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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tropical Atlantic Quiet Now, But Not for Long



      By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist

      The tropical Atlantic remains quiet in the wake of Tropical Storm Bonnie from late last week. However, odds favor this quiet period will not last long.
The period during the second half of July is typically a quiet period.
As a large ridge builds at most levels of the atmosphere over the northern Atlantic and extends along the eastern U.S. seaboard, the tropical activity in the Atlantic notoriously ramps up at a marked pace during August.
While normal high temperatures are at their peak and actually begin to decline in August in the Northern Hemisphere, the oceans continue to absorb heat through much of the month.
While it is rare to have a tropical storm or hurricane churning waters in the nearby Atlantic or Gulf over the Independence Day holiday, it is rare not to have a tropical cyclone threatening nearby waters or U.S. coastline during the Labor Day weekend.
Things will soon change for the worse in the tropical Atlantic and we are likely to have multiple named systems in existence at the same time on one or more occasions this season according to AccuWeather.com Hurricane Expert Joe Bastardi.
Thus far we have only had two named tropical systems in the Atlantic. However, this is just the calm before the storm.

The Effects of a Hurricane - Can they be stopped?

Current Situation:

With the loss of more that 70,000 lives worldwide in the last century and an estimated 5.5 trillion dollars’ worth of at-risk property in the U.S. in 2005, hurricanes pose one of the greatest natural threats to human life and property today.

Since 1995 the Atlantic has been producing powerful hurricanes at a hyperactive pace, doubling that of the previous quarter century.  Why?  A recent study using the latest computer climate models shows warming of the tropical sea surface has, and will continue to, strengthen hurricanes.

A hurricane is essentially an engine that runs on heat.  The warmer the sea-surface (it must be at lease 80°F for a hurricane to start) the stronger a hurricane can become.

The difference between a major and minor hurricane season is a very small difference in sea-surface temperature, often less than one or two degrees.

With all of this said, this blog is based on the premace that you cannot prevent hurriicanes, and that at best you need to stay out of their way. For all practical means, this is the truth.

But what if there actually is a way to help prevent hurricanes.How could this be done? In a process called 'Thermal Underwater Buoyancy Exchange' an apparatus will provide a method for reducing the sea-surface water temperature with the intention or preventing hurricane development. The (TUBE) will pump very large volumes of surface water to a predetermined ocean depth, often several hundred feet below the ocean surface thereby creating a lava lamp effect (large balloons) of warm water to rise to the surface, bringing with it large volumes of cooler water. The (TUBE) will be equipped with remotely controllable propulsion equipment and a global positioning system (GPS) allowing each unit to roam a predetermined area of the ocean.

More information regarding the inventor and details of the invention can be found at http://preventhurricanes.com.
....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tropical Depression Bonnie fizzles out - Workers return to the BP Oil Site.

Relief set in to the residents along the Gulf coast, as tropical depression Bonnie has dissipated without causing any damage to the coastline. No oil related issues were a result of Tropical Depression Bonnie. The coast was spared, but still, the heart of the hurricane season is just around the corner. August is usually a very busy month for tropical weather activity. Workers want to desperately have the relief well drilled so that mud and cement can be forced into the pipe and the oil will be pushed back into the reservoir. The well workers have already returned to the BP oil well work site on one of three boats, namely the 'Development Driller III, Discoverer Enterprise and DDII, while workers will desperately try to finally tap the failed oil pipe before the next wave a storms reach the Gulf.
So why did Bonnie never gain strength? The main reason why is because there was a strong upper level low, and this upper level low prevented the storm below to form. It was the perfect scenario if a hurricane enters the Gulf in this critical time.
Storms in the early months of the hurricane season for some reason do not form off the coast of Africa, rather than in the Caribbean or Pacific. But soon, they will start to form off the east coast of Africa, and thus the storms will have time to gain strength before making landfall in the United States.  

Tropical Depression Boonie over Oil Slick in Gulf - Minimal Effect

Bonnie is overspreading the oil slick area as it approaches southeastern Louisiana. However, Bonnie remains weak and its impacts on residents and the oil slick area will be minimal.
At 10:30 a.m. EDT, Bonnie was centered about 155 miles southwest of Apalachicola, Fla., and 165 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Bonnie was a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds barely at 30 mph. The system is racing to the west-northwest at 17 mph.
Bonnie will continue on a general west-northwest motion, pushing through the oil slick area today before making landfall tonight in southeastern Louisiana. The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center expects Bonnie to come onshore not far to the southeast of New Orleans.
Despite Bonnie's approach, residents of southeastern Louisiana should not panic. Bonnie is a weak system and will remain that way.

