firm, Bracewell &Giuliani, which TMT has retained to help negotiate with federal regulators.

“The simple answer is, we don’t know what the discharge will look like until we can take A Whale out there and test it,” Segal said. TMT will work with regulators to determine an appropriate level of oil that can be contained in the ship’s discharge.

TMT also is firm is working with the Coast Guard to gain approval to operate in the gulf, which may require a waiver from a 90-year-old maritime act that restricts foreign-flagged vessels from operating in U.S. waters, said Bob Grantham, a TMT project officer.

Connaughton, the former federal Maritime Administrator, said he doesn’t believe the A Whale would require a waiver from the Jones Act, a federal law signed in 1920 that sought to protect U.S. maritime interests.

Coast Guard inspectors toured the ship for about four hours on Thursday to determine the ship’s efficacy and whether it was fit to be deployed, said Capt. Matthew Sisson, commanding officer of the Coast Guard’s Research and Development arm in New London, Conn.

“We take all offers of alternative technology very seriously,” Sisson said. The ship, he said, is “an impressive engineering feat.”

He would not offer a timetable for Coast Guard approval of the vessel, but said he will try to “turn around a report … as soon as humanely possible.”

Of course, even if the ship gains approval to operate in the gulf, its owners expect the company to be paid for its efforts.

“That’s an open question,” Segal said.  “Obviously, (TMT) is a going concern and its people would need to be compensated for their time and effort.”

 

It makes absolutely NO difference who pays the bill.  It makes absolutely NO difference whether or not there are enough life preservers on board.  It makes absolutely NO sense to have this ship parked at Norfolk, Virginia while millions of gallons of crude oil is still pumping into the Gulf daily.

 

  • Dell Says:
    June 28th, 2010 at 4:47 pm 69 Days In:** The feds only accepted assistance from 5 of 28 countries.
    ** It took the Obama Administration 53 days to accept help from the Dutch and British.
    ** It took them 58 days to mobilize the US military to the Gulf.
    ** The feds shut down crude-sucking barges due to fire extinguisher concerns.
    ** The Obama Administration ignore oil boom manufacturers that have miles of product stockpiled in their warehouses.
    ** They only have moved 31 of 2,000 oil skimmers to the disaster area off of Florida.
    ** Florida hired an additional 5 skimmer boats to operate off its coast due to federal inaction.
    ** There are no skimmer boats off the coast of Mississippi.
    ** The feds shut down sand berm dredging off the Louisiana coast.
    ** The president continues to hit the golf course, ball games, hold BBQ’s and party while the crude oil washes up on shore.

    Hat Tip – Jim Hoft, The Gateway Pundit



  • Rain Clouds Moving In, originally uploaded by wtvywxteam.

    Looking SW of Dothan at 9:30.
    Sent from my BlackBerry

    …ever.

    700 AM CDT WED JUN 30 2010

    …ALEX MOVING IN NO HURRY……

    SUMMARY OF 700 AM CDT…1200 UTC…INFORMATION
    ———————————————-
    LOCATION…23.4N 95.3W
    ABOUT 155 MI…250 KM E OF LA PESCA MEXICO
    ABOUT 220 MI…355 KM SE OF BROWNSVILLE TEXAS
    MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…80 MPH…130 KM/HR
    PRESENT MOVEMENT…WNW OR 290 DEGREES AT 7 MPH…11 KM/HR
    MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…959 MB…28.32 INCHES

    WATCHES AND WARNINGS
    ——————–
    CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY…

    NONE.

    SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT…

    A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR…
    * THE COAST OF TEXAS SOUTH OF BAFFIN BAY TO THE MOUTH OF THE RIO
    GRANDE
    * THE COAST OF MEXICO FROM THE MOUTH OF THE RIO GRANDE TO LA CRUZ

    A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IN IN EFFECT FOR…
    * THE COAST OF TEXAS FROM BAFFIN BAY TO PORT OCONNOR
    * THE COAST OF MEXICO SOUTH OF LA CRUZ TO CABO ROJO

    FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED
    STATES…INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS…PLEASE
    MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
    FORECAST OFFICE. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA OUTSIDE
    UNITED STATES…PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL
    METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.

    DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
    ——————————
    AT 700 AM CDT…1200 UTC…THE CENTER OF HURRICANE ALEX WAS LOCATED
    NEAR LATITUDE 23.4 NORTH…LONGITUDE 95.3 WEST. ALEX IS MOVING
    TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 7 MPH…11 KM/HR. A SLOW WEST TO
    WEST-NORTHWESTWARD MOTION IS EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT 24 TO 48 HOURS.
    ON THE FORECAST TRACK…THE CENTER OF ALEX WILL APPROACH THE COAST
    OF NORTHEASTERN MEXICO OR SOUTHERN TEXAS BY LATE THIS AFTERNOON OR
    EARLY EVENING…AND MAKE LANDFALL IN THE HURRICANE WARNING AREA
    LATE TONIGHT OR EARLY THURSDAY MORNING.

    MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 80 MPH…130 KM/HR…WITH HIGHER
    GUSTS.  ALEX IS A CATEGORY ONE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON
    HURRICANE WIND SCALE. ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST…AND
    ALEX COULD BECOME A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE PRIOR TO LANDFALL. ALEX
    WILL BEGIN TO WEAKEN AFTER ITS CENTER CROSSES THE COASTLINE.

    HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 25 MILES…35 KM…FROM
    THE CENTER…AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 200
    MILES…
    325 KM. NOAA BUOY 42055 LOCATED SOUTHEAST OF ALEX RECENTLY
    REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 54 MPH…86 KM/HR WITH A GUST OF 63
    MPH…101 KM/HR.

    THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE MEASURED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE UNIT
    HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT WAS 959 MB…28.32 INCHES.

    HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
    ———————-
    RAINFALL…ALEX IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS
    OF 6 TO 12 INCHES OVER PORTIONS OF NORTHEASTERN MEXICO AND SOUTHERN
    TEXAS…WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 20 INCHES.  THESE RAINS
    COULD CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES…
    ESPECIALLY IN MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN.  RAINBANDS ASSOCIATED WITH ALEX
    ARE SPREADING ONSHORE IN NORTHEASTERN MEXICO AND SOUTHERN TEXAS.

    WIND…TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH THE COAST
    WITHIN THE HURRICANE AND TROPICAL STORM WARNING AREAS LATER THIS
    MORNING…MAKING OUTSIDE PREPARATIONS DIFFICULT OR DANGEROUS.

    STORM SURGE…A DANGEROUS STORM SURGE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY
    AS MUCH AS 3 TO 5 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ALONG THE IMMEDIATE COAST
    TO THE NORTH OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL.  THE SURGE COULD
    PENETRATE INLAND AS FAR AS SEVERAL MILES FROM THE SHORE WITH DEPTH
    GENERALLY DECREASING AS THE WATER MOVES INLAND.  NEAR THE COAST…
    THE SURGE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DESTRUCTIVE WAVES.

    TORNADOES…ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF EXTREME
    SOUTHERN TEXAS TODAY.

    (Click on image for animation)

    Alex is the 1st Atlantic hurricane to form in June since 1995.

    HURRICANE ALEX DISCUSSION NUMBER  18
    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   AL012010
    1000 PM CDT TUE JUN 29 2010
    
    ALEX HAS GRADUALLY BECOME BETTER ORGANIZED ON SATELLITE IMAGES AND
    DVORAK CLASSIFICATIONS FROM BOTH TAFB AND SAB CONTINUE TO SUPPORT A
    CURRENT INTENSITY OF 65 KT.  AN AIR FORCE RESERVE UNIT HURRICANE
    HUNTER AIRCRAFT PASSED THROUGH THE CENTER ON A NORTHWEST TO
    SOUTHEAST LEG AND MEASURED A CENTRAL PRESSURE OF 973 MB BY
    DROPSONDE.  THE SFMR ABOARD THE PLANE MEASURED A SURFACE WIND OF 62
    KT JUST TO THE SOUTHEAST OF THE CENTER.  SOON THEREAFTER...THE
    AIRCRAFT HAD TO DEPART THE AREA DUE TO RADAR FAILURE.  BASED ON THE
    SUBSTANTIAL DROP IN CENTRAL PRESSURE SINCE EARLIER TODAY AND THE
    FACT THAT HIGHER SURFACE WINDS ARE LIKELY OCCURRING IN THE
    NORTHEAST QUADRANT...ALEX IS BEING UPGRADED TO A 65-KT HURRICANE
    FOR THIS ADVISORY.  VERTICAL SHEAR IS FORECAST TO REMAIN BELOW 10
    KT FOR THE NEXT 24-48 HOURS SO THE HURRICANE SHOULD REMAIN IN AN
    ENVIRONMENT CONDUCIVE FOR INTENSIFICATION UP TO LANDFALL.  THE
    SHIPS RAPID INTENSIFICATION INDEX SHOWS A 33 PERCENT PROBABILITY OF
    RAPID INTENSIFICATION...I.E. A 30-KT INCREASE OVER 24 HOURS.
    HOWEVER...NONE OF THE OTHER NUMERICAL INTENSITY GUIDANCE SHOWS ALEX
    STRENGTHENING BEYOND CATEGORY ONE STATUS PRIOR TO LANDFALL.  THE
    OFFICIAL INTENSITY IS VERY CLOSE TO THE LGEM GUIDANCE AND ABOUT THE
    SAME AS THAT FROM THE PREVIOUS PACKAGE.
    
    ALEX WOBBLED WESTWARD OVER THE PAST SEVERAL HOURS.  AFTER SOME
    SMOOTHING...THE INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS 280/8.  SHORT-TERM
    FORECASTS FROM DYNAMICAL MODELS SUCH AS THE GFDL AND GFS SUGGEST
    THAT THE WESTWARD MOTION IS TEMPORARY AND THAT A WEST-NORTHWESTWARD
    TRACK SHOULD RESUME SOON.  THE FLOW TO THE SOUTH OF A MID-
    TROPOSPHERIC RIDGE SHOULD STEER THE HURRICANE ON A GENERALLY
    WEST-NORTHWESTWARD COURSE ACROSS THE WESTERN GULF OF MEXICO...WITH
    ALEX REACHING THE COAST IN ABOUT 24 HOURS.  BECAUSE OF THE JOG TO
    THE LEFT...THE NEW NHC FORECAST TRACK HAS BEEN SHIFTED SLIGHTLY TO
    THE SOUTH OF THE PREVIOUS ONE.  IT SHOULD BE REPEATED THAT ONE
    SHOULD NOT FOCUS ON THE EXACT PREDICTED LANDFALL POINT BECAUSE OF
    TRACK FORECAST UNCERTAINTIES...AND ALSO BECAUSE THIS IS A LARGE
    TROPICAL CYCLONE. 

