For updates on "Isaac" & all of the tropics, go to "Talking the Tropics With Mike" -- click ** here **.
All eyes on "Isaac", of course as the storms exits the Caribbean into or near the Fl. Straits then the Gulf of Mexico. For the First Coast, the primary concern remains heavy rain & flooding potential, isolated tornadoes & rip currents at area beaches. The extent of these threats will depend on exact location, movement, path & strength of the storm. Radar imagery below with the forecast track of "Isaac" superimposed courtesy S. Fl. Water Management District:
Al Sandrik from our Jax N.W.S. & noted local hurricane historian plucked out "David"/1979 as a possible analog for "Isaac" but farther to the west. Click here for a quick NOAA read on "David" (see rainfall/track map below). Another possibility that Al noted was something similar to "Fay" -- slow moving, very heavy rain. It's quite possible that "Isaac" could slow considerably upon landfall which would cause extreme rains where ever the slow-moving storm is located.
Remember that taping windows is of NO VALUE & that it's too late to buy flood insurance now (30 day waiting period). From the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) [click here]:
FLASH® Encourages Families to Go Tapeless This Hurricane Season
New survey results revealed by FLASH at National Hurricane Conference show nearly seven out of 10 homeowners think taping windows helps in hurricanes
ORLANDO, FL (March 27, 2012) -- A survey commissioned by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH®) and conducted online by Harris Interactive during the period of January 25-27, 2012 found that nearly seven out of 10 homeowners still think that windows and glass doors should be taped in preparation for a hurricane. Masking tape, duct tape, window film and specially marketed “hurricane tape” are insufficient and potentially dangerous substitutions for tested and approved hurricane shutters, impact-resistant windows or properly installed temporary, emergency plywood shutters. This is why FLASH is determined to bust the dangerous window taping myth and is encouraging Americans to Go Tapeless this hurricane season as a part of its hurricane preparedness initiative, the Great Hurricane Blowout (Blowout).
Ideal family and home protection follows when all windows and openings (entry doors, garage doors, gable end vents, etc.) are covered with tested and approved impact-resistant coverings or constructed of impact-resistant materials. Even installing plywood shutters can be a reliable temporary option in an emergency. But make no mistake – taping is not adequate to provide hurricane protection.
“Today’s marketplace is full of tested and approved methods and products to protect families and homes from hurricanes,” said FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “Yet just last year, Hurricane Irene provided stark evidence that too many homeowners are clinging to a belief that masking tape on glass is a good preparedness activity. The only thing worse than no hurricane protection is the wrong hurricane protection, and that is why we are launching Go Tapeless all across America today.”
This new element of the Blowout, a first-of-its-kind hurricane preparedness campaign launched by FLASH in 2010 will educate families about the risks of taping up in advance of a storm and provide the necessary resources to help them prepare. By joining the Blowout, families can learn about the best methods to protect their homes and families. They can also pledge to join the ranks of “Tapeless” Americans this hurricane season.
Families can visit ** here ** to learn – before the first storm arrives – how preparedness will allow them to “breathe easy” knowing that they are ready for hurricane season.
The active tropics come at a time notorious for big hurricanes. It was nearly a year ago then "Irene" hit the upper east coast of the U.S. & 20 years ago (Aug. 24th) that powerful Cat. 5 "Andrew" smashed into S. Fl. "Andrew" changed the way Fl. -- especially S. Fl. -- builds homes. And it changed lives forever. I spent some time in the Miami & Homestead area in the spring working on stories about "Andrew, 20 Years Later" -- click here & here to see the stories. Click here for an excellent Miami N.W.S. web article/discussion/video of "Andrew". Images below are courtesy NOAA & AOML.
Earth Gauge: National Dog Day
Get your leashes ready because August 26 is National Dog Day! Dogs across the United States will be heading outside for walks, frisbee catching and dirt digging. While outside, these dogs will also be contributing something to the natural environment – waste! There are over 78 million dog owners in the United States and 28 percent of those owners own two dogs. Waste from pets that is left outside can be washed down storm drains and into local waters when it rains. Bacteria and nutrients from pet waste can degrade water quality and make it unsafe for drinking. Excess nutrients from pet waste can also turn the water in lakes and rivers an unpleasant green from algae growth, which can close swimming, boating and fishing areas.
