Friday, September 29, 2017

(Belated) Overview of the Humanitarian Disaster in Puerto Rico Following Hurricane Maria; This Friday Evening General and Weather Updates

A mother holds her baby while surveying the destruction from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.


Friday evening.

Before I start my weekend, I just need to note the situation in Puerto Rico.

For starters, I know I've been remiss in not having discussed the horrendous humanitarian disaster underway in Puerto Rico as a result of the devastation from Hurricane Maria -- which struck the island nine days ago on September 20th at a category 4 hurricane, knocking out the power grid of much of the island, not to mention nearly the entire cellular and telecommunications networks. Here is an article on the communications situation on Puerto Rico.

Daily News front page, September 27, 2017


Much of the island lacks running / drinking water and is relying on bottled water. Fuel supplies and even cash are running low. There are woefully insufficient numbers of generators and the renewable resources on the island are useless at this point.

Huge numbers of cargo container ships carrying food, medicine, and other relief supplies have had trouble getting into San Juan's port, and there was that whole Jones Act bullshit.

Residents survey through flooded streets the general destruction in Juana Matos, Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.


There is a lot of suffering and many among the island's 3.4 million people are practically homeless. While the official death toll earlier this week was put at 16, it is certainly much greater than that -- and going to go even higher as the sick and elderly succumb to these dire conditions.

Scene at blacked out San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín Airport in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.


The situation at San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín Airport is like a chaotic refugee camp with thousands of people desperately trying to get off the island (many to return to the mainland) -- even while many residents who were off the island are trying to return.

A man surveys the destroyed homes in the La Perla neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.


The federal government's response has been iffy and taken too long, and not just because lunatic Donald Trump occupies the office of President of the United States -- but it is beginning to ramp up in a more meaningful way. The response -- not to mention media coverage -- was much more robust with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma that struck Texas and Florida, respectively.

Until yesterday, American media coverage of Maria's impact on Puerto Rico had been considerably less than comparable coverage of the impacts of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

People cluster around an intact cellular tower in Dorado, Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.


As for the Vulgar Talking Yam, he made some narcissistically delusional noises about how well things are going in Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, his Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke called the response "a good news story" -- an assertion that prompted a this bitter, heartfelt response by the mayor of San Juan.

This stupid response followed his last weekend unending us-versus-them tribal wars-inflaming Twitter tantrum with the NFL during which he only mentioned the situation in Puerto Rico to imply it was the island's fault (something about the island's massive debt -- something he knows a lot about).

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz hugs an elderly woman in a nursing home, Sept. 22, 2017.


It is going to take months for power to be fully restored to Puerto Rico -- and years for a full clean up. Contributing to this inexcusable timetable is the morally diseased and dystopian political situation here in the United States isn't going to help matters as crazed teabaggers and the Roy Moore fundie-fascist sorts in the House and Senate make the Republican Party even loonier and less able to govern).

Two NOAA satellite views of Puerto Rico at night: One taken July 24, 2017 and the other on Sept. 24, 2017 in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.


It is also important to note that Hurricane Maria -- which struck as a category 4 hurricane on the morning of Sept. 22nd -- causing ecological destruction on the island including denuding much of the El Yunque National Forest. As this CWG states:

Across the 28,434-acre El Yunque National Forest, ferns and palms have been stripped of their fronds, and hardwood trees snapped in half like twigs. What was once a blanket of emerald green draped across the mountainous landscape is now a brown pile of detritus. "El Yunque National Forest will remain closed until further notice," the Forest Service's website says.

The Luquillo Mountains -- which are contained within El Yunque National Forest -- are scene badly denuded of their tropical jungle cover as a result of Hurricane Maria, Sept. 2017; Omar Gutiérrez del Arroyo Santiago/


As a brief update ...

I'm closing out a work week in which I have been suffering some gastro-digestive issues, not to mention what has sometimes felt like a mild flu. As I mentioned, I scheduled a previously-recommended endoscopy procedure at Georgetown University Hospital next Friday. I also mentioned how shitty is my insurance on this or any matter.

For next week, based upon some things here at work including my supervisor going out on maternity leave, I will not be able to work from home in the morning hours, so I need to corral my unorthodox schedule back to something approximating a normal 9 to 5 -- or at least 10 to 6 -- one.

For this weekend, I am planning on going to the gym tomorrow and then, tomorrow evening, doing laundry and posting a blog entry tomorrow night, specifically, the one I started a couple nights ago but never completed.

However, I don't think I'll be able to post a Jukebox Saturday Night entry. I don't really have any songs queued up for an entry. I'll try to get back on schedule with that next week.

For Sunday, it's my free day, although they just aren't working out the way I had hoped. I don't know what to do. I suppose I should get some hobby and join some group.

Local Weather Update ...

The weather remains dry, dry, dry, although temps are more comfortable with highs to include 75F at KDCA, 73F at KBWI, 72F at KIAD, and 74F at KDMH.

Dew points were low today, too, in the 43F to 47F range. Tonight could actually be a bit cool.

September will end the month well below on precipitation (I'll post that when the month is over). Of note, year-to-date, we're still above normal at the three main climate stations:

KDCA: 31.08" +1.09" (normal YTD: 29.99")
KBWI: 32.19" +0.45" (normal YTD: 31.74")
KDMH: 34.75" +2.97" (normal YTD: 31.78")

In the case of KDMH, it does not have a full 30-year climate record as of yet but so far for the year it is at 29.94" or -1.37" from the partial annual average of 31.31".

No rain is forthcoming for at least the next 10 days and, instead, a fall heatwave is expected in about a week or so. I hate the weather here.

The dry weather is probably going to make the autumnal display shitty and dull this year (just like last year when we had a dry fall).

OK, that's all for now. My next planned entry will be tomorrow night.


No comments: