Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav - 12 hours to landfall

Gustav is finally behaving like a major hurricane just in the last few hours. Very intense convection has now wrapped around the eye (which has been obscured by clouds all day) and Gustav is starting to look a bit like it did just before the Cuba landfalls when it almost attained category 5 strength. While I'm still forecasting a Category 3 landfall between Morgan City and Houma, Gustav might have a bit more intensification left before landfall in about 12-15 hours - and a Category 4 at landfall is still very, very possible.

It seems like this storm has gone out of its way throughout its life to be as difficult as possible. Good luck and godspeed to all those hunkering down in Louisiana tonight.


Gustav at sunset Sunday night

Gustav - major hurricane, LA landfall tomorrow

While Gustav remains a major hurricane (now a Category 3) with sustained winds of 120mph... it has not strengthened much since emerging from the north coast of Cuba last night. Right now, it is battling a bit of shear, having a bit of trouble keeping a stable eye, and about to leave the warmest waters of the Gulf. These points would argue that perhaps Gustav is nearing its peak intensity in the Gulf. Gustav is still forecast to regain Category 4 strength - briefly - and is again forecast to make landfall as a Category 3. Landfall location has also been trending a bit west - a bit closer to Morgan City than Houma. Gustav could still make landfall as a Category 4 - but the difference between a high category 3 and a low category 4 won't be distiguishable for most locations.

The bottom line is that in 24 hours Gustav will make landfall in Louisiana as a major hurricane.

Hopefully you are all reading this from outside the borders of Louisiana, but if not, you probably have until sunset today to safely evacuate. If you are still in southeast Louisiana after sunset tonight, find a sturdy location on high ground and start praying.

Gustav now a strengthening Category 4 in the Gulf

Hurricane Gustav reached category 4 intensity this afternoon - with maximum sustained winds of 150mph - only 5mph below category 5, just before making 2 landfalls in Cuba - the first on the Isle of Youth, and the second in Pinar del Rio province. By most accounts, parts of the Isle of Youth have been devastated. Gustav now sits just off the north coast of Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico, and remains a Category 4 hurricane. The passage over Cuba did not weaken Gustav much, and as of 2am, Gustav is only 10mb or so weaker than its peak intensity of earlier today. Gustav should reach category 5 strength by this afternoon.

The forecast for Gustav has changed (worsened) slightly. Due to the much stronger than expected strengthening before the Cuba landfalls, and a slightly faster than expected forward speed - Gustav is now forecasted to make landfall as a Category 4 storm on Monday - 6 to 12 hours ahead of previous forecasts. Landfall still looks to be somewhere between Morgan City and Houma - with the worst impact to the east - an area that includes metro New Orleans.

Latest computer models showing close agreement on landfall location

A direct hit over Houma would be the worst case scenario. Parts of the New Orleans metro - especially the West Bank - would experience conditions worse than Katrina (including 15-25ft storm surge), and many places west of New Orleans - including Baton Rouge - would (and likely, will) experience MUCH worse conditions than Katrina (including sustained winds up to 100mph in B.R.). Houma could be devastated. Right now, a scenario similar to this seems likely.

Mandatory evacuations are in place for much of southern and southeast Louisiana. In total, 15 Parishes, including Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Jefferson, Orleans, and St. Tammany parishes have all ordered mandatory evacuations. In Orleans parish, the buses will STOP evacuations at noon tomorrow (Sunday). BE ON THAT BUS if you are still in New Orleans.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gustav now a major hurricane

As of 10am this morning, the hurricane hunter aircraft flying through Gustav found sustained winds of 125mph just south of Cuba - supporting an upgrade to a strong category 3, or major hurricane. Gustav has undergone a period rapid intensification overnight and grow in size. The central pressue has dropped from 988mb to 954mb (a 34mb drop) in 24hrs, and has strengthened from a tropical storm to nearly category 4.

Gustav will cross Cuba today, which shouldn't impact its intensity much if any by this time tomorrow. Right now, Gustav is less than 72 hours from landfall. If you're still in south Louisiana this morning, make plans to leave today.