Tip: Get outside and enjoy the day with your dog, but remember to clean up! Here are some tips on how to dispose of pet waste properly:
· Put the waste in the trash. Pick up pet waste with a bag and make sure it is sealed tightly before throwing it in the trash (if allowed locally).
· Flush the waste down the toilet. Pick up the pet waste with a bag and flush it down the toilet. Make sure you empty the waste out of the bag first – don’t flush the bag!
· Bury the waste in the yard. Dig a hole or a trench about five-inches deep. Keep pet waste away from vegetable gardens, drinking water sources and wells.
(Source: U.S. EPA, “Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution”; Think Blue Maine, “Pet Waste”; The Humane Society of the United States, “U.S. Pet Ownership Statistics”.)
The photo below is our (Buresh's) new pup, Opie. Cute dog but hard to replace our beloved Butch (click here).
Climate Fact: United States 2012 Drought
Link - click here.
In Brief: Drought is a cycle largely driven by changes in long term averages of sea surface temperatures in remote locations around the world. Dust can amplify this cycle.
As of August 14, 2012, 61.77 percent of the contiguous United States was under drought conditions, a slight decline from the record 63.9 percent set on July 24. During July, the percent of the country in extreme to exceptional drought conditions more than doubled. The epicenter of the drought is in the southern Midwest and southern Great Plains regions, where months of record breaking heat beginning in March and below normal spring precipitation created these record drought conditions. What are the fundamental drivers of drought?
1. Drought is a “vicious,” self-reinforcing cycle. Much of the summertime rainfall in the Midwest and Great Plains is convective “recycled” rainfall that originates from evaporated soil moisture. Drier soils at the beginning of summer make precipitation less likely. The lack of water in the soil also means that the soils absorb heat and warm more quickly, helping to wring yet more moisture out of the soils. For more examples of “vicious” or amplifying feedback loops, visit Climate Concepts: Analogies and Useful Descriptions: click here.
2. North America is sensitive to drought induced by “top-down,” large-scale sea surface temperature (SST) Patterns. A warm tropical North Atlantic weakens the North Atlantic Subtropical High (NASH) over the Gulf of Mexico and the Southeast United States, allowing drier northerly and southwesterly winds to blow into the Great Plains region, limiting warm season precipitation. North American precipitation is strongly influenced by the eastern tropical Pacific. Cool (La Niña) conditions there during the spring of 1988 supported an upper-air high pressure system that sat for weeks over the Midwest, causing lack of rainfall. Midwest summertime rainfall in 1988, which is in large part recycled spring rainfall, was almost non-existent, leading to a major drought. For a map of the optimal tropical sea surface temperature anomalies for drought in corresponding regions in North America, visit here.
3. “Bottom-up” local conditions can reinforce drought. An initial drying of a region caused by sea surface temperature shifts can dry soil to the point where large amounts of dust are lifted aloft. This dust can block sunlight and reduce surface heating and associated convection, reducing rainfall and exacerbating the dry conditions. This is likely the mechanism that drove the “Dust Bowl” of the 1930s.
(Sources: Svoboda, M et al. “Drought Reinforcing Drought in the U.S. Southern Plains.” ClimateWatch 16 August 2012. Accessed Online 19 August 2012 and NOAA: State of the Climate. Accessed Online 19 August 2012 and Cook, BI et al. “Forced and unforced variability of twentieth century North American droughts and pluvials.” Climate Dynamics 37 (2011): doi:10.1007/s00382-010-0897-9 and Feng, S et al. ”Influence of Atlantic sea surface temperature on persistent drought in North America.” Climate Dynamics 37 (2011): 569-586 and Shin, S et al. “Optimal Tropical Sea Surface Temperature Forcing of North American Drought.” Journal of Climate 23 (2010): 3907-3917)
Climate in the News: “Massachusetts Butterflies Move North as Climate Warms” – ScienceDaily, August 19, 2012.
Trip accounts from the Massachusetts Butterfly Club show an increasing presence of butterflies in the state that were formerly restricted to areas further south.
Have a great & safe weekend & stay tuned to the weather(!).