Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Readable Reads & Mapping Oddities -OR- Seaside Libertarian Delights

**Updated 12:59AM 6/25/2014: See below.**

Stormy skies with Hurricane Irene passing offshore as seen from Sunny Isles Beach in Miami - Dade, Fla., Aug. 24, 2011.

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Hello everybody ...

This entry will not be too long, or at least I'm not planning a lengthy one. Mostly, I just want to post a few article excerpts with political images (I haven't had many of those lately) and (time permitting) return to my "geographic trivia" feature.

I've been quite busy at work with activities related to a certain kind of compliance issues for certain kinds of projects that I quite enjoy and that gets me involved at a level of specificity at the local level that almost turns me into a self-parody of a bureaucratic (though I'm actually a contractor). But these have happy outcomes.

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A dramatic / eerily lit evening sky last Thursday two days before Hurricane Irene over Washington, D.C., 7:49PM, Aug. 25, 2011. A frontal system had passed through with strong / severe t-storms about 60 miles southeast of D.C. with mammatus clouds painted golden-yellow by the setting Sun. (Mammatus clouds are formed in powerful thunderstorms by what amounts to an "upside down convection" in the anvil-head.)

Speaking of Hurricane Irene, I should note that the U.S. death toll from the tropical cyclone is at least 40, if only from all the flooding. I'm guessing the NHC/NWS will retire the name.

The K-storm has formed waaaay out over the Atlantic -- a "Cape Verde" storm. It is "Katia", except I don't know how to pronounce that.

The track of Tropical Storm Katia -- expected to become a major hurricane by the weekend -- issued by NHC at 11PM EDT Aug. 30, 2011.

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It's way too soon to know if the storm will strike / impact the East Coast. I sorta hope it stays away because its arrival on its current trajectory would be circa Sept. 9th -- coinciding with my postponed Jersey shore trip with Gary and maybe LP to Wildwood Crest. However, at this point, it appears a trough will pick it up and recurve the storm out into the North Atlantic well before it reaches the Eastern Seaboard.


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Awww, puppy ...

A young lady walking a dog carrying a big, broken stick. This is at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and R Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 6:52PM, Aug. 24, 2011.

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Readable Reads -OR- Columns of Note

First, I would like to point readers to two excellent Michael Lind pieces from Salon and two other pieces from The New York Times, one by Paul Krugman and another by Ross Douthat.

Ha ha

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The first one by Michael Lind concerns the fundamental incompatibility of libertarianism with representative democracy (pluralistic or parliamentary) and instead it invariable advocates / supports fascism.

In this piece, Lind lays out clearly the case why libertarianism -- a profoundly utopian philosophy of supposed total individual freedom championed for decades by immature young American men sitting in their underwear in their parents' basement -- in the real world ends up being antithetical to any style of democracy and rather becomes a champion of brutal corporate fascism.


He also cites the Cato Institute with its bought-and-paid for corporate gigolos where Jose Piñera is on their payroll. He is "a former functionary of a mass murderer" (the late and hopefully in hell Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet), having been in Pinochet's "cabinet." This Piñera is also the brother of the current president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera.


Pinochet's own brutal rightwing corporate "free market capitalist" police state -- where "[m]any of its victims were drugged and taken in military airplanes to be dropped over the South Atlantic, with their bellies slit open while they were still alive so that their bodies would not float and be discovered" -- was (and is) much admired by the Usual Suspects of the right in America including the Chicago School.

Today, hard-core libertarians dream of "'seasteading,' or the creation of new, microscopic sovereign states on repurposed oil derricks, where people who think that Atlas Shrugged is really cool can be in the majority for a change."

In short, the libertarian's utopia leads instantaneously to authoritarian, if not police state, corporate fascism and brutality. But the libertarian is so doped up on a crazy utopianism that they (as Lind notes) would prefer pre-Civil War slavery in lieu of a Department of Labor or progressive taxation. Deranged.

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The other Michael Lind piece is simply beyond what I can quote on this blog, though I suspect my long-time friend Aaron would enjoy reading it. The piece is entitled "Secular humanists on the real planet of the apes" and it argues that "as fundamentalism gets stronger, post-religious liberalism offers a naive and sentimental creed" that simply is at odds with human nature.

