Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Time to Make Changes How We Convey Dangers. WE as in the NHC. It's Time to Drop the Cone. Make a Better More Modern Graphic Showing ALL the Weather Dangers. Help Find Ways to Help People Who Want to... to Evacuate. 2018 It's Time To Learn From Tragedies. If Not Now...When?

Rivers still rising.
More people being rescued.
19 Dead.

I wanted to keep this blog short today but there were things that needed to be said.  I'm referring you to yesterday's blog if you have not already read it as it's a good post and worth reading.  I'm having problems today putting my thoughts into words or more so trying hard not to say some of the things in my mind on this blog.  I'm trying to be kind, not judge too much and yet point out the problems that we obviously have getting the true extent of the dangers of a storm like Florence in 2018 before it makes landfall and before the rivers rise and dams begin to fail. In 1996 a large, messy Tropical Storm Josephine wreaked havoc along a large part of Florida and beyond yet many complained that the NHC was showing where the center would make landfall and they weren't expecting the scope of damage and terror they had from Josephine as she spun up tornadoes, wicked winds and weather across an area far from where she actually made landfall. Seems the more things change the more things stay the same. NC is still cleaning up from Hurricane Matthew two years ago that was forecast originally not to make landfall and to turn safely away from the North Carolina coast. Somehow this is Matthew Part 2 and the flooding is so far higher than it was when Matthew flooded out a good part of East North Carolina the way Floyd did years back. Matthew did make landfall in South Carolina and his weather pounded North Carolina. It's time to make changes.

Marshall Shepherd wrote an excellent article this morning that needed to be written. The reason my mind is a bit numb this morning is what motivated him. A one year old child was missing in rising flood waters this morning and there is a solemn reality that a 1 year old child can't be anywhere without a parent or guardian being nearby. I kept thinking... How? I've had kids and I know even a great walker at a year old cannot walk that far... Did someone put him down evacuating in a flood? Was the child's house swept away? It seems she was driving around a barricade through a flooded street for whatever reason and it didn't end well.

It seems Florence has gone after more babies in this disaster than many that I can remember. A mother and an infant boy were killed in Wilmington when a tree fell through their house, another baby was killed yesterday when a massive tree fell on a mobile home cutting the people in the home off from the baby and trying desperately to get to him and get him to medical help but sadly he died. I watched the family on air... it was heartbreaking. Understand you can live somewhere here that seems real safe until a tree that looked healthy suddenly comes crashing down hard onto cheap wood construction or a mobile home and some of the crap wood construction here is not much strong than a mobile home... just saying.  We do not often get hurricanes far inland, they don't really build for them as they do in Florida where most of the state is at stake as the whole state is very narrow and hurricanes can cross the whole state of Florida in less time than Florence took getting out of Horry County in South Carolina where she was moving 2 MPH for most of the day.

The death toll is now 19 as the 3 month old baby I wrote about above died. There are missing people of all ages, hopefully they are safe and in a shelter somewhere not at the bottom of a flooded road trapped in their car that floated away with the current and then sank into a creek that is normally 5 feet wide and is now 30 feet wide and many feet deep.

Please read his article. He kept it short, he is a good writer and he made his point. It is a must read and those are his top five things currently that he mentioned but I'm sure more will be coming to mind throughout the day. He's smart and if you are on Twitter and not following him you should be. He put out his five things that much change, I'm going to speak on just a few of mine.

Before I say what I want to say I want to say that YES Hurricane Florence was a very rare hurricane in that it tracked at a high latitude across the Atlantic and approached the Carolinas as a strong Major Hurricane and that rarely happens. All of the emphasis was on Florence being a MAJOR HURRICANE... a Cat 3.. a Cat 4.. "oh my gosh maybe it will be a Cat 5!!!"  All of the emphasis as always is on the CONE and the center of the cone that you are not supposed to be giving any special emphasis to... Spoiler Alert it did horrific damage as a slow moving Category 1 Hurricane and even more damage as a strong Tropical Storm moving 2 MPH and it continued to damage as a Tropical Depression moving at 5 MPH. It is now gone on the satellite imagery but the trouble continues. There was just a breach of a levee and South and West Lumberton being told to evacuate as they had to after Hurricane Matthew. 

