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When President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited Puerto Rico on October 3, 2017, they also met with Governor Kenneth Mapp of the US Virgin Islands (USVI) on board the USS Kearsarge that afternoon.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have received Big Media hysteria about Puerto Rico for two weeks now but hear and read next to nothing about the USVI.

That is because Governor Mapp is grateful for the help and wants to work with the president on recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Therefore, Mapp cannot aid and abet the media’s diabolical agenda. So, no coverage for him.

Here is a video of the meeting:

This is a transcript of the public remarks of the meeting, excerpts of which follow:

THE PRESIDENT: … we were so nicely treated by the U.S. Virgin Islands, frankly, over the years. They’re great people, and were helping out.

And we have with us Governor Kenneth Mapp, who has been very generous with what he said about Brock, about everybody at FEMA, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard, the whole thing. And Kenneth, we very much appreciate your remarks, and I appreciate it very much …

And your people have been very resilient, and they have done a great job. They[‘]re already starting the rebuilding process. And you got hit twice. You were hit very hard.

GOVERNOR MAPP: In 12 days.

THE PRESIDENT: In 12 days, you got hit twice. And Puerto Rico got hit twice. They had a grazing one that actually the United States took a lot of brunt from, and then they got hit by Maria, and that was dead center.

So Kenneth, thank you very much. I very appreciate it. Would you like to say something?

GOVERNOR MAPP: Yes, I would, Mr. President. I want to, on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands, first, thank you and your entire federal family and federal team of FEMA, of DOD, for all the help that you[‘]ve been providing to the people of the Virgin Islands. The people of the Virgin Islands asked me to extend the gratitude and appreciation to you. It has hastened our rebuilding.

We want to let our folks and our friends and brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico know that we stand with them. We extend our condolences to the folks in Las Vegas for the tragedy that occurred. But because of your commitment, Mr. President, and the work and the calls that you have made with us and with me, from Irma to now, were now talking about opening schools and cruise ships returning.

We’ve got a lot of work yet to do. We’ve still got roofless homes, and were working with Brock and FEMA to make sure that we take care of those issues. But we have advanced beyond where we were in any of the hurricanes that we’ve experienced. And I just want to really express my gratitude on behalf of the wonderful people of the Virgin Islands to you and your team.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. They are wonderful people too, and I really appreciate that. I feel that we[‘]re old friends, you know, because we[‘]ve spoken so many times over the last month. And you are — you have done a terrific job.

GOVERNOR MAPP: Thank you …

Read this tweet thread, which has no positive comments at all but, interestingly, goes back to the Russian collusion:

I am personally grateful to see such level-headedness from the governor, which is in stark contrast to the hysteria coming from the mayor of San Juan, who cannot bring herself to work with FEMA.

Caribbean News Now! provided an update on Wednesday, October 4, excerpted below (emphases mine):

Updating reporters at Government House, St Croix, on Tuesday, Governor Mapp described his meeting with the US president, aboard the USS Kearsarge as “very productive,” adding he did not know of “any country on the planet … today that can respond to a disaster like … the United States of America.”

Reacting and responding to a disaster is no easy task, the governor observed, adding: “We as Americans, we’re getting better at this process. It’s not perfect, but we’re getting better at it.”

Mona Barnes, director of the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA), said what stood out for her was Trump and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator William “Brock” Long saying they were with the US Virgin Islands for the long haul.

“I took that and I saw the sincerity in which it was said, and so I say to the people of the Virgin Islands, truly, I am proud to be an American and you should, too,” she said.

Their positive outlook and remarks do not mean that everything is restored. Much work remains to be done, with preliminary cost estimates between $500 million and $750 million.

Governor Mapp said the islands have lost two hospitals, four schools, several government buildings as well as infrastructure.

Mapp’s immediate concern is the progress of the Blue Roof Program, which he says is going slower than anticipated. That said, he was scheduled to discuss the matter with Lieutenant General Todd Semonite from the US Army Corps of Engineers last Friday.

Although the islanders have been hard hit, Mapp and his administration remain positive:

We’ve made this progress because we can say from a real perspective, all hands are on deck. We’re all working towards a common goal of the recovery of the territory,” the governor said, noting that US Virgin Islanders’ “fortitude” and “ability to stay the course” have been the keys to the territory’s recovery.

“I’ve been in four or five hurricanes, and in less than a month, I think we’ve made very good progress,” Mapp said, adding that he was looking forward to the next 30 days.

Mapp thanked the people of the US Virgin Islands for their productive criticism and ideas to improve the recovery process, and commended them for their sense of community and kindness, highlighting those who have taken in others in need, giving them clothes, and cooking hot meals for the community.

“At the end of the day, the Virgin Islands, and the people of the Virgin Islands, are going to be a lot better off than before Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Maria came to our shores,” he said.

What a great outlook. Rather than moan or exaggerate, Governor Mapp has a practical, yet grateful and hopeful, perspective.

It’s sad that men and women like Governor Mapp and his team do not receive a greater share of the media limelight.

Thank you, Governor Mapp. May God richly bless you and the people of the US Virgin Islands in your recovery from Hurricane Maria.

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On Monday, September 11, 2017, I listened to the Howie Carr Show, broadcast from Boston.

Howie’s poll question was about media coverage of Irma. Fifty-nine per cent of his listeners thought it was overkill. Forty-one per cent thought it was just right.

Howie, whose property in West Palm Beach is fine, lamented that the 41% who were interested in Irma either a) had homes in Florida, b) visited the state or c) knew people there. I fit two out of three categories — not a), I hasten to add.

I very much appreciate getting updates, so please feel free to comment. Thank you to my two readers who have sent in reports!

If this had been the worst case scenario, the US would have had an historic humanitarian disaster on its hands. As it is, there is still much clean up and restoration to be done.

I have heard and read that there is much criticism for the ‘lack of response’ in the Caribbean by the British and French governments in British territories and Saint Martin, respectively.

Amazingly, one of the lefty panellists on RMC (talk radio) yesterday said he was sick and tired of hearing about it. He said that the French government was doing what it could to help. This man blamed naive people visiting the island during hurricane season. He also said that French people who moved there have a responsibility to know how to deal with hurricanes. He was annoyed that people expected the government to do everything for them.

South central Florida

I have been reading Sundance’s updates on The Conservative Treehouse. He has lived in southwest Florida for many years and goes out to help with aid and rescue after hurricanes. The media are covering only the west coast cities and Keys. Less has been said about the east coast, which suffered worse damage, and central Florida, parts of which are also flooded.

Sundance said that Lake Okeechobee (the big ‘O’ lake visible in the southern end of the state) burst its banks and is flowing into the Peace River near Arcadia. This is part of his ground report:

En route to the coast we got a ham radio call, well, more of a desperate plea for help on U.S. 17 for a group of families stuck between Wachula and Arcadia. By the time we got there… yikes, desperate homeowners and families trying to salvage anything amid chest high water actually flowing on US 17.

We were able to get about 5 families and their pets, and a few belongings, relocated about 2 miles away and called for the United Way to get there and help. It was like something out of a farm movie. These people are suffering, and they didn’t have much to start with; and they are so thankful …

The center of Florida is rural, farming, working class, and also lots of poor people. The coasts are more well-off. I think all the attention is going to the coasts. The center of the state is of Florida is FUBAR. Truth. Really bad. Those fine God-loving people didn’t have much and now they have less.

As he wrote last week, getting any kind of fuel continues to be a major problem. He thinks he will probably be restricted to helping in local cleanups for now.

This is more of what he saw yesterday near the Peace River after rescuing the families:

By the time we got them to safety, we couldn’t get back to where we came from.  We had to drive 20 miles north; to head West toward I-75 near Bradenton; to head South. On the way across SR64 there were people stuck with the Peace River flowing down the streets and driveways.  We helped who we could amid widespread downed power lines; broken power poles snapped like twigs (East to West wind); and trees as thick as cars that were blown over (North to South wind).

It took us 4 hours to cut through the trees blocking the road just to clear enough roadway to get to I-75 (West coast).  There’s massive power outages all over; made worse by flooding, that, as far as I can tell, the radio news media seemed to be overlooking.

Cell phone service is poor to non-existent. Out of frustration our team split up to check on our own situations before we lost light …

I’m writing this from a phone hotspot, which is the only source of internet access (probably because cables are down all over) and using the fuel remaining in the generator. to power up the drained laptop. I haven’t seen a second of TV (and don’t care to) and have no idea what media is saying about storm. However, if radio talk is any indicator, these pontificating doofuses are stuck in their Vichy boxes not looking past the coastal metropolitan areas.

If the media are covering only certain Irma stories round the clock, it is no wonder Americans are tired of hearing about it. Why can’t these news channels come up with additional reporting, which, surely, they could get from other networks’ local affiliates?

What follows are more videos and images I did not have the space to post yesterday. I will also give an update on Irma’s aftermath as experienced in other southern states on Monday.

Current forecast

This was the forecast late on September 11:

Later:

The NHC Atlantic Ops attention is now on Jose’s path.

Here is a map of Florida to help with the updates below. By the way:

Orlando

Dangerous creatures are lurking, even inland:

Disney World and Universal Studios reopened on Tuesday.

East coast

In the north, Jacksonville was hit in a major way:

A Pizza Hut manager in the city is in trouble for telling employees they could not evacuate early:

“We absolutely do not have a policy that dictates when team members can leave or return from a disaster, and the manager who posted this letter did not follow company guidelines,” the company said in a statement.

The company added that all stores in Irma’s path had been shuttered and wouldn’t reopen “until local authorities deem the area safe.”

