Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Hey, Remember Hurricane Maria?

New hurricane season begins on Friday, June 1st…

More than eight months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island’s slow recovery has been marked by a persistent lack of water, a faltering power grid and a lack of essential services — all imperiling the lives of many residents, especially the infirm and those in remote areas hardest hit in September…

The Harvard findings indicate that health-care disruption for the elderly and the loss of basic utility services for the chronically ill had significant impacts, and the study criticized Puerto Rico’s methods for counting the dead — and its lack of transparency in sharing information — as detrimental to planning for future natural disasters. The authors called for patients, communities and doctors to develop contingency plans for such disasters.

Researchers in the mainland United States and Puerto Rico, led by scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, calculated the number of deaths by surveying almost 3,300 randomly chosen households across the island and comparing the estimated post-hurricane death rate to the mortality rate for the year before. Their surveys indicated that the mortality rate was 14.3 deaths per 1,000 residents from Sept. 20 through Dec. 31, 2017, a 62 percent increase in the mortality rate compared with 2016, or 4,645 “excess deaths.”…

Maria, which caused $90 billion in damage, was the third-costliest tropical cyclone in the United States since 1900, the Harvard researchers said.

They also said that timely and accurate estimates of death tolls are critical to understanding the severity of disasters and targeting recovery efforts. And knowing the extent of the impact “has additional importance for families because it provides emotional closure, qualifies them for disaster-related aid and promotes resiliency,” they said.

The researchers noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that deaths can be directly attributed to storms such as Maria if they are caused by forces related to the event, whether it is flying debris or loss of medical services…

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As A Box Of Rocks. That Dumb (GOP Climate Change Edition)

File this one under the “It matters too much too laugh, and my tear ducts are dry”:

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) questioned Duffy on the factors that contribute to sea-level rise, pointing out that land subsidence plays a role, as well as human activity.

Brooks then said that erosion plays a significant role in sea-level rise, which is not an idea embraced by mainstream climate researchers. He said the California coastline and the White Cliffs of Dover tumble into the sea every year, and that contributes to sea-level rise. He also said that silt washing into the ocean from the world’s major rivers, including the Mississippi, the Amazon and the Nile, is contributing to sea-level rise.

“Every time you have that soil or rock or whatever it is that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise, because now you have less space in those oceans, because the bottom is moving up,” Brooks said.

My man (or is he an ambulatory ficus?) Mo is not the only Republican to be, let us say, profoundly and proudly ignorant of basic knowledge.  (Another way of putting it is that this is another Republican bluntly lying about a critical issue that will affect — read harm — millions of Americans, and  billions of humans.) Here’s House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chair (sic!) Lamar Smith:

At one point, Smith showed a slide of two charts that he said demonstrated how the rate of sea-level rise does not equal the sharp spike in the consumption of fossil fuels. When Smith pointed out that rates of sea-level rise have only increased slightly compared with the rate of fossil fuel use, Duffy pointed out that his chart was from a single tide gauge station, near San Francisco, and that sea levels rise at different rates around the world. Smith did not show rising atmospheric CO2levels or temperatures, both of which have climbed steadily in recent decades as emissions have increased.

And because no catalogue of Republican malicious misrepresentation would be complete without the Kremlin’s man on Capitol Hill, Dana Rohrbacher, here’s his contribution to the enstupiding of America:

“I’m a little bit disturbed by, No. 1, over and over again, I hear, ‘Don’t ever talk about whether mankind is the main cause of the temperature changing and the climate changing,'” [Rohrbacher] said. “That’s a little disturbing to hear constantly beaten into our heads in a Science Committee meeting, when basically we should all be open to different points of view.”

More of the same at the link: BS about ice sheets, masturbatory distraction on what temperature is “normal” on earth and so on.

We are asked to show respect for our fellow citizens on the other side of the aisle. My response: respect is earned.

Image: J.M.W. Turner, The Sun of Venice going out to sea, 1843

Weather Or Not Open Thread

Tomorrow it’s supposed to hit the East Coast.

