Hurricane Prevention

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tropical Weather Dissipating - Only Minor Activity in the North Indian Ocean

Presently, all weather storms except one have dissipated. Only IO932011 INVEST located in the North Indian Ocean appears to be active at this time, and may develop into a stronger storm. Cyclone Bune, now downgraded to a minor storm is now rapidly dissipating and no further major activity is predicted with Bune.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Current Active Weather WorldWide

Currently, there are several active tropical weather systems, located in 3 different areas of the globe, namely the Western Pacific, the North Indian Ocean and Southern Hemisphere. For a few days now, we have been watching Tropical Cyclone BUNE located in the Southern Hemisphere, sometimes not too predicable, but also located there are 3 INVESTS, known as SH902011 - INVEST, SH912011 - INVEST, and SH992011 - INVEST. In the Western Pacific, WP952011 - INVEST, and North Indian Ocean, IO932011 - INVEST. These are known developing weather systems that can develop into stronger and threatening storms. It appears that the global activity for tropical weather is now growing. Further developments with any of these storms will be forthcoming if conditions warrant.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hawaii estimates $40 million tsunami damage

Hawaii disaster response officials are estimating the state suffered damages exceeding $30 million ($NZ40 million) after a devastating Japanese earthquake sent a tsunami across the Pacific Ocean earlier this month.
Hawaii State Civil Defense reported Thursday that damages to private property amounted to $22 million, and government property damages reached $8.5 million.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he will seek federal disaster declaration from President Barack Obama. The declaration would trigger federal assistance for repairs to public structures - including piers, moorings, planks, electrical wiring and roads - that were damaged by tsunami waves on March 11.
Aid for businesses damaged by the tsunami could come from the US Small Business Administration, which provides low-interest loans.

Why Do People Still Elect to Live Along Coastal Waters?

Just one month ago, the devastation of Cyclone Yasi which developed into a level 5 storm, was a sign of things to come with new problems appearing across Asia and Australia. The Yasi storm was spotted on January 26th, 2011 as a low-pressure system, but then it rapidly turned for the worse. Many Aussie's were ready to compare the storm to what they experienced in 1974. Sending waves in excess of 30 feet near Queensland, Australia, with gusty winds that reached 180 MPH. So far to date, there has been at least 3-billion dollars in property damages.
Still with all the property damage, and the storms that threaten the coast, it is still hard to imagine why people still elect to live along the coast line. WIth now almost 30,000 people in Japan either killed or missing because of the earthquake and the destruction caused by the tsunami that followed, the question still exists why people live near the coast. So now what. As always, people seem to stand by sometimes in fear, but refuse to take action for themselves. The age-old belief still exists and most likely will always exist  "that can't happen to me" theory. Just ask the survivors in Japan. People there face constant danger of earthquakes. It was just a matter of time before a Tsunami such as the one that followed the 9.0 earthquake would take its toll. But the undenying fact is that the people who lived there knew that such a tragedy could happen, but they lived in denial.
In the United States, it is the calm before the storm. The people of the Southern coast of the United States dodged a bullet in 2010, as NO major tropical storms actually affected the coastline, especially in the wake of the oil spill which had so many people worried. The oil spill alone caused so much damage and destruction to the Gulf inhabitants, and the people who live off of the Gulf for their livelyhood. But what is happening today. The fact is that people just seem to 'forget'. It is easy to forget, mainly because people 'want' to forget. They still believe that 'lightning doesn't strike in the same place - twice'. But I can assure you that it does, and that it will happen again in the future. Maybe not this year or next year or the next ten or fifty years, but it will happen again. But the age-old question surfaces again... 'How well will you be prepared for another bad storm?' The undeniable answer is " Not well enough!"

Tropical Cyclone BUNE, Unpredictable

Tropical Cyclone BUNE (13F) (19P), Severity Category 2 
About 340 nm South-Southeast of Nadi, Fiji, 
Drifting South-Southwestward at 2 knots
Active - Weakening, Saffir-Simpson Category 1

Tropical Cyclone BUNE (13F) (19P), Severity Category 2 
About 340 nm South-Southeast of Nadi, Fiji,
Drifting South-Southwestward at 2 knots 

(977 hPa, 60 kt [111 km/hr] [10-minute sustained] - RSMC Nadi, 0000 UTC 26 March 2011)
(974 mb, 65 kt [120 km/hr] [1-minute sustained] - JTWC, 0000 UTC 26 March 2011)
(Position Fix 22.9S, 180.0W at 0232 UTC 26 March 2011) 

Image courtesy Naval Research Lab (NRL)

This storm is one of the most unpredictable of the season so far in 2011. Indications are that the storm is weakening, but this storm has been very unstable, with winds gaining, but then subsiding. The path of the storm is not as predicable as most other storms. Presently, the storm is about 340 Nautical miles South-Southeast of Nadi, Fiji, and it is drifting South-Southwestward at 2 knots. The knot is a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile (which is defined as 1.852 km) per hour, approximately 1.151 mph. Some may consider the slow speed a good thing, but others may consider it a bad thing. The storm is in very open waters presently, and it will stand a chance of gaining in strength as it will continue to pull warm moisture from the surface of the ocean. But it is still unpredictable at this time. The storm has been drifting between a Category 1 and Category 2 for the last few days.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tropical Cyclone Bune & Cyclones in General

The storm not to take so lightly is one called tropical cyclone Bune. Average winds are now somewhere between 75 and 90 MPH, and the storm is fluxuating between tropical storm material to a Category 1 Cyclone. Presently, it appears  that the system will stay away from major land masses.