These pictures were taken near St Augustine:

Going south, here’s Daytona Beach:

There was also flooding:

Going further south towards Palm Beach, here are the cities of Stuart:

And Fort Pierce:

Jupiter residents were advised to stay off the roads:

Moving south past Palm Beach, this was the scene in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, September 9 (another view of the tornado here):

On Sunday, Irma uprooted at least one tree:

Three huge construction cranes fell. The first two were in Miami and the third was in Fort Lauderdale. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Not far south from Fort Lauderdale lie Miami and Biscayne Bay.

This is what it was like on Saturday night:

The flooding from storm surge is unbelievable:

Biscayne Bay flooding:

The Keys

The Keys lie south of the Florida peninsula.

As was forecast, Irma ravaged large parts of this area, from Key Largo westward to Key West:

Residents who evacuated and want to return will have a long wait (another photo here):

Key Largo is now open. Another two opened on Tuesday:

This man says that he saw a lot of mobile homes tipped over:

Marco Island

Irma hit the mainland on Marco Island on Sunday, September 10:

How awful:

Animal rescues

Many animals were rescued during and after Irma:

South Carolina

Irma reached South Carolina as a tropical storm on Monday:

There were also tornado warnings.

North Carolina

As forecasted, Irma made it to the western part of North Carolina:

Georgia

Irma also went north from Florida into neighbouring Georgia:

Atlanta felt Irma’s wrath:

Uber suspended service Monday afternoon. Air transport posed a similar problem in tropical storm force winds.

There were also tornado warnings.

Alabama

Much of Alabama was cool on Monday. Irma brought heavy rain.

There were also strong winds in places:

There were 20,000 power outages.

Yet, other parts of the state near the Gulf were warm and sunny.

Mobile Bay had the phenomenon of its water being sucked out:

Anyone interested in tracking Irma’s final gasps can follow the NOAA satellite image which, as I write in the afternoon UK time, is showing the storm moving into Louisiana and Oklahoma and as far north as Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Conus (Continental US) image from the National Weather Service is a great Doppler image worth checking out.

In other news, as Mexico is cleaning up and rescuing people after its earthquake, it will discontinue helping Texas post-Harvey:

And finally, September 11 is the anniversary of another severe hurricane — Iniki, which struck the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i in 1992.

Wow. What a time of acts of God, from Harvey to Mexico’s earthquake to Irma. We will remember 2017 for some time to come.

In many ways, Hurricane Irma could have been much worse.

If she had stayed on water, just off the west coast of Florida, her effects would have been more devastating than they were.

It was divine mercy that got her to touch land on Sunday afternoon, September 10, 2017.

For those unaware of hurricane categories, here is a witty interpretation before we get into the serious business of winds, storm surge and flooding:

This is a must-see humorous video:

Now for the serious business.

This is Havana post-Irma:

After Cuba, Irma, still a Category 4 at that point, hit the Florida Keys:

Damage was widespread:

On the northeastern end of the Keys, it was much the same in places:

Meanwhile, on the east coast of Florida, there were hurricane force winds and storm surges.

There was a lot of activity on the east coast, from late Saturday well into Sunday. The Miami Herald has several videos from journalists and readers to illustrate Irma’s ferocity.

This is was what was happening on Sunday afternoon (another image here):

By Sunday evening, this had happened:

On Sunday morning, Irma hit the Florida mainland at Marco Island:

Her eye began breaking up. However, her intensity continued.

Nearby Naples was next (another video here):

Extensive flooding occurred there in places.

Sundance at The Conservative Treehouse is a Floridian who helps with hurricane relief and rescue. He says that certain phenomena, such as water being sucked off of coastlines and out of canals and rivers, haven’t been seen in such a widespread way since Hurricane Donna in 1960:

In 1960 Hurricane Donna drained the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers during her NE turn toward Jacksonville. Ironically That was September 10th, 1960. The tidal flows will play a role in the pending Storm Surge …

The top of the storm is moving water away from the gulf beaches and barrier islands in proportion to the timing of the tide. However, all of that water -along with the water carried by the storm’s energy, will come back in with the backside of the storm. And if that times with an incoming tide…. The results are a fast and widespread storm surge, even up river as all the water piles up.

This occurred in several places along the west coast, including Tampa Bay:

This was Tampa later on (another image, albeit dry, here):

This is what Naples looked like when water was sucked away:

In areas where this occurred, people were told not to go out and take a walk:

Sure enough:

Late on Sunday, Irma reached Orlando:

The state faced tornado warnings as well as winds and flooding:

This is Jacksonville:

Not surprisingly:

Especially around Miami and Fort Lauderdale:

By evening, this was the overall view as Irma continued making her way northward (another image here and extent of winds here and here):

The forecast showed no relief in sight:

First responders were on the ground later on Sunday:

Also:

This is the forecast for neighbouring and distant states. It is amazing that Irma’s reach will extend inland as a tropical depression to Indiana and Illinois:

To the immediate northwest, Alabama is preparing:

Mobile Bay also had water sucked out of it.