Further evidence that Bonnie is not a powerful tropical system, its pressure is actually higher than the storm that triggered major flooding in Chicago.
Strong southeasterly winds high in the atmosphere, also known as wind shear, are hindering Bonnie's ability to intensify. Bonnie will not only fail to strengthen back into a tropical storm, but will further weaken into a tropical rainstorm.
The weak nature of Bonnie will keep its impacts minimal on the oil slick area and central Gulf Coast. The greatest effect that residents will notice will be an increase in shower and thunderstorm activity.
Bonnie's showers and thunderstorms are already overspreading the oil slick area. Shower and thunderstorm activity is also increasing over the central Gulf Coast. The strong wind shear has displaced the unsettled weather to the northwest of Bonnie's center.


Enough moisture is present that some downpours will be produced. Flash flooding issues could ensue, but any problems would be on the localized level.
Within these thunderstorms is where Bonnie will produce its strongest wind gusts, which could reach minimal tropical storm-force.
Bonnie will also cause waves to increase in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico today. Waves could build as high as eight feet, mainly in gusty thunderstorms.
The weak nature of Bonnie will yield a minimal storm surge from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.
Once over land, Bonnie will further weaken on Sunday. Drenching showers and thunderstorms will still threaten to put a damper on outdoor activities over the lower Mississippi Valley.

Typhoon Chanthu barrels through Hong Kong - Worst Flooding in 30 Years

Hong Kong - Typhoon Chanthu, reported to be one of the worst storms to strike Hong Kong in 30 years, flooded 3,000 homes yesterday and is now moving across southeast China. At least one person was killed in the flooding.
Torrential rains slammed Hong Kong yesterday, washing away a man and flooding villages, just a couple of hours after the Hong Kong Observatory lifted warnings for tropical storm Chanthu.
The intense, heavy rain system struck dozens of villages in Tai Pom which caused flooding in over 3000 homes and resulted in at least one death. Rescue workers came to assist the thousands of families who had been trapped by flood waters for hours.
Motorists and workers were caught by surprise in the raging torrent, (additional video footage) which caused traffic to come to a standstill throughout the city.
A Government Flying Service helicopter was called in to assist the search following reports that a person had been swept away, in what is said to be the worst flooding in 30 years. Residents raced for high ground until the storm had passed.
The Hong Kong Observatory first issued an amber warning yesterday afternoon but then shifted to the red and black warning signals. All rainstorm signals were lowered at 9pm.
The four-lane Choi Hung Road's Sun Po Kong (shown in the pictures and this video) section was closed for 1 1/2 hours from 6.30pm. Bus passengers were trapped by the meter-deep floodwater and police and fire department rescue teams were called in to assist.
Typhoon Chanthu landed on the western coast of Guangdong at 2pm yesterday. Meteorologists at the Observatory expect Chanthu to move northwest at about 14 kilometers per hour and weaken gradually.
More rain is expected in Hong Kong over the weekend. Chanthu is bearing down on China today with even more heavy rains, flood damage as well as danger of loss of life anticipated by police and fire rescue teams throughout this region.

Tropical Depression Bonnie - loosing strength

Tropical Storm Bonnie is now entering the Gulf of Mexico and it appears as if the storm is actually breaking up. The path of the storm will take it directly through the heart of the oil slick and into New Orleans. But it is now predicted that the organization of the storm because of high level winds will prevent Bonnie from gathering strength. This news is extremely good news to the residents along the Gulf Coast. Meanwhile, the heart of the storm has just passed through the southern most tip of Florida, and the most that was felt were winds ranging up to 25 MPH. An updated report will come here midday on Saturday.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Typhoon Chanthu Hits South China


