NASA Captures Stunning Close-Up Photos of Antarctica’s Massive Iceberg

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WEBSITE OF ‘GIZMODO’)

 

NASA Captures Stunning Close-Up Photos of Antarctica’s Massive Iceberg

The edge of A-68, the iceberg the calved from the Larsen C ice shelf in July 2017. (Image: NASA/Nathan Kurtz)

Back in July, satellite images showed an iceberg bigger than the state of Delaware calving and drifting away from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf. Well, it’s summertime now in Antarctica, which means scientists are finally able to view this behemoth from up close—and the pictures are just as spectacular as we imagined.

Known as iceberg A-68, the gigantic slab of ice weighs about a trillion tons and features a surface area of 2,240 square miles (5,800 square kilometers). The berg is slowly drifting away from the Larsen C ice shelf, possibly heading towards the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. As it floats away from the Antarctic Peninsula, A-68 is splintering and forming more icebergs in the process.

This past Sunday, November 12th, members of Operation Icebridge—a NASA-led initiative to produce detailed 3D maps of Antarctic and Arctic polar ice—flew a P-3 aircraft armed with a sophisticated array of measuring instruments to take a closer look.

A remarkable shot of A-69, revealing the extent of its size. (Image: NASA/John Sonntag)

“Perhaps you know the feeling: that moment when you see with your eyes something you have previously only seen in pictures,” wrote science writer Kathryn Hansen, who participated in the trip, in an article penned for NASA’s Earth Observatory. “Before today, I knew the Larsen C ice shelf only from the satellite images we have published since August 2016.”

A wide view showing iceberg A-68B (front), iceberg A-68A (middle) and the Larsen C ice shelf (back). (Image: NASA/Nathan Kurtz)

Hansen said she wasn’t prepared for the enormity of the iceberg, as most bergs she’s seen were relatively small and blocky.

“A-68 is so expansive it appears if it were still part of the ice shelf,” she said. “But if you look far into the distance you can see a thin line of water between the iceberg and where the new front of the shelf begins. A small part of the flight today took us down the front of iceberg A-68, its towering edge reflecting in the dark Weddell Sea.”

Who’s up for a swim!? Larsen C ice shelf (left) and iceberg A-68A (right). (Image: NASA/Nathan Kurtz)

In addition to taking photos, the Operational Icebridge scientists sought to measure the depth of water below iceberg, which they did using radar and a gravimeter.

IceBridge project scientist Nathan Kurtz and Sebastián Marinsek from Instituto Antártica Argentino observe Larsen C from a window on the P-3 aircraft. (Image: NASA/Kathryn Hansen)

Scientists now have the clearest picture yet of A-68, which will help them track and study its progress moving forward.

[NASA Earth Observatory]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

George Dvorsky

George is a contributing editor at Gizmodo and io9.

NRA Condemns U.S. Virgin Island Firearm Confiscation Plan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NRA-ILA)

 

NRA Condemns U.S. Virgin Island Firearm Confiscation Plan

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2017

NRA Condemns U.S. Virgin Island Firearm Confiscation Plan

FAIRFAX, Va. – The National Rifle Association on Tuesday announced its strong opposition to the order signed by U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp allowing the government to seize personal firearms and ammunition ahead of Hurricane Irma. The NRA is prepared to engage the legal system to halt the unconstitutional order. 

“People need the ability to protect themselves during times of natural disaster,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. “This dangerous order violates the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and puts their lives at risk.” 

After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin instituted a similar order and began confiscating legally owned and possessed firearms. The NRA intervened in federal court and was able to halt the confiscations and obtain an order requiring the return of the seized firearms. The organization then backed federal legislation to prohibit the confiscation of legal firearms from law-abiding citizens during states of emergency. In 2006, President George W. Bush signed this legislation into law.  

“When 911 is non-existent and law enforcement personnel are overwhelmed with search-and-rescue missions and other emergency duties, law-abiding American citizens must be able to protect their families and loved ones. The NRA is prepared to pursue legal action to halt Gov. Mapp’s dangerous and unconstitutional order,” concluded Cox.


Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement, and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.

 

Typhoon Lan churns toward Japan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Typhoon Lan churns toward Japan, bringing ferocious winds

  • Lan is expected to make landfall overnight Sunday into Monday in Japan
  • Tokyo will likely get hit with severe winds and torrential rain

(CNN)A mammoth typhoon is closing in on Japan, hurling dangerous winds and threatening to cause major flooding and mudslides.