The truth is Florence is not that different from any other CV Hurricane that rolled off of Africa as she traced the High Pressure across the Atlantic. The High Pressure system was aligned different and higher and angled just so that it allowed Florence to get to the Carolinas and threaten the East Coast. The extremely warm pool of water that we have been talking about since May was lingering off the East Coast waiting for Florence to get there. This was a set up we saw coming and just because most hurricanes don't track that high we shouldn't ignore the fact that it ended up just North of the Bahamas moving WNW like most of the other hurricanes so I don't want to hear how different and unique Florence was as most Major Hurricanes North of the Bahamas moving WNW towards the Carolinas weaken in strength before landfall. Not all do... Hugo did not but most do exactly what Florence did they threaten as a Major and they make landfall as a Cat 1 or borderline Cat 2 Hurricane. Usually there is a front there to grab them and whisk them away out to sea or threatening New England. This was the main difference Florence and why the steering currents collapsed so badly is what really needs to be studied. Had she stayed a Cat 4 she may have busted through the ridge, but as a Cat 1 slow moving hurricane she took a long Carolina vacation.

The NHC has her "center" there above.
ALL of her WEATHER is not there.
Look at the image below.

This shouldn't have to be explained to anyone.
This has happened many times before.
They tracked a weather less "center" to Naples FL.
Irene's hurricane force winds & flooding rain hit Miami.
Miami was not in the cone.
They moved the cone.
They apologized.
For a year or so as needed they put a graphic up called:
"weather mass" on their maps.
Then they dropped it.
It needs to be there.
OFTEN the WEATHER is removed from the "center"

You can't just say..
"Please refer to the NWS site for ..."
Spoiler Alert.
NO ONE goes to the NWS..
..except for very weather aware people.
So they are preaching to the choir.
They need to speak clearly to all of us.

Very often in a large messy Tropical Storm with displaced winds and high tides the weather is far from the NHC's little symbol on their very old school map. There was a large, messy strong Tropical Storm with it's weather displaced NE as it usually is early in the season in the GOM. The center was far out in the GOM tracking towards a "landfall" around Mississippi. However all of it's WEATHER went NE over the Big Bend of Florida causing massive storm surge, coastal towns being flooded and the occasional associated tornadoes. The "center" moved ashore with some high tides, light winds and everyone made fun of how weak it was at landfall. Enough with the huge attention to landfall as if you are going to win the lotto if you pick the exact beach town in the Carolinas where the lowest pressure and the exact center of the eye crosses the coast. It is just one part of the storm, and though often it is where the strong hurricane force winds are it is not always the area that gets the most catastrophic damage. Each storm is different and in today's world where any whiz kid genius who loves weather can make a website with graphics, information and videos that keep us informed on the storm we should expect the same from the NHC. I know their budget has been cut over time and many of their best forecasters have retired early or gone into private industry jobs that pay higher and where they can sometimes reach a wider audience such as on TWC or in a smaller market like Houston or name any other town with nice golf course where they are playing golf and tracking storms in retirement... maybe they are fishing but they are done with the NHC. I'm sure Max Mayfield is fishing somewhere, he loves to fish.

There is a problem when the NHC cannot keep up with the ever changing ways information is dispersed in today's world and they use archaic ways of  disseminating information in real time. Most meteorologists online don't want to say this ...they say it behind their back. I know they are trying. They have put up a plethora of GREAT graphics and information on their website but you have to know where they are and you have to understand what they are trying to show. Meteorologists on air only have so much time for their segment so they show the cone, they show a rainfall graphic and they talk in vague terms that come off sometimes sounding like hype but it wasn't hype this storm had disaster written all over it.  Never trust a hurricane that should have died several times but kept on going much like Hurricane Andrew. The TWC did a great time with their recent graphics showing how flooding happens and how fast the water rises. Why couldn't the NHC had their graphic on their main page? The point it to protect the public not to insist on doing things your way and the way it has always been done.

Remember the Jetsons?
Nice clean colors and lines.
Old cartoons...
...before they got better at making cartoons.

Clean simple graphics.

Jetsons were fun.
Alas we still don't have flying cars.
But we do have drones!

And Fred was still using a phone booth.

Things have changed.
Over time on air weather changed.
Phones changed.
Now our phones are our computers.
Go figure on that one.

Bob Weaver was great.
A Miami Icon.
He was able to WRITE on a screen...
..and convey his concerns he was thrilled...
..that they had that new screen for him to use.

