ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

thelivyjr
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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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FOX WEATHER

"'Life-threatening' flash flooding submerges roads, cars in northwest Georgia"


Fox Weather

4 SEPTEMBER 2022

CHATTOOGA COUNTY, Ga. - A Flash Flood Emergency was issued Sunday for parts of northwest Georgia after hours of nonstop rain flooded roads and damaged homes.

The National Weather Service issued an emergency for Chattooga County after extreme flooding in the cities of Lyerly and Summerville.

Roads were washed away, and two families were said to have been taken to shelters after rain completely flooded their homes.

The NWS warned of the "life-threatening flooding" as rain totals approached upwards of a foot.

Photos showed floodwaters washing away fences and entering homes.

A Flash Flood Emergency means there is a severe threat to human life from a flash flood, and catastrophic damage is happening or will happen soon.

You should move to higher ground immediately.

This is the direst of flood alerts issued by the NWS.

Flash Flood Warnings have been issued throughout Floyd counties as well.

A boil water advisory was issued for all City of Summerville water customers until further notice.

Video obtained in Summerville, Georgia, shows the flooding submerging roads as rain dampens the region.

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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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CBS NEWS

"Severe flooding in Midwest, South turns deadly"


CBSNews

5 SEPTEMBER 2022

Severe weather and flooding in the Midwest and South have led to at least one death.

A state of emergency has been declared in two counties in Georgia as two days of thunderstorms and heavy rain pounded the state's north, leading to severe flooding.


Officials in Indiana believe a woman was killed when torrential rains swept away her home.

CBS affiliate WTTV in Indianapolis reports five inches of rain fell in Jefferson County Sunday.

The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel tells "CBS Mornings" that torrential rains of up to two inches an hour overwhelmed streets and businesses in Chattooga County, Georgia, making it difficult for people living there to escape the waist-high waters.

Resident Marcus Tutt said, "We were basically trapped."

"We pretty much, every road we hit, we had to turn around."

"It was flooded everywhere."

In the town of Lyerly near the Alabama border, the National Weather Service declared a flash flood emergency.

A total of 12 inches fell here.

In nearby Summerville, Ga., Todd Tanner's house was flooded: "I woke up, rolled out of bed, put my feet on the floor and felt my feet in water."

People in Summerville are now without drinking water, because of flooding at the Raccoon Creek filtration plant – the first time in memory of people here that the plant has been submerged – and so pumps had to be turned off.

Contractors will be brought in Monday to assess the damage.

But according to the mayor of Summerville, the plant will be unavailable for the next four or five days.

And so, for the foreseeable future, the town's 4,500 residents will have to have water trucked in.

On Sunday Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency in Chattooga and Floyd Counties.

Meanwhile in eastern Texas, according to Storm Center, more than 130,000 utility customers were without power Sunday afternoon.

Missy Fain, of Plano, said, "The wind was, like, blowing really hard, and then all of a sudden, we heard, like, two major pops."

"And we knew it was the transformer."

The Midwest fared no better with storms, as a tornado warning was issued in eastern Ohio Sunday.

Cars were submerged when multiple inches of rain fell in Mahoning County.

And in Jefferson County, Indiana, floodwaters caused massive destruction, where nine inches of rain fell on Saturday.

Officials say a body was found five miles downstream from an area where a woman told 911 she was unable to get out of her house.

The rains are expected to continue through the week.

The Weather Channel's Jordan Steele calls the weather system a "conveyor belt of moisture" stretching from Mexico through the Gulf and into the northeast.

"It is all connected and is bringing down some big rain numbers."


"Northwest Georgia specifically got five to eight inches of rainfall over the last 24 to 48 hours."

Steele said the flood footprint may continue through Tuesday, "because the pattern's not going anywhere."

"If anything, we're going to continue to see showers and storms along southern Appalachia where we could maybe see a bull's-eye."

"Be careful if a flash flood warning does get triggered in this area."

As the storm system moves into the Northeast, it could affect people's Labor Day Weekend travel plans.

"Make sure you check the status of your flight before you head to the airport," Steele said.

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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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NBC NEWS

"Hurricane Earl threatens Bermuda and could bring dangerous swells to the U.S. East Coast"


Marlene Lenthang and Kathryn Prociv and Phil Helsel

8 SEPTEMBER 2022

A hurricane watch was issued for Bermuda on Wednesday as Hurricane Earl is approaching and forecast to become a major storm.

Earl, the second hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, had maximum sustained winds of 100 mph late Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory, making it a Category 2 storm.

The storm, which was a Category 1 at 5 p.m., was expected to continue to strengthen and become a “major hurricane,” meaning a Category 3, on Thursday, the center said.

Category 3 hurricanes have sustained winds of 111 mph to 129 mph and can cause devastating damage.

A hurricane watch was issued by Bermuda’s weather service, and a tropical storm warning was previously issued and remained in effect.