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Sunday Morning Weather Chat: No Gardening in These Parts!

The more I read about this week’s ‘Winter Story Grayson’, the more I realize how lightly my household got off (so far). We’re far enough away from the coastline, and elevated enough, not to worry about flooding. No limbs came down (the last couple years have done some rigorous pruning), no transformers blew out (the major one down the street was replaced just a week ago!). Our Snowplow Guy showed up in good time to prevent driveway ice berms. And a couple preliminary snowstorms convinced the Spousal Unit to replace our little electric snowblower before all the hardware stores ran out…

How much damage did Grayson wreak in your neighborhood?

West Coasters, feel free to chip in with your own tales of weather woes — firestorms and mudslides are no laughing matter. Not to mention, from the Washington Post:

On Friday, ahead of the heat wave predicted for the weekend, police in Victoria on Australia’s southeastern coast warned drivers that a six-mile stretch of a freeway in the central part of the state has melted. A spokeswoman for VicRoads, which manages Victoria’s road systems, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that hot weather caused the asphalt to become “soft and sticky” and the road surface to bleed…

Paul Holman, an ambulance commander in Victoria, said that Saturday was “the first extreme heat day of the year.”

“This heat is a killer. It’s going to be like a blast furnace tomorrow, and you need to adjust what you do,” he told local media on Friday. “You need to take care. So put off the sporting events, put off the outside events, stay inside.”…


From a different Washington Post article, “The ‘bomb cyclone’ by the numbers: Here’s how much snow, wind and flooding it unleashed”:

Wednesday and Thursday’s blockbuster ocean storm, or “bomb cyclone,” plastered the East Coast with blinding snow and stinging winds. From North Carolina to Maine, numerous locations witnessed double-digit snowfall totals while winds gusted 50 to 80 mph. The storm will also be remembered for the enormous amount of ocean water it pushed ashore, causing near-record high tides and major flooding in eastern New England.

The storm managed to generate all of these impacts because it intensified so fast. Meteorologists measure a storm’s rate of strengthening by monitoring its pressure; the faster the pressure falls and the lower it sinks, the stronger the storm becomes. A storm whose pressure falls 24 millibars in 24 hours is classified as a bomb cyclone. This storm’s pressure fell at more than twice that rate: 59 millibars in 24 hours, which put it into the upper echelon of the most explosive East Coast storms ever observed.

The storm not only produced knee-deep snow from North Carolina to Maine, but also some historically significant amounts in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina…

As the storm rapidly strengthened Thursday, winds roared, reaching 50 to 80 mph along the coast in the Northeast, and up to 100+ mph in Nova Scotia…

Like a hurricane storm surge, the storm’s enormous circulation and winds pushed a large amount of seawater inland.

Boston set its highest water level on record, narrowly exceeding the level reached during the blizzard of 1978, the National Weather Service said…

Off the coast of Nova Scotia, all the water stirred up by the storm created waves measuring over 50 feet!…

(Masshole solidarity requires I point out that Mt. Washington is the most New Hamster attraction ever… it’s flinty, inaccessible, and required no initial capital outlay from the natives.)

Site News: Hurricane

(This is a re-post from Saturday evening for those who may have missed it)


Our hosting company, Hosting Matters, is in reach of Irma. So lines or power could go down and so could this site. They have generators, backups, all kinds of great and groovy stufff, but shit happens.

Luckily, we have a test server. Right now, it’s configured for test usage, not live site usage. So please don’t go there to check it out. But, should the main site go down, I will upgrade the memory and processers so you can use it instead. It is hosted far away from Irma (or José, for that matter!)

Even after memory and CPU upgrades, it will be much less powerful then the main server, but it will work to keep the community going.

Please consider the site a resource to help get through Irma, and whatever cruel twist of fate José might offer.

Your normal nyms should work, and it should work and look like the main site but there may be twitches – it’s a development, testing, and staging site.

The site is at

I will repost this post over the next day or so, stopping when the threat to the main site has passed.