Kilauea Erupts in a Housing Subdivision

Cracks in the ground are spewing lava in the Leilani Estates subdivision on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The USGS Volcanoes Twitter account is a good one to follow for information.

Read more



Apocalypse Very Soon

Via Alexander C. Kaufman at HuffPo, we learn that the EPA has decided that we’ve all just got to sit back and fry — and like it too, dammit:

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday evening sent employees a list of eight approved talking points on climate change from its Office of Public Affairs ― guidelines that promote a message of uncertainty about climate science and gloss over proposed cuts to key adaptation programs.

Here a couple of samples of the new guidance:

“Human activity impacts our changing climate in some manner,” one point reads. “The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue.”

The other states: “While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.”

It’s clear enough what Scott Pruitt’s and Donald Trump’s EPA thinks we should do about the global test-to-destruction experiment on which we are now engaged.  F**k-all.  Hades here we come.
As Eric Levitz at New York magazine reminds us, this actually isn’t the limit of GOP and Trump climate sabotage:

It would be bleak enough if these talking points were an accurate reflection of our government’s position on climate change. “We will do nothing to stop this calamity from happening, but will help you prepare for its onset” isn’t the most uplifting sentiment. But the Trump administration’s actual position on the matter is even worse.

In truth, Scott Pruitt’s EPA is about as opposed to helping communities prepare for climate catastrophe as it is to regulating carbon emissions: Last year, the EPA shut down its climate-adaptation program, and proposed funding cuts* to another initiative dedicated to studying the effects of rising sea levels. [links in the original]

Again, as Levitz points out, unchecked climate change will (and almost certainly has already) kill a lot of people. Which is to say this isn’t garden valley Republican robbery of most of us to serve the interests of our former Secretary of State and his ilk.  Reckless doesn’t begin to describe what the GOP in general and the current administration in particular are doing to the planet, and to Americans’ well being, safety and security.

The climate change debacle is not only down to the United States, of course. But nowhere else has the power that we do to shift international action on this.  We’re doing the opposite, and the FSM knows how high the bill will go.

On that note: top of the evening to the jackals. Open thread, y’all

*Most of the cuts were undone in the omni-budget bill, but if we have a minor respite from environmental despoilation, it’s not thanks to Trump and Pruitt.

Image: D. Howard Hitchcock, Halemaumau, Lake of Fire, 1888



This Is Only a Test

So, this morning, I’m having my coffee, catching up on the Snarkosphere, etc., when I notice an alert on my iPhone screen:

Never heard of a tsunami hitting the west coast of Florida, but shit, the world quit making sense a while back, so maybe? I clicked through to the Accuweather app, which had the little red exclamation point and the same message on the app screen: tsunami warning for my (low-lying, coastal) area.

I mentally reviewed the location of my husband and daughter (higher ground, both, insofar as there IS higher ground on this accursed peninsula) and started figuring out how to single-handedly catch and crate the chickens and then drag the dog and a crate of chickens up to the roof. Or perhaps chance fleeing in my car with the dog and chickens in the cabin with me? Neither seemed a good option.

But before putting either plan into action, I figured I’d better go straight to the horse’s mouth and make sure this warning wasn’t some Accuweather fuckery and that the U.S. National Weather Service was really predicting a tsunami right here in Cockroach Acres. Turns out, nah:

I appreciate getting severe weather alerts when an actual threat exists, just as I’m sure the folks in Hawaii are glad there’s a way to alert them of incoming ballistic missiles. But maybe we need to take a step back and rethink how these alerts are disseminated.

In Hawaii, perhaps it shouldn’t be possible for one person to fuck up and push the wrong button and send the population into a panic. And maybe the National Weather Service should work more closely with the weather apps that are authorized to push NWS alerts to make sure “this is a test” is part of the alert message when testing the system. Just saying.

Open thread!



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.)



Friday Evening Open Thread: Make Your Own Fun


.

The mere fifteen or so inches of snow we got yesterday wasn’t too bad, but the temperature plummet today has been accompanied by non-stop horizontal wind. Even our “wolf dog” Zevon, who loves to frolic in the snow, didn’t make much effort to force his way through the backyard drifts before ‘letting’ me lure him back indoors.

What’s the weather like, in your neck of the woods?



Thursday Morning Open Thread: Cold, Cold Prospects

(Non Sequitur via GoComics.com)
.

(Arlo & Janis via GoComics.com)
.

.

Apart from cursing what we can’t control, what’s on the agenda for the day?

***********

(Tim Eagan via GoComics.com)
.


Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Bundle Up

Yes, this is an East-Coast-centric blog, because that’s where most of the front pagers are. And besides, those of you on the other coast (or in distant time zones) ought to be in bed by now, anyways. Thoughts & prayers to those between Florida and Maine whose personal environments weren’t meant to deal with *this* level of chill!

Apart from “not freezing”, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Since Shirley Chisolm was one of my first real-life political heroes, I truly admire this woman’s style:

And speaking of admirable political figures…