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Earliest Tropical Depression on Record in Eastern Pacific

“We are living climate change right now.”

Source: Extreme Flooding Across Midwest ‘Exactly In Line’ With Scientific Warnings of Climate Crisis: Experts | Common Dreams News

“Greatest Evacuation In History” – 650,000 Ordered To Leave Florida via Zero Hedge

“There was no gas and it’s gridlock. People are stranded on the sides of the highway… It’s 92 degrees out and little kids are out on the grass on the side of the road. No one can help them.”

Source: “Greatest Evacuation In History” – 650,000 Ordered To Leave Florida | Zero Hedge

Irma Has Company as Two Other Hurricanes Make Their Debuts

As Hurricane Irma rampaged through the Caribbean, two more hurricanes made their debuts Wednesday.

In the Atlantic, Hurricane Jose was heading westward at a 17 mph clip and packing 75 mph winds at of 5 p.m., according to a National Hurricane Center update. It was about 1,140 miles east of the Lesser Antilles chain of islands in the eastern Caribbean.

Hurricane Irma is so strong it’s registering on devices designed to detect earthquakes

As Hurricane Irma strengthens, here is a look at how each hurricane category corresponds to their wind strength, according to The Saffir-Simpson scale. (USA TODAY)

Hurricane Irma is so strong it’s showing up on seismometers — equipment designed to measure earthquakes.

“What we’re seeing in the seismogram are low-pitched hums that gradually become stronger as the hurricane gets closer to the seismometer on the island of Guadeloupe,” said Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom.

The noise is likely caused by high winds — which cause tiny motions in the ground — and also by trees swaying in the wind, which also transfers energy into the ground, he said. The seismometer is located close to the ocean, so waves crashing along the coastline reverberate around the island, also generating seismic energy, Hicks added.

The hurricane isn’t creating earthquakes, he said. “Earthquakes occur tens of (miles) deep inside Earth’s crust, a long way from the influence of weather events, and there is no evidence to suggest that hurricanes and storms directly cause earthquakes,” Hicks said.

It’s not unusual for large storms to register on seismometers for hours to days as they pass over.

“We saw this for Hurricane Harvey on seismometers located close to Houston,” he said. In the U.K., wintertime storms can sometimes make it hard for seismologists to see small earthquakes because the noise level generated by storms is so high.

As Irma approaches seismic sensors, “we will see a dramatic increase in the amplitude of the seismic recordings,” Hicks said.

As Irma approaches seismic sensors, “we will see a dramatic increase in the amplitude of the seismic recordings,” Hicks said.

Source: Hurricane Irma is so strong it’s registering on devices designed to detect earthquakes |

Sewage, fecal bacteria in Hurricane Harvey floodwaters – CNN

Austin-based Jennifer Walker, the water resources program manager at Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter, took time away from putting together evacuee kits with her sister to speak about what’s to come.
“Once the search and rescue is over, once they’ve explored the area and the floodwaters have receded, one of the things we actually really need to do is go out and figure out what we’re dealing with,” said Walker.
This includes thinking of all the different possibilities for “these chemicals and noxious things that are in pockets all over the Texas coast,” she said. “Where they went and where they could possibly land. We want to make sure our communities and our children are going to be safe.”
In parts of the city where there’s a higher concentration of chemical plants and refineries, there’s “obviously” a higher chance of contamination, said Walker. “But there are pipelines and conduits to move these substances all over Texas, frankly, but definitely on the Gulf Coast.”
“The obvious places to look would be around these chemical plants and the refineries,” said Walker. “But also the places where they use these chemicals. Paint and body shops, definitely, print shops, gas stations — they have tanks of gasoline underground, huge tanks of it — we always hear about dry cleaners, of course,” said Walker.
“Those kinds of businesses are all over the place,” said Walker, who noted that they also “have stringent rules in place for how they deal with and contain their chemicals — but this is a highly unusual situation.”
“My own father owns an auto repair place,” she said, adding that his business had containment systems, such as a retaining wall built around the containers holding antifreeze and other chemicals around it.
While there are different kinds of controls in place, “you also don’t expect 50 inches of rain and massive flooding,” said Walker.