    Computer model showing possible rainfal totals from Wednesday through Saturday.

     

    
    BULLETIN
    TROPICAL STORM ALEX ADVISORY NUMBER  17
    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL     AL012010
    400 PM CDT TUE JUN 29 2010
    
    ...ALEX BECOMING BETTER ORGANIZED AND EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE
    IN THE NEXT SEVERAL HOURS...NEW TROPICAL STORM WARNING IN MEXICO...
    
    SUMMARY OF 400 PM CDT...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
    ----------------------------------------------
    LOCATION...23.2N 94.0W
    ABOUT 245 MI...395 KM E OF LA PESCA MEXICO
    ABOUT 290 MI...465 KM SE OF BROWNSVILLE TEXAS
    MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH...110 KM/HR
    PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 310 DEGREES AT 13 MPH...20 KM/HR
    MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...981 MB...28.97 INCHES
    
    WATCHES AND WARNINGS
    --------------------
    CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...
    
    THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO HAS ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM WARNING SOUTH
    OF LA CRUZ TO CABO ROJO.
    
    SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...
    
    A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
    * THE COAST OF TEXAS SOUTH OF BAFFIN BAY TO THE MOUTH OF THE RIO
    GRANDE
    * THE COAST OF MEXICO FROM THE MOUTH OF THE RIO GRANDE TO LA CRUZ
    
    A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IN IN EFFECT FOR...
    * THE COAST OF TEXAS FROM BAFFIN BAY TO PORT OCONNOR
    * THE COAST OF MEXICO SOUTH OF LA CRUZ TO CABO ROJO
    
    A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
    EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN 36 HOURS.
    
    FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED
    STATES...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE
    MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
    FORECAST OFFICE. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA OUTSIDE
    UNITED STATES...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL
    METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.
    
    DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
    ------------------------------
    AT 400 PM CDT...2100 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM ALEX WAS
    LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 23.2 NORTH...LONGITUDE 94.0 WEST. ALEX IS
    MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 13 MPH...20 KM/HR.  A GRADUAL TURN
    TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST WITH SOME DECREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IS
    EXPECTED ON WEDNESDAY.  ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF ALEX
    WILL APPROACH THE COAST OF NORTHEASTERN MEXICO AND SOUTHERN TEXAS
    ON WEDNESDAY AND MAKE LANDFALL IN THE HURRICANE WARNING AREA LATE
    WEDNESDAY OR WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
    
    MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 70 MPH...110 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
    GUSTS.  SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATES THAT ALEX IS BECOMING BETTER
    ORGANIZED....AND IT IS EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE SOMETIME
    TONIGHT WITH STRENGTHENING CONTINUING UNTIL LANDFALL.
    
    TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 175 MILES...280 KM
    FROM THE CENTER.
    
    ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 981 MB...28.97 INCHES.
    
    HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
    ----------------------
    RAINFALL...ALEX IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS
    OF 6 TO 12 INCHES OVER PORTIONS OF NORTHEASTERN MEXICO AND SOUTHERN
    TEXAS...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 20 INCHES.  THESE RAINS
    COULD CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES...
    ESPECIALLY IN MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN.  RAINBANDS ASSOCIATED WITH ALEX
    ARE SPREADING ONSHORE IN NORTHEASTERN MEXICO AND SOUTHERN TEXAS.
    
    WIND...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH THE COAST
    WITHIN THE HURRICANE AND TROPICAL STORM WARNING AREAS BEGINNING
    WEDNESDAY MORNING...MAKING OUTSIDE PREPARATIONS DIFFICULT OR
    DANGEROUS.
    
    STORM SURGE...A DANGEROUS STORM SURGE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY
    AS MUCH AS 3 TO 5 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ALONG THE IMMEDIATE
    COAST NEAR AND TO THE NORTH OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL.  THE
    SURGE COULD PENETRATE INLAND AS FAR AS SEVERAL MILES FROM THE SHORE
    WITH DEPTH GENERALLY DECREASING AS THE WATER MOVES INLAND.  NEAR
    THE COAST...THE SURGE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DESTRUCTIVE
    WAVES.

    TROPICAL STORM ALEX ADVISORY NUMBER  14
    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL     AL012010
    1000 PM CDT MON JUN 28 2010
    
    ...ALEX GRADUALLY STRENGTHENING...
    
    
    SUMMARY OF 1000 PM CDT...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
    -----------------------------------------------
    LOCATION...21.0N 91.6W
    ABOUT 440 MI...710 KM ESE OF LA PESCA MEXICO
    ABOUT 505 MI...810 KM SE OF BROWNSVILLE TEXAS
    MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...65 MPH...100 KM/HR
    PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 0 DEGREES AT 5 MPH...7 KM/HR
    MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...985 MB...29.09 INCHES
    
    
    WATCHES AND WARNINGS
    --------------------
    CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...
    
    A HURRICANE WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THE COAST OF TEXAS SOUTH OF
    BAFFIN BAY TO THE MOUTH OF THE RIO GRANDE.
    
    THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO HAS ISSUED A HURRICANE WARNING FROM THE
    MOUTH OF THE RIO GRANDE TO LA CRUZ.
    