The center of the hurricane was expected to pass southeast of Bermuda, but tropical-storm-force winds will spread over the island starting Thursday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said.

Bermuda’s Ministry of National Security said that the storm’s closest approach will be early Friday morning around midnight, when it is expected to be around 99 nautical miles east-southeast of Bermuda.

Residents were told to secure outdoor furniture, have a plan, stock up on medication and ensure their hurricane kits are up to date.

Between 1 and 2 inches of rain is forecast for Bermuda through Friday, according to the hurricane center in the U.S.

Although Earl isn’t expected to threaten the U.S., its swells are expected to reach Bermuda by Wednesday night and the U.S. East Coast shortly thereafter.

Such swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions through the weekend, the hurricane center said.

Earl strengthened to a hurricane Tuesday.

Its center was about 325 miles south of Bermuda shortly before 2 a.m. Thursday and was moving north at 9 mph, the hurricane center said.

The center said early Thursday that Earl’s wind field was growing in size, with hurricane-force winds extending outward 60 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds up to 160 miles outward.

The first hurricane of this year's Atlantic season formed Friday with Danielle, which had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph Wednesday and was around 625 miles northwest of the Azores.

It's forecast to weaken and become a post-tropical cyclone Thursday, according to the hurricane center.

There were no coastal watches or advisories in effect.

It’s the first time since September 2020 that the Atlantic Ocean has had multiple hurricanes simultaneously.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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THE HILL

"The West’s water crisis is worse than you think"


Opinion by Jonathan Overpeck, Ph.D., opinion contributor

15 SEPTEMBER 2022

A couple of years back I moved from Arizona to Michigan, in part because I’m worried about the Colorado River’s growing water crisis.

I have good reason to worry.


I lived in the West for over 35 years, first in Colorado and then Arizona, working as a scientist studying climate and hydrological change around the globe, but always with a special focus on the West and the Colorado River.

The West’s water crisis is worse than most think.

You can see the lack of appropriate concern in the way the Colorado River is being managed.

Most everyone is focused on meeting the declining water levels in the nation’s two largest reservoirs — Lake Mead and Lake Powell — solely with reduced water use.

Water levels are getting lower and lower because of two big problems.

First, the long agreed-upon annual allocation of water to about 40 million users in seven states (e.g., California) and Mexico exceeds the supply of water flowing in the river.

Second, and ignored by many, the water flowing in the river is also dropping relentlessly, as a warmer, drier climate reduces the amount from snow and rain that reaches the river.

As long as the world keeps warming, there will be less and less water in the Colorado River and across the region for people to use.

Climate change is aridifying the West and shrinking the Colorado River as it does.

The federal government has asked the seven states to solve the crisis by reducing their demand for water by up to 25 percent.

So far, the states can’t agree on how to do this tough task equitably.

They’ve been upping their water demand for years, and now they must reverse course and use a lot less if they want to keep the massive reservoirs from drying up.

This task is complicated by the river’s legal framework, which dictates that some states must forsake more water than others.


In the hierarchy of who has the most “senior” or strongest legal rights to Colorado River water, California is king, and thus theoretically, California has to sacrifice the least.

This is because California spent decades successfully making deals and strengthening its “senior” rights to the Colorado River water.

This creates an opportunity for California to use its position of strength to help all the Colorado River Basin states create a more lasting sustainable water future for California and the rest of the region.

I can imagine many outcomes that might break the current deadlocked crisis.

In one scenario, the states agree or the federal government demands (they do have that power), that all the states give up a share of the needed water allocation cuts.

This has happened in the past when water savings were needed, and California has even been known to share water voluntarily.

In this scenario, the current situation is just like in the movie “Ground Hog Day” — here we go again.

A temporary fix to an ever-worsening problem.

However, the situation is far too grave to simply share the pain, make more cuts to the water demands and consider the job done.

This is because climate change guarantees that the western water crisis will only worsen for as long as the planet keeps warming.

What’s not fair is that California is putting great effort into stopping climate change, while other Colorado River Basin states do less.

Indeed, many leading politicians from Arizona, Utah and Wyoming don’t even acknowledge that human-caused climate change is a grave threat to their water, their forests, their economies and their region.

It’s time for California to stand up and say no to continued water sharing unless the other six states of the Colorado River Basin all agree to step up and fight climate change as if the future of their states depended on it.

Fortunately, California should already have climate action allies in the other basin states.

Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico are firmly committed to climate action.

Moreover, majorities of people across the whole region favors action on climate change.

The Southwest is also ideally situated for growth in wind and solar energy, and renewable energy businesses are already starting to boom across the region, including in Arizona and Wyoming.

And crucially, the federal government has just made unprecedented funding available to fight climate change.

For a share of its Colorado River water, and the end of the 2022 water crisis, California should demand the formation of a “Southwest Climate Action Alliance,” in which every Colorado Basin state commits to at least halve their economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and be net-zero by 2045.

Such an alliance would speed climate action in the United States as a whole, and thus around the globe.