According to catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide, Typhoon Chanthu slammed into southern China near Wuchuan City in Guangdong Province on Thursday, "further drenching a region already inundated by a month of heavy rain and extensive flooding.
"Chanthu's winds were estimated to be about 126 kilometers per hour (about 80 miles per hour) at landfall, which would make it a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Chanthu is the third typhoon of the Pacific season."
AIR said the storm weakened rapidly over land and within a few hours was downgraded to a tropical storm. It is expected to weaken further to below tropical storm status within the next six to twelve hours—and to dissipate within 24 hours.
"Currently, Chanthu is tracking northwestward along the southwestern periphery of a deep subtropical ridge coming out of eastern China," explained Dr. Peter Sousounis, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide. "Chanthu will continue to generate about 10-20 centimeters (four to eight inches) of rain along its path. While not an unusually heavy amount in itself, the rain is falling over a part of southern China that is already saturated with precipitation from earlier in the season."
AIR also noted that-, as Chanthu moves inland, "officials express concern for the region along the Yangtze River, which has experienced its worst flooding in 30 years. The water level of the Yangtze already is over its safety limit. Floodgates of the Three Gorges Dam have been opened in an attempt to control the flow of water"
In 2006, Typhoon Bilis made landfall in Fujian province to the north, but then moved south and west into the region where Chanthu is now. Typhoon Bilis lasted for five days—the longest lifetime for a typhoon ever recorded—and caused widespread flooding and landslides in the region that amounted to economic losses estimated at RMB 27 billion [$3.98 billion]. However, economic damage from the floods this year (to which Typhoon Chanthu is now adding) are estimated at RMB 142 billion [$21 billion], already more than five times greater than the losses caused by Bilis.

TROPICAL STORM WATCH - BONNIE AIMING AT FLORIDA



Issued At: Friday, 23 Jul 2010, 4:31 AM CDT
Expires At: Saturday, 24 Jul 2010, 4:45 AM CDT
...TROPICAL STORM WATCH NOW IN EFFECT FOR COASTAL ALABAMA AND THE WESTERN FLORIDA PANHANDLE... .AREAS AFFECTED... THIS LOCAL STATEMENT PROVIDES IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND RECOMMENDED ACTIONS FOR PEOPLE AND MARINE INTERESTS IN THE COASTAL COUNTIES OF SOUTHWEST ALABAMA...THE WESTERN FLORIDA PANHANDLE AND GULF COASTAL WATERS FROM DESTIN TO PASCAGOULA OUT 60 NM. .WATCHES/WARNINGS... A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS... UPPER MOBILE...UPPER BALDWIN...LOWER MOBILE...LOWER BALDWIN... INLAND ESCAMBIA...COASTAL ESCAMBIA...INLAND SANTA ROSA...COASTAL SANTA ROSA...INLAND OKALOOSA AND COASTAL OKALOOSA. FOR MARINE INTERESTS...A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF GULF COASTAL WATERS FROM DESTIN TO PASCAGOULA OUT 60 NM. .STORM INFORMATION... AT 4 AM CDT...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM BONNIE WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 24.1N...LONGITUDE 78.6W. THIS WAS ABOUT 740 MILES SOUTHEAST OF MOBILE AL...OR ABOUT 680 MILES SOUTHEAST OF PENSACOLA FL. BONNIE WAS MOVING TO THE WEST NORTHWEST AT 18 MPH...WITH MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR 40 MPH. .SITUATION OVERVIEW... TROPICAL STORM BONNIE WILL MOVE ACROSS SOUTH FLORIDA TODAY AND THEN INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO TONIGHT. BONNIE IS FORECAST TO REMAIN A TROPICAL STORM AS IT MOVES WEST NORTHWEST ACROSS THE GULF OF MEXICO...APPROACHING THE SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA COAST LATE SATURDAY NIGHT OR EARLY SUNDAY MORNING. EAST TO SOUTHEAST WINDS ALONG THE ALABAMA...NORTHWEST FLORIDA GULF COASTS WILL INCREASE SATURDAY INTO SUNDAY AS BONNIE APPROACHES FROM THE SOUTHEAST. ROUGH SURF AND DANGEROUS RIP CURRENTS CAN BE EXPECTED BY SATURDAY ALONG THE ALABAMA...NORTHWEST FLORIDA BEACHES...WITH TIDES RISING ABOVE NORMAL AND AN INCREASED RISK FOR COASTAL FLOODING EXPECTED BY LATE SATURDAY. .PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... .NEXT UPDATE... THE NEXT LOCAL STATEMENT WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MOBILE SHORTLY. IT WILL PROVIDE IMPORTANT DETAILS REGARDING THE EVOLVING TROPICAL CYCLONE THREATS AND THEIR POTENTIAL IMPACTS UPON THE AREA. ...TROPICAL STORM WATCH IN EFFECT... ...NEW INFORMATION... A TROPICAL STORM WATCH HAS NOW BEEN ISSUED. A MORE DETAILED STATEMENT WILL FOLLOW SHORTLY.

