Hurricane Ida Curfew set due to storm threat via Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper

Hurricane Ida

Government officials have set an 8 p.m. curfew for Adams County due to dangerous travel conditions likely to result from Hurricane Ida. For the safety of employees and others, business owners are also being asked to to send employees home and close by 5 p.m. According to Tom McGehee, Adams County Emergency Operation Center Planning […]

Curfew set for Adams County due to storm threat — Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper

Some coastal areas are more prone to devastating hurricanes. Meteorologist explains why via The Current

Warm water, little wind shear and moisture spark storms but coastlines and offshore shelves help determine strength.

Some coastal areas are more prone to devastating hurricanes – a meteorologist explains why — The Current

Every coastline in the North Atlantic is vulnerable to tropical storms, but some areas are more susceptible to hurricane destruction than others.This story also appeared in The Conversation

To understand why as the region heads into what’s forecast to be another busy hurricane season, let’s look more closely at how tropical storms form and what turns them into destructive monsters.

Ingredients of a hurricane

Three key ingredients are needed for a hurricane to form: warm sea surface water that’s at least about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.5 C), a thick layer of moisture extending from the sea surface to roughly 20,000 feet and minimal vertical wind shear so the thunderstorm can grow vertically without interruption.

These prime conditions are often found in the tropical waters off the west coast of Africa.

Hurricanes can also form in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, but the ones that start close to Africa have thousands of miles of warm water ahead that they can draw energy from as they travel. That energy can help them grow into powerful hurricanes.

Wind currents set most tropical storms on a course westward from Africa toward the Caribbean, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Some drift northward into the midlatitudes, where the prevailing winds shift from west to east and cause them to curve back out into the Atlantic.

Others encounter cooler ocean temperatures that rob them of fuel, or high wind shear that breaks them apart. That’s why tropical cyclones rarely hit northern states or Europe, though it does happen.

Time of season also influences hurricane paths

Early in the season, in June and July, sea surface temperatures are still warming and atmospheric wind shear slowly decreases across the open Atlantic. Most early-season hurricanes develop in a small area of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico where prime conditions begin early.

They typically form close to land, so coastal residents don’t have much time to prepare, but these storms also don’t have ideal conditions to gain strength. Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as Central America, are more likely to see hurricane strikes early in the season, as the trade winds favor an east-to-west motion.

As surface waters gain heat over the summer, hurricane frequency and severity begin to increase, especially into the peak hurricane months of August through October.

Toward the end of the season, trade winds begin to shift from west to east, ocean temperatures start to fall, and cold fronts can help divert storms away from the western Gulf and push them toward the Florida Panhandle.

Shape of the seafloor matters for destructiveness

The shape of the seafloor can also play a role in how destructive hurricanes become.

Hurricane strength is currently measured solely on a storm’s maximum sustained wind speeds. But hurricanes also displace ocean water, creating a surge of high water that their winds push toward shore ahead of the storm.

This storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane, accounting for about 49% of all direct fatalities between 1963 and 2012. Hurricane Katrina (2005) is a prime example: An estimated 1,500 people lost their lives when Katrina hit New Orleans, many of them in the storm surge flooding.

If the continental shelf where the hurricane hits is shallow and slopes gently, it generally produces a greater storm surge than a steeper shelf.

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As a result, a major hurricane hitting the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast – which has a very wide and shallow continental shelf – may produce a 20-foot storm surge. However, the same hurricane might produce only a 10-foot storm surge along the Atlantic coastline, where the continental shelf drops off very quickly.

Where are the hurricane hot spots?

A few years ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration analyzed the probability of U.S. coastlines’ being hit by a tropical storm based on storm hits from 1944 and 1999.

It found that New Orleans had about a 40% chance each year of a tropical storm strike. The chances rose for Miami and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, both at 48%. San Juan, Puerto Rico, which has seen some devastating storms in recent years, was at 42%.

Hurricanes, which have sustained wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour, were also more frequent in the three U.S. locations. Miami and Cape Hatteras were found to have a 16% chance of a direct hit by a hurricane in any given year, and New Orleans’ chance was estimated at 12%.

Each of these locations is vulnerable to a hurricane because of its location, but also its shape. North Carolina and Florida “stick out like a sore thumb” and are often grazed by hurricanes that curve up the east coast of the U.S.

The probability that a named storm tropical storm or hurricane will affect a location at some point during hurricane season. Todd Kimberlain/AOML NOAA

Climate change changes the risk

As sea surface temperatures rise with the warming of the planet, more areas outside of these usual hurricane regions may see more tropical storms.

I analyzed tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic that made landfall from 1972 to 2019 to look for changes over the past half-century.

During the first six years of that period, 1972-77, the Atlantic averaged four direct hits per year. Of those, 75% were in the usual hurricane-prone areas, such as the Southern United States, the Caribbean and Central America. Six storms made landfall elsewhere, including New England, Canada and the Azores.

By 2014-19, the Atlantic averaged 7.6 direct hits per year. While the U.S. took the majority of those hits, Europe has been showing a steady increase in cyclones making landfall. Major hurricanes – those with sustained wind speeds of 111 miles per hour and above – are also more common than they were in the 1970s and ‘80s.

