Rita: Texapocalypse roundup – Aquapocalypse Averted?
Author: Admin
Date: 09-24-05 11:42
Rita: Texapocalypse roundup

Image: Two geese and a jungle fowl, wait out Hurricane Rita in a men’s restroom at the Houston Zoo. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

* The Houston Chronicle’s Rita blog includes a post that points out one benefit of hybrid cars.

As vehicles ran out of gas during the Houston exodus (aka biggest traffic jam ever), one Chronicle employee who drove a Prius completed the 30 hour, 170 mile trek on three-quarters a tank of gas.

Other happy hybrid owners who didn’t have to stop for gas or turn off their A/C weigh in: “My folks drove to Austin from League City in their lexus hybrid and 21 hours of driving later still had 1/8 tank of gas left – plus they had my 87yr old grandfather with them and ran the air conditioner all day unlike most people who ran out of gas. 3 cheers for the hybrid!” Link

* Amid the largest concentration of oil refineries in the US, not a drop of gas for those who needed it: Link.
Most refineries in the area appear to have been spared: Link.

* Oh, let’s just nuke the hurricanes into submission: The federal government’s hurricane modification program was called Project Stormfury. The idea was raised during the Eisenhower administration after several major storms hit the East Coast in the mid-1950s, killing 749 people and causing billions in damages. But it wasn’t until 1961 that initial tests were conducted on Hurricane Esther with a Navy plane releasing silver iodide crystals. Some reports indicate winds were reduced by 10 percent to 30 percent.

During Stormfury, scientists also seeded hurricanes in 1963, 1969 and 1971 over the open Atlantic Ocean far from land. Researchers dropped silver iodide, a substance that serves as an effective ice nuclei, into clouds just outside of the hurricane’s eyewall. The idea was that a new ring of clouds would form around the artificial ice nuclei. The new clouds were supposed to change rain patterns and form a new eyewall that would collapse the old one. The reformed hurricane would spin more slowly and be less dangerous.

(…) Project Stormfury was abandoned in the 1980s after spending hundreds of millions of dollars. Other storm modification methods that have been suggested include cooling the tropical ocean with icebergs and spreading particles or films over the ocean surface to inhibit storms from evaporating heat from the sea. Occasionally, somebody suggests detonating a nuclear weapon to shatter a storm.

Link (Thanks, Tony, Dylan)