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Paul Krugman in his Monday New York Times op-ed talks about the extreme anti-science, if not outright outright anti-knowledge, bent of today's GOP. In addition, I VERY highly recommend as a daily read his New York Times online blog.

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Finally, Ross Douthat (a conservative but usually thoughtful columnist at The New York Times) has a piece entitled American Theocracy, Revisited.


He writes that liberals are excessively worried about rising American religious fundamentalism, in particular seeing it as a growing existential threat. He argues that (1) the American fundie right is big and complicated; (2) don't assume GOP politicians (even Rick Perry, though (I say) probably Michele Bachmann) believe what their most extreme religious backers believe; (3) don't assume massive conspiracies when GOP voters vote against people they don't like; and (4) those fundie voters are often "mobilized" by the GOP machine, these voters actually rarely (if ever) get what they want.

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**Updated 12:59AM 6/25/2014: Content removed.**

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Eleanor Roosevelt (!) and Frank Sinatra at some formal event called "Girls Town Ball" in Florida, March 12, 1960.

When I answer that question, "What historical figures would you like to meet?", Eleanor Roosevelt is always in my top 5.

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Geographic Trivia Oddity: Henry MO's Tightwad

In this entry, the geographic oddity featured is a place name rather than a boundary. Specifically, I feature the village of Tightwad, Missouri, an incorporated community of approx. 65 people in HENRY County, Missouri.

Here is a map of Missouri with Henry County and the village of Tightwad highlighted.&

As for why the town has that name, here the Wikipedia article on the town and its name origin. It's probably just as accurate as anything else for these kinds of things.

The city limit sign for Tightwad, Missouri, which I found online.

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And with that, I will end this entry. My next planned update will be either tomorrow or Thursday, possibly Friday. 

--Regulus

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene Update 4 Plus Meandering Oosas, and Irritable Fratkins

**Updated 1:04AM 6/25/2014: See below.**

Furious Atlantic Ocean waves overtop the boardwalk at Asbury Park, N.J.*, in Hurricane Irene, Aug. 27th**, 2011.

*I grew up in Long Branch, the town just north of Asbury Park, itself long a shocking and inexplicable seaside ghetto dump in a wealthy state, but FINALLY after, like, a million years is starting to "come back."

My mom used to ride me on her bike when I was a baby down to Asbury Park from where we lived at Middlebrook Apartments, which still are there under the name "Middlebrook at Monmouth" and there is is even a website.

**I found this and the other pics online from The New York Times website, and the photos were not dated.

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Hurricane Irene (Final?) Update - Part 4

Wind-driven rain on a deserted nighttime electric-dreams street somewhere in New York City during Hurricane Irene in the wee hours of Aug. 28, 2011.

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The hurricane is over and in its wake is just a partly cloudy, gusty-breezy day here in the Washington, D.C., area. There are still lingering squally showers and strong winds along the Jersey shore and into the New York City area. I don't have a lot of good photos of my own from here in D.C. since it was raining so much that I really couldn't take my cellphone camera out and take pictures.

Stormed-tossed seas at Bay Shore, Long Island during Hurricane Irene's passage, Aug. 27, 2011 (again, this may have been taken today, Aug. 28, by which point Irene was a Tropical Storm).

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In the end, although at least 15 people died as a result of Hurricane Irene in 7 states (and there were probably fatalities in the Bahamas), the category 1 tropical cyclone struck the Eastern Seaboard was more of a big "garden variety" nor'easter than anything else. This includes the low-lying / coastal flooding, beach erosion, and some storm damage. The astronomical high tide (owing to the Moon being in new phase) added about half of the 9.5 foot mean lower low water (MLLW) recorded at the Battery in Lower Manhattan, the sixth highest ever recorded there.

Deep blue-gray clouds and mist swaddle the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan as now-Tropical Storm Irene brings stormy conditions to New York City, Aug. 28, 2011.

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**Updated 1:04AM 6/25/2014: Content removed.**

I plan to have more detailed numbers in a subsequent entry, but it appears (adding up the three day obs and looking at yesterday's climate summary reports) that DCA had 3.79" including 3.33" yesterday, BWI had 4.70" including 3.59" yesterday, and IAD (farther west) had 1.28" including 1.17" yesterday.