    A TROPICAL STORM WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THE COAST OF TEXAS FROM
    BAFFIN BAY TO PORT OCONNOR.
    
    SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...
    
    A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
    * THE COAST OF TEXAS SOUTH OF BAFFIN BAY TO THE MOUTH OF THE RIO
    GRANDE
    * THE COAST OF MEXICO FROM THE MOUTH OF THE RIO GRANDE TO LA CRUZ
    
    A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IN IN EFFECT FOR...
    * THE COAST OF TEXAS FROM BAFFIN BAY TO PORT OCONNOR
    
    A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
    SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA.  A WARNING IS TYPICALLY ISSUED
    36 HOURS BEFORE THE ANTICIPATED FIRST OCCURRENCE OF
    TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS...CONDITIONS THAT MAKE OUTSIDE
    PREPARATIONS DIFFICULT OR DANGEROUS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE
    AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.
    
    A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
    EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN 36 HOURS.
    
    FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED
    STATES...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE
    MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
    FORECAST OFFICE. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA OUTSIDE
    UNITED STATES...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL
    METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.
    
    
    DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
    ------------------------------
    AT 1000 PM CDT...0300 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM ALEX WAS
    LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 21.0 NORTH...LONGITUDE 91.6 WEST.  ALEX IS
    MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH NEAR 5 MPH...7 KM/HR...AND A GRADUAL TURN
    TOWARD THE NORTHWEST WITH SOME INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IS
    EXPECTED ON TUESDAY...FOLLOWED BY A GRADUAL TURN TOWARD THE
    WEST-NORTHWEST ON WEDNESDAY.
    
    MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 65 MPH...100
    KM/HR...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING IS
    FORECAST...AND ALEX IS LIKELY TO BECOME A HURRICANE ON TUESDAY.
    
    TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 70 MILES...110 KM
    FROM THE CENTER.
    
    THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE
    HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT IS 985 MB...29.09 INCHES.
    
    
    HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
    ----------------------
    RAINFALL...ALEX IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS
    OF 5 TO 10 INCHES OVER PORTIONS OF NORTHEASTERN MEXICO AND SOUTHERN
    TEXAS OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS.
    
    ALEX IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE ADDITIONAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 3
    TO 6 INCHES OVER SOUTHERN MEXICO AND THE YUCATAN PENINSULA THROUGH
    TUESDAY. ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 10 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE OVER
    MOUNTAINOUS AREAS. THESE RAINS COULD CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH
    FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES.
    
    WIND...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO APPROACH THE COAST
    WITHIN THE HURRICANE AND TROPICAL STORM WARNING AREAS ON
    WEDNESDAY...MAKING OUTSIDE PREPARATIONS DIFFICULT OR DANGEROUS.
    
    STORM SURGE...A DANGEROUS STORM SURGE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY
    AS MUCH AS 3 TO 5 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ALONG THE IMMEDIATE
    COAST NEAR AND TO THE NORTH OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL.  THE
    SURGE COULD PENETRATE AS FAR INLAND AS SEVERAL MILES FROM THE SHORE
    WITH DEPTH GENERALLY DECREASING AS THE WATER MOVES INLAND.  NEAR
    THE COAST...THE SURGE WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DESTRUCTIVE
    WAVES.
     
    

    Alex is well on its way to becoming a hurricane on Tuesday.

    Alex will spend 2 to 3 days over the Bay of Campeche (extreme SW Gulf of Mexico) and is now forecast to be a Cat 2 hurricane with an outside chance of becoming a Cat 3.

    For the first time Alex is following a true NW path, but is still expected to swing back WNW for a landfall in NE Mexico, south of Brownsville, TX., late Wednesday or early Thursday.

    Small swells from Alex will make it to the oil spill recovery area and to our area beaches. This should not affect oil recovery efforts at sea, but COULD push some oil ashore, depending upon swell size and duration.

     These swells could be arriving as early as Tuesday.

    Looking towards SW Georgia from 3rd Ave in Dothan, around 6 pm. Sunday evening.

    Monday morning 6/28 at 4 am cdt…Alex continues to regain intensity and the latest pressure fix is 990 mb. Even though the hurricane center recon has current sustained winds of 50 mph, the 990 mb pressure and dropping (strengthening) means wind speeds will soon be approaching hurricane force gusts. Since Alex has a fairly large circulation, it will take a few hours for the higher wind speeds to show up. Alex is well on its way to becoming a hurricane later today.
    For the first time Alex is following a true NW path, but still is expected to swing back WNW to a landfall in NE Mexico south of Brownsville, TX. Alex will spend 2 to 3 days over the Bay of Campeche (extreme SW Gulf of Mexico) and is now forecast to be a Cat 2 hurricane with an ouside chance of Cat 3 strength.
    Small swells from Alex will make it to the oil spill recovery area and to Alabama and northwest Florida beaches. This should not affect oil recovery efforts at sea but COULD push some oil ashore, DEPENDING upon swell size and duration. These swells would be arriving as early as Tuesday.