In the last few hours Gustav has also tracked a bit toward the eastern edge of the forecasted path. It's still too early to say whether this will affect the final US landfall location (my forecast is still for a landfall near or just west of Houma as a Category three sometime early Tuesday), but in the short term it's not good for people in Havana - the largest city in the Caribbean. They do a good job with evacuation and preparation (sending people to sturdy well build schools and hospitals near their homes instead of mass movements of population like in the united states), so I'm not as worried for them as I was for Haiti/Jamaica, but Gustav, throughout its life, has seemed to go out of its way to cause the most pain possible for people in its path. And a major hurricane landfall is never an easy thing.

Another forecast detail that is emerging this morning is that after making US landfall (now in less than 72 hours), Gustav is forecasted to slow its forward speed considerably - bringing an increased risk of flooding to central and interior Louisiana and surrounding areas. As one forecaster said yesterday, if you're in Louisiana right now, the best thing would be to leave the state. Go north, not along the coast, if you can.

This morning, St. Barnard and Plaquemines parishes are under a mandatory evacuation order. Megan said that as she crossed the twin-span this morning heading for Pensacola that she never went below 40mph. So, if you're still in Orleans parish, leaving sooner is better than later. It will only get worse from here. Be calm, but be single minded in your task of saving your life and the lives of your loved ones.
Major Hurricane Gustav

Gustav reaches category 2 strength

An Air Force hurricane hunter airplane flying through Gustav south of Cuba just found 100mph sustained winds - supporting an upgrade to category 2. Gustav is undergoing rapid intensification.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Gustav - Friday/Saturday overnight update

Gustav has been upgraded again to hurricane status - which it should hold from now until it moves inland over the gulf coast next week. An eye is also starting to reappear, though currently the structure is very complex - concentric eyewalls with the strongest winds about 50 miles from the center in the outer eyewall. In short, Gustav is steadily growing in size, organization, and intensity. Judging by the satellite appearance, it appears that rapid intensification to a major hurricane could occur at any time. Don't be surprised to wake up tomorrow to a category 3 (or greater).

To reiterate, my forecast remains the same: Gustav should make landfall on Tuesday as a major category 3 hurricane somewhere in central Louisiana. The past two days of Gustav's progression and consistent model runs have helped to increase my confidence in this forecast, and I'm tempted to narrow the likely landfall area slightly to Lake Charles to Houma. The worst effects will be felt to the east of the landfall location.

For those in New Orleans - remember, the right front quadrant of storm is the most intense (think coastal Mississippi in Katrina), and the combination of the landfall location (about 50 mi to the west) and the angle of approach (from the SE) is nearing a worst-case scenario for the New Orleans area. Storm surge could be in excess of 15-20 feet. Meteorologically, this storm could (could!) be worse than Katrina for New Orleans. Now I'm a weather man, not a levee expert, so I only know as much as you do how well N.O. might be prepared to handle a potentially bigger surge than Katrina. But if I was still in New Orleans, I'd be making plans to leave, soon.

Gustav (L) and Hanna (R) on a night vis satellite image Friday night.

My forecast, like the NHC, hasn't changed for awhile. Which means, it's becoming more and more likely by the hour that central Louisiana will feel the brunt of this storm - probably as a major hurricane. One thing I'd like to point out that, as with Katrina, Gustav will very likely also be a LARGE storm in size. Which means that severe effects will be felt well away from the center. Upwards of 200-300 miles away or more. Mississippi, Alabama, and even the Florida panhandle should prepare as if a Category one hurricane will be making landfall. Surge, wind, and rain, will likely impact the entire Gulf Coast. Also - keep in mind it is Labor Day weekend. People as far away as the west coast of Florida and the Keys will be experiencing increased surf and rip currents on Monday at the beach. Don't be complacent just because you're not in the cone.