Of note, DCA went into surplus for its annual precipitation as of yesterday (26.80" or +0.75").

Also of note, neither DCA nor BWI were daily records -- an incredible washout of a day on Aug. 27, 1971 at both airports surpassed yesterday's totals.

So it sometimes goes.

Some other preliminary storm totals included 6.87" at Central Park (NYC), 4.98" at JFK Int'l Airport, and 8.92" at Newark Int'l Airport. (I'm skeptical of these incredible Newark numbers sometimes.) Meanwhile, Atlantic City (ACY) had 5.87". The peak gusts I saw in these obs were at JFK Airport at 54MPH.

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Rivers at the Watergate restaurant (formerly the 600 Watergate), empty interior on a stormy night as Hurricane Irene moved up the East Coast, Washington, D.C., 8:48PM, Aug. 27, 2011.

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As for my activities, Gary and I took a hurricane bar crawl, of a sorts, trekking first from Dupont Circle yesterday evening down to Lindy's Red Lion, thence to the Rivers bar at the Watergate (the old 600 Watergate), and then to the Washington Harbour area -- walking through the edge of Sequoias's where a private wedding reception was being held, over to Mr. Smith's (where it was mobbed), and then across Georgetown and back into Dupont to Omega and finally to Larry's Lounge.

We were quite soaked after that 3 mile around trip walk, and today I did my laundry to clean those wet, dirty clothes.

Looking out onto rainy M Street, NW, from the interior of Mr. Smith's restaurant in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., as Hurricane Irene dropped heavy rain on the city, 9:41PM, Aug. 27, 2011.

The two above pics are really all I was able to take last night.

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Stuart Fratkin Visits?

I was going to end the entry here, but I have to note this.

Someone named "Stiles2" posted a comment this afternoon on the Jan. 4, 2011 entry I wrote "The Stuart Fratkin Show (20 Years Later) -OR- Arcturus Doesn't Live Here Anymore".

Stuart Fratkin is an actor who had a moderate amount of B-level fame back in the 1980s and early 1990s. I remember him primarily for his one appearance on The Golden Girls when he and the late Bea Arthur's character, Dorothy Zbornak, haggle over a cheap hockey stick that for sentimental reasons she cannot part with. It is a funny season in an otherwise "serious" episode "Blind Ambitions" about Rose's blind sister, played by actress Polly Holliday.

Mr. Fratkin does not appear to have done much acting-wise in the past 10 years or so, but he still has a website that has not been updated in a very long time. (Click on "stop" in the lower right corner to halt that annoying sound the website plays.) Nevertheless, I get quite a few hits on this blog because I wrote about him by name.

Stiles2 posted the following earlier this afternoon:

"The 10K reference was meant to be a joke. Hence the quote, 'After waking up'. Sorry it was lost on you."

He is referring to something he wrote on his blog -- click on "Current and Past Events" on the top and it is the blurb for 10/21,22/2004.

Perhaps this reference was lost on me, but what's not lost on me is that "Stiles2" may in fact be Mr. Fratkin himself.

Imagine that. Weird.

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Alabama Oosa Versus D.C. Oooza ...

On another topic, I need to post some of the images that ChrisT. sent me of Montgomery, Alabama. He is moving there soon to start a new job.

Apparently, the suffix "Oosa" is quite popular there for names, as seen here in this picture of the intersection of Tallapoosa and Coosa Streets that ChrisT. took yesterday (Aug. 27, 2011) while visiting there this weekend. 

In addition, the Alabama River that flows through Montgomery is formed by the merger of the Tallapoosa and Coosa Rivers.

Here is a section of Montgomery, Ala., with the Alabama River meandering through it. ChrisT. also took this picture yesterday. 

The family values of the Deep South are clearly evident even in this picture. They will all be voting Republican from now until the Year 10,191 (Actually, in the Dune universe, that year corresponds to AD 21,267 or so.)

**Updated 1:04AM 6/25/2014: Content removed.**

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OK, I think that's all for now. My next planned update will be Monday or, more likely, Tuesday.