    Sunday night 6/27 11:30 pm cdt…Alex has intensified back into a tropical storm as it exits between the Mexican provinces of Campeche and Tabasco into the Bay of Campeche (extreme southwestern Gulf of Mexico).
    Currently, an unexpected development – Alex is hung up near the coast, possibly due to wind speed differences aloft because of sea and land frictional differences. If Alex was a landfalling hurricane (versus a strengthening tropical storm) it might get pulled into land. If Alex escapes the coast as expected, and it spends 2 or 3 days over the Bay of Campeche (extreme SW Gulf of Mexico), Alex could achieve Cat 2 status with an ouside chance of Cat 3 strength. Landfall continues to be projected along the northeastern coast of Mexico Wednesday or Thursday, well south of Brownsville, Texas.

    Alex has weakened to a tropical depression while over northwestern Guatemala and the extreme southwestern Yucatan peninsula. Alex will regain tropical storm status later tonight/ early Monday as it heads back over the Bay of Campeche (extreme southwestern Gulf of Mexico). Alex should become a hurricane later Monday and possibly a Cat 2 hurricane before landfall, which continues to be projected along the northeastern coast of Mexico Wednesday or Thursday, well south of Brownsville, Texas. Small swells from Alex will make it to the oil spill recovery area and to area beaches. This should not affect oil recovery efforts at sea but COULD push some oil ashore, DEPENDING upon swell size and duration (Swells are consistent rises and falls in the ocean that are caused by persistent winds far away). This would not happen before late Tuesday – more likely Wednesday or later.
     
    If  you have watched the WTVY news since Friday evening, you know that we have pushed this path into the far southwestern Gulf, contrary to the National Hurricane Center. Early on, the hurricane center hedged its projected path due to a few wayward in house computer models but has in the last 24 to 36 hours agreed to the western course. The national media unnecessarily hyped gulf coast concerns in our area as well as the spill zone (my worst fear was the early hype might send BP recovery efforts at the spill site packing, but thankfully BP and the Coast Guard used cold, hard logic, which was lacking late week and early weekend in quite a few national headlines).
     
    HOWEVER, there are TWO concerns. If Alex intensifies to a Cat 2 hurricane (50% chance, and if Alex slows and is over water longer there is a small window for a Cat 3 status – about a 25% chance) before Mexican landfall, those swells mentioned above would a more significant issue – not so much at the oil spill site, but for bringing oil ashore in the area. The second issue is the possibility that much of Alex’s moisture COULD be pulled away from the storm by a separate low that combines with an approaching front at mid week to bring really heavy rainfall for WTVY- TV area! Interestingly, if Alex gets stronger (mid Cat 2 or higher), then that heavy rainfall threat for us would likely NOT materialize.

    Alex has weakened to a tropical depression, but should regain strength over the next few days as it moves over the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  Indications suggest it should become a hurricane before making landfall again later this week in Mexico.

    On Saturday, Alex swept through the Yucatan Peninsula and Belize with torrential downpours. 

    As of Sunday morning, the storm is over land, centered roughly about 110 miles SSE of Campeche, Mexico, with max winds of 35 mph, moving WNW at 12 mph.

    TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK...CORRECTED
    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
    800 AM EDT SAT JUN 26 2010
    
    CORRECTED TO CHANGE TROPICAL DEPRESSION TO TROPICAL STORM ALEX
    
    FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...
    
    THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL
    STORM ALEX...LOCATED ABOUT 200 MILES EAST OF BELIZE CITY BELIZE.  
    
    1. CLOUDINESS AND SHOWERS EXTENDING FROM THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS
    NORTHEASTWARD INTO THE ATLANTIC FOR SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES ARE
    ASSOCIATED WITH A TROPICAL WAVE INTERACTING WITH AN UPPER-LEVEL
    TROUGH.  THIS ACTIVITY HAS BECOME LESS ORGANIZED SINCE YESTERDAY
    AND FURTHER DEVELOPMENT...IF ANY...WILL BE SLOW TO OCCUR AS THE
    SYSTEM MOVES TOWARD THE NORTHWEST AT 10 TO 15 MPH.  THERE IS A LOW
    CHANCE...10 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE
    DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.    
    
    ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
    NEXT 48 HOURS.
    

    TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
    800 PM EDT FRI JUN 25 2010
    
    FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...
    
    THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER IS ISSUING ADVISORIES ON NEWLY FORMED
    TROPICAL DEPRESSION ONE...LOCATED ABOUT 345 MILES SOUTHEAST OF
    COZUMEL MEXICO.  
    
    1. A LARGE BUT DISORGANIZED AREA OF CLOUDINESS AND SHOWERS CENTERED
    JUST EAST OF THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS IS ASSOCIATED WITH A
    TROPICAL WAVE INTERACTING WITH AN UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH. THERE IS THE
    POTENTIAL FOR SOME SLOW DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM AS IT MOVES
    TOWARD THE NORTHWEST AT 10 TO 15 MPH.  THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...20
    PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
    NEXT 48 HOURS.    
    
    ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
    NEXT 48 HOURS.
    
    

    Hurricane Celia is now in the open Eastern Pacific. This is the first named hurricane of the Pacific and Atlantic Hurricane Season. Celia reached impressive Category 5 status with max sustained winds of 160 mph.

    Hurricane Darby, also in the Pacific, follows closely behind Celia, is a Category 2 hurricane with max sustained winds at 105 mph.

    Invest area 93L is now in the western Carribbean and is showing promising signs of being upgraded to a Tropical Depression by Friday afternoon.