What do we know generally about cyclones?

What are cyclones?
Cyclones ( or more properly called Tropical Cyclones) are a type of severe spinning(rotating) storm that occurs over the ocean near the tropics.
The word "Cyclone" just means 'turning wind with one eye. It relates to the word "Cyclops" that one eyed creature in an Ancient Greek story.

Tropical Cyclones have a number of characteristics like:
  • They must have a wind speed greater than 119km/h
  • They start in the tropics.


Image: Courtesy of NOAA
Did you know that cyclones are actually the release of stored solar energy that rotates. The sun heats the ocean up and this creates the condition for a tropical cyclone to develop.
Cyclones spin because the Earth is spinning. It's due to something called the coriolis effect.
The direction they spin depends on which hemisphere they are in.
In the Southern hemisphere they spin in a clockwise direction and Northern hemisphere they spin in an anti-clockwise direction.

Did you know...
cyclones are also called hurricanes around the US. Cyclones are called typhoons near the South China sea (from the chinese word meaning 'big wind' )


Why are cyclones important ?
There are some obvious reasons for knowing about cyclones, these include:
  • Environmentally cyclones can be important to local ecosystems. eg reefs and the distribution of plants and sand have adapted to them.
  • Cyclones can have a economic and emotional effect on people and property directly affected. thousands of people have died or been displaced by them. Hundreds of homes could be destroyed causing millions of dollars damage.
  • Having a better understanding of cyclones can help you better prepare and perhaps minimise or prevent cyclcone damage.

Cyclones and Culture
Cyclones, like other natural disasters, have an impact on our culture, inspiring films and stories and even names of sporting teams.
Extra info: The impact that cyclones have on the Earth's surface


News about cyclones.
Google News Headline search aboutlady reading newspaper
ABC News Online search

Current Official Cyclone Warnings for Australia, including all states

Radar image of Darwin Region in Australia showing rainfall for Cyclone Ingrid 13 March 2005 . Notice that there is not much heavy rain at the centre of the cyclone but there are very strong wind speeds

Here are some useful links to resources and general information about cyclones
Australian Resources
US Resources


How do cyclones occur or form?
The formation of a cyclone has a number of stages
Stage 0 (Zero)- The right place and the right sea temperature is needed.
  • The place is usually within + or - 5° to °15 Lattitude from the equator over the ocean.
  • The surface temperature of the ocean/sea needs to be 26.5°C or above.
  • A low airpressure system (depression) with convection currents starts to gather clouds/stormy
Stage 0 is basically continuous cloud build up even during the night time. The sun sun helps to heat the ocean and produces water vapour that forms couds.

Stage I is linked with a low air pressure system that starts to pull clouds in and rotate. It's not quite a cyclone but pretty likely.

Stage II is at the stage when the clouds start to really rotate but there is sometimes a chance that it may not develop in to a full cyclone.
After stage II the cyclone is mature and developed, it may increase in size or decrease. It can be in it's full maturity stage. (image of TC Bonnie /NASA)

The cyclone seasons
  • The northern hemisphere is: June - November
  • The southern hemisphere is: November -May
How do cyclones progress?
Often once the cyclone starts out small and starts to grow larger as it moves towards the north or south.
Destructive Cyclones don't last more than a few days as their energy runs out. Although it can pick up energy as it travels across warm water.
The low air pressure tends to 'drag' material around, eg clouds and moisture from the ocean.
Predicting the direction of a cyclone is very difficult for more than a few hours ahead in time. They can sometimes change direction very quickly(doing a hair pin turn) or just move in fairly straight line.

When a cyclone moves overland they usually lose most of their energy but can cause floods.

How are cyclones classified?
The more common scale is the one for measuring typical likely damage. This is based on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

CategoryWind gust speed/ SwellDamage
1less than 125km/h
mild damage
significant damage to trees
3170 - 224km/h
2.6 -3.7
structural damage, power failures likely
4225 - 279 km/h
most roofing lost
5more than 280 km/h
more than 5.4m
almost total destruction
Cyclones are classified based on information from satellite images and uses a scale called the Dvorak Number going from 0 to 8.


What is the history of cyclones?
Cyclones have existed for as long as the history of the Earth with water.
So it is hard to say when the first hurricane or cyclone was recorded. It is likely that if you looked at some Ships logs from a few hundred years ago it is likely that they recorded cyclone conditions, although many simply would not have survived.
"The Bathurst Bay Hurricane occurred in March 1899. Over 300 people were killed. It was the worst ever cyclone-related disaster in Australia's history" From BOM
Historic Cyclones
The most famous Australian historic Cyclone was Cyclone Tracy, December 1974, where around 49 people died in Darwin, Northern Territory. There were another 16 who died at sea more... (from ABC news) but this has been revised with another 6 more lost at sea...more... making total of 71.
The US has a long history of Hurricanes that are documented because they often affected populated areas.
Historic Hurricane Hunters
Historical Hurricane Information from the US/NOAA
The first Hurricane hunter or person who flew an aircraft into a hurricane , may have been by a man called Joe Duckwork. More...