Other states, including North Carolina, are also getting ready:

This was her energy on Sunday:

Overall:

Irma’s days as a hurricane may have ended. However, as a tropical storm, she is far from over. More tomorrow.

The war goddess Irma has brushed the northern coast of Cuba and is on her way to Florida.

Hurricane Jose is following closely behind and is hitting some of the same Caribbean islands that Irma devastated.

This is an historic moment as far as hurricanes are concerned. More information follows.

Caribbean situation

On Saturday morning, BT.com reported (emphases mine below):

Forecasters had further dire news for some of the Caribbean islands reeling in Irma’s wake as data suggested Hurricane Jose was “almost a category five” with sustained winds up to 155mph.

Jose is expected to come close to the devastated northern Leeward Islands on Saturday.

The NHC has issued hurricane warnings for the Commonwealth islands of Barbuda and Antigua and British territory of Anguilla, while the British Virgin Islands are on tropical storm watch.

Irma claimed at least 20 lives and left thousands of people homeless when it smashed into the region on Wednesday.

Five of the 22 people reported to have died during Irma are said to have come from the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla.

Aid and expertise is being provided to Britain’s territories in the region in a £32 million government cash injection.

Following a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee, Mrs May said: “I heard directly from our consul general in Miami about the support that is being given to British nationals living in Florida and also British tourists in Florida.

“We are, of course, working with the US authorities to ensure that every support is available and everything can be done before Hurricane Irma reaches Florida.”

Life-threatening wind, rain and a storm surge are expected in the Turks and Caicos Islands, another British territory, into Saturday, after it was “pummelled” by Irma on Thursday night.

The British Army is on the ground:

Those who missed my two posts on hurricane formation here and here might wish to read them, since this entry will refer to some of the topics discussed therein.

This video from The Telegraph shows what Saint Martin and other islands look like post-Irma:

Watch how quickly water came up this dirt road in Haiti. Scary:

Irma hit the Bahamas (video here).

This is Irma skirting the northern coastline of Cuba:

In Friday night’s post, Irma had been downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane. However, as she skirted Cuba, she turned back into a Category 5:

She also underwent eyewall replacement:

The eye might shrink somewhat prior to hitting Florida.

This is an interesting photo:

This is a bizarre video of people on a beach in Cuba waiting for the hurricane.

Record-making Irma

Cubans will remember Irma:

Here’s another Cuban hurricane record:

Irma’s energy is record-breaking, to put it mildly:

Irma makes Andrew (1992) look quite small, which means her reach will be that much greater:

Florida

Those evacuating had to put up with long traffic jams:

The Twitter thread comments ask why Governor Scott did not ask for some of the lanes going in the opposite direction to be opened up for evacuees, which would have sped things up:

The airports are now closed for the next few days.

By Friday evening, people living in the Florida Keys had their last window of opportunity to leave:

One person who evacuated from the Keys took her chickens along for the ride. She bundled them up leaving their heads and necks exposed and put them on the back seat and the footwell of her car.

Petrol pumps have run dry, which will make any last-minute evacuations nearly impossible:

I have read anecdotally that people are having a difficult time getting through to Florida emergency agencies by phone. There is a number that people can text to receive updates.

Speaking of phones:

Irma’s path

A few days ago, it was thought that Irma would go up Florida’s east coast. Some Floridians went to the west coast for safety. Now it looks as if the hurricane will hit the west coast. Not surprisingly, people are upset, but, regardless, the whole of the state is likely to suffer intense damage:

Here is the projected drift westward:

Here’s another view:

Irma might become a Category 4 (see the hot pink hurricane symbols) again once she hits Florida:

The water temperature is ideal for Irma’s strength — 31°C:

Here is a big picture overview as of Friday.

Rain started in southern Florida late on Friday:

Strong winds are expected in Georgia and parts of the Carolinas:

This is very serious (another view here):

Storm surges

Storm surges are life threatening. Here is the list of warnings from Friday. Western counties in Florida are listed. Here is another shorter one predicting six to twelve foot storm surges. This news video says they are also in effect for eastern counties, although less surge is expected.

That said, the east coast is expected to get 100-mph winds and a two- to four-foot storm surge.

These are the areas at risk. Much of this is built-up land. Millions of people live here:

This is an old photo of the aftermath of storm surge:

Rescue and relief

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump spent the weekend at Camp David with cabinet officials. They are in close communication with Governor Scott with regard to Irma.

Meanwhile, a US Navy aircraft carrier, two ships and other equipment are on their way to Florida in order to provide relief to hurricane victims.

The Revd Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse charity is currently in Saint Martin and is readying trucks and volunteers for Florida.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief — UMCOR — have been helping Harvey victims and are preparing to help those affected by Irma.

The Texas Navy and the Cajun Navy are on their way to Florida.

Possible social problems in the aftermath

Sundance from The Conservative Treehouse has been generously updating readers as he prepares for Irma to touch down this weekend.