This would also place more states of the West with California at the forefront of the 21st century global energy transition.

Concerted regional climate action would ensure that the flows in the very lifeblood of the region — the Colorado River — would stop declining and instead become a sustainable resource for generations of Californians to come.

Alternatively, the region can continue to pump its groundwater dry while the Colorado River flows less and less under a hotter and hotter climate, and so become an enduring poster child of climate disaster.

It’s just not smart to ignore climate change while time to implement real solutions is rapidly drying up.

Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist, was the founding university director of the Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center and is currently the Samuel A. Graham dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. Follow him on Twitter: @GreatLakesPeck

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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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CNN

"The upstream water used to keep Lake Powell afloat is running out"


Rachel Ramirez

18 SEPTEMBER 2022

Upstream reservoirs in the Colorado River Basin might not have enough water to keep Lake Powell above a critical threshold indefinitely, federal officials have warned in recent weeks, as the West’s ongoing megadrought saps water from across the West.

The Flaming Gorge reservoir on the Green River, which this year is releasing a huge amount of water downstream to help Lake Powell, may only have enough water left for two more similar emergency releases, US Bureau of Reclamation officials told CNN, though they have yet to fully model the situation.

Federal officials took emergency steps in May to use water from upstream reservoirs to boost Lake Powell’s level and buy the surrounding communities more time to plan for the likelihood the reservoir will soon fall too low for the Glen Canyon Dam to generate hydropower.

The dam is a key source of energy in the region, generating power for as many as 5.8 million homes and businesses in seven states, and is at high risk of being forced offline should the lake’s level drop below 3,490 feet above sea level.

Lake Powell’s water level was at around 3,529 feet as of Thursday, or 24% full.

Water managers have worked hard to prevent Powell from falling below its critical threshold.

Their first step was to release more water from upstream reservoirs in the Colorado River Basin, like Flaming Gorge.

The second was to hold back water in Lake Powell itself instead of sending it downstream to Lake Mead, which is the largest reservoir in the country.

But using water from Flaming Gorge to keep Lake Powell afloat was just “a buffer,” according to Jim Prairie, the agency’s Upper Colorado Basin research and modeling group chief, and couldn’t be a long-term solution.

Prairie noted in August, based on its water level at the time, Flaming Gorge would only be able to handle two more similar emergency releases.

“What this [process] is doing is just buffering us for a year, and we probably have an opportunity to do that maybe two more times, and then there will be no more capacity,” Prairie said.

“So something else will have to fill that 500,000 acre-feet, some other mechanism.”

Water deliveries from Flaming Gorge to Lake Powell are being made in varying amounts each month to fulfill a 500,000 acre-feet total by the end of April 2023, according to the bureau.

Because of the release, the level in Flaming Gorge is expected to drop by roughly 9 feet, though it will help increase Lake Powell’s elevation by around 16 feet.

Prairie said the bigger challenge is to find long-term solutions to the basin’s crisis.

“And that’s really the challenge that’s being put forward to all the [Colorado River] Basin states,” he added.

“How can we collaborate and work together to find these ways to be able to provide that additional needs at these reservoirs if we want to maintain them?”

Eric Kuhn, a retired former manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, told CNN that this is not a surprise at all.

“There’s really only one upstream reservoir — Flaming Gorge — that has any significant capacity,” Kuhn said.

“And they’ve used it two years in a row to the tune of about 700,000 acre feet.”

Notably, Prairie’s outlook for Flaming Gorge does not take into account future weather in the West.

For instance, a wetter-than-average winter this year, which would supplement all the reservoirs in the Colorado River Basin, could negate the need for emergency releases.

But Kuhn said that wouldn’t be all good news for Lake Powell.

“Refilling these reservoirs that have been drained comes first, that’s where the water goes first,” Kuhn said.

“If you rob Peter to pay Paul, the next time we have a decent runoff, a lot of water is gonna go to recovery storage in these upstream reservoirs which will reduce the inflow to Powell, so it reduces the rate of recovery of Powell in a slightly above average, wetter year.”

Justin Mankin, co-lead of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Drought Task Force, previously told CNN managing water in the Colorado River Basin through all of its reservoirs is “kind of like the central bank of an economy, drawing money from local banks to kind of keep the economy afloat.”

“Lake Powell is the central bank of the Colorado River Basin,” Mankin said.

“Maybe that’s workable for a little while, but just like a household, the longer it’s in debt, the harder it gets."

"And it’s really the same thing with these reservoirs.”

Without the emergency steps it took this year, including the Flaming Gorge releases, the bureau estimated there was about a 25% chance the Glen Canyon Dam could have stopped producing hydropower by January.

“Everyone relies on the collective storage of the watershed,” Jack Schmidt, director of the Center for Colorado River Studies at Utah State University, told CNN.

“The primary issue is the total storage in the entire system in relation.”