The future of cyclones.

Cyclones will continue to play a part of the natural cycles on Earth.
The future of cyclones is really about the ability to better predict their intensity and direction.
It is about being able to prevent future injury to people affect by them.

Perhaps a future prospect is to be able to disrupt a cyclone, or change its' direction to avoid populated areas, but this would require technologies we have not yet developed.
satellite technology and computer modelling of weather is likely to be a key in helping to provide early detection of cyclones.
SeaStar Satellite
SeaStar Satellite NASA/Oceans


Hurricane Season 2011: Tropical Cyclone Bune (Southern Pacific Ocean)

March 25, 2011

GOES image of Tropical Storm Bune› View larger image
The GOES-11 satellite captured an infrared image of Cyclone Bune on March 25, 2011 at 1500 UTC as it moves through the Southern Pacific Ocean. The black area to the left is space as the image shows the curvature of the Earth. Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project
GOES-11 Satellite Sees Bune Strengthen to a Cyclone

Tropical Storm Bune strengthened into a Cyclone on March 25 and the GOES-11 satellite captured a stunning infrared view of it from space.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite called GOES-11 is in a geostationary orbit and provides weather imagery for the western U.S. but its view reaches into the western and southern Pacific Ocean. An object in a geostationary orbit appears motionless, at a fixed position in the sky, to ground observers. The infrared image the GOES-11 satellite captured on March 25 at 1500 UTC (11 a.m. EDT) showed a well-organized Tropical Cyclone Bune moving through the southern Pacific Ocean.

GOES satellites are operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and images and animations of GOES data are created by NASA's GOES Project, located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

At 0600 UTC (2 a.m. EDT) on March 25, Cyclone Bune had maximum sustained winds near 75 knots (86 mph/138 kmh). It was located about 340 nautical miles southeast of Nadi, Fiji near 22.5 South latitude and 179.2 West longitude. It was moving toward the south-southeast near 5 knots (6 mph/9 kmh) and toward northeastern New Zealand.

Infrared satellite imagery, such as that from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) that flies on NASA's Aqua satellite showed that there is strong convective (rapidly rising air forming thunderstorms) banding (bands of thunderstorms) west of the center of Bune's circulation. However, those bands of thunderstorms are fragmented. To the east of the center, the bands of thunderstorms appear more organized. There's even a small eye in the center of Bune.

Because a subtropical ridge (elongated area) of high pressure is building to the southwest of Cyclone Bune, it is expected to steer the storm in a more south-southwesterly direction over the weekend. After the weekend, Bune is forecast to move to the southeast. Forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expect Bune to weaken after 72 hours because of increasing wind shear and cooler sea surface temperatures and should become extratropical next week northeast of New Zealand.

Text Credit: Rob Gutro, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Incredible Pictures - Before and After the Tsunami and Earthquake

Below you will find a series of pictures, which are the before and after pictures of specific areas in Japan. The devastation is considered total and extreme.

Fujitsuka in Sendai - BEFORE

Fujitsuka in Sendai - AFTER
Sendai Airport - BEFORE

Sendai Airport - AFTER
Terashima in Sendai - BEFORE

Terashima in Sendai - AFTER

Yuriage in Natori - BEFORE

Yuriage in Natori - AFTER

Yagawahama in Miyagi BEFORE

Yagawahama in Miyagi AFTER

Central Ishinomaki - BEFORE
Central Ishinomaki - AFTER

Village 3 km south of Fukushima I power plant - BEFORE

Village 3 km south of Fukushima I power plant - AFTER

Fukushima II nuclear power plant - BEFORE

Fukushima II nuclear power plant - BEFORE

Industrial site just south of Fukushima I power plan t- BEFORE

Industrial site just south of Fukushima I power plant - AFTER

Fukushima nuclear plant - BEFORE

Fukushima nuclear plant - AFTER

Tomioka in Fukushima - BEFORE

Tomioka in Fukushima - AFTER

Ishinomaki in Miyagi - BEFORE

Ishinomaki in Miyagi - AFTER

Onahama in Iwaki - BEFORE

Onahama in Iwaki - AFTER

Ueda in Iwaki - BEFORE

Ueda in Iwaki - AFTER

Haranomachi in Minamisoma - BEFORE

Haranomachi in Minamisoma - AFTER

Kashima in Minamisoma - BEFORE

Kashima in Minamisoma - AFTER

Kashimaku in Minamisoma - BEFIRE

Kashimaku in Minamisoma - AFTER

Iigohama in Miyagi - BEFORE

Iigohama in Miyagi - AFTER

Arahama in Sendai

Arahama in Sendai - AFTER