    Tracks take this system over the Yucatan Penninsula, and possibly into the Bay of Campeche by mid-next week. However, two computer models take this area into the central Gulf of Mexico, which is why the Gulf coast from Mexico to Appalachicola need to monitor this system closely over the next week. Regardless of where it goes, this very likely could soon become Alex, the first named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.

    Newsblues.com is a inside scoop website about local and national news stations. You pay a membership fee to read the articles, but the headlines are free to anyone to read. From time to time I may paruse the headlines, out of curiousity and my natural affinity for gossip.

     I was browsing headlines today and noticed the site referred to broadcast meteorologists as “weather guessers”. Now while not all on air weathercasters have meteorology degrees, the vast majority of them are required to these days. At first sight, I thought maybe the term “weather guesser” was a personal jab at the person being discussed…so I scrolled further. Low and behold I found another “weather guesser” reference in a different headline.

    Call me sensitive, but I worked awfully hard for many years to earn my degree, gain some experience and be respected as a professional of my field. I don’t like when people say “You’re in the only field you can keep your job and be wrong all the time.”, but I’ve heard it enough that I let it slide, because I know how much study goes into the dynamic science that is Meteorology. But, “Weather Guesser?”. How would an anchor like being called a “Human Answering Machine” or a reporter a “Dramatic Overreactor”?

    The bottom line,  joke or not, is that most people take pride in what they do everyday, whether that job is cleaning bathrooms or running an Army base.  Nobody should be given a nick name that prods at that what they strive to do well at. Newsblues.com WAS a website I enjoyed browsing, and I did find it a credible inside scoop. Now, I look of them more as the TMZ of the news world. It’s not a subscription I would ever pay for, no matter how juicy the content.

    Total Storms: 18-21

    Landfalls: 8 (can be the same storm affecting different coasts)

    Hurricanes: 5-6

    Major Landfalls: 2-3

    Storms West of 55W : 17

       Bastardi says of these revised predictions, the most important numer is in number of landfalls.



    Tuesday Evening, originally uploaded by wtvywxteam.

    Rain clouds leaving the Circle City.
    Sent from my BlackBerry

    2314 63 MIDLAND CITY DALE AL 3132 8549 55 KNOT WIND GUST REPORTED BY KDHN ASOS. (TAE)
    0015 UNK BELLWOOD GENEVA AL 3117 8579 NUMEROUS REPORTS OF TREES DOWN ACROSS NORTHERN PORTION OF COUNTY.
    2207 UNK BLACK GENEVA AL 3101 8574 ONE TREE DOWN BLOCKING COUNTY ROAD 61. TIME ESTIMATED BY RADAR.
    2225 UNK BASCOM JACKSON FL 3093 8512 TREES DOWN. HOME DAMAGED. SCREEN PORCH DAMAGED. SHINGLES DAMAGED. (TAE)
    2305 UNK PONCE DE LEON HOLMES FL 3072 8594 ONE TREE REPORTED DOWN IN SOUTHWEST HOLMES COUNTY. TIME ESTIMATED BY RADAR. (TAE)
    2305 UNK PONCE DE LEON HOLMES FL 3072 8594 ONE TREE REPORTED DOWN IN SOUTHWEST HOLMES COUNTY. TIME ESTIMATED BY RADAR. (TAE)
    2338 UNK DE FUNIAK SPRINGS WALTON FL 3072 8612 A FEW TREES AND POWERLINES DOWN. TIME ESTIMATED BY RADAR. (TAE)

    TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
    200 PM EDT SUN JUN 20 2010
    
    FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...
    
    1. A TROPICAL WAVE EXTENDING FROM THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN SEA NORTHWARD
    INTO THE ADJACENT ATLANTIC WATERS IS PRODUCING DISORGANIZED SHOWERS
    AND THUNDERSTORMS.  LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS...WHICH COULD CAUSE FLASH
    FLOODS AND MUD SLIDES...AND GUSTY WINDS ARE POSSIBLE DURING THE
    NEXT DAY OR TWO OVER PORTIONS OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS...PUERTO RICO
    ...THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC...HAITI...CUBA...AND JAMAICA AS THE WAVE
    MOVES WESTWARD OR WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT 10 TO 15 MPH. UPPER-LEVEL
    WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN UNFAVORABLE FOR TROPICAL CYCLONE
    DEVELOPMENT...AND THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...NEAR 0 PERCENT...OF THIS
    SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS. FOR
    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS SYSTEM...PLEASE REFER TO PRODUCTS
    ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.
    
    ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
    NEXT 48 HOURS.
    
    

    Panama City Beach:

    http://www.beachview.com/panama_city_beach.htm

    http://www.tripsmarter.com/travelinfo/panama-city-beach/live-beach-web-cam-schooners

    http://www.tripsmarter.com/travelinfo/panama-city-beach/live-cam-regency-towers

    http://www.tripsmarter.com/travelinfo/panama-city-beach/live-web-cam-spinnaker-beach-club

    http://www.tripsmarter.com/travelinfo/panama-city-beach/live-sunset-web-cam-schooners

    http://www.chateaumotel.com/webcam/broadband.htm

    Ft. Walton Beach:

    http://thebeachfla.com/video.php

    BP has finally approved some new tools in its cleanup effort. Thirty-two oil-separating machines developed by Kevin Costner’s research company are moving into the spill zone.