For the rest of the year, the water releases from Flaming Gorge and Blue Mesa reservoirs are set to continue until October; meanwhile, Navajo Lake on the Colorado-New Mexico border will ramp up its releases in November and December.

As a result of these emergency releases, each reservoir will see a major plunge: four feet at Flaming Gorge; eight feet at Blue Mesa; and two feet in Navajo Lake.

Schmidt said it is important to remember all the reservoirs are connected.

The total capacity of all federal reservoirs in the Colorado River Basin is about 58 million acre feet, 50 million of which is Lake Powell and Lake Mead combined.

“If one adds all of the water in all of the reservoirs, then the system is now at 34% of capacity,” Schmidt said.

The decisions made for Lake Powell will always affect its downstream neighbor, Lake Mead.

Because of Lake Mead’s low level, the federal government in August announced additional water cuts for the Southwest, which will start in January 2023.

The Colorado River Basin provides water and electricity for more than 40 million people living across seven Western states and Mexico, including households, farms, ranches and native communities.

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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

"Hurricane Fiona Intensifies to Category 4 Storm and Is Blamed for at Least 6 Deaths"


Alyssa Lukpat

21 SEPTEMBER 2022

Hurricane Fiona intensified into a Category 4 storm Wednesday as it made a northern trek past Puerto Rico, where it unleashed catastrophic floods, and hit the Dominican Republic and Turks and Caicos with heavy rain.

The storm, the first major hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean this year, strengthened as it moved away from the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.

The National Hurricane Center said Fiona was approaching Bermuda with winds close to 130 miles an hour.

Forecasters said the storm would continue to strengthen Wednesday before weakening possibly this weekend.

Fiona has only grown more powerful since it made landfall in Puerto Rico Sunday.

At least four people died, Puerto Rico’s Institute of Forensic Sciences said Wednesday evening.

Flash floods on the island knocked out power, devastation Puerto Rico largely hasn’t seen since Hurricane Maria in 2017.

More than one million customers remained without power on Wednesday for a fourth straight day since the islandwide blackout began, according to poweroutage.us.

A government emergency website said less than a third of the island had electric service, and around 40% doesn’t have water service.

In both Puerto Rico and its western neighbor, the Dominican Republic, officials said they have rescued dozens of people from senior-living facilities and flooded areas.

Fiona advanced Monday over the Dominican Republic, where floodwaters destroyed hundreds of homes and displaced thousands of people, according to the country’s emergency operations center.

At least two people died: an 18-year-old woman hit by a pole and a 68-year-old man crushed by a fallen tree.

The center of the storm left the Dominican Republic and headed toward the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Tuesday.

Fiona made landfall in Turks and Caicos as a Category 3 storm, the third-highest hurricane designation that indicates Fiona had become a major storm.

Officials in Turks and Caicos warned residents Tuesday to remain indoors as rain, winds and floods pummeled the area.

However, the officials said they hadn’t received any reports of deaths or serious injuries on the islands.

Even though Fiona’s eye was moving away from the islands, forecasters said that as the storm intensified, it would bring heavy rain Wednesday to the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.

Fiona was expected to turn north-northeast and head toward parts of Eastern Canada, forecasters said.

Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and western Newfoundland could get high winds and up to 10 inches of rain late Friday and Saturday.

—Joseph Pisani contributed to this article.

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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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AccuWeather

"Major hurricane threat looms for the US next week"


Alex Sosnowski

22 SEPTEMBER 2022

A tropical rainstorm that has been skirting along the northern coast of South America could eventually shift from the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico, where it may undergo rapid strengthening into a major hurricane before threatening the United States, AccuWeather meteorologists warn.

AccuWeather's tropical forecast team, which began cautioning about the looming threat earlier this week, is growing increasingly concerned about the potential for a damaging strike from a hurricane in what has so far been a largely uneventful hurricane season for the U.S.

The system, dubbed Invest 98L by the National Hurricane Center, remained disorganized due to its proximity to South America and strong disruptive winds in the atmosphere around it.

However, even if the system remains poorly organized into the end of the week, it could encounter more favorable conditions for tropical development into a tropical depression or tropical storm at any time into Saturday.

The next name on the list for the 2022 season is Hermine.

A couple of other disturbances over the eastern Atlantic could compete with the next name on the list.

Following Hermine are Ian and Julia this year.

On Tuesday, meteorologists at AccuWeather dubbed the system a tropical rainstorm and began to issue its own track and impact maps.

"It is our mission as a weather forecasting company to get the word out as far in advance as possible of any potential major impacts," AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jon Porter said.

AccuWeather's team of dozens of meteorologists with decades of experience continue to believe the system poses a serious threat to lives and property, not only in the western Caribbean beginning this weekend but also to the U.S. from the last days of September to the first several days of October.

"This poses the first threat by a potentially major hurricane to the U.S. this year and because of the quiet nature of the 2022 season until the past week or so, we are concerned that people may take the threat too lightly," Porter said.