Typhoon Lan is expected to make landfall overnight Sunday into Monday along Japan’s southern coast near Minamiizu, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.

As of Sunday evening, Lan was whipping winds of 215 kilometers per hour (134 mph). Although the typhoon is weakening, Tokyo is expected to get hit with possibly damaging winds and heavy rains, Brink said.
The storm has already caused massive waves in South Korea.

Enormous waves crash onto the coast of Busan, South Korea, on Sunday. Fishing boats were forbidden from going out to sea.

Typhoon Lan is so enormous that its cloud field is larger than Japan, Brink said.
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On Sunday, Japanese voters participated in a snap general election that was expected to make Shinzo Abe the longest-serving leader in the country’s post-war history.
The turnout Sunday was stymied by the typhoon, but a record number of Japanese citizens voted earlier ahead of the storm.

Hurricane Maria Category 5 Obliterating Dominica, Puerto Rico Will Receive “Catastrophic” Damage

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Hurricane Maria’s destructive tear across the Caribbean is well underway, with the storm obliterating parts of Dominica and threatening “catastrophic” damage to Puerto Rico.

“No generation has seen a hurricane like this since San Felipe II in 1928,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said Tuesday. “This is an unprecedented atmospheric system.”
He urged Puerto Ricans to find safe shelters immediately, as emergency workers “will not be available to help you once the winds reach 50 mph.”
Hurricane Maria track
“We need to keep in mind that we must also protect the lives of these first responders. It’s time to act and look for a safe place if you live in flood-prone areas or in wooden or vulnerable structures,” Rosselló said.
Maria has already has pounded Dominica with 160 mph (257 kph) winds and caused “widespread devastation,” Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said Tuesday.
The Category 5 hurricane shredded the prime minister’s house overnight and left much of the island — population 73,000 — in ruins.
“So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace,” Skerrit posted on Facebook Tuesday. He said his greatest fear was “news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains.”
A few hours earlier, the Prime Minister posted, “My roof is gone. I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding.”

Hurricane Maria battered Guadeloupe and flooded a street in Pointe-a-Pitre.

Maria is now the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in Dominica, a former French and British colony whose economy relies heavily on tourism and agriculture.
Now, Maria is taking aim on Puerto Rico and Islands already crippled by Hurricane Irma.

‘Don’t go out under any circumstances’

As of midday Tuesday, Maria was centered about 150 miles (240 kilometers) southeast of St. Croix and was headed west-northwest at 10 mph.
While Maria moves closer to St. Croix, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, preparations against life-threatening storm surge, flooding and destructive winds “should be rushed to completion,’ the National Hurricane Center said.
Puerto Rico said its biggest airport, the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport near San Juan, will close at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday. Airports in Ponce and Aguadilla will close today at 6 p.m.
A hurricane warning is in effect Tuesday for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, the US and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques.
“A dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves will raise water levels by as much as 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels in the hurricane warning area near where the center of Maria moves across the Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands,” the hurricane center said.
Guadeloupe’s regional government tweeted a stern warning to residents Tuesday: “Don’t go out under any circumstances.”

Puerto Rico says Maria ‘will be catastrophic’

Maria will pummel the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Tuesday night and Wednesday as “an extremely dangerous Category 4 or 5 hurricane,” the National Hurricane Center said.
That would make Maria the first Category 4 or 5 hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico in 85 years.
In the capital city of San Juan, residents cleared store shelves of water and other supplies.
Gov. Rosselló has declared a state of emergency. And US President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico to aid with federal assistance.
Puerto Rico sheltered many of the evacuees who fled from other Caribbean Islands during Hurricane Irma earlier this month. Now those evacuees and native Puerto Ricans are bracing for devastation.
“This is an event that will be damaging to the infrastructure, that will be catastrophic,” Rosselló said. “Our only focus right now should be to make sure we save lives.”
The governor said 500 shelters are available on the island.
“We expect to feel storm winds, tropical storm winds, (from) Tuesday up until late on Thursday. That’s about two-and-a-half days of tropical storm winds,” Rosselló said.
“On Wednesday we will feel the brunt — all of the island will feel the brunt of sustained Category 4 or 5 winds.”
The Puerto Rico Convention Center in the capital San Juan to the north — which is still housing Hurricane Irma evacuees from other Caribbean islands — is preparing to accept thousands of residents as the worst of the storm is felt.