--Regulus

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rainy Logarithmic Spirals and Wind-Driven Beach Balls -OR- Hrcn. Irene Update (Part 3)

Storm-tossed waves crash into Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina as Hurricane Irene moves across the the Outer Banks shortly after landfall this morning, Aug. 27, 2011.

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Hurricane Irene came ashore around 1130UTC (7:30AM EDT) just west of Cape Lookout, North Carolina with sustained winds of 75KT (about 85MPH), or a category 1 tropical cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

Close-up of Hurricane Irene right around landfall near Cape Lookout, N.C., around 8AM EDT, Aug. 27, 2011.

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A larger image of Hurricane Irene taken by GOES 13 at 10:10AM EDT about 2-1/2 hours after landfall near Cape Lookout, N.C., showing the sprawling tropical cyclone in the context of the Eastern United States.

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Two people battling the wind-driven rain in Nags Head, N.C., in Hurricane Irene, Aug. 27, 2011.

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The 2PM EDT intermediate advisory for Hurricane Irene:

Location: 35.5N 76.3W or 45 miles WNW of Cape Hatteras, N.C.
Maximum sustained winds: 85MPH
Forward motion: NNE at 13MPH
Central minimum pressure: 950MB or 28.05"

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A lady (Margene Jezo) walks in the squally rains of Hurricane Irene, Kitty Hawk, N.C., Aug. 27, 2011.

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The hurricane is a category 1 and may soon be downgraded to a tropical storm (although it actually got slightly stronger today as it passed over Pamlico Sound) as it begins to transition into an sub-tropical and then extra-tropical cyclone. At this point, the storm is basically a big nor'easter slowly pinwheeling up the Eastern Seaboard.

The radar mosaic of the eastern United States showing Hurricane Irene, 1908UTC (3:08PM EDT) showing the logarithmic spiral of the tropical cyclone's precipitation shield.

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Nevertheless, this is still a large cyclone with a broad wind field including hurricane-force winds out to 90 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds out to 260 miles.

It also has tremendous rainfall along with an accompanying storm surge of 5 to 9 feet along the Outer Banks (including Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds) along with battering waves over-topping the barrier islands.

The Wakefield (AKQ) NWS radar in base reflectivity mode, 3:14PM EDT, Aug. 27, 2011.

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Irene still may cause significant damage and destructive flooding along the Delmarva, New Jersey shore and into New York City.


The Sterling (LWX) radar in base reflectivity mode, 3:11PM EDT, Aug. 27, 2011. National Airport)(DCA) has already had about 1/2" of rain but 3 to 5 inches overall are anticipated area-wide.

Updated 5:31PM: DCA has already reported 0.89" through 5PM and it is raining quite heavily with a flash flood warning in effect. 

Oh, yes, the yearly DCA precip. deficit (CORRECTED: down to 2.49" as of yesterday) will be easily eliminated today.

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At this point, an appropriate to this day, I would like to copy what the wonderful and inestimable Paul Krugman -- who has helped inform my views and keep me sane in an insane time -- posted on his New York Times blog earlier today ...

Lena Horne singing her signature song Stormy Weather in the 1943 movie of same name.

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I'm home right now watching a TV Land-aired marathon of Hot In Cleveland. That show is actually pretty darn funny. The current episode as I write this is "Hot for the Lawyer" in the courtroom scene with the hot guy defense attorney and the black female judge (played by Sherri Shepherd).

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A few other items ...

Gary is coming over soon and I think we're going to take a walk in the wind-lashed rain around Dupont Circle, or maybe over to Georgetown, on the look out for a suitable bar. Tonight, I plan to go to Nellie's. Last night, we had a nice / boozy time at Larry's Lounge with bartender Brian working.

Now I realize it is a bit dicey walking around in a hurricane (or just a big, windy rainstorm) but I will carry my Little Baby Oooza Good Luck Charm photo with me (see above).

Remember this particular Oooza -- Oooza Il' Magnifico or Oooza Il' Stupenda, though more properly called Oooza the Unloved -- came from a little brood (an Ooze) of Ooozas, pictured here as little Oooza chicks.