Tropical Storm Bonnie moving toward oil spill


NASSAU, Bahamas – Tropical Storm Bonnie steamed through the central Bahamas and was approaching the Florida Keys on Friday along a course that is expected to cross over the site of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.



Rain and lightning raked the low-lying Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas on Thursday, and forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm could reach the Gulf of Mexico by Saturday.
Early Friday, Bonnie had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph), and was centered about 155 miles (250 kilometers) southeast of Miami.
The center of Bonnie was expected to pass near or over the Florida Keys later Friday and part of the southern Florida peninsula. U.S. forecasters said slow strengthening of the storm was possible during the next 48 hours.
Capt. Stephen Russell, director of the Bahamian National Emergency Management Agency, said there were no reports of major damage, flooding or injuries on islands in the southeastern and central Bahamas already passed by the storm. The storm wasn't yet clear of the most heavily populated islands in the northeast, including New Providence and Grand Bahama.
"We are advising everyone to remain vigilant throughout the night and early morning when the storm exits the Bahamas," Russell said.
A broken oil well has spewed somewhere between 94 million and 184 million gallons into the Gulf before a cap could be attached. The crisis — the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history — unfolded after the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.
Some experts worry the hurricane season could worsen environmental damage from the spill, with powerful winds and large waves pushing oil deeper into estuaries and wetlands and also depositing more of the pungent, sticky mess on beaches.

As the storm advanced Thursday, people stocked up on water and food in the southern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, island chains that are well-accustomed to rough weather. Many businesses remained open, but schools were already closed for the summer.

Tropical Storm Bonnie


MIAMI (Reuters) – A tropical storm formed near the Bahamas on Thursday on a track that could take it over BP's oil spill site in the Gulf of Mexico.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tropical Storm Bonnie, the second named storm of the  2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season , was packing maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour.
Weather models project the storm will skirt south of Florida and swirl northwest across the oil-rich central Gulf of Mexico, near where BP is cleaning up its massive oil spill, before hitting the Louisiana or Texas coasts.
Forecasters say this year's hurricane season could be the worst since 2005, when Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma caused havoc in the Gulf Coast, damaging oil rigs and refineries and forcing sharp cuts in production.
Katrina was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history when in flooded New Orleans, as well as one of the country's deadliest hurricanes.
The hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 and often affects the Gulf of Mexico, home to about 30 percent of U.S. Oil Production, 11 percent of natural gas production, and more than 43 percent of U.S. refinery capacity.
Hurricane Alex, the season's first hurricane, drenched the Texas-Mexico border on April 1 as it made landfall as a Category 2 storm, spawning tornadoes and flooding towns, but it spared U.S. oil wells.
(Reporting by Tom Brown, Editing by Philip Barbara).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

China flooding toll tops 1,000 people dead


Thursday, July 22, 2010


MORE than 1,000 people have died or disappeared in severe flooding in China so far this year, and the heaviest rains are still to come, a senior official warned yesterday.

This year’s floods, which have caused tens of billions of pounds in damage already, have exacted the highest death toll since 1998, which saw the highest water levels in 50 years. 


With the typhoon season rolling in, Liu Ning, general secretary of the government’s flood prevention agency, said authorities must ramp up preparations.

"Since 60% to 80% of the annual rain level occurs in June, July and August, we should be prepared to prevent and combat potential disasters," Liu said.

Tropical storm Chanthu is expected to hit China’s southern island of Hainan and Guangdong province this weekend.

Six to eight typhoons are expected this year.
Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/world/kfcwojqleysn/rss2/#ixzz0uPhyTwit

CHINA braced for Typhoon Chanthu - Category 1


Southern China is set to be hit by its second typhoon inside a week.
Typhoon Chanthu was upgraded from a tropical storm on Wednesday after gathering strength over the South China sea.
Officials say downpours could worsen already-flooded areas and trigger landslides.
Five provinces are expected to be hit including Guangdong and the island of Hainan.
Flooding in China, the country’s worst for a decade, has killed more than 700 people this year, while 347 are still missing.
Fears have been raised of a repeat of the 1998 Yangtze river floods in which 4,000 died.
But Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao insists his government is well-prepared to avert another mass disaster of that scale.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tropical storm Chanthu

 Jul 2010 13:15:00 GMT
Source: Tropical Storm Risk
Mark Saunders
Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.