Martinique largely spared

One bit of good news emerged from the Caribbean: The French island of Martinique suffered no major damage, the French Interior Ministry tweeted Tuesday.
Maria knocked out power to about 50,000 homes, and 10,000 homes had no water. But overall, the damage assessment was “reassuring,” the French Interior Ministry said.
The director general of French civil security, Jacques Witkowski, said only two people on Martinique suffered minor injuries.

Rapid intensification

In just 30 hours, Maria’s intensity exploded from 65 mph on Sunday to 160 mph by Monday night, the National Hurricane Center said.
The British Foreign Office said more than 1,300 troops are on standby, either on affected islands or in nearby locations, ready to help after Maria tears through.
One military team has been deployed to the British Virgin Islands, and a British military reconnaissance team is on standby to go to the British territory of Montserrat.
The HMS Ocean is set to arrive in the area at week’s end with 60 tons of government supplies.
Another hurricane, Jose, is also churning in the Atlantic and has spawned tropical storm warnings for part of the US East Coast.
While forecasters don’t anticipate Jose making landfall in the US, it’s still expected to cause “dangerous surf and rip currents” along the East Coast in the next few days, the hurricane center said.

Maria, following Irma’s path, is now a Category 1 hurricane

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Maria, following Irma’s path, is now a Category 1 hurricane

  •  Maria is getting closer to islands devastated by Hurricane Irma
  • Hurricane Jose could bring “dangerous surf and rip currents” to the US East Coast

(CNN) Hurricane Maria was upgraded from a tropical storm Sunday afternoon as it takes aim at Caribbean islands devastated less than two weeks ago by Hurricane Irma.

As of Sunday afternoon, Maria was about 140 miles (225 kilometers) east northeast of Barbados, according to the National Hurricane Center. It had strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane, hurling winds of 75 mph, and is forecast to continue moving toward the eastern Caribbean at 15 mph.
“Maria has strengthened to a hurricane and could be near major hurricane intensity which it affects portions of the Leeward Islands over the next few days, bringing dangerous wind, storm surge and rainfall hazards,” the hurricane center said.

Hurricane Maria is expected to keep strenghening as it heads toward the Caribbean.

Maria is one of three storms churning in the Atlantic Ocean, but it poses the most danger to the hurricane-battered Caribbean.
Maria has prompted a hurricane warning for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Lucia. A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds.
The warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours.
A hurricane watch is in effect for the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten/St. Martin, St. Barthelemy and Anguilla — many of which were devastated when Irma blew through the Caribbean, killing 44 people. A hurricane watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds.
“Maria is likely to affect the British and US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by mid week as a dangerous major hurricane,” the NHC said.
Torrential rainfall could cause deadly flash flooding and mudslides. Maria could dump 6 to 12 inches of rain across the Leeward Islands — including Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands — through Wednesday night.

Hurricane Jose

Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose intensified as it churned north on Sunday, threatening “dangerous surf and rip currents” along the US East Coast in the next few days, the hurricane center said.
As of Sunday afternoon, the Category 1 hurricane was about 335 miles (535 kilometers) southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and moving north at 9 mph.
While the center of Jose is expected to stay off from the US East Coast, “swells generated by Jose are affecting Bermuda, the Bahamas, and much of the US east coast,” the NHC said.
“These swells are likely to cause dangerous surf and rip current conditions for the next several days in these areas.”

Tropical Depression Lee

Lee, the third storm in the Atlantic, fizzled from a tropical storm to a tropical depression Sunday, the hurricane center said.
As of Sunday afternoon, the storm was about 910 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands.
Lee’s maximum sustained winds sputtered to 35 mph, and are expected to further weaken in the coming days.

More Hurricanes On The Way For The Caribbean

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

(CNN) Tropical Storm Maria formed Saturday in the western Atlantic Ocean, prompting a hurricane watch for areas battered by Hurricane Irma last week.

Maria is about 590 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles and is packing maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. The storm is moving toward the Caribbean at 19 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical Storm Maria forms in the Atlantic.