    The Ocean Therapy Solutions machines are giant centrifuges that suck up
    a combination of oil and water and then spin it around at high speeds. This separates the crude from the salt water. The water is spit back out and the oil is collected in a holding tank so it doesn’t get back into the ocean. After going through a high speed filter, the water is supposedly 99% free of contaminants.

    The largest machines can separate 200 gallons of oil from the water per minute. That’s about 210,000 gallons of oil per day.

    The most recent estimates suggest that between 20,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil per day are leaking out of the Deepwater Horizon well. A barrel of oil is 42 gallons. So, if we take the highest estimates, that’s about 1,680,000 gallons of oil per day.

    That would take eight of the OTC machines to clean up the new oil each day, not even counting the petroleum that’s already in the water.

    Beyond the oil dangers, researchers now say methane gas, escaping from the well in unprecedented quantities, could create massive dead zones in the Gulf, suffocating marine life.

    The Coast Guard said Friday that BP is now capturing more than a million gallons of oil per day, but that may only be half of the leak. Relief wells offer the best hope for plugging it. Although one of them is just 200 feet from completion, it could take weeks to finish the job.

    Local officials are finally beginning to blockade the entrance to Barataria Bay, responsible for a third of Louisiana’s seafood revenues.  They’re using tied-together barges in a desperate attempt to keep oil out of the bay after a month-long battle with the Coast Guard for permission.

    “As far as we know, we’re breaking new ground,” said Deano Bonano, director of emergency preparedness for Jefferson Parish. “Give a cajun some tools, and he’ll figure out how to do something.”

    There will eventually be more than 60 barges anchored and tied end-to-end in the bay. When they are all here, that will make a 7,000-foot barrier to block and channel the oil.

    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has spent the past week and half fighting to get working barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state’s oil-soaked waters. By Thursday morning, against the governor’s wishes, those barges still were sitting idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore.

    Sixteen barges sat stationary Thursday, although they had been sucking up thousands of gallons of BP’s oil as recently as Tuesday. Workers in hazmat suits and gas masks pumped the oil out of the Louisiana waters and into steel tanks. It was a homegrown idea that seemed to be effective at collecting the thick gunk.

    So why stop now?

    “The Coast Guard came and shut them down,” Jindal said. “You got men on the barges in the oil, and they have been told by the Coast Guard, ‘Cease and desist. Stop sucking up that oil.'”

    A Coast Guard representative said that it shares the same goal as the governor.

    But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.

    The governor said he didn’t have the authority to overrule the Coast Guard’s decision, though he said he tried to reach the White House to raise his concerns.

    “They promised us they were going to get it done as quickly as possible,” he said. But “every time you talk to someone different at the Coast Guard, you get a different answer.”

    After Jindal strenuously made his case, the barges finally got the go-ahead Thursday to return to the Gulf and get back to work, after more than 24 hours of sitting idle.

    By Jeff Martin, USA TODAY

    When it comes to studying earthquakes, Oregon State University geology professor Bob Lillie has a simple theory: The more that is known, the better people can prepare and protect themselves.More knowledge about faults in certain parts of the nation could lead to stricter building codes in those places so structures are less likely to topple, he says.

    “If we know about the hazards, then we can put ourselves at less risk,” Lillie says.

    Lillie is part of a group of scientists involved in USArray, a nationwide research project that allows scientists to study earthquakes in unprecedented ways.

    MAP: Earthquakes with 1,000 or more deathsSCIENCE FAIR: Science, space and discovery

    The project, which involves a traveling network of 400 high-quality, portable seismographs placed in temporary sites, will reach the halfway mark this summer in its goal to measure upheavals beneath the earth’s surface from California to Maine, says project director Bob Woodward. This summer, devices are being installed in several states, including South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas, he said. The number, density and systematic placement of the devices give scientists a far more detailed picture of earthquake activity in the USA, he says. Scientists are intrigued about tremors detected in the Pacific Northwest and have installed additional equipment to learn more about them, he says.

    The project, which originated on the West Coast in 2004, is moving east so researchers can have a systematic way of studying the entire nation, Woodward says. The instruments, spaced about 40 miles apart, stay in a site for two years before they are moved, Woodward says. The USArray project is scheduled to reach the East Coast by 2013, he says.

    USArray’s annual budget is about $13 million per year from the National Science Foundation, he says. It’s part of a broader project known as EarthScope, also funded by the foundation. EarthScope’s aim is to study the structure and evolution of North America and to learn more about what causes earthquakes and volcanoes.

    Before the instruments were installed, “it was kind of like taking a picture with a camera with only a few pixels,” Woodward says. “With 400 stations out there, it’s like having a much higher resolution camera. So now you can directly see the seismic waves rolling across the country.”

    The project has covered Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, he says.

    Emily Brodsky, a seismologist who researches earthquakes at the University of California-Santa Cruz, says, “By having that whole bird’s eye view, you could start to see these patterns in a way we’ve never seen before.”

    By 2011, the seismographs will be in place near the site of some of the most powerful earthquakes in U.S. history — an area known as the New Madrid fault between St. Louis and Memphis, Woodward says.

    Almost 200 years ago, in 1811 and 1812, a series of earthquakes centered near the small Missouri town of New Madrid was so powerful that witnesses said the nearby Mississippi River began to flow backwards, says Chuck Langston, director of the Center for Earthquake Research and Information at the University of Memphis.