Now there is no end to what Levi Cowan can do.
I can get more info on my App than at the NHC site.
Well it's on the site but not easy to find.

Note they USE the NHC graphics.
But they arrange it in a way it's easy to use.
Easy to see what is really happening at once.
Sorry we live in a Pinterest Snapchat world today.

People don't go to Hilton much anymore.
They use Air B and B.
People don't shop at Sears much anymore...
...they buy online at Amazon.
Whole Foods changes... Amazon owns it.
It's a fast changing world we live in.
Except at the NHC.

The NHC has to learn how to convey the real dangers of a hurricane in a different way that it does with what were nice maps back in the 1960s but look a bit too much like something on the Flintstones or Jetsons vs the virtual real world we live in today. They also need to start showing where the WEATHER is and the dangers are as well as the cute red hurricane symbol they move around the map seemingly at will. I'm watching my words, trust me. Sorry but this graphic that is passed around and used by EVERY media outlet does not cut it. There aren't even graphics saying to refer to our other graphics this is 2018 not 1968. Let's go back to early in the season. YES they did put up the note that weather could occur far from the center. It is 2018 SHOW the hazard! Make a MAP Graphic with a small key for inland flooding and twisters and you can even show dangerous weather in a band. This is not 1968 or 1978 or 1988. It's good to go slow and be conservative at times but not when trying to warn people and save lives. Paul Revere didn't whisper to a friend the British were coming and tell the friend to pass it on he got out there on his horse and warned everyone. The little Dutch Boy did what he had to do to save everyone but unfortunately you can't put your finger in the dam or levee to save it anymore. Sadly people thought the new levee would hold, the levee that had been shored up but it failed it seems for now.  The NHC needs to find a way to more clearly warn people what is going to happen after landfall and be less about the "cone" and more about a map that is easy to read. It can be done, I'm sure of it. There is a Millenial Nation out there changing the way we do business, shop and vacation I'm sure someone can come up with a better map. People still think the storm is going where the cone is going and don't get (no matter how many times you tell them) that the cone is only about the center of the storm. But a Hurricane is more than just it's center there are many moving parts. It's confusing.

Don't put a disclaimer hint at the top.

Today we can do multiple screens.
Graphics. Multiple Colors.
Convey important information... a multitude of ways.

The TWC does it all the time.
They show the storm, the cone and radar.
They cover multiple stories....
..warning graphics.
I have a Flash Flood Warning now!

The NHC should lead.
Keep up with the times.
Not try to catch up to others.

An old newspaper map showed more than the Cone map.
It showed showers, thunderstorms across a real map.

Figure it out.
The general public doesn't need simple.
They need details.
The devil IS in the details.

Put where the rain may be strongest.
Put where tornadoes could occur.
High light the dangerous tail.
Weather far from the center.
It's not that hard in 2018.
Ask Cranky is maps are infamous.
Discussion on a new possible system..

Graphics abound today online.
But the NHC keeps them too simple.

Spaghetti Models is a great website.
Mike hit on the reality of what people want.
A variety of information.
For them to choose which they want first.
Then move around for something else.

I don't care if you have to advertise.
You charge money for your APP...
Sell tee shirts.
Get it done.
It's time to show dangers in real time.

Maybe ditch the cone.
Show where it "the storm" is moving.
High light the types of weather.

Old map from
People could understand that image above.

And stop talking about the EURO and the GFS..
...stop trying to validate your forecast.
Make a forecast.
Advise of the inherent dangers.
Not just the track of the eye.

Yes the world has changed.
We have so much information... 
..yet everyone gets it from different places.
Used to be people stopped everything at 6 PM.
They watched the Nightly News.
Now... people check their App or WhatsApp.
Everyone was on the same official page!

Rumors and fake news are everywhere.
And I do mean fake news.
Sorry not a political comment.
Just reality.
I have read more crazy headlines...
written to get clicks.
It's called CLICK BAIT.
And it gets retweeted and believed.
Google Click Bait if you don't understand.

I read an headline danger was over..
How many headlines did you read???
That the 2018 Hurricane Season was going to be Quiet?
Much poor information.
Yes the MDR was dead.
The 2018 Hurricane Season was NOT dead.

So many issues here.
But all come down to one.

How is the danger conveyed to the public?
How does the public get the info?
Does the public understand the info?