Maria is expected to gain strength through the weekend and become a hurricane by late Monday, forecasters said.
Tropical storm watches are posted for Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The hurricane watch covers Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat and Guadeloupe.

Tropical Storm Maria is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane as it impacts the Caribbean.

That means areas devastated by Irma could again be dealing with hurricane conditions by Tuesday or Wednesday.
Maria joins Tropical Storm Lee, which formed earlier Saturday in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.
Lee is spinning about 720 miles west-southwest of Cape Verde off northwest Africa and packing maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Lee isn’t expected to gain much strength over the next 48 hours and will likely fade to a tropical depression by Wednesday without affecting land, the center said.
These new Atlantic systems join Hurricane Jose, a Category 1 storm spinning about 480 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
Jose could bring rain and wind to the US Northeast early next week.

The tiny islands ravaged by Irma are in trouble as Hurricane Jose looms

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

The tiny islands ravaged by Irma are in trouble as Hurricane Jose looms

 September 7 at 4:25 PM
 Play Video 1:00
Island of Barbuda ‘barely habitable’ after Irma

As Hurricane Irma departed Antigua and Barbuda’s usually pristine reef-ringed beaches with the pink and white sand, islanders struggled to grasp the destruction to Barbuda’s schools, churches and the homes that many had used their life savings to build.

Irma somehow spared Antigua, which was open for business by Thursday morning. But on Barbuda, the smaller of the two islands, the ferocious and historic Category 5 hurricane had turned the typically gentle Caribbean winds into violent gusts that decimated Codrington, the sole town on the 62-square-mile island.

“Barbuda right now is literally a rubble,” Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.

Browne said nearly all of the government and personal property on Barbuda was damaged — including the hospital and the airport, which he said had its roof completely blown away. At least one person, a young child, was killed on the island — one of numerous deaths reported across the Caribbean in Irma’s horrific aftermath.

Now, these victims face yet another threat — a second hurricane, Jose, which appears to be coming for the same islands that are trying to dig out from Irma’s devastation.

The National Hurricane Center released an ominous bulletin Thursday about the new menace looming in the Atlantic: “JOSE EXPECTED TO BECOME A MAJOR HURRICANE BY FRIDAY … WATCHES ISSUED FOR THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS.” By early afternoon, Jose had gained Category 2 status, and Antigua and Barbuda issued a new hurricane watch.

“We are very worried about Hurricane Jose,” Browne said Thursday in a phone interview with The Washington Post, adding that Irma left about 60 percent of Barbuda’s nearly 2,000 residents homeless and destroyed or damaged 95 percent of its property.

Browne will make a determination by Thursday night about whether to order a mandatory evacuation ahead of Jose’s potential landfall, but added that those who want to leave Barbuda now are being ferried to nearby Antigua.

As Irma continues its merciless churn toward the U.S. mainland, the first islanders left in its wake are only beginning to decipher the scope of the storm’s ravages.

Deaths have been reported throughout the Leeward Islands, a vulnerable, isolated chain arcing southeast from Puerto Rico, which reported at least three deaths of its own.

Officials throughout the Caribbean expect the body count to rise.

After first making landfall in Barbuda, then strafing several other Leeward Islands, Irma raked the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, leaving nearly 1 million people without any electricity. The Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands are next in its path. Closer to Florida’s southern tip, the Bahamas remain in danger, and mass evacuations are underway.

The United Nations has said that Irma could affect as many as 37 million people. The majority are on the U.S. mainland, but the residents of tiny islands in the Eastern Caribbean were hit first — and hardest.

Browne, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, told local media that Barbuda was left “barely habitable.”

Aerial footage showed homes with walls blown out and roofs ripped away.

“It was emotionally painful,” he told The Post. “It was sad to see such beautiful country being destroyed over a couple of hours.”

It is, he told The Post, “one of the most significant disasters anywhere in the world” on a per capita basis: Browne said it would take an estimated $100 million to rebuild — a “monumental challenge” for a small island government.

Ghastly images from St. Martin and St. Barthelemy (also known as St. Barts) showed cars and trucks almost completely submerged in the storm surge, and several buildings in ruin.

Witnesses on other islands described horrific destruction and a breakdown in public order: no running water, no emergency services, no police to stop looters — and a never ending tide of newly homeless people wandering the streets amid the devastation.