OK, I think that's about all for now.  

My next planned blog update will be tonight or tomorrow. I need to post some of the pictures that Chris T. has sent me of Montgomery, Alabama, where he is this weekend ahead of moving there for a job (it's a long story).

Again, Gary and I are going to trek over in the rain to Rosslyn and then walk back on a sort of bar crawl.

A lone beach ball bounces along in the hurricane winds at Nags Head, N.C., Aug. 27, 2011.

What was that weird movie with a bouncing ball? Not Dark Star but another one. Quill, do you know? It might be a sci-fi one. People were frozen trapped inside of it. 

--Regulus

Friday, August 26, 2011

U.S. Eastern Seaboard Sound and Fury -OR- Hurricane Irene Update (Part 2)


Satellite image of Hurricane Irene from earlier today, Aug. 26, 2011.

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This is a quick update re. the status of Hurricane Irene.

The hurricane is centered at 32.1N / 77.2W or 180miles SSW of Cape Lookout, North Carolina. The storm is moving north-northeastward (the rightward turn has begun, or at least this motion is forecasted to continue for two days). Top sustained winds have fallen to 100MPH and the central pressure has risen to 28.05" or 950MB. No further strengthening is expected, though it is not likely to weaken significantly.

The Morehead City NWS (MHX) radar image at 9:07PM EDT Aug. 26, 2011 showing Hurricane Irene making its final approach to eastern North Carolina with the eye just barely coming into view.

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Here is the same MHX base reflectivity radar but in long range mode with eye of Hurricane Irene visible, 9:11PM EDT, Aug. 26, 2011.

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The official NHC 5-day track for Hurricane Irene issued at 8PM EDT (intermediate advisory), Aug. 26, 2011. 

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The 12Z 26 Aug. 2011 GFS showing mean sea level pressure (MSLP), 850MB temps, and 6 hour precip. valid for hour 36 or 6Z (2AM EDT) 28 Aug. 2011.

If this looks quite similar to the one I showed yesterday, it is because it IS -- the GFS has shown a good deal of consistency.

The 18Z (2PM EDT) runs of both the NAM and GFS as well as the 18Z runs of both tropical models -- the GHM and HWRF -- show a very similar path with center of the storm moving NNE on a path that brings Irene ashore right near Cape Lookout (which is about 60 miles WSW of Cape Hatteras) around 2PM EDT tomorrow (Saturday), right over the lower Tidewater (Norfolk / Newport News / Virginia Capes) area, and thence along or slightly off the Delmarva and New Jersey shore and ALMOST directly OVER New York City and into southern New England.

The Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) home page showing weather advisories as of 8:20PM EDT, Aug. 26, 2011.

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While the center will pass about 80 to 120 miles east of D.C., the storm has a large circulation so rain bands are expected here in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area. There are actually tropical storm warnings up along the upper half of the Chesapeake Bay AND the D.C./Baltimore area as well as surrounding counties. Meanwhile, a HURRICANE WARNING is in effect for the lower half of the Chesapeake Bay, much of the Delmarva, and even St. Mary's County, Md. (western shore). Squally rainy conditions with winds of 40 to 50MPH and higher gusts, as well as about 2 inches of rain are presently expected here in D.C. (but, of course, this subject to change).

The 18Z (2PM EDT) 26 2011 run of the GFDL Hurricane Model (GHM) showing the nested-grid image of MSLP and 6 hour precipitation valid at hour 42 or 12UTC (8AM) Aug. 28, 2011.

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The storm is not so intense that it is going to obliterate coastal New Jersey or New York City BUT it is strong and large enough with enough of a storm surge that it will likely cause widespread damage along the Jersey shore and heavy flooding in the lower parts of NYC (hence the large internal evacuation from low-lying parts of the five boroughs).

Here is the 18Z run of the Hurricane Weather Research Forecast (HWRF) model showing a (slightly adapted) nested-grid image of MSLP and 6 hour precipitation valid at hour 48 or 18UTC (6PM EDT) Aug. 28, 2011 with a DIRECT STRIKE on New York City.

Again, this scenario if realized would cause extensive flooding to low-lying parts of New York City.