Lastly Durham decided to have school today.
You know Durham as in Raleigh-Durham.
One of the cities here.
Bad idea.
But the sun is coming out...
... the weather is getting better.

Yes but .....

Roads are washed out.
Trees came down last night here.

It's very common that people who work in Raleigh don't live in Raleigh - they live in communities far to the South or SE or out in the country somewhere and commute to work. Bus drivers have to get to work, kids can't get to school and teachers had problems getting to schools but they decided now was the time to get back to normal. Unfortunately we are not back to normal. One more day wouldn't have hurt... the ground is wet, it poured last night and it's finally windy and trees are going down as I type this and it's not normal yet. Maybe tomorrow. 

Cranky put this up today.
It's his way of showing how much work is involved.
How organized he is...
...and he is getting it out soon.
It's true.

I'm sorry when I ramble or sound as if I am rambling but really I am trying hard not to say things worse about the NHC main page graphics that look like they are out of Flintstones or the Jetsons. I am not a young met trying to get a job there or somewhere else so I don't have to pretend they did a good job getting the point across on their Main Page.  The previous director Dr. Knabb is now at TWC getting the word out on the dangers of this storm as it moves from Carolina into Virginia covering this multifaceted storm and drama that goes on and on. He does a good job. TWC has done a good job with this storm.

It takes a lot to write a blog. Even for people who love to write. There is much to convey and you want to get it right because you want the public or anyone reading it to get facts they can use to protect themselves and prepare properly. 

In many parts of the country there is also a language barrier (sorry but true) and people don't have money and don't have a weather radio with batteries and when the water starts to rise and the cable goes out they jump into the truck trying to get to safety... too late. A man was interviewed this morning on local Spectrum News. The water began to flood as the creek that is usually five feet across became 30 feet across and his electric went out, his cable went out.. he didn't want to be stranded so he tried to get out and had to be rescued.  Luckily he and his family were rescued. 

One last issue I have is how oddly the storm that was moving at 2 to 5 mph got to where the NHC located it as it seems mathematically impossible. And again we are talking about the "center" or a "low" that is no longer where the weather is happening. But they are tracking a "Low" with no wind and no rain and it's confusing. Add in the graphics to show where the weather is happening.

Satuday Night 11 PM.
36 hours ago.
NHC Discussion.
Mentions Johnnie Mercer Pier.
Wilmington was getting slammed with weather.
But the center wasn't really there.
The tropical storm force winds were though..

Sept 15th 11 PM.
Using measuring equipment at Johnnie Mercer Pier.
Saturday Night.
Florence was here moving about 2 MPH.

Walking it would take 93 hours in optimal conditions.
Yes she sped up to 5 hours yesterday for a while.

Last night they had here here:

Must be new math.
But hey their forecast verified.

Do not ask "what is wrong with him" about some guy who is being rescued now because he didn't evacuate, feel sorry for him and be glad he's alive feeling stupid on live TV. He lives in an area that didn't flood by Matthew, he isn't flush in money and doesn't want to be stranded far from his home as usually he is okay. The cone was not over his detoured around his part of NC as it dipped down into South Carolina and after moving in their words slowly... they used the word "trudge" it somehow made it to NC/TN border after going 2 to 5 mph in less  2 days. Neat trick. Not sure how that happened. New Math maybe?

Thankfully we still have local weather people live on air nonstop for days showing where the weather is and good thing too because someone who looked at the NHC empty circle out by the Tennessee border last night may have thought it was safe to go check on his Cousin Charlie and drive down to the  Durham area or Kinston and gotten out of his truck just before it got swept away in a flood. The cone doesn't convey the real dangers of the weather coming from the Hurricane that was downgraded but apparently it's nasty tail didn't get that message properly. My son doesn't watch local TV anymore but he follows Mike when he does a Facebook Live or watches it after it's finished. He stays informed even without asking me for information. My best friend sends me a WhatsApp message from work to let me know that Mike is "live" on Facebook. This is the world of 2018. 

Look at the image above.
It's obvious that what was left of Florence ...
..was punching North towards an area not in the cone.
But it's okay cause the quiet low pressure area...
...was out by the Tennessee border.

Maybe they should put the KEY MESSAGE.
AT the TOP of their Advisory.
Not at the bottom..
It's a good product.
People read the headlines.

Maybe they should make a main page...
.....that looks more like Spaghetti Models.