“It’s like someone with a lawn mower from the sky has gone over the island,” Marilou Rohan, a Dutch vacationer in Sint Maarten, which is part of the Kingdom of Netherlands, told the Dutch NOS news service. “Houses are destroyed. Some are razed to the ground. I am lucky that I was in a sturdy house, but we had to bolster the door, the wind was so hard.”

There was little sense that authorities had the situation under control, she said.

Supermarkets were being looted and no police were visible in the streets. Occasionally, soldiers have passed by, but they were doing little to impose order, she said.

“People feel powerless. They do not know what to do. You see the fear in their eyes,” she said.

Paul de Windt, the editor of the Daily Herald of Sint Maarten, told the Paradise FM radio station in Curaçao that “Many people are wandering the streets. They no longer have homes, they don’t know what to do.”


An image released Wednesday shows severe flooding in St. Martin. (AFP)

In Anguilla, part of the British West Indies, the local government is “overwhelmed” and desperate for help, Anguilla Attorney General John McKendrick told The Post late Wednesday. Officials were barely able to communicate among one another and with emergency response teams, he said. With most phone lines down, they were dependent on instant messaging.

It appears that at least one person died in Anguilla, he said.

“Roads blocked, hospital damaged. Power down. Communications badly impaired. Help needed,” McKendrick wrote in one message. In another, he said, “More people might die without further help, especially as another hurricane threatens us so soon.”

The Dutch government said that it was sending two military ships carrying smaller emergency boats, ambulances and emergency equipment to Sint Maarten.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said 100,000 rations — or about four days’ worth of food — are en route to the victims to St. Barts and St. Martin.

“It’s a tragedy, we’ll need to rebuild both islands,” Collomb told reporters Thursday, according to the Associated Press. “Most of the schools have been destroyed.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the government is allocating more than $41 million (U.S. dollars) for hurricane relief efforts.

Britain’s international development secretary, Priti Patel, announced Wednesday that the British navy, along with several Royal Marines and a contingent of military engineers, had been dispatched to the Caribbean with makeshift shelters and water purification systems. While some in England criticized the response, McKendrick told The Post that he’s worried that they, too, will quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of work that must be done to restore a sense of normalcy.

Elsewhere on Anguilla, some informal reports were less bleak. The Facebook page for Roy’s Bayside Grill, for instance, remained active as Irma passed.

Around 7:30 a.m., the page broadcast a brief live video of the storm captured from inside an unidentified building. With rain pelting the windows and wind whipping the treetops, a narrator calmly described the scene outside. “Can’t see very far at all,” he said. “We’ve got whitecaps on the pool. Water is spilling out. And it’s quite a ride. But thought I’d check in and let everyone know we’re still good.”

Phone lines to the restaurant appeared to be down by the afternoon, and messages left with the Facebook page’s administrator were not immediately returned.

About 1 p.m. Wednesday, the restaurant posted a panoramic photo on Facebook that appeared to show several buildings. The decking on one appeared to be ripped apart, and debris was scattered about the beach. One industrial building had a hole in its roof, but by and large everything was still standing.

“We made it through,” the caption read, “but there is a lot of work to be done.”


Destruction in a street in Gustavia on the French island of St. Barthelemy after Hurricane Irma. (Kevin Barrallon/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Birnbaum and Annabell Van den Berghe contributed to this story from Brussels. Cleve Wootson and J. Freedom du Lac contributed from Washington. This post has been updated.

Read more:

Hurricane Irma just slammed into Trump’s Caribbean estate — and is headed toward his Florida properties

Sir Richard Branson is riding out Hurricane Irma in the wine cellar on his private island

This Delta flight raced Irma and won

Hurricane Irma Now A Category 5: Looks To Hit Puerto Rico Tomorrow

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

(CNN)Hurricane Irma has strengthened into an “extremely dangerous” Category 5 storm, the National Hurricane Center said, threatening to slam into northeastern Caribbean islands and Puerto Rico by Wednesday before possibly taking aim at the US mainland.

Irma was churning Tuesday morning in the Atlantic about 270 miles east of Antigua and Barbuda, heading west with maximum sustained winds of 175 mph — well above the 157 mph threshold for a Category 5 — the hurricane center said.
The storm’s forecast track currently has it near or over Antigua and Barbuda by late Tuesday or early Wednesday, and the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon.

“Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful Category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days,” the center said.
It is still too early to tell the exact impact Irma will have on the United States.
Computer models show the system eventually heading toward Cuba and possibly turning north toward Florida by the weekend.
While Irma’s exact path is uncertain, several islands in the Caribbean as well as Florida are bracing for the storm.
After declaring a state of emergency all across Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said President Donald Trump had “offered the full resources of the federal government as Floridians prepare for Hurricane Irma.”

Hurricane Irma is shown in the Atlantic at 7:12 a.m. ET Tuesday.

“In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared,” Scott said in a statement.

Puerto Rico

Hundreds of people rushed to the stores, emptying shelves of food and drinking water just as Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard on Monday.
For hours, people also lined up outside hardware stores hoping to get plywood, batteries and power generators. If Irma knocks out power, Puerto Ricans said they are worried it would take weeks or months before the power is restored.

Crowds wait outside a store in Puerto Rico as Hurricane Irma nears.

“It (power) is something absolutely necessary, especially due to Puerto Rico’s weather. We need to have the A/C or a fan on all night,” a woman told CNN affiliate WAPA.
Last month, the director of Puerto Rico’s power utility, Ricardo Ramos Rodríguez, said several factors have made the island’s electric system “vulnerable and fragile,” WAPA reported.
One of those factors is the shortage of employees. Many workers recently retired or left their jobs for better prospects in the US mainland, Ramos Rodríguez said.
Public schools and officials at the University of Puerto Rico campuses have canceled classes, and many businesses remain closed.

Lines stretch through a Puerto Rico store as people try to buy generators.

Puerto Rico and a string of Caribbean islands are under hurricane warnings, including Antigua and Barbuda; the British and US Virgin Islands; Anguilla; Montserrat; St. Kitts; Nevis; Saba; St. Eustatius; St. Martin/Sint Maarten; and St. Barts, the hurricane center said.
The warnings are usually issued to areas that are expected to eventually experience hurricane-force winds (at least 74 mph), with the expectation that they would get tropical-storm-force winds of at least 39 mph about 36 hours after the alert goes into effect.
“Make a U-turn and die in the ocean, Irma. The Caribbean islands don’t need more problems!” Twitter user mujertropical wrote about the storm.

‘Better safe than sorry’

By the weekend, it’s possible that Irma could start heading to eastern Florida and also farther up the East Coast, CNN meteorologist and weather anchor Pedram Javaheri said.

See Hurricane Irma from inside an airplane

See Hurricane Irma from inside an airplane 00:34
“Everyone wants to see this at least meander away from the United States. The strength, the positioning, the timing of that troughs coming in to the eastern coastline will dictate exactly where Irma ends up,” Javaheri said.
In Miami, supermarkets are already selling out on water and nonperishable food. People are trying to beat the rush in case Irma makes landfall.
“I’ve been through hurricanes and they’re like ‘Oh it’s going to hit right here’ and then it hits 30, 40 miles up the coast and it kind of changes the way everything goes so better safe than sorry,” Greg Andrews told CNN affiliate WPLG.

Why Irma could be especially intense

Irma is a classic “Cape Verde hurricane,” meaning it formed in the far eastern Atlantic, near the Cape Verde Islands (now known as the Cabo Verde Islands), before tracking all the way across the Atlantic, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.
And Cape Verde storms frequently become some of the largest and most intense hurricanes. Examples include Hurricane Hugo, Hurricane Floyd and Hurricane Ivan.

Hurricane Irma Now Category 4 Storm: Florida And Puerto Rico Declare Emergencies

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

(CNN)Hurricane Irma strengthened to a Category 4 storm Monday afternoon, churning west in the Atlantic Ocean and prompting emergency declarations in Florida and Puerto Rico.

