Tropical Storm Isaac: Gulf Coast Braces For Possibility Of Storm Strengthening Into Hurricane

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/26/tropical-storm-isaac-gulf-coast braces_n_1832124.html

Tropical Storm Isaac: Gulf Coast Braces For Possibility Of Storm Strengthening Into Hurricane

By MATT SEDENSKY 08/26/12 11:09 PM ET AP

Tropical Storm Isaac

Map locates Tropical Storm Isaac and its projected path for the next five days (AP/NOAA)

KEY WEST, Fla. — Tropical Storm Isaac barely stirred Florida Keys residents from their fabled nonchalance Sunday, while the Gulf Coast braced for the possibility that the sprawling storm will strengthen into a dangerous hurricane by the time it makes landfall there.

It was on course to strike land on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a powerful storm that crippled New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and became a symbol of government ineptitude. Forecasters expected Isaac to pass the Keys late Sunday before turning northwest and striking as a Category 2 hurricane somewhere between New Orleans and the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday.

The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for a large swath of the northern Gulf Coast from east of Morgan City, La. – which includes the New Orleans area – to Destin, Fla. A Category 2 hurricane has sustained winds of between 96 and 110 mph (154 to 177 kph).

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called a state of emergency and officials in St. Charles Parish near New Orleans told its 53,000 residents to leave ahead of the storm. Jindal also said he may skip a speaking engagement later this week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa unless the threat to his state subsides. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has canceled his trip to the convention because of Isaac, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott also gave up his speaking engagement.

Elected leaders’ vigilance toward tropical storms has heightened in the seven years since Katrina struck. Criticism was leveled at officials reaching all the way to the White House over what was seen as the federal government’s slow and bungled response to the storm that killed 1,800.

An emergency declaration was also issued in Mississippi by Gov. Phil Bryant amid concerns of storm surge threatening low-lying areas. Oil companies began evacuating workers from offshore oil rigs and cutting production in advance of Isaac.

The storm was on a course to pass west of Tampa, but it had already disrupted the Republicans’ schedule there because of the likelihood of heavy rain and strong winds that extended more than 200 miles from its center.

Even before reaching hurricane strength, Isaac caused considerable inconvenience, with more than 550 flights canceled at Miami International Airport and about 150 from Fort Lauderdale’s airport. There were scattered power outages from Key West to Fort Lauderdale affecting more than 16,000 customers, and flooding occurred in low-lying areas.

Gov. Rick Scott said at a news conference Sunday evening that only minor damage was reported from Isaac.

Wind gusts of 60 mph were reported as far north as Pompano Beach, north of Fort Lauderdale. But while officials urged residents in southeast Florida to stay home, that recommendation was ignored by surfers and joggers on Miami Beach and shoppers at area malls.

In Key West, Emalyn Mercer rode her bike while decked out with a snorkel and mask, inflatable arm bands and a paddle, just for a laugh. She rode with Kelly Friend, who wore a wet suit, dive cap and lobster gloves.

“We’re just going for a drink,” Mercer said.

“With the ones that are brave enough like us,” Friend added.

Along famed Duval Street, many stores, bars and restaurants closed, the cigar rollers and palm readers packed up, and just a handful of drinking holes remained open.

But people posed for pictures at the Southernmost Point, while at a marina Dave Harris and Robyn Roth took her dachshund for a walk and checked out boats rocking along the waterfront.

“Just a summer day in Key West,” Harris said.

That kind of ho-hum attitude extended farther up the coast. Edwin Reeder swung by a gas station in Miami Shores – not for fuel, but drinks and snacks.

“This isn’t a storm,” he said. “It’s a rain storm.”

With a laugh, Reeder said he has not stocked up aside from buying dog and cat food.

The forecast wasn’t funny, however. Isaac was expected to draw significant strength from the warm, open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but there remained much uncertainty about its path.

The Gulf Coast hasn’t been hit by a hurricane since 2008, when Dolly, Ike and Gustav all struck the region. Florida, meanwhile, has been hurricane-free since it was struck four times each in 2004 and 2005.

Hurricane center forecasters are uncertain of the storm’s path because two of their best computer models now track the storm on opposite sides of a broad cone. One model has Isaac going well west and the other well east. For the moment, the predicted track goes up the middle.