Tropical storm Chanthu is forecast to strike China at about 00:00 GMT on 22 July. Data supplied by the US Navy and Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Center suggest that the point of landfall will be near 20.3 N, 111.5 E. Chanthu is expected to bring 1-minute maximum sustained winds to the region of around 101 km/h (63 mph). Wind gusts in the area may be considerably higher.


The information above is provided for guidance only and should not be used to make life or death decisions or decisions relating to property. Anyone in the region who is concerned for their personal safety or property should contact their official national weather agency or warning centre for advice.
This alert is provided by Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) which is sponsored by Benfield, Royal & SunAlliance, Crawford & Company and University College London (UCL). TSR acknowledges the support of the UK Met Office.


Nassau, Miami, Melbourne, Orlando in Path of Tropical System (Invest97L)

By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist
Jul 21, 2010; 11:40 AM ET



Nassau, Miami, Key West, Orlando,Melbourne and Tampa will be affected by a tropical system in the coming days.
A weak tropical system cruising through waters between the Greater Antilles and theBahamas this week will soon spread squalls, beneficial rain and stormy conditions to Florida.
The system, currently a tropical wave, was fighting wind shear to the north and the large land mass of Hispaniola at midweek. Continuing wind shear, Cuba and eventually the Florida Peninsula will work to keep the system weak through Friday. However, this is not to say there cannot be locally damaging thunderstorms and torrential rain in some of these same areas.
The system has the potential to bring squalls, or bands and clusters of thunderstorms, sweeping through the Florida Peninsula, the Keys and Bahamas in the coming days. While the storms will bring beneficial rain to many of these places, there can be flooding and damaging wind gusts at the local level.
Where the squalls hit, there can be several inches of rain in an hour's time, along with 50-mph wind gusts (tropical storm force).
The leading edge of the squalls will roll northwestward through the Bahamas tonight, reaching Nassau Thursday, Miami and West Palm Beach Thursday evening, Melbourne and Key West Thursday night, then Orlando, Ft. Myers and Tampa Friday.
The squalls can disrupt outdoor plans, ground and air travel, and will pose dangers to small ocean-going vessels. Waves may become rough and dangerous for bathers at areabeaches.
The system is likely to remain relatively weak through its life cycle. However, it will have a couple of windows, barring too much interaction with land, to become a depression or tropical storm.
While there is the risk of a sudden pulse with this system the next few days, it will have to be watched as to how it negotiates the warm waters before and after reaching the Florida Peninsula.
Computer models take the system on a general northwest path over the Florida Peninsula and then the warm western Gulf of Mexico over the next 3 to 5 days.
A broad area of disturbed weather will trail this feature, potentially causing downpours, squalls and stormy conditions from Puerto Rico to Cuba, Florida and the eastern Gulf of Mexico through next week.

Invest 97L Now Organizing and may be upgraded today

Yesterday, a very strong tropical wave was being tracked just north of Hispaniola. It is producing very heavy thunderstorms and showers and appears to be better organized from yesterday. Pressures are still high in the area, but are expected to drop as the system progresses. Known as Invest97L, the National Hurricane Center now gives this system a 60% chance of turning into a major hurricane within the next 48 hours.
Computer model guidance is in good agreement with a west to west northwest track over the next 3 to 5 days. However we still need a center of circulation to really get a good fix on this system and that will allow the computer models to output a more accurate forecast. Right now there are two thoughts on the track of 97L, one has this system tracking over south Florida as a tropical storm and the other is making its way into the Gulf of Mexico as a hurricane. If 97L becomes a tropical depression today, it may cause a small shift to the north in the model runs. If 97L does not get better organized overnight   expect   the computer models to stay the same or shift a little farther south.Right now 97L is dumping heavy rain and producing gusty conditions in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. 
Flash flood warning has been posted and mud slides are expected for the next 24 hours. Even if 97L does not develop south Florida will see heavy rains and gusty wind starting Thursday and lasting into the weekend. Caution is very much being considered here as far as operations are concerned in the Gulf. At least 95% of all the storm path projections takes its track through the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico. Already, workers for BP and the oil relief efforts have been alerted that they must move equipment and people out of harms way. 
Unfortunately, this storm will not be like any other storm to pass through the Gulf this year. The last two major storms entered the Gulf from the South and went directly into Mexico, just south of the U.S. border. This time, the storm most likely will cut a path through the center of the Gulf and head towards an area from New Orleans to Florida. There is still no main circulation visible from this storm, so it is unknown as to what path the storm will take. Computer projectory models have it covering a wide area of the Gulf, but most all models show the highest probability as being in the North East side of the Gulf. It's as if the luck of time has run out for the workers in the Gulf. A prior article written below may answer some questions as to what will happen to the oil if the bad storm mixes with it. 