The northern coast of Venezuela and Colombia as well as the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao will feel the impact of the extensive and westward-moving rainstorm in the form of drenching showers and gusty thunderstorms with locally rough seas into Saturday.

Some of these areas may experience flash flooding as well as mudslides in hilly terrain.

As the rainstorm turns a bit more to the northwest this weekend, it will move over the open, bathlike waters of the central and western Caribbean Sea.

Disruptive winds are also expected to drop off in the system's path.

Factoring in these conditions, organization and strengthening are then likely to take place at a swift pace, forecasters warn.

"It is highly possible that this system could ramp up from a tropical storm to a Category 1 or 2 hurricane in less than a couple of days from this weekend to early next week," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.

For this reason, interests from Jamaica and Cuba to the Cayman Islands and perhaps Honduras and Nicaragua are being urged to closely monitor the storm's progress.

Conditions may deteriorate rapidly in terms of heavy rain and strong winds as well as dangerous seas.

At this time, the projected path of the storm will bring a general 8-16 inches (200-400 mm) of rain to western Cuba with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 20 inches (500 mm) from Monday night to Wednesday.

Rainfall of this magnitude can lead to life-threatening flooding and mudslides.

Should the center of the storm manage to avoid the large land areas of Cuba, Central America and southeastern Mexico by passing through the Yucatan Channel, there is the potential for additional strengthening during the middle and latter part of next week over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

AccuWeather meteorologists project the storm to intensify into a Category 3 hurricane or stronger with winds greater than 111 mph, should the system reach the Gulf of Mexico.

Given the storm's current projected path and intensity, AccuWeather meteorologists are warning of the likelihood of winds reaching or exceeding 100 mph (160 km/h) with a StormMax™ of 150 mph (240 km/h) in western Cuba from Monday night to Wednesday.

At this strength, widespread power outages and major property damage can occur.

Water temperatures are generally in the lower to mid-80s F throughout the Caribbean, and there are pockets from the western Caribbean to the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Straits where water temperatures are in the upper 80s to near 90, which is plenty warm enough to support explosive growth into an intense hurricane.

The track of the storm is subject to change and may be influenced by how quickly the storm strengthens.

If the system remains weak for longer, then it may have a greater chance of pushing onshore in southeastern Mexico or Central America.

That interaction with land could cause the system to weaken, meaning it may pose much less or no threat to the U.S.

Another more likely scenario is that the system could ramp up quickly, making it more likely to take a northerly track across Cuba, then to the Florida Straits and near the Florida Keys and Peninsula.

"Should the system get into the Gulf of Mexico, which appears to be one of the more likely scenarios at this time, areas from the Florida Peninsula to Louisiana will be at risk for a direct strike by a strong hurricane," AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.

Even once in the Gulf of Mexico, if that scenario plays out, there would be several factors that could influence the movement of the strengthening tropical cyclone.

"We will be watching an area of high pressure near Texas next week," Rayno added.

"If that high pressure area manages to back westward and the storm misses a pick up by the jet stream, it could open the door to a more westerly track of the storm into the Texas coast."

But, systems that move into the central Gulf of Mexico in late September and October rarely track westward and hit Texas.

This is due to increasing west-to-east steering winds this time of the year around the Gulf and the southern U.S.

These same conditions may cause the storm to be pulled northward to the central Gulf Coast or may turn the storm to the east toward the Florida west coast.

AccuWeather meteorologists say that if the storm moves northward or northeastward across the Gulf of Mexico, impacting the Gulf Coast of the U.S., then it could later take a track along the East Coast of the U.S. during the first week of October.

AccuWeather forecasters say interests in the U.S. from the Gulf Coast to the Eastern Seaboard should stay tuned to the forecast for the Caribbean storm.

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Re: ON THE TIMES WE ARE NOW IN

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THE WASHINGTON POST

"Ian strengthens on perilous path toward Florida"


Matthew Cappucci, Hamza Shaban, Jason Samenow, Dan Diamond

25 SEPTEMBER 2022

Tropical Storm Ian is gaining strength as it continues to churn through the northwestern Caribbean.

It is set to slam western Cuba before turning north and aiming toward Florida later this week.

Ian is now forecast to become a hurricane by early Monday and a major hurricane on Tuesday as the tropical storm enters the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.


The storm is projected to approach the coast of Florida as a hurricane late Thursday into early Friday, although its landfall location, strength and timing are still uncertain.

Florida is under a state of emergency, which Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) expanded from two dozen counties to the entire state Saturday afternoon, highlighting the sense of danger and potential for destruction.

“The impacts will be broad throughout the state of Florida,” DeSantis said during a briefing on Sunday morning.

“Expect heavy rains, strong winds, flash flooding, storm surge, and even isolated tornadoes,” the governor added, saying that residents in the hardest-hit areas should brace for fuel disruptions, power outages and even evacuation orders.

The Florida National Guard has also activated 2,500 Guard members, DeSantis said, adding that “if there’s a need for more, then we can do more.”