On this 3-year anniversary of Katrina, we should all take a moment to remember how lucky/thankful/fortunate we are to have our lives - and know how precious each day is. In a very real way. Life is why we're here, folks, to love, to be happy, to share this happiness with each other. Please be safe, make wise decisions this weekend. Remember, you can always get new stuff, a new house (or maybe you can't) but, you can't get a new life.

I'm writing from Kansas, and Meg is on the road right now heading north and east out of Louisiana with Pepper and her co-worker and good friend Valerie, from Unity. Meg and Valerie spent the latter part of the week securing housing and assisting with evacuation plans for over 100 homeless New Orleanians with mental or physical handicaps - most still homeless from Katrina. I'm so proud of the work they do.

Gustav - Friday morning update

After tracking along or over the south coast of Jamaica all day yesterday, Tropical Storm Gustav now sits just over the western tip of the island, still barely below hurricane strength, but with an excellent satellite presentation and plenty of warm water ahead. Gustav is still forecasted to become a major hurricane sometime over the next two days - the NHC is calling explicitly for rapid intensification for the first time this morning (a bold step for those who may not follow NHC forecast discussions that regularly) - and although the steering currents have become a bit more complicated due to Gustav's longer than expected trek through the Caribbean islands (adding uncertainty again to the forecast track), Gustav is still forecasted to make landfall on Tuesday somewhere on the Louisiana coast as a major category 3 hurricane. My personal forecast is still for landfall somewhere from the TX/LA border to Grand Isle, LA.

Preparations continue here in New Orleans. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (who seems to be taking the lead locally - not hearing much from Ray Nagin) met yesterday in Baton Rouge with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the FEMA director, both of whom came in from Washington to assist in the preparations. Plans are also underway to begin mandatory evacuations for some of the lower parishes today, and start contraflow to evacuate New Orleans tomorrow (Saturday). Up to 700 buses - enough to evacuate 35,000 people (more than were in the Superdome during Katrina) - are being prepositioned around the city and state, and what I've been hearing is that the goal is to have as few as possible people in shelters in the city during the storm. Buses will run from staging areas in the city to pre-defined points northward - in Shreveport and in Tennessee - not in a haphazard fashion as in Katrina. But Louisiana national guard resources are still strained due to commitments in Iraq, and the proposed evacuation - an unprecedented dual contraflow involving south-central Louisiana AND the New Orleans metro area using the same roads at the same time - involving about 3 million people in total -- would be more than double the size of the evacuation for Katrina (which was the largest, most ambitious evacuation in US history). We can only hope that all this planning will be carried out in an effective way, and that the people of Louisiana, who have been through so much, will stay safe. At least we're experienced this time.

Gustav as of 5am this morning.

Megan and I went for a drive yesterday afternoon in the direction of Houma on US-90. Stopping for gas on the way back, the station we chose was already out of regular and mid-grade at most of its 12 pumps, with only premium left. Talking with our neighbor last night (who waited until the last minute to evacuate his family for Katrina), he already had his box of food and water ready by the door and had sent his wife to fill up their car as we were talking. One of our elderly neighbors already left yesterday morning, and most other people I talked to were thinking of leaving today - to try and beat the traffic that everyone is anticipating on Saturday. As my neighbor said, "you can get a new house and new stuff, but you can't get a new life." I think people here are very aware of that fact this time.

When we picked up the mail yesterday afternoon, there was a colorful 20-page brochure published by the local National Weather Service office here in Slidell titled "2008 Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Guide" full of evacuation tips and procedures, what to do with your pets when a hurricane strikes, and even artwork from local children following the aftermath of Katrina. I assume (hopefully) that this brochure was distributed to all of Orleans parish yesterday - in timing with the arrival of Gustav. Good work by whoever was responsible. As our neighbor mentioned last night, it seems like everyone here is more ready this time - paying close attention to the forecasts and getting as prepared as possible in advance.

Nola.com also has some great resources for those of you planning your own evacuation. Check the sidebar on the story referenced above.