He is a Floridian and has participated in hurricane rescue and relief efforts. He foresees a lot of problems post-Irma.

These are excerpts from ‘Understanding the Unique Challenge to South Florida During Irma’  (bold emphases in the original, those in purple mine):

South Florida has not had a South to North path hurricane in multiple decades. There were probably less than two million residents in Florida the last time it happened; now there’s approximately 21 million.

For our friends in the Westward Keys and Southern Gulf Side (South West Florida), please pay particular attention to this current storms path. Unlike the Eastern coast of Florida the South West coast (Gulf Side) is primarily made up of recently populated “shallow water” Gulf barrier Islands. A Category 5 storm that skirts the Western coast of Florida, from Ten Thousand Islands Northward to Sarasota, and maintains inflow energy from the Gulf of Mexico, is a topography changing event …

In a scenario where Cat 4 or 5 Irma continues Northwest (current track), then takes a sharp right turn, Northward up the Southwest coast of Florida, well, the coastal vulnerabilities are almost too staggering to contemplate.

Incredibly, the ground along the west coast — islands and resort towns on the mainland — is very fragile:

The tenuous coastal and barrier island ‘ground‘ is crushed shell and sand, and their entire topography is subject to change as the shallow and severely churned gulf waters carry in sand/silt and excavate the same.

Just like 2004’s Hurricane Charley split an entire island (Upper Captiva) in less than 15 minutes, so too could entire coastal communities be split or covered in sand within a few hours. Bridges rising from mainland on one side could disappear into the new coastal Gulf of Mexico on the other, with the barrier island completely removed.

Sundance also predicts severe logistical problems, which could lead to lawlessness and/or social conflict. This is from ‘BREAKING: 5.6 Million Floridians Urged to Evacuate Ahead of Irma’ (emphases mine below):

Anticipate the concerning fuel issue being the challenge again in the aftermath; as it has been in the lead-up. Fuel demand generally doubles AFTER a storm hits with widespread power disruption; I can only imagine what this means for next week

Power is going to be a big issue. If the path is anything like current projections we can anticipate a power outage in Florida breaking all known records. This issue is made complicated by the South To North direction of Irma keeping the inbound power recovery teams from being able to head south.

Once again this geographical dynamic means the Southern most impact zone will be without power the longest. Unfortunately, this is also the impact zone without fuel the longest; and subsequently you can see the ongoing exponential fuel crisis exacerbated by those with individual generators running out of fuel before replenishment can reach them. FUBAR.

With all of these combined factors, essentially, after tonight – everything is in full hunker down mode until approximately a week from now. I’m not too optimistic that most people are aware of that likely probability. That leads to the concerns of lawlessness etc.

As a rough guess, based entirely on just driving around paying attention, it would appear about 25% of homesteads are not prepared at all. About 50% of those observed in the region are moderately prepared, and about 25% appear generally well prepared.

I would estimate the number of people fully comprehending what might take place over the next 5-10 days (meaning having some foundational knowledge of how to move forward amid chaos) in the 3-5% range. Not coincidentally, that’s about the same range of the general population who would be considered “preppers”.

Exactly. Everyone makes fun of preppers. We shall see how things unfold in southern Florida, particularly in the cities. Hmm.

Two hurricanes and a tropical storm

The more I read about two hurricanes and a tropical storm in close proximity of each other, I cannot help but think that God is furious with humanity:

Just days after Irma, Jose is moving in:

And it is not just those storms in the Florida/Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean region.

Out West, there have been a number of forest fires raging. They extend to Canada’s western provinces. Most deposit a layer of ash, which can make breathing difficult:

Judging from the trees right now where I live in England — e.g. holly berries in August — it looks as if we will have an early winter. I hope there will be no nasty surprises in store. I really am concerned about what lies ahead here in Europe weatherwise in a few months’ time.

Forbidden Bible Verses will be posted tomorrow.

Hurricane Irma continues her push through the Caribbean on her way to the US mainland.

For current information, please check with local and national sources for updates.

British territories are among the islands hit. Prime Minister Theresa May continues to be briefed while the Ministry of Defence sends relief and personnel:

The British Virgin Islands, which saw houses reduced to their foundations and many roads impassable in the wake of Irma, has declared a state of emergency.

Images posted on social media showed entire structures razed to the ground, with debris scattered across the streets.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said aircraft carrying around 230 personnel, made up of engineers, marines and medical specialists, will take rations and medical supplies to places affected including Barbados and the British Virgin Islands …

Theresa May’s spokeswoman dismissed criticism that the UK lagged behind France and the Netherlands in taking care of its territories in the path of the hurricane.

The spokeswoman told a Westminster briefing: “We believe our response was swift. We had a ship pre-positioned. We are getting lifesaving aid now to those who need it.”

True. I read that earlier this week.

The Caribbean

As a Category 5 hurricane, Irma caused ‘catastrophic’ damage to the US Virgin Islands. Three people have died.