While the storm is most likely to hit Florida’s west coast or Panhandle regions, the state’s east coast could see flooding, DeSantis said, although he cautioned that models were still predicting a range of scenarios.

Some areas are already taking precautions.

In the Tampa Bay region, officials announced that schools would begin shutting down Monday and stay closed through at least Thursday.

Officials in both Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, and Pinellas County, which includes St. Petersburg, ordered the closures because some school buildings would be converted into emergency shelters if evacuation orders are issued.

Pinellas County said all of its schools would be closed on Tuesday, with some schools releasing students early on Monday.

What to know about the latest hurricane threat to Florida

Computer models are divided on whether Ian will come ashore along Florida’s west coast Wednesday into Thursday or nearer the Panhandle on Thursday into Friday.

Uncertainty “in the long-term track and intensity forecast is higher than usual,” the National Hurricane Center wrote Sunday.

“Regardless of Ian’s exact track and intensity, there is a risk of dangerous storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and heavy rainfall along the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle by the middle of the week.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) said his state will activate its emergency operations center Monday, and he encouraged residents to take precautions if the storm continues to intensify.

“Though models suggest it will weaken before making landfall on Thursday, and its ultimate route is still undetermined, Ian could result in severe weather damage for large parts of Georgia,” Kemp’s office said in a release on Sunday.

Tropical storm conditions could reach South Florida as soon as early Wednesday and northern Florida by Thursday morning.

Ian is predicted to peak as a 130-mph Category 4 hurricane west of the Florida Straits on Tuesday, which would make it the strongest September hurricane to pass through the Gulf of Mexico since Rita in 2005.

But the storm’s track and intensity are uncertain as it approaches the U.S. mainland.

Tropical storm warnings were issued Sunday night for the lower Florida Keys.

President Biden on Saturday approved an emergency declaration for the state, which authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster-relief efforts and provided more federal funding.

DeSantis said that he was “thankful” for the Biden administration’s early response.

Status of Ian on Sunday

At 11 p.m. Sunday, Ian was centered 140 miles south of Grand Cayman, while churning to the northwest at 13 mph.

Its peak winds were 65 mph, a 20 mph increase since Sunday afternoon.

The storm will be moving over exceptionally warm waters, which are expected to fuel its intensification.

Hurricane warnings are up in Grand Cayman and western Cuba as the storm progresses to the west and northwest.

The greater Havana area is under a tropical storm warning.

Forecast for Ian through Tuesday

The storm is expected to become a hurricane by Monday and reach major hurricane strength by Tuesday as it approaches western Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Major hurricanes are Category 3 or above storms, packing sustained winds above 111 mph.

At greatest risk will be Cuba’s Guanahacabibes Peninsula, a roughly 60-mile-long sparsely populated strip of land at the western tip of the island nation.

The Roncali Lighthouse, dating to 1849, has stood sentry at the peninsula’s westernmost point and weathered dozens of hurricanes.

The NHC estimates that a 9- to 14-foot storm surge could sweep ashore, primarily near and east of the center, where onshore winds push water against the coast.

The surge represents a storm-driven increase in water levels above ordinarily dry ground.

Western Cuba also faces 6 to 10 inches of rain and locally as much as 16 inches, potentially triggering flash flooding and mudslides.

Heavy rainfall is also forecast over Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Forecast for Ian beyond Tuesday

The storm’s path is still uncertain, but it appears headed to make landfall between the west coast of Florida and the Panhandle region between late Wednesday and early Friday.

Even before then, the Florida Keys and southern and western Florida are expected to get 2 to 4 inches of rain, with up to 6 inches possible through Wednesday evening.

The uncertainty in the forecast stems from an approaching trough, or dip in the jet stream, over the northern United States.

Ian may or may not hitch a ride.

If it does, it would be scooped north and east more quickly and come ashore as a more serious hurricane in the Florida peninsula on Wednesday.


If it “misses” its ride, so to speak, it will meander northward, probably arriving in the northern Gulf of Mexico, when there will be an uptick in disruptive wind shear, or changing winds with height, and dry air.

In that scenario, weakening would occur before the storm makes landfall closer to Friday morning, but Ian could still come ashore as a Category 1 hurricane.

In this case, its greatest hazard would shift from destructive winds and more toward storm surge.

Because of the shape of the sea floor in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, even low-end hurricanes can bring a dangerous storm surge.

As the storm is drawn north late in the week into the weekend, the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic may also see heavy rainfall, along with a few tornadoes as the high-altitude spin of the storm passes, even after it loses hurricane status.

Sudden uptick in Atlantic storm activity

Ian is the sixth named storm to form this month, coming on the heels of a record-quiet August, during which not a single named storm formed.

According to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach, only eight other Atlantic hurricane seasons, including each year between 2018 and 2021, have featured the formation of six or more named September storms.

Atmospheric scientists note that there does not exist a link between the number of named storms and human-induced climate change.