My flight out is at 2pm this afternoon - and Megan is thinking of driving to her sister's in Pensacola tonight. We'll be out fine. Let's hope everyone else is too, and that we'll have our beautiful city to return to next week.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gustav - Thursday update

Due to land interactions with Haiti over the last 48 hours, the center of Gustav has reformed overnight nearly 100 miles to the SSW of its previous location. Hurricane warnings have been posted for Jamaica - and Gustav is forecasted to cross the island today as a borderline Category 1 hurricane.

The speed at which Gustav has restrengthened and reorganized after interaction with Haiti is impressive. As I said yesterday afternoon, not too long ago (18hrs) it was very difficult even to locate the exact center. This is a perfect example of how, when the right conditions are present - low wind shear, plenty of moist air, and very warm ocean temperatures - rapid intensification is always possible. The right conditions are forecasted to remain with Gustav more or less the entire way to the Central Gulf Coast early next week.

My updated forecast will be for Gustav to stay mostly toward the southern side of Jamaica - where effects from land interaction should push the convection - and rapidly intensify once it clears the island, sometime tomorrow. From there, a passage over the Cayman islands and through the Yucatan Channel between Mexico and the Western tip of Cuba and into the southern Gulf of Mexico. As I said yesterday, the warmest waters in the entire Atlantic exist along this route, and should promote the development of a major hurricane in the Gulf this weekend.

Uncertainty still exists in the final landfall area on the US Gulf Coast - as landfall is still 5 days away. We'll have to closely watch how Gustav interacts with Jamaica - but Jamaica should be the last major disruption before Gustav enters the Gulf. I don't know how intense Gustav will ultimately become in the Gulf - between Category 3 and 5 - but I am still predicting a Category 3 landfall. I'm shifting the final landfall location a bit west - to agree with the latest model consensus and trends - to between the TX/LA border and Grand Isle, LA.

Yesterday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency and activated 5000 National Guard personnel - hopefully the first step in a well ordered preparation and evacuation process. As the Times-Picayune has mentioned, this evacuation has the potential to be much larger than Katrina for Louisiana - as the landfall will be to the west - necessitating the evacuation of nearly all of southern Louisiana.

What's more - a new tropical storm - Hanna - also formed overnight. It's in the central Atlantic, forecasted to strengthen to a hurricane in 3 days - and stall out halfway between the Bahamas and Bermuda. About equal chances right now of it getting picked up by a cold front or remaining behind as a threat to the east coast next week. Stay tuned.


Probability of Tropical Storm force winds from Gustav and Hanna the next 5 days.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gustav - Wednesday midday update

Gustav is still having problems crossing Haiti... and the exact center of the storm is now fairly hard to find. This stalling has effects for the track later in the forecast period - with the placement of the storm in relation to the high forecasted to be over the southeast US this weekend (the main steering mechanism for Gustav once it reaches the Gulf), and therefore perhaps introducing a slight right-ward shift in the track. Also the notable decrease in organization (and windspeed) today may delay restrengthening near Cuba for up to 24 hours. However, the fact remains that the oceanic heat content (a measure that takes into account the subsurface as well as surface ocean temperatures) south of Cuba and in the southern Gulf is still exceptionally high. All these points still argue for a strong, yet perhaps slightly delayed hurricane making landfall on the Central Gulf Coast early next week. Only change I might make right now is maybe extend my range from Lake Charles to Gulfport, MS and timing from Monday/Tuesday to Tuesday/Wednesday AM. Still Category 3 at landfall.


Oceanic Heat Content as of yesterday. Anything over 100 supports a major hurricane.

Overheard at an uptown New Orleans coffee shop...

new orleans before a hurricane. it's an eerie, funny feeling. like watching the most relaxed guy you've ever met slowly strap on a possibly faulty parachute and climb aboard a skydive plane. what will happen? who knows.
i'm at a coffee shop right now, and there are no less than 2 other separate conversations going on right now about "evacuate, don't evacuate... i remember camille back in '69 and boy it was bad when the whole state of mississippi ran out of gas and i was allergic to my mom's cat...."
so evacs are now scheduled to start friday for the swampy parishes south of here - people that live 2hrs south of I-10 on the bayou. My flight to Kansas (next stop on what may be a very memorable Labor Day weekend) is Friday at 2:10pm, so I think I'll be ok. I just checked the wind rating of my windows to see if I need to put up plywood boards, and they are rated to 150mph (category 5) so I think it should be fine. meg is making plans to take pepper and drive up to slidell to her parents on Friday, and then to her sister's house in Pensacola this weekend. I just hope the state has prepared enough over the last three years.