Here is the largest scale view of the New York City hurricane flooding evacuation map. The full interactive map is here capable of zooming in.

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By the way, I have NOT watched the Weather Channel once -- while informative (at least according to my dad), it is unwatchable if only because of the Jim Cantore hysteria. However, my friend Joe sent me a link to one of five videos on YouTube showing the early Weather Channel's coverage of Hurricane Gloria in 1985 (a storm I remember). The link to part 1 is here.

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OK, that's all for now. I'm meeting Gary at Larry's Lounge and maybe we will also go to Nellie's, which I understand is having a "hurricane party" weekend. Hm.

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Updated to include info from the 0Z (8PM EDT) 27 (26) Aug. 2011 NAM model run:

This run shows the same path for Hurricane Irene as the others. In addition, it produces 4 to 6 inches of rain in the D.C. area and 10+ inches in New York City and most of New Jersey as shown here in the 48 hour cumulative precipitation total and surface map valid 0Z 29 Aug 2011 (8PM EDT Aug. 28, 2011).

And with that, I really will end this entry. 


My next planned update will be tomorrow as circumstances warrant. 

--Regulus

Thursday, August 25, 2011

More than a Tempest in a Teapot -OR- Hurricane Irene Update (Part 1)

The MODIS Instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured this visible image of Hurricane Irene over the southern Bahamas on August 24, 2011 at 15:05 UTC (11:05 a.m. EDT) as the storm was about to cross over Crooked Island in the Bahamas.

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OK, it's time to start talking about Hurricane Irene and what may happen this weekend.

First up, my planned beach weekend to Wildwood, New Jersey with Gary and Larry has been postponed until Sept. 9th - 12th, so I will be in D.C. during the storm.

NHC Hurricane Irene 5-day track issued at 5PM EDT, Aug. 25, 2011, source here. Of note, D.C. itself is under a tropical storm watch

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Secondly, the current forecasted track of Irene -- after marching steadily eastward over several day s-- has moved back to the west and is now on a path that would take it directly up the Eastern Seaboard from a landfall between Cape Fear and Cape Outlook -- and in particular, Topsail Beach and Emerald Isle -- to just off Ocean City, Md./Rehoboth Beach, Del., and then along the Jersey shore (!) with another landfall DIRECTLY OVER New York City or just east of it, and thence north into New England.

The two tropical guidance models -- the GHM and HWRF -- have shown somewhat different paths the 12UTC GFDL Hurricane Model (GHM) showing the storm passing RIGHT OVER D.C.

The GFDL Hurricane Model (GHM) 12UTC 25 Aug. 2011 run showing mean sea-level pressure (MSLP) and 6hr precipitation valid at hour 78 (18UTC 28 Aug. 2011). The GHM shows the center of the low right over D.C.

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However, the most recent runs of the Hurricane Weather Research Forecast (HWRF) model and the main weather operational models -- the GFS and the NAM -- show the track running along the coast.

The 18Z GFS 25 Aug. 2011 showing MSLP and 850mb temps along with 6 hour precipitation valid at hour 60 or 6Z 28 Aug. 2011.

Long story short, Hurricane Irene at the synoptic scale is sandwiched between a ridge over the Western United States and the summertime semi-permanent Bermuda-Azores high, the hurricane will follow an exact track that will be determined by the most minor of shortwave impulses (as shown in the 500mb flow) over Canada.

In terms of strength, the forecast does not call for any significant strengthening but rather to remain about a medium category 3 (that's powerful enough) with top sustained winds of 115 to 120MPH.

The current top sustained wind speed is put at 115MPH (it may be a bit less) and the central pressure is 950mb. Forward motion is NNW at 14MPH. The storm center is presently at 27.0N / 77.3W or 575 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

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The GOES Atlantic Floater 2 image showing Hurricane Irene in visible light at 2215UTC (6:15PM EDT) Aug. 25, 2011.

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A direct strike of a category 3 hurricane on New York City would produce widespread structural damage and catastrophic flooding.  Fortunately, New York City doesn't "occupy" a huge geographic space so a direct hit is unlikely.  I am worried about the extended stretch of the Jersey shore though.

Additional updates will be forthcoming.

--Regulus