However, those that form are expected to be wetter and more intense, and will be more prone to rapid intensification, because of rising ocean temperatures.

Tim Craig contributed to this report.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topst ... b9b7a40c7e
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REUTERS

"Hurricane Ian crashes ashore in Florida with Category 4 fury"


By Brad Brooks and Brendan O'Brien

VENICE, Fla., Sept 28 (Reuters) - Hurricane Ian plowed into Florida's Gulf Coast with catastrophic force on Wednesday, unleashing howling winds, torrential rains and a treacherous surge of ocean surf that made it one of the most powerful U.S. storms in recent years.

Ian made landfall at 3:05 p.m. EDT (1905 GMT) near Cayo Costa, a barrier island just west of Fort Myers, as a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of up to 150 miles per hour (241 km per hour), the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported.

The storm's wind speeds put it just shy of a Category 5 designation on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the most severe classification for storms with maximum sustained winds of at least 157 mph.

About 90 minutes later, the NHC reported Ian had moved ashore the Florida mainland just south of the harborside town of Punta Gorda, with slightly diminished sustained winds topping out at 145 mph.

Governor Ron DeSantis said Ian had generated life-threatening storm surges - waves of wind-driven seawater flooding along the coast - of up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) in some places.

Forecasters also warned of intense thunderstorms and possible tornadoes, with up to 2 feet of rain expected in parts of central Florida as the storm moved further inland.

"This is a storm that we will talk about for many years to come, an historic event," said Ken Graham, director of the National Weather Service.

The region around the landfall is home to miles of sandy beaches, scores of resort hotels and numerous mobile home parks, a favorite with retirees and vacationers alike.

But the storm soon transformed idyllic coastal towns into disaster zones.

SCENES OF DEVASTATION

An hour after landfall, video posted on social media and local TV stations showed water fueled by storm surge rushing through several communities, nearly reaching rooftops.

The town of Fort Myers Beach was almost submerged by floodwaters, and the ruins of homes could be seen floating downstream, along with cars.

A view of Sanibel Island posted on Twitter showed the ocean rushing over a seawall and gushing into a resort hotel's swimming pool.

Other video from the island showed roads inundated by the storm surge, rising to the tops of street signs, with palm trees bent sideways amid a torrent of near blinding rain and wind as waves crashed up a beach onto a road.

In terms of its sustained wind speeds, which peaked at 155 mph before landfall, Ian ranks as one of the most ferocious hurricanes to strike the U.S. mainland in recent years.

By comparison, Hurricane Michael came ashore in Florida's panhandle in 2018 with steady winds of 155 mph, while Ida last year packed sustained winds of 150 mph when it landed in Louisiana.

The Weather Channel reported that Ian made landfall in the exact same point on Cayo Costa where Hurricane Charley came ashore in 2004 as a Category 4 storm.

Both hurricanes packed winds of 150 mph at landfall.

Ian knocked out power to at least 1.1 million homes and businesses so far, local utilities reported.

Cuba was still struggling to restore power a day after Ian hit the island, with most of the Caribbean nation's 11 million residents still in the dark.

The NHC said hurricane-force winds would extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from Ian's center, with tropical storm-force winds reaching as far away as 175 miles (280 km).

TO STAY OR GO

Even as Ian lashed Florida's Gulf Coast with fierce winds and drenching rains in the final hours before it swept ashore, authorities warned residents it was too late for anyone who had yet to evacuate to safely do so.

Earlier this week, authorities told more than 2.5 million residents to evacuate.

Doug Coe of Venice was one of those residents who chose to ignore warnings and stay put.

As he walked through rainfall on Wednesday morning, Coe admitted to never experiencing a storm of such magnitude, but he seemed unfazed by the impending threat.

“You have to be vigilant because you never know what’s going to happen with it,” he said.

“I’m staying vigilant, but trying not to worry.”

The region is dotted with mobile home parks, which most residents had abandoned, taking refuge in local schools and other facilities converted to emergency shelters.

The area's numerous assisted-living facilities were mostly evacuated, too.

Heart is Venice, an assisted-living home north of Venice, was an exception.

Of its 107 residents, 98 decided to stay put with staff and some family members, general manager Michelle Barger said.

The facility, opened two years ago, had stocked up in advance with food, water, medication and other provisions and was built to withstand a Category 5 storm, Barger said.

"Our community is locked down."

"We're secure and we're prepared for this," she said.

Climate change is making hurricanes wetter, windier and more intense.

There is also evidence that it is causing storms to travel more slowly, meaning they can dump more water in one place, scientists say.

"Hurricane Ian's rapid intensification could prove to be another example of how a warming planet is changing hurricanes," said Kait Parker, meteorologist and climate scientist at IBM's weather.com.

"Research shows we are seeing this far more often than we did in decades past."