Slight update:
The link under "enough" in the sentence above points to the fact that many levee improvement projects are currently underway in the West Bank of New Orleans the last few weeks and months - an area largely spared in Katrina. This story gives a good overview of levee projects since Katrina across the entire metro area, for those interested.

Gustav - Wed. morning update

Overnight, Gustav has stalled out over the mountains of Haiti - where there is likely a living watery hell taking place for many people there - the most vulnerable country in the Western Hemisphere to hurricanes. Flooding and mudslides have been reported, and we won't know until a few days how bad it is - the ground is already saturated from Fay's rains last week, and it won't take much for deforested hillsides to give way in the hills and slums outside of Port-au-Prince.

Also overnight, many of the previously outlying computer models have converged on a path taking Gustav to Louisiana early next week. This increases the confidence of the forecast I put up yesterday - a major hurricane making landfall - probably in the south central Louisiana coast (Lake Charles to Grand Isle?) on Monday or Tuesday. The time to prepare is now.



I'm at JFK right now heading down to New Orleans for a quick (pre-planned) trip - which I feel is going to turn into 72-hours of hurricane preparations. I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hurricane Gustav - now a serious Gulf Coast threat

Hurricane Gustav, now just south of Haiti, strengthened overnight from a tropical depression to a strong category 1 hurricane. This process took only 15 hours - the fastest rate of strengthening ever recorded for a tropical depression in the Atlantic basin.

More importantly, Gustav now poses an even more serious immediate threat to the islands of the Caribbean, and this weekend, to the US Gulf Coast. The latest forecast from the NHC calls for Gustav to enter the Gulf of Mexico as a major hurricane on Saturday, just off the western tip of Cuba. As of today the 5-day NHC forecast ends there - but my best guess would be a final landfall as a strong hurricane (Category 2-3+) somewhere between Houston and Mobile on Monday, though right now landfall could realistically be anywhere from Brownsville, Tx to Tampa, Fl. Some models show Gustav reaching Category 5 before landfall. Bottom line, there WILL be a hurricane landfall somewhere on the Gulf Coast early next week. Just to keep perspective on how serious this is, Ivan, Dennis, Katrina, and Rita were all Category 3 (major hurricanes) at landfall. And we all remember them.


This is the graphic that really scares me. Not only has Gustav already undergone record-setting rapid intensification, but its path takes it directly over the warmest waters of the Caribbean, and then over the warmest part of the loop current this weekend in the Gulf. And we remember also what the loop current did for Katrina.

The National Weather Service office in Slidell, LA, who famously warned of the impending threat of catastrophe that Katrina posed, has started to pick up on the serious threat of Gustav. This is from their latest forecast discussion:

From LIX:

LONG TERM...
THE LABOR DAY WEEKEND SHOULD BE NICE FOR THE MOST PART LOCALLY BUT WITH A DEGREE OF UNEASINESS AS HURRICANE GUSTAV APPEARS POISED TO MOVE INTO THE SOUTHEAST GULF BY WAY OF THE YUCATAN CHANNEL ON SUNDAY. THE FORECAST PERIOD BEYOND MONDAY WILL BE HIGHLY DEPENDENT ON FUTURE TRACK AND INTENSITY OF GUSTAV. CLIMATOLOGICALLY...WE ARE NEARING THE PEAK OF THE SEASON...WHICH IS SEPTEMBER 10TH. THE FIRST WEEK OF SEPTEMBER SHOWS 10 NAMED STORMS DIRECTLY IMPACTING OUR FORECAST AREA SINCE 1851. CONDITIONS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO LOOK FAVORABLE FOR MAINTAINING HURRICANE INTENSITY THROUGH THE YUCATAN CHANNEL WHERE THE HIGHEST HEAT CONTENT IS FOUND. AN EDDY OF VERY WARM WATERS RESIDES AROUND 25N 90W BUT WATER HEAT CONTENT AND DEPTH REALLY FALL OFF NORTH OF 27N...WHICH MAY WORK IN SOMEONE`S FAVOR WHEREVER GUSTAV ULTIMATELY TREKS. DEEP LAYERED WIND PROFILES OVER THE SYSTEM WOULD SUPPORT MAJOR HURRICANE STATUS IN THE CATEGORY 3 RANGE...AND A FEW OF THE TROPICAL CYCLONE INTENSITY MODELS DO RAMP INTENSITY OF GUSTAV INTO LOW END CATEGORY 5 THOUGH A MAJORITY OF THE MODELS LEVEL OFF IN THE LOW END CATEGORY 3...WHICH LOCAL RESEARCH SUPPORTS. TIME WILL TELL IF WE MAY BE FACED WITH ANOTHER ROUND OF DESTINY ALONG OUR SHORES. CLOSE ATTENTION TO THIS SYSTEM WILL BE PRUDENT OVER THE LABOR DAY WEEKEND.


Maximum intensity of Category 3 to 5... "Destiny on our Shores".... scary stuff. So pay attention this week guys.

Start today getting your important papers in order, thinking about where you might go if you have to evacuate, and digging out your Home Depot gift cards. If the forecasts stays on this track, start your preparations to leave before the weekend. And keep up with the latest forecasts from the National Hurricane Center. Anything they say will trump the forecasts of the Weather Channel, or your local media.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Barack and Roll

Maybe this redeems him as a revolutionary in my book. Enjoy. =)

Gustav, and a Fay recap

The next tropical system in the Atlantic was born this morning. Tropical Depression 7 should be upgraded later today to Tropical Storm Gustav, as this is the only Tropical Depression in known memory to already have an eye.

Latest satellite image of pre-Gustav

The models are split right now on the likely path, some taking the storm south of Cuba toward the Yucatan and Gulf of Mexico, others taking it north over Haiti towards south Florida. Both are scary.

As the remnants TS Fay churn away north of Louisiana, it's a good time to remind everyone that the number one cause of death in hurricanes is flooding, not winds. Although Fay never officially reached hurricane status, it caused a lot of flooding - including over half the average annual rainfall in northeast Florida - over 26 inches in 3 days near Melbourne. More people died in Florida (11) than in Haiti (10) as a result of Fay - mostly due to the much longer time Fay spent over Florida, but also due to some people like this guy who don't take tropical storms seriously. Although Haiti had the worst score on my Hurricane Vulnerability Index, Florida was about middle of the road, with places like the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and Cuba scoring much higher.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Obama-Biden

today i'm trying to think about joe biden - i'm not overly excited about him, but i think it was a safe decision. he will be obama's attack dog - saying things that obama is too nice to say. a worker. i've also started to rethink the way i think about obama - realizing over the last few weeks that he's not as revolutionary as what i might have hoped - but maybe what we need is someone that is practical and not a revolutionary. we have a lot of problems that need to be solved.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Around Bushwick

From my walk this morning around the neighborhood.







Saturday, August 16, 2008

TS Fay

Newly formed Tropical Storm Fay just made passage overnight over the DR and Haiti - a woman and her two young nephews were killed after their truck was swept off the road into a gulley in the DR by a flash flood. I imagine more such stories will emerge in the coming days.

Fay has the potential to strengthen into a hurricane in the next couple of days as it approaches Cuba and crosses into the Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center is currently forecasting a Florida landfall for the Tampa/St. Pete area - but taking into account current trends, this could shift farther towards the FL panhandle in the coming days. Everyone in Florida west of Miami - and the entire Gulf Coast, including New Orleans - should be prepared for what could be a nasty start to the week.