What remains behind

Natural processes — including sunlight, oxygen and soil — will break some of the harmful organisms down, but testing is still needed.
“We need to know what we’re dealing with so we can know this stuff is going to break down in a month,” said Walker. “This stuff is going to be here for a long time and we need to put some barricades around it.”
“A lot of this is going to wash out into Galveston Bay and into our bays and estuaries where there’s incredible commercial and recreational fishery,” she said. “It’s not just people. There’s going to be a lot of wildlife impacted by this when all this stuff sweeps out into our bays and into Mexico.”
Sierra Club created a map to catalog a lot of the potential sources, said Walker. “That was us trying to wrap our arms around this problem and also trying to get this information to the public.”
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“I hope that we’re able to watch it and see what happens and be proactive and get some different testing done and see what we’re dealing with,” said Walker. “We don’t want to find out 10 years later that there is a problem and there was something we could have done.”

Source: Sewage, fecal bacteria in Hurricane Harvey floodwaters – CNN


The Intercept: Before Harvey, Houston Sought Funding to Mitigate Floods — But Congress Refused

THE RAINS WERE going to come eventually. It was only a matter of when, and how bad.

With flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey still inundating Houston — exacting a toll of 31 deaths and incalculable damage so far — the city is left asking what could have been done to prevent the extent of the catastrophe, or at least diminish its effects. One of the questions is why federal funding that should have been in place to help Houston deal with flood mitigation never arrived.

Houston and surrounding Harris County, in Texas, had many ambitious proposals for flood mitigation projects lined up, but couldn’t afford them. And, despite the efforts of one of the city’s congressional representatives, Capitol Hill declined to fund the cash-strapped local governments.

“We’ve gone at this from every angle we could,” said Rep. Al Green, a Democrat from Houston who sponsored a bill to fund various projects after the “Tax Day flood” of April 2016. “We were hoping to help mitigate flooding across the city. I don’t know if we’ll ever mitigate all of it, but we can mitigate some.”

After the Tax Day flood, which left 16 dead, Green introduced a bill to fund $311 million for the Harris County Flood Control District. That bill stalled out in the House Budget Appropriations Committee and never came up for a vote. (Committee Chair Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., did not return requests for comment.)

The federal funds provided in the bill could have jump-started flood mitigation projects in Houston that had already been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers. Those projects had languished for years, even decades, because the federal share of their budgets was never appropriated by Congress.

“What I can tell you is that if it would have allocated funds, we would have tried to use those to our best ability,” said Nicholas Laskowski, the Corps’ Galveston District project manager, who declined to comment specifically on Green’s legislation.

Source: Before Harvey, Houston Sought Funding to Mitigate Floods — But Congress Refused

As Dwight Chandler sipped beer and swept out the thick muck caked inside his devastated home, he worried whether Harvey’s floodwaters had also washed in pollution from the old acid pit just a couple blocks away.

Long a center of the nation’s petrochemical industry, the Houston metro area has more than a dozen Superfund sites, designated by the Environmental Protection Agency as being among America’s most intensely contaminated places. Many are now flooded, with the risk that waters were stirring dangerous sediment.

The Highlands Acid Pit site near Chandler’s home was filled in the 1950s with toxic sludge and sulfuric acid from oil and gas operations. Though 22,000 cubic yards of hazardous waste and soil were excavated from the acid pits in the 1980s, the site is still considered a potential threat to groundwater, and the EPA maintains monitoring wells there.


Source: AP EXCLUSIVE: Toxic waste sites flooded in Houston area – ABC News

Gas prices rise, North Carolina declares state of disaster over fuel shortage concerns from Harvey

Source: Gas prices rise, North Carolina declares state of disaster over fuel shortage concerns from Harvey |

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