Irma pummelled the Turks and Caicos Islands, which had never before experienced a Cat 5 hurricane:

Irma is now downgraded from a Category 5 to a Category 4 ‘storm’. Be in no doubt that the downgrade means nothing much happened or will happen.

Bahamians were evacuated (mandatory) to Nassau. Irma is expected on Friday.

Here’s Haiti:

Eastern Cuba, including Guantanamo — is expected to be hit. Hmm. Finding out what happens to the prison could make for interesting reading.

This is the projection from Thursday:

More information on hurricanes

Vox has an excellent article explaining hurricanes.

I wrote yesterday that most North American hurricanes originate in Africa. That post is useful reading, explaining exactly how the different weather systems in the Sahara and West Africa create hurricane conditions.

Vox‘s ‘How do hurricanes form? A step-by-step guide’ is excellent and comes with illustrations. It relates to Irma in particular and will help to explain the news updates in the next section of this post. Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

Irma:

started out as a wave off the African coast …

This shows how Irma has been plotted by various trackers:

Vox explains that tropical waves originate off the West African coast:

A hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean typically begins life as a lowly “tropical disturbance” — defined as organized thunderstorm activity that stretches at least 100 miles across and maintains its identity for more than 24 hours.

During the summer, these disturbances often start as storms moving westward off the coast of Africa in what are known as “tropical waves.”

Many times, nothing much develops. However, if the tropical disturbance needs to be tracked, meteorologists designate it as an ‘investigative area’ and refer to it as an ‘invest’:

Irma became a disturbance off the Cape Verde Islands in late August, with forecasters keeping close watch as it headed west.

A tropical disturbance that develops further spins around a low pressure centre. It is then reclassified as a tropical depression or tropical cyclone. This is what happens:

The warm ocean heats the air above

Rising warm air evaporates and starts to spin

The air then cools and condenses to form a towering cumulonimbus cloud

Intense low pressure then sucks in air, causing very strong winds

For this to occur, the following conditions must all be in place. Emphases in the original below:

The water has to be warm enough to fuel the system, with temperatures of 80°F or hotter. There needs to be enough moisture in the lower and middle part of the atmosphere. Local winds also have to be arranged so that they allow the depression to spin — too much wind shear can tear an aspiring tropical cyclone apart.

This is why hurricanes develop during the summer into early autumn. The water has to be warm enough.

If the tropical depression or tropical cyclone continues to pick up strength, it is reclassified as a tropical storm and is given a name:

That’s what happened to Irma on August 30, as it picked up speed in the far Eastern Atlantic and intensified.

The US National Hurricane Center makes the call for when a tropical depression officially becomes a tropical storm. It relies on data from islands and buoys as well as from reconnaissance aircrafts that fly into the storms to measure wind speed.

A tropical storm can become a hurricane if the water it passes over is very warm (around 28°-30° C or low- to mid-80°s F) and there isn’t much wind shear (i.e. change in speed or direction). If those two conditions occur simultaneously, the development of a tropical storm into a hurricane is relatively quick. The tropical storm becomes rounded and develops an eye:

A tropical storm with winds of 74 mph or higher is reclassified as a hurricane, according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale:

Irma was a Category 5 as of Tuesday with wind speeds of 185 miles per hour. That’s serious — major hurricanes can do structural damage to buildings, take down trees, and cause widespread flooding.

Irma is now a Category 4.

Two things can happen with a hurricane. They can weaken to return to tropical cyclone status as a result of hitting land or cooler water. Sometimes, though, they can weaken then strengthen if they go out to sea and hit warm water again (emphases in purple mine):

Hurricane Hermine in 2016 was downgraded to a tropical storm not long after it made landfall in Florida in September. But then Hermine moved back over the Atlantic Ocean and hit record-warm ocean temperatures there, gathering to hurricane strength again.

It’s worth emphasizing that even tropical cyclones that aren’t hurricanes can still do a great deal of damage by bringing torrential rain, dangerous surf, beach erosion, high winds, and flooding. In 2012, “superstorm” Sandy was technically no longer a hurricane when it hit the East Coast, but it still proved devastating to the New York and New Jersey coasts.

Record-setting Irma

Irma is likely to set a few records or be in the top list of perfect storms:

Latest Irma news

From what I have read anecdotally on Friday, some Americans who potentially lie in Irma’s projected path are frustrated and angry with news reports. Do they evacuate or stay put?

The sad truth is that no one knows definitively what Irma’s path is.

New technologies developed over the past few years are giving people the best images and projections possible.

As of Thursday, September 7:

Mention has been made of Irma’s eyewall:

Eyewall replacement cycles occur in stronger tropical cyclones (winds greater than 185 km/h or 115 mph) and Category 3 – 5 hurricanes. Wikipedia explains (emphases mine):

Since the strongest winds are in a cyclone’s eyewall, the tropical cyclone usually weakens during this phase, as the inner wall is “choked” by the outer wall. Eventually the outer eyewall replaces the inner one completely, and the storm may re-intensify.