NHC is the bottom line.
They make the official call.
They need to make a better map.
Drop the cone.
Stop worrying if the cone verifies.
Show us which way it is going.
Show us where the weather is going to be.

Nuff Said.

Please read the friendlier blog from yesterday.
It's more pleasant.
But this morning the death toll climbed.
People who tried to get out too late.
Failing levees...
... roads closed.
Flooding worse than Matthew.
But hey the track from the NHC verified.
Cause somehow it got there going 2 mph...

This is why people listen to Levi Cowan's video.
This is why people watch their local weather people.
This is why people go to Spaghetti Models.
And sit on Facebook listening to Mike.

Just my thoughts.

Many, many things need to change.
I thought we learned from Irene..
...from Katrina...
...from Sandy...
...from Maria and Irma.

Over 15 years ago.

Change the cone.
Otherwise it becomes a tool for fodder.

Use the graphics, fonts and colors available. Use your words. Make a split screen don't make people click on a link to see that the 10% yellow area in the 2 day becomes 60% on the 5 day but you have to click on the link to see the five day ... oh my goodness really??

We can start change there.

Then figure out who is responsible for the small clusters of trailers who filled with farm workers who work farms nearby who live outside of a city's limits somewhere in a county within a state within a country ...where does the buck stop? It's more than about the cone verifying. Explain that there will be flash floods and tornadoes outside the actual cone.  You can't evacuate a whole state. But other small tropical storms like Josephine did untold tragedies and caused misery far from their cone because of twisters that formed and raced along outside the cone. Do not make this into a blame game blaming the mayor the governor and the President... things need to change on a local level. We need to learn from this tragedy and the deaths in 2018 of 19 people... or more by the time you read this.

Yes Florence was an unusual storm... the books are filled with unusual storms. 

Look at TS Josephine.

Huge lopsided Tropical Storm.
Track below.

Weather was everywhere.
Florence was not that different.
Let's hope next time it happens.
People understand the true dangers...
..far from the center of the track.

Thank you for reading.
Sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings.
But it had to be said.

Much needs to be said.
A multitude of things need to be changed.

How to get the word out.
How to convey the dangers.
How to help those who are isolated...
...without funds and unclear about the dangers.

in the river basins.
Rich farming lands.
Prone to flooding in a hurricane.

I heard someone interviewed on the news say they were told the hurricane was going SW along the coast down to Mrytle Beach and maybe Charleston so they thought they'd be okay up in North Carolina far from the coast. We need to own up to our part in this in getting out the word wrong. The State of Georgia put up a State of Emergency, the storm was moving away from North Carolina. But like Matthew no matter what it's exact movement was I said time and again on this blog........the weather that Florence carried from Africa across the Atlantic kept on going into Eastern North Carolina even if the cone moved away from NC.

Besos BobbiStorm

Ps... read yesterday's blog it's in my mind a better blog post but today I had to say what I had to say. The sad part is that I have said it before many times. The public in 2018 is used to change... they don't have to hold onto the old Cone map that doesn't show enough information as if it is some sort of security blanket. Let it go. Make a better one. That cone helps people live in denial that they will not be seriously impacted from the hurricane and they will be safe... when they won't be safe. People like living in denial rather than packing up from their home and going to a shelter or evacuating. Sorry for any typos but I'm tired and I'll fix them later in real time. Please be part of the solution so this doesn't keep happening again and again. Don't live in denial. 

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At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Okeetee said...

In my personal study of Hurricanes from a host of "experts" on the internet, I have come to understand a few things. The Category of a hurricane, although important, is NOT the most important aspect of hurricane damage and fatalities. Some experts have reported that 90% of all hurricane damage and 90% of all hurricane fatalities occurs within THREE miles of the beach caused by the storm surge! While that may not always be the case, the fact remains it holds true in most cases. What is also very important is not the "category" be it 1, 2 or 3.....but how FAST is the hurricane moving! The average movement of a hurricane is between 10-20 miles per hour. It would be better to take a hit from a class 3 hurricane moving at 20 miles per hr than a class 1 hurricane moving at 1 or 2 miles per hour. The slower the movement of the hurricane the more rain your going to get with the resulting flood damage caused by all that rain! It seems that due to global change more and more hurricanes have slowed down in there forward movement, with the resulting flood problems associated with it.


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