Reporting by Brad Brooks in Sarasota and Brendan O'Brien in Washington; Additional reporting by Jarrett Renshaw, Leah Douglas and Tyler Clifford in Washington, Rich McKay in Atlanta and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Brendan O'Brien and Steve Gorman; Editing by Frank McGurty and Lisa Shumaker

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/millio ... 022-09-28/
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Reuters

"Hurricane Ian strikes South Carolina after deadly march across Florida"


By Brad Brooks and Brendan O'Brien

FORT MYERS, Fla., Sept 30 (Reuters) - A resurgent Hurricane Ian slammed into the South Carolina coast on Friday afternoon, making another landfall after a deadly march across the Florida peninsula that washed away houses and stranded thousands along the state's Gulf Coast.

The storm swept ashore at 2:05 p.m. (1805 GMT) near Georgetown, a waterfront town about 60 miles (97 km) north of the historic city of Charleston, packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 85 mph (140 kph) as a Category 1 hurricane, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Ian was expected to bring life-threatening flooding, storm surges and winds to South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina.

Officials in all three states warned residents to prepare for dangerous conditions.

The hurricane struck Florida's Gulf Coast on Wednesday as one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S. mainland and then cut a destructive path across the state, transforming beach towns into disaster areas with catastrophic flooding and winds.

There have been reports of at least 21 deaths in Florida, Kevin Guthrie, director of the state's Division of Emergency Management, said at a morning briefing.

He stressed that some of those reports remain unconfirmed.

Ian was forecast to weaken rapidly as it moves inland across the Carolinas and was expected to dissipate over western North Carolina or Virginia late on Saturday, the NHC said.

Georgetown, with a population of about 10,000, is a tourist destination known for its oak-lined streets and more than 50 sites on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The town was heavily damaged by 1989's Hurricane Hugo.

Even before Ian's arrival, Charleston was seeing torrential rain.

Video clips on social media showed several inches of water in some streets in the port city, which is especially prone to flooding.

A city-commissioned report released in November 2020 found that about 90% of all residential properties were vulnerable to storm surge flooding.

Len Cappe, 68, a retired property manager who moved to Charleston two years ago, said Ian was the first big storm he has encountered.

"It's the wind, it rattles you," Cappe said.

"It's blowing furiously."

With the tidal Wando River a block away, Cappe said he was worried about his house and has been glued to his television, watching for updates.

On Pawleys Island, just north of Georgetown, the pier had collapsed into the ocean and town hall was surrounded by water, according to videos and messages posted online by the local police department.

More than 145,000 homes and businesses in the Carolinas were without power, according to the tracking website PowerOutage.us.

'FEELING LOST'

Two days after Ian first hit Florida, the extent of the damage there was becoming more apparent.

Some 10,000 people were unaccounted for, Guthrie said, but many of them were likely in shelters or without power.

About 1.8 million Florida homes and businesses remained without power on Friday, according to PowerOutage.us.

"You have homes just washing away," Governor Ron DeSantis said at a briefing on Friday in Lee County, which suffered widespread damage.

President Joe Biden, speaking at the White House, said the hurricane would likely rank among the worst in U.S. history.

"We're just beginning to see the scale of that destruction," he said.

Fort Myers, a city close to where the eye of the storm first came ashore, absorbed a major blow, with numerous houses destroyed.

Offshore, Sanibel Island, a popular destination for vacationers and retirees, was cut off when a causeway was rendered impassable.

Hundreds of beleaguered Fort Myers residents lined up at a Home Depot on Friday on the east side of the city, hoping to purchase gas cans, generators, bottled water and other supplies.

The line stretched as long as a football field.

Rita Chambers, a 70-year-old retiree who was born in Jamaica and has lived in Fort Myers since 1998, said Ian was unlike any storm she had ever seen.

"And I've been in hurricanes since I was a child!" said Chambers, who moved to New York as a teenager.

She watched as the storm tore the porch off her home in Cape Coral.

Despite it all, she is not thinking of leaving Florida.

"I would rather shovel sand from my Florida home than shovel the snow in New York," she said.

"If you live in paradise, you have to put up with a hurricane."

At a mobile home park on San Carlos Island in Fort Myers Beach, trailers had been pushed together by the wind and water.

A boat, the "Dreamin,'" lay on its side at a local marina, where another boat had come to rest in a tree.

Deborah Grool, 70, lost her home and vehicles to the storm.

"This is devastating, because it's not just homes, it's businesses," said Grool, a real estate agent who has lived on the island for 45 years.

Her daughter, Katy Bonkowski, who joined her mother to examine the damage, had worried about her parents' and sister's decision to stay on the island during the storm.

"Don't misjudge a hurricane," Bonkowski said.

"I wish my parents would have left."

"I wish my sister would have left."

"But they wanted to stay."

Reporting by Brad Brooks; Additional reporting by Rich McKay, Brendan O'Brien, Sharon Bernstein, Frank McGurty, Jeff Mason and Scott DiSavino; Writing by Joseph Ax and Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Mark Porter, Bill Berkrot and Cynthia Osterman

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/hurric ... 022-09-30/
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