Although Irma’s path remains uncertain, the possibility it could threaten the United States led Florida Gov. Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency in all 67 counties in his state.
“In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared,” Scott said in a statement released late Monday afternoon. “This state of emergency allows our emergency management officials to act swiftly in the best interest of Floridians without the burden of bureaucracy or red tape.”
The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard after the National Hurricane Center declared a hurricane watch for Puerto Rico due to Irma. Classes will not be held on Tuesday in the public education system nor in the University of Puerto Rico, according to a release from the governor’s office. Rosselló warned the public on Sunday that the island could feel Irma’s wrath around noon Wednesday.
As of 5 p.m. ET, Monday, Irma was about 490 miles (790 kilometers) east of the Leeward Islands, the National Hurricane Center said. It is packing maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (215 kph) as it heads west at 13 mph (20 kph). Landfall is expected early Wednesday on the island of Anguilla.
Computer models show the system moving through the Caribbean, and by the end of week, it will turn right toward the north, said CNN meteorologist and weather anchor Tom Sater.
“There is a small window. If it turns sooner rather than later, we could maybe see the system slide by the East Coast into the ocean, but that window is shutting quickly,” Sater said. “It definitely looks like we will be impacted by a major hurricane that is a Category 3, 4 or 5.”

Hurricane watches are in effect for the Nrn Leeward Islands. TS force winds are most likely to begin late Tuesday. http://hurricanes.gov/#Irma 

The hurricane center said swells generated by Irma would begin impacting the northern Leeward Islands on Monday.
“These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the hurricane center said.
A string of Caribbean islands are now under hurricane warnings, including Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Martin/Sint Maarten and St. Barts, the hurricane center said.
“A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area,” the hurricane center said. “A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.”
And Irma will only strengthen this week, CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said. “Over the coming days, it’s going to get into that warmer water. That’s going to help the storm intensify.”

Puerto Ricans warned

Hurricane Irma expected to gain strength, size

Hurricane Irma expected to gain strength, size 01:51
Irma is expected to remain a “dangerous major hurricane” through the week and could directly affect the British and US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas, the agency said.
Puerto Rico’s disaster management agency, AEMEAD, is monitoring Irma and has opened an information hotline.

Florida governor says be prepared

It’s too soon to know the impact Irma could have on the continental United States, where no warnings or watches are in effect.
“Regardless, everyone in hurricane-prone areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place, as we are now near the peak of the season,” the hurricane center said.
Chinchar said Irma could affect not just the eastern coast of Florida, but also farther up the East Coast.
“If there was a US landfall, we’re talking a week from today,” Chinchar said Monday.
Gov. Scott urged the state’s residents to ensure their disaster supply kits were ready. “Disaster preparedness should be a priority for every Florida family,” he tweeted Sunday

Why Irma could be especially intense

Irma is a classic “Cape Verde hurricane,” meaning it formed in the far eastern Atlantic, near the Cape Verde Islands (now known as the Cabo Verde Islands), before tracking all the way across the Atlantic, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.
And Cape Verde storms frequently become some of the largest and most intense hurricanes. Examples include Hurricane Hugo, Hurricane Floyd, and Hurricane Ivan.

California Governor Jerry Brown Declares State Of Emergency Due To L.A. County Fires

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGLES TIMES)

 

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County as firefighters continue to battle a 5,900-acre brush fire in the Verdugo Mountains north of downtown Los Angeles that has destroyed three homes and shut down a stretch of the 210 Freeway.

The governor’s declaration will ensure that state and federal assistance will be provided as quickly as possible. It came at the urging of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said the fire is the largest in the city’s history in terms of sheer acreage.

Fire officials said cooler temperatures and calmer winds Sunday should help firefighters tame the La Tuna fire, but warned that favorable weather conditions could change quickly.

“The biggest challenge and risk is the wind,” Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said.

Firefighters were hoping for some relief from a heat wave that has gripped much of the state for days. Temperatures are expected to cool somewhat Sunday to 90 to 94 degrees, with a chance of some showers and lightning, as monsoonal moisture from Tropical Storm Linda moves into the region. Winds are expected to blow 3 to 8 mph, with gusts of up to 12 mph.

“That can change in a moment’s notice and the wind can accelerate very quickly,” Terrazas warned.

By 12:30 p.m. Sunday, the National Weather Service was tracking a thunderstorm about 10 miles north of Burbank and there was a brief shower in the Sunland area, officials said. Scattered rainfall was expected throughout the region.

The blaze has destroyed three homes in Tujunga at the end of an isolated road. Two firefighters were transported to hospitals Saturday for dehydration, according to the L.A. Fire Department.

On Sunday afternoon, Tujunga resident Frankie Fronk, 46, sat on an easy chair in front of his single-story ranch style house on McGroarty Street, staring up at the recently burned ridgeline. He was looking for puffs of smoke, any sign of a flare up.