    “The earthquakes were felt in Boston,” Langston says. “There are eyewitness accounts that the river dammed up, and part of it flowed backwards. It must have been spectacular. Big waves and water moving every which way.”

    Though California is commonly associated with earthquakes, Woodward says, faults exist across the nation, stretching all the way to the eastern seaboard.

    More than $500 billion in losses could result from a severe earthquake in the Los Angeles area, according to a Jan. 14 Congressional Research Service report to Congress.

    “An even higher estimate — approximately $900 billion — includes damage to the heavily populated central New Jersey-Philadelphia corridor if a 6.5-magnitude earthquake occurred along a fault lying between New York City and Philadelphia,” the report states.

    Sizable earthquakes have occurred in this region, says Michel Bruneau, an engineering professor at the University of Buffalo who has done extensive earthquake research. Bruneau points to a study in 2008 that notes a magnitude-5 earthquake damaged buildings in New York City in 1737 ; and a magnitude-5.5 quake struck the region in 1884, according to the study, reported in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. The researchers wrote that stronger earthquakes are possible in the area.

    Martin reports for the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D.

     

    WADENA, Minn. — (AP) Police and National Guard soldiers blocked off neighborhoods Friday as city officials organized a cleanup from tornadoes that ripped through the city the night before, part of a turbulent system that fueled twisters across the state and killed at least three people.Dozens more were injured in Thursday’s heavy weather. The National Weather Service collected 36 reports of tornado sightings, with northwestern and southern Minnesota hit hardest. If the sightings are all confirmed, it would exceed the previous state record of 27 in one day, in 1992.

    In northwestern Minnesota, a woman was killed in Almora and a gas station owner was killed in Mentor. In southern Minnesota, one person was killed at a farm west of Albert Lea.

    Wadena, a town of about 4,300 people that lies 70 miles southeast of Fargo, appeared to suffer the most extensive property damage. The storms destroyed or damaged dozens of homes and other buildings, toppled power lines and left a big chunk of the town without trees. Officials met Friday morning to plan the town’s next step.

    LOCAL COVERAGE: KARE-TV, Minneapolis-St. Paul

    “First we were outside watching it. Then we went inside and it got really, really nasty,” Sara Carpenter, 18, said. Her family’s home was badly damaged, and they spent the night at the AmericInn in town. “It’s pretty much gone,” she said of their house.

    In nearby Almora, a town of about 20 people, an elderly woman was killed when a twister wiped out her home. Brittney Schulke of Almora told The Daily Journal of Fergus Falls that her grandmother, Margie Schulke, was killed and that her grandfather, Norman Schulke, suffered two broken shoulders.

    In Mentor, about 50 miles southeast of Grand Forks, N.D., the owner of a Cenex station was killed when a tornado struck his store. Wes Michaels’ daughter told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis that her father was not supposed to work on Thursday, his 58th birthday, but that he went in to check on her because of the storm warnings. She said he ordered her and several customers into the store cooler as the tornado bore down.

    “He saved me,” Heidi Michaels told the newspaper.

    A series of tornadoes hit 40 to 60 rural properties in southern Minnesota’s Freeborn County, killing one person at a farm west of Albert Lea, the county’s Emergency Management Director Mark Roche said.

    Freeborn County administrator John Kluever said eight homes were destroyed near Geneva, but said that number might grow as damage was assessed by daylight. Fourteen people were treated at Albert Lea Medical Center for injuries. Kluever said the storms damaged grain bins, a hog feedlot and a cattle feedlot. About 1,000 hogs and a few dozen cattle were being rounded up Friday, he said.

    Still, Freeborn County Sheriff’s chief deputy Gene Arnold said the property damage could have been much worse.

    “We’re very fortunate that it did not hit a high-population area,” Arnold said.

    Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden said sirens gave plenty of warning in his town, where the National Weather Service said a tornado struck around 5 p.m. Wolden said many people were there for an all-school reunion.

    Twenty people were treated for injuries at the Wadena hospital, mostly for bumps and bruises, nursing supervisor Kathy Kleen said. She said many residents were at the hospital’s pharmacy first thing Friday to replace prescription drugs they lost in the storm.

    Crews worked overnight to control dozens of gas leaks. Wadena’s community pool was destroyed, the high school “extremely busted up” and the community center beyond repair, Wolden said.

    His wife, Lori Wolden, said houses were “half-gone” and “there’s no trees” in the southwest part of the town, which was barricaded after the storm.

    Patty Jones was evacuated from her apartment because of a gas leak and walked around Wadena before taking shelter at the local armory.

    “It’s terrible. It’s whacked out. Nothing’s left in one part of town,” Jones said.

    The Red Cross set up a shelter at the local armory, but no one slept there Thursday night, apparently opting instead to stay with family, friends or in local hotels. It was not immediately known how many homes in Wadena were left uninhabitable by the storm.

    The Red Cross also set up a shelter in Albert Lea, where about 20 people spent the night.

    Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who activated about 70 National Guard members to help with the response, planned to tour the affected areas later Friday.

    State climatologist Greg Spoden said it would take the weather service days to verify tornado reports. He cautioned that reports of the state’s biggest outbreak of tornadoes could be overblown because improvements in technology and communications mean more tornadoes are reported now than ever before.

    Still, Spoden said, it was “a very, very extensive outbreak.”

    Friday is heating up fast! Here are the temps, not the heat index at 11 am…..

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