Florida Panhandle residents stocked up on water and gasoline, and at least one Pensacola store ran out of flashlight models and C and D batteries. Scott Reynolds, who lives near the water in Gulf Breeze, filled his car trunk with several cases of water, dozens of power bars and ramen noodles.

“Cigarettes – I’m stocking up on those too,” he said.

Forecasters stressed that the storm’s exact location remained extremely uncertain – a fact not lost on Tony Varnado as he cut sheets of plywood to board up his family’s beach home on Pensacola Beach. With the storm’s projected path creeping farther to the west, the Mandeville, La., resident joked he might be boarding up the wrong house.

“I’m going to head back that way as soon as we are done here to make sure we are prepared if hits there,” he said.

Before reaching Florida, Isaac was blamed for eight deaths in Haiti and two more in the Dominican Republic, and downed trees and power lines in Cuba. It bore down on the Keys two days after the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, which caused more than $25 billion in damage just north of the island chain.

In Tampa, convention officials said they would convene briefly on Monday, then recess until Tuesday afternoon, when the storm was expected to have passed. Scott canceled his plans to attend convention events on Sunday and Monday.

At Miami International Airport, more than 550 flights Sunday were canceled. Inside the American Airlines terminal, people craned for a look out of one of the doors as a particularly strong band of Isaac began lashing the airport with strong rain and high wind.

Michele Remillard said she was trying to get a seat on a flight to New Orleans, well aware the city could be affected by Isaac later this week. In coastal Plaquemines Parish, La., crews rushed to protect the levees that keep floodwaters from reaching that New Orleans suburb.

“It’s a little scary,” said Remillard, who was in town for a wedding. “But I need to get home, you know? And if the storm comes my way again, who knows, I might have to come back here.”

As of 11 p.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 510 miles (820 kilometers) southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Isaac had top sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) and was moving to the northwest at 15 mph (24 kph).

Tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 205 miles (335 km) from the center, meaning storm conditions are possible even in places not in Isaac’s direct path.

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Florida Governor Declares State Of Emergency Ahead Of Tropical Storm Isaac

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/25/florida-governor-declares_n_1830114.html

Florida Governor Declares State Of Emergency Ahead Of Tropical Storm Isaac

By SUZETTE LABOY 08/25/12 02:07 PM ET AP

Hurricane Isaac Path Forecast Cone Tropical Storm

Isaac’s projected path as of 2 p.m. Saturday.

MIAMI — Officials organized shelters and urged vacationers to leave the Florida Keys as Tropical Storm Isaac approached on Saturday, though preparations farther north focused on getting ready for the Republican National Convention.

Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency to make sure local and state agencies would be ready. The governor said during a media briefing that delegates were being told on how to stay safe during a storm, and officials were ready for storm surge, bridge closures and other problems that could arise during the convention. He also said he was in close communication with local, state and federal agencies, as well as convention officials.

“We are a hospitality state. We know how to take care of people and we want to ensure their safety,” Scott said Saturday.

A hurricane warning had been issued for the Keys, though it was still a sunny day in Tampa. Forecast models show Isaac won’t hit Tampa head-on, but the storm will still likely lash the city with rain and strong winds just as the convention ramps up. Protests were to start in full force on Sunday afternoon, and demonstrators have vowed that they will make their presence known rain or shine.

Isaac was blamed for at least three deaths after dousing flood-prone Haiti and was expected to scrape eastern Cuba on Saturday. It was forecast to hit the Keys late Sunday or early Monday, and it then could bring stormy conditions to Florida’s west coast before moving to the Panhandle.

Still, the storm was days away from the Panhandle. It was sunny and breezy on the beach Saturday in Pensacola, with people out strolling and playing in the sand. Condo associations told people to move furniture inside, but full-scale preparations hadn’t yet begun. Waves weren’t yet big enough for surfers.

When the storm hits, strong winds will be “enough to knock you over” and produce severe thunderstorms, said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen.

Storm surge and tornadoes also are possible when Isaac hits, and winds could topple power lines and lead to lengthy power outages, Feltgen said. The Panhandle already has had a wet summer, so potential flooding was especially possible there.

Schools, airports, parks and beaches across South Florida closed ahead of the storm. In the Florida Keys, officials said they would open storm shelters and urged vacationers to leave. State officials warned Isaac was a massive storm – even though the eye may not pass over Tampa, tropical storm-force winds extended 230 miles from the center.