South China coast braces for Tropical Storm Chanthu





By the CNN Wire Staff
July 21, 2010 7:09 a.m. EDT



(CNN) -- A tropical storm has shifted direction away from Hong Kong and is expected to make landfall in South China early Thursday, adding more weather woes to a region that's already been deluged, causing suffering to millions.
Tropical Storm Chanthu is forecast to hit China's Guangdong and Hainin provinces as a severe tropical storm, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.
Chanthu was about 260 miles (420 kilometers) south of Hong Kong Wednesday afternoon and was forecast to move northwest at about 6 mph (10 km/hr), edging closer to the coast. The observatory said the storm has slowed down and is taking more westerly track. The storm is expected to strengthen as landfall approaches.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center said the storm is packing sustained winds of 63 mph, which are expected to grow to nearly 75 mph. The center is operated by the U.S. Navy and Air Force in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The storm is expected come ashore late early Thursday, local time.
This latest storm comes on the heels of major flooding and landslides across much of the nation with more than 700 people dead and hundreds more missing, China's vice minister of water resources Liu Ning told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday.
More than 700 dead in Chinese floods
Regions affected include Sichuan province and Shaanxi province. Of particular concern is the massive Three Gorges Dam in Hubei province. With the Yangtze River already running at record levels, engineers have opened up the flood gates.
The Yangtze is fed by three major tributaries, and it flows east, from Sichuan, toward the dam. Water flows near the dam are comparable to record flows during devastating floods in China in 1998.
The Three Gorges, the world's largest dam, was completed last year. So far, it is holding up.
Xinhua quoted Yuan Jie, director of the dam's cascade dispatching center, as saying that, "Compared to 1998, the biggest difference is the Three Gorges Dam. Without it, thousands of soldiers and rescuers would have been needed to fight the floods."
Elsewhere, more than 230,000 people have been evacuated from the city of Guangan in Sichuan, after the worst flooding there in 160 years. There's no power, no clean water, and the only way around is by boat.
The wild weather also has cut off roads, flattened homes, destroyed power facilities and flooded farmland in Ankang City, the worst-hit area, Xinhua reported. Flood control authorities say the lives of nearly 1.5 million people have been disrupted by flooding in 23 counties and cities in the southern regions of the province.
Other areas that have been inundated include the city of Chongquing, and Anhui and Hunan provinces, according to Xinhua. Altogether, more than 9 million people have been affected by floods and landslides, it said.
According to the observatory website, the outer rain bands of Chanthu may affect Hong Kong overnight and local winds will gradually increase.
The government weather website said that since there will be swells, people are advised to stay away from the shoreline and not engage in water sports. All small vessels, including low-power vessels and fishing vessels in open seas, should seek shelter as soon as possible, the government said.

What Happens when a Hurricane Meets Oil?