And he’s seen a few.

Fronk said he was ordered to evacuate on Saturday about 2:30 p.m. He and his wife grabbed a few mementos and their pitbull mix, Harley, and started calling around for a hotel. After checking about 10 different places, charging between $200 and $300, he finally found a place in Burbank for $135. But he returned home Sunday morning.

Fronk said that the fire later kicked up in the neighborhood, with the wind driving flames into a home up the street on Glenties Way.

The fire was only 10% contained Sunday, officials said. Evacuations were temporarily lifted Saturday night in Burbank. But officials said a flare-up caused them to issue new evacuation orders in the Burbank Estates and Castleman Lane areas.

Evacuation orders remain in effect in Glendale and Los Angeles. “Please — have your belongings ready and prepared in the event that you are asked to evacuate,” L.A. City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez urged residents at a news briefing Sunday.

The blaze broke out Friday, with shifting winds sending flames in multiple directions. Fire crews confronted the same erratic conditions Saturday.

Terrazas said the number of people battling the flames had doubled since Saturday morning, with more than 1,000 firefighters on the scene Sunday. The chief said they hope to fully contain the fire within three to four days. The cause of the fire is not yet known, but officials said there is no evidence of arson.

Two of the three destroyed homes are believed to have lacked brush clearance, which Terrazas stressed was crucial for firefighters to be able to protect houses.

As of Sunday morning, Terrazas said about 25% of the fire was burning north of the 210 Freeway and the rest south of the freeway, which remained closed Sunday from the 2 Freeway to Wheatland Avenue.

Hundreds of residents in Burbank, Glendale and the Sunland-Tujunga area were ordered to evacuate on Saturday.

One of those ordered to leave Saturday was Chris Hall, 37, who was spraying the roof of his Sunland home with a garden hose when two police officers pulled up to his driveway.

“Now it’s mandatory,” one of the officers told him. “Get your stuff and go.”

Hall said he wanted to stay but did not argue. He piled important documents and cherished belongings — including photos of his daughter’s birth, birthdays and visits to the zoo — into the trunk of his Nissan Sentra.

“Everything else can be replaced,” he said, sitting behind the wheel of his car.

In Tujunga, music teacher Valerie Keith frantically loaded her pets in her car, along with her two best violins, spilling the yogurt she had taken for breakfast. Before she left, she remembered something, dashing back inside to grab a framed photograph of her mother and a banjo made from a tambourine.

“When you have to leave for safety, then you suddenly realize what’s important,” she said.

Evacuation centers were opened in Burbank, Glendale and Sunland-Tujunga. Terrazas said Sunday that 1,000 people had shown up to at the centers and that 900 had been released so far. They were not allowed, however, to return to the evacuated zones.

The fire has also displaced cats, dogs and horses: Councilwoman Rodriguez urged residents to donate hay and water buckets for horses and to consider fostering pets that have been separated from their families.

To the east, a fast-moving brush fire west of Beaumont in Riverside County that erupted Saturday afternoon has grown to 3,300 acres and forced some residents to evacuate their homes.

The Palmer fire started around 1:30 p.m. near San Timoteo Canyon Road and Fisherman’s Retreat. The fire was 15% contained as of Sunday morning.

Two small brush fires were also put out Saturday in Malibu. Another one hit near a toll plaza on the 73 Freeway in Newport Beach.

The La Tuna fire has already stoked worries that mudslides could threaten the area this winter. California State Assemblywoman Laura Friedman said Sunday that she was determined to make sure that restoration efforts begin quickly to minimize the chance of mudslides, saying it was going to be “a huge concern.”

Times staff writers Alene Tchekmedyian, Ruben Vives, Andrea Castillo and David Zahniser contributed to this report.


UPDATES:

1:50 p.m.: This article has been updated with the governor’s declaration.

1:15 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from an evacuee.

12:40 p.m.: This article was updated with new information from the National Weather Service.

11:45 a.m.: This article was updated with comments from city and fire officials.

10:55 a.m.: This article was updated with the latest weather conditions.

9 a.m.: This article was updated with news of a local disaster declaration.

7 a.m.: This article was updated with a new Burbank evacuation order.

Originally published at 5:50 a.m.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
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