Officials were handing out sandbags to residents in the Tampa area, which often floods when heavy rainstorms hit. Sandbags also were being handed out in Homestead, 20 years after Hurricane Andrew devastated the community there. Otherwise, however, convention preparations were moving ahead as usual.

Groups including Code Pink, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the AFL-CIO union and Planned Parenthood have already started arriving in Tampa, regardless of the forecast.

Police said even heavy rain could reduce the protesters’ ranks, and could also bring relief from another worry: extreme heat.

Flooding and beach erosion is also a concern for southwest Florida. The hurricane warning included the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach southward.

http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

HURRICANES

View from space of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico

Inspire others to act by being an example yourself,Pledge to Prepare & tell others about it!

Pledge to Prepare

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. A typical cyclone is accompanied bythunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface.

All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes. Parts of the Southwest United States and the Pacific Coast also experience heavy rains and floods each year from hurricanes spawned off Mexico. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.

Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Hurricane can produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour as well as tornadoes and mircrobursts. Additionally, hurricanes can create storm surges along the coast and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall. Floods and flying debris from the excessive winds are often the deadly and destructive results of these weather events. Slow moving hurricanes traveling into mountainous regions tend to produce especially heavy rain. Excessive rain can trigger landslides or mud slides. Flash flooding can occur due to intense rainfall.

Between 1970 and 1999, more people lost their lives from freshwater inland flooding associated with tropical cyclones than from any other weather hazard related to such storms.

  • Before

  • During

  • After

  • Talk about Hurricanes

  • More Info

A man nailing plywood over the windows of his home.Before a Hurricane

To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kitand make a family communications plan.
  • Know your surroundings.
  • Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
  • Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
  • Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
  • Make plans to secure your property:
  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Install a generator for emergencies.
  • If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
  • Consider building a safe room.

Hurricanes cause heavy rains that can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. Everyone is at risk and should consider flood insurance protection. Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage. To learn more about your flooding risk and how to protect yourself and your business, visit the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (NFIP) Web site,www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419.

For more detailed information on how you can protect your property, view NFIP’s printer-friendly handout Avoiding Hurricane Damage.

Family Emergency Communication Plan

http://www.survival-goods.com/Family_Emergency_Communication_Plan_s/128.htm

Family Emergency Communication Plan

Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it will be important to plan ahead of time concerning how you will contact each other. For example, you may be at work and one of your children may be at school. Would your child know how to get in contact with you?
  • Identify an out-of-town contact. Local phone service may be hard to get whereas long distance calls may be easier.
  • Make sure everyone has the phone number and a prepaid phone card. Program ICE (in case of emergency) number into your cell phone and those of your other family members.
  • Teach family members how to text message.
  • Subscribe to alert services. Many communities now have email messaging and text alerts that are automated and send out information about road closings, bad weather and other local emergencies. Many schools have this automated service to alert parents that school is closed.

Each state is listed with information about how to contact your local emergency planners. will give you the name, address and phone numbers as well as common weather risks in each state.

For more information: http://www.ready.gov

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Infographic: How Obama, Romney (and Friends) Are Using Social Media

http://adage.com/article/campaign-trail/infographic-obama-romney-social-media/236798/utm_source=daily_email&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=adage

Domestic Issues Dominate; Both Sides Use Social as Broadcast Tools

Published: August 21, 2012
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According to the polls, President Barack Obama is in a tight race with challenger Mitt Romney. But he can take a little solace in the fact that he’s trouncing his Republican opponent in social media. (Then again, we assume the President of the United States isn’t the sort who’d actually mistake social-media success for real-world success.) 

Then again, it’s not a surprise that Mr. Obama is in the lead. He has the benefit of being the leader of the free world and having that much-vaunted digital team from 2008. Mr. Romney, on the other hand, spent the better part of the last year in a contentious primary with Republican rivals — and convincing reluctant Republican voters that he was conservative enough for their nomination.

What might be surprising — and infuriating to social-media gurus everywhere — is how little candidates and their teams are using social media for engagement. As we noted last week, Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism study found that both campaigns are treating social as a broadcast medium more than anything else.

The social media habits of the Obama and Romney campaigns do reflect reality, however. Domestic and economic issues dominate the conversation.

Trump hourly chart
Infographic by Thomas Pardee
Source: Ad Age data and the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

What we think, we become. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. – The Buddha

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