By Carly Porter, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
Jul 20, 2010; 6:53 AM ET

AccuWeather.com meteorologists are focused on two scenarios with this tropical system.A tropical wave with the potential to develop into a tropical storm over Florida this weekend could also impact the oil spill site in the Gulf of Mexico.
The first depicts the storm developing, crossing over Florida early in the weekend and entering the eastern Gulf of Mexico as a weaker system.
Impacts over the oil spill site in the central Gulf would be less than were caused by Hurricane Alex, which moved through the southern Gulf of Mexico in late June.
The second scenario depicts the system moving through the Florida Keys late in the week, developing into a stronger tropical storm or hurricane. If this were to happen, impacts to the spill site will be enhanced.
Regardless of either scenario, the spill area over the Gulf will be threatened this weekend by enhanced thunderstorms, rough seas and gusty winds.
Oil containment booms are rendered useless in rough seas, and skimming vessel operations have the potential to be delayed. Cleanup operations along the coasts could be halted in coming days due to a rough surf.
What will happen when a hurricane meets oil?
A slick of this size and duration has never been encountered before in U.S. waters, and scientists and experts have been unable to predict exactly where the slick will end up and how the oil will react to hurricane season.
What we know now:
A tropical disturbance in the Gulf oil spill would act as a mixing agent for oil and water.
--It's a process known as "emulsification."
--It would create a mayonnaise-like mix of three or four parts water and one part oil.
There are pros and cons to the emulsification process.
--According to Penn State Engineering Professor Anil Kulkarni, emulsified oil has a consistency that is more challenging for man-made cleanup efforts.
--Florida State Meteorology Professor Mark Bourassa suggests that the emulsification process enhances the natural cleanup process - the breakdown of the oil allows microbes to consume the oil more easily.
One potential danger of a tropical disturbance in the Gulf, however, is how it could damage the wetlands on the coast.
--The wetlands act as natural barrier against hurricanes.
--A hurricane could push oil into the area, if the oil was emulsified it could further suffocate the marshlands.
--Lasting damage to the wetlands, because of the oil and the ongoing receding of land, could mean long-term problems as the protection against future storms is diminished.
Update on Cleanup
Although no oil has been spewing from the ruptured well in the Gulf since Thursday, the capped well is currently undergoing "integrity" testing.
According to a Monday evening release by the Deepwater Horizon Response Group, the cleanup numbers are as follows:
--Approximately 40,000 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and wildlife and cleanup vital coastlines.
--Nearly 6,400 vessels are currently responding on site, including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels to assist in containment and cleanup efforts-in addition to dozens of aircraft, remotely operated vehicles and multiple mobile offshore drilling units.
--More than 3.43 million feet of containment boom and 7.36 million feet of sorbent boom have been deployed to contain the spill-and approximately 764,000 feet of containment boom and 3.18 million feet of sorbent boom are available.
--More than 34.5 million gallons of an oil-water mix have been recovered.
--Approximately 1.84 million gallons of total dispersant have been applied-1.07 million on the surface and 771,000 sub-sea. Approximately 575,000 gallons are available.
--409 controlled burns have been conducted, efficiently removing a total of more than 11 million gallons of oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife.
--Approximately 622 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline is currently oiled-approximately 355 miles in Louisiana, 111 miles in Mississippi, 69 miles in Alabama and 87 miles in Florida. These numbers reflect a daily snapshot of shoreline currently experiencing impacts from oil so that planning and field operations can more quickly respond to new impacts; they do not include cumulative impacts to date, or shoreline that has already been cleared.
--Approximately 83,927 square miles of Gulf of Mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing in order to balance economic and public health concerns. More than 65 percent remains open.
Content contributed by Henry Margusity, AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist and Kirstie Hettinga, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer.

Oil Spill Threatened by Possible Tropical System this Weekend



By Carly Porter, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
Jul 20, 2010; 6:53 AM ET
Play videoJoe Bastardi discusses tropical concerns headed for Florida and possibily the oil spill area in the Gulf of Mexico.
A tropical wave with the potential to develop into a tropical storm over Florida this weekend could also impact the oil spill site in the Gulf of Mexico.
AccuWeather.com meteorologists are focused on two scenarios with this tropical system.
The first depicts the storm developing, crossing over Florida early in the weekend and entering the eastern Gulf of Mexico as a weaker system.
Impacts over the oil spill site in the central Gulf would be less than were caused by Hurricane Alex, which moved through the southern Gulf of Mexico in late June.
The second scenario depicts the system moving through the Florida Keys late in the week, developing into a stronger tropical storm or hurricane. If this were to happen, impacts to the spill site will be enhanced.
Regardless of either scenario, the spill area over the Gulf will be threatened this weekend by enhanced thunderstorms, rough seas and gusty winds.
Oil containment booms are rendered useless in rough seas, and skimming vessel operations have the potential to be delayed. Cleanup operations along the coasts could be halted in coming days due to a rough surf.