Friday, August 15, 2008

My new bike

If you were in Bushwick, Brooklyn at about 5:30pm last night, you might have seen me riding around town with my brand new 1986 Trek road bike. It's a beauty.

Plan for tonight: laps around Prospect Park.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

NCAR cuts funding for climate impacts

Last week, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO made a puzzling decision. It cut funding for the Center for Capacity Building - the primary vehicle with which research on weather and climate impacts are used to assist developing countries prepare for climate change and weather extremes. Over the last few years, I've gotten to know the director of the CCB, Mickey Glantz, pretty well and have the highest respect for what he has done to advance the interface between social science and meteorology. Not only is the loss of this center a severe setback for those countries who would benefit from Mickey's expertise - but it also calls into question the priorities of NCAR as an institution concerned about making the outputs of its scientists useful for the people who most need them.

I'm sure Mickey will continue to have a successful career - though unfortunately just not with the resources and support of NCAR.

Some related articles:
Climate Change program to aid poor nations is shut - New York Times

Dismay over cuts at climate program - Dot Earth
"You have to protect your core" - Prometheus
Abrupt termination of program raises fundamental questions - Climate Science Watch

NCAR - Center for Capacity Building home page

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back in NY

Well, after what seems like a long week of travelling and resting, I'm back in New York now, commuting on the subway again and eating raisin bran and soy milk like nothing ever happened.

It's been a bit of a whirlwind few days, trying to get re-settled in, submitting aaaaall my receipts to get reimbursed, and hanging out with friends here in NY. I'll try to keep up with regular updates!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Gobbles and Lipstits

Hope your neck's in shape...

video

Really? REALLY?

Monday, August 4, 2008

The hotel fireplace


A perfect place to spend hours reading...

Hiking on Zomba Mountain







Sunday, August 3, 2008

TS Edouard strengthening off the coast of LA

Just a heads up - a newly formed tropical storm is now just off the coast of Louisiana, headed west towards Texas. Signs are currently pointing towards rapid intensification, and a low-end hurricane may not be out of the question in 24-48 hours.

Be sure to keep an eye on the news, or the NHC, who will be the first to update with new information.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mwandama village

The visit yesterday to the village was very nice. The Malawi Met Service staff were very impressed with the multisectoral approach MVP is taking, and specifically when it comes to the multiple ways the project is already implementing some drought mitigation techniques. (Micro irrigation, rainwater harvesting, etc) The drought insurance will just add to the package.

It's exciting because Malawi has some history in being very progressive with drought insurance in the past few years - and this contract for Mwandama would be the first for MVP using a comprehensive approach to drought risk management. I'm excited to be a small part of it.

Below are some pictures around the village yesterday.


Adams (Agrometeorologist from MMS), Rebbie (Mwandama-MVP science coordinator/team leader), Gray (deputy director of MMS), and me in front of the MVP project offices in Zomba.


The MVP project offices building in Zomba


Downtown Zomba


A roadside market on the way to the village


Mwandama village


Chief Mwandama - he's where the village gets its name


A typical Malawian household


A typical house in the village


Cute kid!


Rebbie pointing out a borehole well constructed by the project for the Mwandama village


Gray testing out the water pump


Rainwater harvesting and storage tank - catching the rainfall off the roof of the house for domestic use and for watering the garden


A small check dam used to harvest runoff during the rainy season (it's dry now)


A larger microirrigation dam that was constructed on a pilot basis by a local community group of farmers, near a perennial stream


The irrigation trench - using low cost materials the farmers are able to divert a small amount of water from the local stream/pond to water this small plot of corn.


The cabbage garden - and tomatoes on the right


Adams and Gray speaking with a farmer from the community group responsible for the irrigated fields


The cabbage


Irrigated corn - the main staple crop of the village. Normally, it can only be grown in the rainy season - but microirrigation can produce a crop with similar yields in the dry season.

















Some kids around our UNDP vehicle as we were leaving

Friday, August 1, 2008