Beach nourishment projects will restore shorelines but require expensive upkeep and affect ecosystems; federal taxpayers will foot the bill.
Posts tagged hurricanes.
New survey from the Center for Climate Change Communication: Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind.
- About six in ten Americans (58%) say “global warming is affecting weather in the United States.”
- Many Americans believe global warming made recent extreme weather and climatic events “more severe,” specifically: 2012 as the warmest year on record in the United States (50%); the ongoing drought in the Midwest and the Great Plains (49%); Superstorm Sandy (46%); and Superstorm Nemo (42%).
- About two out of three Americans say weather in the U.S. has been worse over the past several years, up 12 percentage points since Spring 2012. By contrast, fewer Americans say weather has been getting better over the past several years - only one in ten (11%), down 16 points compared to a year ago.
- Overall, 85 percent of Americans report that they experienced one or more types of extreme weather in the past year, most often citing extreme high winds (60%) or an extreme heat wave (51%).
- Of those Americans who experienced extreme weather events in the past year, many say they were significantly harmed. Moreover, the number who have been harmed appears to be growing (up 5 percentage points since Fall 2012 and 4 points since Spring 2012).
- Over half of Americans (54%) believe it is “very” or “somewhat likely” that extreme weather will cause a natural disaster in their community in the coming year.
- Americans who experienced an extreme weather event are most likely to have communicated about it person-to-person - either in person (89%) or on the phone (84%).
Rodents of Unusual Size is a new documentary on an invasive rodent called Nutria. Nutria’s grow to about 20 pounds(!) and are destroying critical wetlands in Louisiana. Click above to learn more.
Vicious, invasive gallinipper mosquitoes are coming to eat you. They were brought to America by tropical storms, which deposited eggs in Florida. (Can’t wait for the headlines out of Florida this summer.)
Super-sized mosquitoes as big as quarters which can bite through clothing are headed to Florida ‘in large numbers’ this summerMega-mosquitoes which are the size of quarters are expected to take over areas of Florida ‘in large numbers’ this summer, scientists have warned. The hurricanes of last year brought large numbers of the insects to the Central and South Florida area which laid dormant eggs in the soil near ponds and streams. Now scientists are predicting heavy rainfall will come again and cause the eggs to hatch, releasing the super-sized bugs in large numbers.
The special breed of the nuisance bug, which can be 20 times bigger than common menacing Asian tiger mosquitoes, are described as ‘notoriously aggressive’. They were handed the perfect breeding ground by last year’s tropical storms, according to scientists at the University of Florida, so are coming to a town near you.
Psorophora ciliata, or Gallinipper mosquitoes as they are commonly known, have half inch long bodies and the same black-white color pattern of the more common Asian Tiger Mosquito with a wingspan of 6-7 millimeters.
They have a ‘Persistent biting behavior’ and their bite is much more painful. ‘The bite really hurts, I can attest to that,’ said Kaufman. They can also bite through light material, and like other mosquitoes only the females bite, the males Gallinippers feed on flower nectar. They also feed on other mosquito larvae and even tadpoles and are most active at dusk and dawn.
The Senate Monday night passed a $50.5 billion emergency spending bill to aid people in New York and New Jersey who are trying to rebuild their homes and businesses after last October’s devastation from super-storm Sandy.
Houses of Worship Seeking FEMA Grants Face Constitutional Barrier.
Hurricane Sandy flooded and battered St. George Malankara Orthodox Church of India in New Dorp, Staten Island, ruining its basement, windows and doors. Yet, when its vicar contacted the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ask for a grant to help with the estimated $150,000 rebuilding cost, he said he got a clear answer: No.
“FEMA said that they considered the church a business, so they offered us a loan,” the Rev. Alex K. Joy said in an interview about a month after the storm. “But we don’t want a loan. We have 400 members, 90 families. In this situation, we need some assistance.”
A broad range of private nonprofit organizations qualify for federal disaster assistance grants, including zoos, museums, performing arts centers and libraries. Houses of worship, however, are not on the list, even though in recent years the federal government has ruled that some religiously affiliated institutions like schools and hospitals can get grants.
An effort is under way to change that, led by several Jewish organizations, including the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the American Jewish Committee. Last month, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, introduced an amendment to the multibillion-dollar Hurricane Sandy recovery appropriations bill that would explicitly place houses of worship on the list of qualified organizations. But because of an unrelated bipartisan deal meant to ease the bill’s passage, that amendment was locked out of consideration.
Mr. Lieberman’s tenure in the Senate ended this week, but Nathan Diament, the executive director of public policy for the Institute for Public Affairs at the Orthodox Union, said he was continuing to work with other lawmakers to add the amendment to the bill before it came again before Congress.
“Houses of worship should not be discriminated against and excluded from getting assistance on the same terms as other eligible nonprofits,” he said.
Mr. Diament has also been meeting with officials from the Homeland Security Department and other federal agencies to see if the change can be made without legislative action. FEMA regulations are silent on the matter of houses of worship, so a bureaucratic decision may be all that is required, he added.