The next two illustrations show unusual movement. Notice how Irma might not affect the Carolina coastline as previously thought. However, Irma will probably go to the centre of the country, towards Tennessee, possibly Nashville. This is unheard of. With regard to Florida, Irma is likely to cut a south to north swathe, which is very rare, as hurricane movement is normally east to west there. This will be bad:

The water in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico is very warm, therefore, favourable to Irma — disastrous for those who lie in her path:

These are the weather alerts:

Here are more specifics on storm surges (see point 3), which seriously endanger life:

Much of southern Florida could be devastated. Let’s hope not:

This is the potential for storm surge damage along Florida’s southeastern coastline:

These are the potential wave heights:

Florida

Meteorologist James Spann issued a detailed forecast on Thursday.

In Florida:

The most severe damage should be on the Atlantic coast from Miami up through Daytona Beach and Jacksonville late Saturday night and into Sunday.

*The Florida west coast (cities like Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota, St Petersburg, and Tampa) are on the west side of the system, but due to it’s strength wind damage is very possible there Sunday along with widespread power outages and some flooding.

*Hurricane force winds are likely in Orlando Sunday. Potential for structural damage there. I would not want to be in Orlando Sunday; the weather will be much better by Monday.

The whole of Florida is under a state of emergency with mandatory evacuations in certain counties. Mar-a-Lago has also been evacuated.

Relief shelters are open. Broward County is home to Fort Lauderdale:

Petrol is in short supply as people attempt to drive out of state:

People are stocking up and battening down the hatches.

Traffic is crazy. This is from Thursday:

Airports in evacuation areas are closing, including on the west Coast.

People are preparing for the worst:

In closing, this is no time to party:

Prayers and Godspeed to all.

Hurricane Irma is on her way:

Irma means ‘war goddess’. How appropriate:

Jose, the storm behind her, means ‘God gives increase’. Jose is the ‘L’ (low) to the east of Irma:

Yes, there are indeed many possibilities, all of them awful.

Here is the situation in Florida for the southernmost tip (Keys) and counties for Fort Lauderdale (Broward) and Miami (Dade):

This is a Dade County evacuation map. Note below, from the information a local television station is receiving, that county officials are asking tourists to leave:

This is Irma as seen from space:

Someone from St Martin made this short video when Irma hit the island:

Barbuda was in the eye of Irma:

This was the approach:

This is what happened to the barometric pressure:

On Tuesday, September 5, the US Virgin Islands governor, Kenneth Mapp, has signed an emergency order allowing residents’ firearms, ammunition, explosives and property to be requisitioned as deemed necessary to protect the islands. The Daily Caller reports that this emergency order is:

subject to approval by the territory’s Justice Department.

Mapp has:

mobilized National Guard units to prepare for the massive storm.

Irma is expected to hit the islands on Wednesday, September 6:

Irma strengthened to a Category 5 storm Tuesday, with wind gusts hitting 175 miles an hour. Irma’s eye is expected to pass just north of the heart of the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday and bring four to eight inches or rain and 60-mile-per-hour wind gusts.

Also on Tuesday, President Donald Trump approved Puerto Rico’s declaration of a state of emergency. Trump’s approval means that FEMA is authorised to co-ordinate disaster relief efforts:

No one yet knows where Irma could hit on the US mainland.

It could be Florida:

Or possibly the Carolinas:

Irma could also change direction:

Floridians are making preparations now.

The US Central Command has emergency information, such as this page for those living in the Tampa Bay area.

The Conservative Treehouse has useful posts on what could happen in Florida. ‘Hurricane Irma Concerns’ has excellent, detailed advice about what to do now. Generally speaking:

If we Floridians are going to successfully navigate this hurricane, people are going to have to work together and do the right thing. Based on what we know now, this has the possibility of being beyond a worst case because we can’t know which coast will be impacted, so both coasts might have to prepare.

Things were already getting frenetic in Miami today as people were trying to get ahead of the game by getting supplies. There is no reason to wait. Most hurricane food can be used in the course of life, and other supplies will work for season after season.

The best thing that can happen is that you don’t need to use your supplies, or your house or neighborhood doesn’t get flooded so you can easily go back home. It is unlikely that either will be the case for many people, so there is nothing to do but to prepare carefully and fully now.

The post also explains the danger that could well lie ahead (emphases mine):

The 5:00 PM National Hurricane Center cone shows a position just south of Key West Sunday afternoon, but there is significant uncertainty in that forecast. The average error of 5-day NHC forecasts is about 240 miles. It is impossible to know at this time whether Irma will track up the east coast, the west coast, or up the middle of Florida.

Given the amount of time it takes to move people to safe locations, decisions to order evacuation of areas that would become dangerous if the hurricane were to take an unfavorable track have to be made well before there is certainty. This situation could be a nightmare scenario where evacuations may be required on both coasts of the state and in the Keys, with everyone trying to head north on I-95, I-75, or the Turnpike. This possibility is extraordinarily concerning.

Many imaginable forecast tracks are also extremely dangerous for the Florida Keys. If Irma tracks anything like it is forecast, life-threatening conditions will be experienced over a significant portion of the Keys. Many people in Key West think they have been through hurricanes, but the last super hard, direct hit was in 1846, so obviously nobody has experience with what a big strong hurricane can do. If there was ever a time to follow the evacuation orders, this is it.

Another post, ‘Hurricane Irma Update — South Florida, Both Coasts, Pay Attention’ is excellent from the point of view in describing hurricanes past and present. Excerpts follow.

If Irma goes from south to north in Florida, something which has not happened in decades:

the difference between 10 to 20 miles east or west will be extremely important. I have led numerous Hurricane recovery teams, within multiple hurricane areas; this one is concerning …

There were probably less than two million residents in Florida the last time it happened; now there’s approximately 21 million.

Most hurricanes in Florida go from east to west and vice versa.

Another consideration is what would happen if Irma hit the west coast of Florida, which includes the cities of Sarasota and Naples, along with a number of resort areas, namely islands (emphasis in the original):

Unlike the Eastern coast of Florida the South West coast (Gulf Side) is primarily made up of recently populated “shallow water” Gulf barrier Islands.  A Category 5 storm that skirts the Western coast of Florida, from Ten Thousand Islands Northward to Sarasota, and maintains inflow energy from the Gulf of Mexico, is a topography changing event.

Repeat: “A topography changing event.”

This is because (emphases mine):

These Islands, while they may not be familiarly referenced as “barrier islands”, simply because decades have past and populations have developed them, are exactly that “Barrier Islands”These shallow water gulf areas along the coast have not had severe storm surge disturbances for 60+ years.

The tenuous coastal and barrier island ‘ground‘ is crushed shell and sand, and their entire topography is subject to change as the shallow and severely churned gulf waters carry in sand/silt and excavate the same.

Just like 2004’s Hurricane Charley split an entire island in less than 15 minutes, so too could entire coastal communities be split or covered in sand within a few hours. Bridges rising from mainland on one side could disappear into the new coastal Gulf of Mexico on the other, with the barrier island completely removed.   Nature is a powerful force.

If you live in South Florida, please pay attention to Irma’s path. There are millions of people in these coastal communities and only two basic Northern Interstates available for evacuation: I-75 (West Coast) and I-95 (East Coast).

If you live in South Florida West of I-75 or East of I-95, this might be the first storm you should consider *NOT* trying to ride out.

This short video shows what happened during the aforementioned Hurricane Charley. Watch what happens to this filling station (go to the 1:30 mark):

Hurricanes can arise out of seemingly innocuous storms. Florida meteorologist Bryan Norcross wrote a book describing his tracking of Andrew in 1992. The Palm Beach Post has an article from May 2017 which summarises his experience:

It was 4:35 a.m. when the Miami radar failed.

The more than one ton piece of equipment was pulled from the roof of the National Hurricane Center, shaking the building as it fell away in the 147-mph gusts of Hurricane Andrew.

Then WTVJ’s chief meteorologist Bryan Norcross tapped into radar signal from West Palm Beach in a desperate bid to keep tabs on the unprecedented Category 5 hurricane that just two days before was a less threatening Category 1 storm.

Norcross, who spoke Wednesday at the 31st Annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference in West Palm Beach, said he wanted to honor the experiences of the people who suffered through Andrew while also telling the story from his unique perspective.

Norcross, now a hurricane expert for The Weather Channel, is credited with saving lives during a storm he watched grow from a lazy wave to a monster in only a few days.

“I thought the story had not been well enough told,” Norcross said. “People don’t understand what an epic event it was, so extremely different than anything we had seen before or since.”

The conference’s keynote speaker emphasised the importance of residents following evacuation orders:

Wednesday’s keynote speaker, Brevard County Emergency Manager Kimberly Prosser, said vigilance is necessary.

Her presentation was titled; “We told you so, lean into chaos.”

Despite the call to every barrier island resident advising them of the mandatory evacuation, apparently a large majority thought that the general message did not apply to them,” Prosser said. “Thousands of people emailed me personally asking for guidance on their specific situation” …

Imagine everything, because Mother Nature taught us in 1992 that things you never thought could happen, do,” Norcross said.

Last year, the Washington Post published a great article, complete with diagrams, showing hurricane paths over the past 100 years. Of Andrew, the article says:

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew rampaged through South Florida, causing 65 deaths and more than $26 billion in damage. Destroying more than 28,000 homes and damaging at least 107,000 others, the storm would be the costliest natural disaster in the United States until Katrina in 2005.

My prayers and thoughts are with everyone in Irma’s path. I hope that their preparations have gone to plan and wish them godspeed.

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