Yet the issue is controversial, because the constitutional separation of church and state generally bans the use of tax money to build religious institutions. Dena Sher, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the organization had “serious concerns” about the effort to change the policy and was monitoring the situation.
“To rebuild houses of worship is a form of compelled support for religion, which is exactly what the First Amendment is designed to protect against,” Ms. Sher said. “We understand and identify with the serious difficulties everyone is facing, but we can’t let this misfortune be used as a premise to erode these bedrock principles.”
I should also note, the very interesting and oft-forgotten Treaty of Tripoli, signed in 1797 between the US and several Muslim countries that had for centuries routinely pirated the Mediterranean. The U.S. ratified the treaty, stating in Article 11:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
A lot has changed since then with respect to the intent of separation of church and state. Several federal laws have been enacted that specifically favor religious institutions over other institutions (see RLUIPA, for one mind-blowing example).
These federal laws are burdensome to local communities, and are actively being litigated. They provide religious organizations wide latitude to build church-related buildings on any plot of land in the U.S. regardless of local law (in sum). It’s much more complicated than this, and not suitable for a tumblr post.
So, while cities and towns regulate their land uses in nearly every respect, religious organizations are ostensibly immune from local regulations, such as zoning and some local environmental regulations.
So the question of federal funds is interesting: Should federal funds be used to bail out religious institutions above other non-profits? Why wouldn’t these organizations look to the free market or local communities they serve? It is very interesting to think that FEMA could be forced to reconcile the intent of the founders and the clear meaning of the Constitution with modern day political whims.
Now listening. It’s shorter than I hoped, but so far so good!
Given the higher sea levels in the future, even if storms remain exactly the same, we’re going to get more frequent flooding events, maybe three times as many coastal flood events by the end of the century, just by virtue of having average sea levels be higher.
What is a storm surge, and why does it matter? NOAA has a handy guide:
STORM SURGE OVERVIEW
- Storm Surge vs. Storm Tide
- Factors Impacting Surge
- Notable Surge Events
- Surge Vulnerability Facts
Along the coast, storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. In the past, large death tolls have resulted from the rise of the ocean associated with many of the major hurricanes that have made landfall. Hurricane Katrina (2005) is a prime example of the damage and devastation that can be caused by surge. At least 1500 persons lost their lives during Katrina and many of those deaths occurred directly, or indirectly, as a result of storm surge.
Storm Surge vs. Storm Tide
Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tides. Storm surge should not be confused with storm tide, which is defined as the water level rise due to the combination of storm surge and the astronomical tide. This rise in water level can cause extreme flooding in coastal areas particularly when storm surge coincides with normal high tide, resulting in storm tides reaching up to 20 feet or more in some cases.
Surge Vulnerability Facts
- From 1990-2008, population density increased by 32% in Gulf coastal counties, 17% in Atlantic coastal counties, and 16% in Hawaii
- Much of the United States’ densely populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less than 10 feet above mean sea level
- Over half of the Nation’s economic productivity is located within coastal zones
- 72% of ports, 27% of major roads, and 9% of rail lines within the Gulf Coast region are at or below 4 ft elevation
- A storm surge of 23 ft has the ability to inundate 67% of interstates, 57% of arterials, almost half of rail miles, 29 airports, and virtually all ports in the Gulf Coast area
Sandy’s massive wind field
Wow! Whoa! Wow! Whoa! Buuutttt, can it survive a hurricane? What about sea level rise? Storm surge? High winds? Lightning strikes? Those look like some flimsy trusses to me…
Wowowowowowowow GET EXCITED PEOPLE!!!The already magical Staten Island Ferry is gonna be approximately
101000 times more rad in early 2016.
The New York Wheel will be 625 feet tall (the London Eye is only 443 feet tall) and the Designer outlet shopping center will have 100 stores. THIS IS GONNA BE GREAT!!!
This should read: “Foreign oil companies operating freely and nearly tax free on U.S. public lands evacuate oil rigs”. But, what the hell do I know about copy…
“Energy companies pull staff from Isaac’s path
BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell said Friday they’re starting to evacuate staff from the Gulf of Mexico as Tropical Storm Isaac’s projected path shifted west into a prime area for U.S. oil and gas production.
While Isaac remains a tropical storm for now as it skirts Haiti and heads for Cuba, it could strengthen into a hurricane as it moves back into the Gulf of Mexico.
BP PLC BP -0.14% UK:BP -0.20% said it’s evacuating all workers from its Thunder Horse platform in the Mississippi Canyon of the eastern Gulf and will temporarily suspend oil and gas production there. The platform has a production capacity of 250,000 barrels a day.
BP is also evacuating nonessential personnel from offshore facilities in its Na Kika, Horn Mountain and Marlin platforms.
Via Market Watch
OMG, this video is so weeiirrrddd and awesome. Shark liver oil to predict hurricanes? You bet!
Learn about what happens to wildlife during the tropical season.