See data on when and where hurricanes hit

While southern coastal locations of the United States may be the most vulnerable to tropical cyclone impacts, it is important to understand that a devastating cyclone can hit anywhere along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting another busy season in 2021, though it is not expected to be as extreme as 2020’s record 30 named storms. Even if an area hasn’t experienced a hurricane in several years, residents are advised to prepare for the season as if their area will take a hit – just in case.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Get past the headlines with a closer look at issues in Savannah and Coastal Georgia.

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These are the 10 costliest hurricanes in U.S. history – 3 are from 2017 — CW33 NewsFix

The year 2017 was the costliest ever for weather and climate disasters in the United States, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday, totaling $306 billion. The previous record year, 2005, saw $215 billion in disasters.

Three storms, Harvey, Irma and Maria all landed in the top five on NOAA’s updated list of the costliest U.S. tropical cyclones, released last week.

Highlighted by a string of hurricanes that pounded the southeastern U.S. coast in August and September, as well as devastating wildfires that torched large swaths of Northern and Southern California, 2017 saw 16 weather events that each topped a billion dollars in damage.

This ties 2011 for the most billion-dollar weather events to occur in a single year, but their extreme nature and the breadth of disaster types really set last year apart.

“In 2017, we have seen the rare combination of high disaster frequency, disaster cost and diversity of weather and climate extreme events,” said Adam Smith, lead researcher at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

“The U.S. has endured billion-dollar impacts from six of the seven disaster categories we track,” he said: drought, flood, freeze, severe storm, tropical cyclone, wildfire and winter storm. There hasn’t been a year when all seven disaster categories have seen a billion-dollar disaster.

2017 lacked only a billion-dollar winter storm — though we almost certainly had one in the first week of 2018 with the major nor’easter termed a “bomb cyclone.”

A hurricane season for the record books

Hurricanes are the costliest weather events, responsible for about half of the total losses among all U.S. billion-dollar disasters despite accounting for less than 20% of the total events since 1980.

This certainly proved true in 2017, when the U.S. and the Caribbean islands endured back-to-back-to-back devastating hurricanes — all of them now ranking among the top five costliest disasters — which were the main drivers behind the year becoming the costliest on record.

Here are the top ten costliest U.S. hurricanes (adjusted for inflation):

This aerial view shows a church damaged by hurricane Rita in Beaumont, Texas, 25 September 2005. Hurricane Rita pounded the US Gulf Coast, leaving widespread damage and more than one million people without power, but failed to deliver the feared repeat of hurricane Katrina’s devastation four weeks ago. (HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images)

10. Rita (2005)

  • $23,680,000,000
  • Southwest Louisiana, North Texas

Judy Caseley retrieves photographs from a friend’s trailer that were damaged when Hurricane Wilma hit earlier in the morning October 24, 2005 in Chokoloskee, Florida. Wilma slammed into the South Florida coastline as a strong Category 3 hurricane. Caseley’s neighbor left in a hurry, leaving behind a lifetime of memories that Caseley felt she had to salvage. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

9. Wilma (2005)

  • $24,320,000,000
  • South Florida

U.S. President George W. Bush walks with Orange Beach, Alabama, Mayor Steve Russo, past a destroyed condos on the Alabama beachfront as he visits the area, consoling victims, 19 September 2004, from Hurricane Ivan, the third hurricane to hit the larger area in the past month. Ivan’s devastating 12-day rampage that left at least 108 dead in the United States and the Caribbean. (PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

8. Ivan (2004)

  • $27,060,000,000
  • Alabama, Northwest Florida

In this handout provided by the U.S. Air Force, an Air Force Reserve pararescueman from the 920th Rescue Wing scans the landscape of Nederland, Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, 13 September 2008. Deployed with aircrews and aircraft from Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., the pararescuemen rescued 17 people Sept. 13 from the small Texas town. (Photo by Paul Flipse/US Air Force via Getty Images)

7. Ike (2008)

  • $34,800,000,000
  • Texas, Louisiana

A group of people sift 28 August 1992 through the rubble of a house that was directly in the path of a 26 August tornado spawned by Hurricane Andrew. Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards has estimated property damage from the hurricane from 70 to 100 million US dollars, and at least 200 million US dollars in damage to the sugar crop. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

6. Andrew (1992)

  • $47,790,000,000
  • Southeast Florida, Louisiana

Destroyed trailers wait to be cleaned up at the Sunshine Key RV Resort where residents are still not allowed on September 16, 2017 in Marathon, Florida. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reported that 25 percent of all homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed and 65 percent sustained major damage when they took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma. (Photo by Angel Valentin/Getty Images)

5. Irma (2017)

  • $50,000,000,000
  • Florida

Cars piled on top of each other at the entrance to a garage on South Willliam Street in Lower Manhattan October 31, 2012 in New York as the city begins to clean up after Hurricane Sandy. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

4. Sandy (2012)

  • $70,200,000,000
  • Mid-Atlantic & Northeast

Members of the U.S. Army 1st Special Forces Command deliver boxes of M.R.E’s and water up a makeshift ladder to people that were cut off after the bridge collapsed when Hurricane Maria swept through the island on October 5, 2017 in Utuado, Puerto Rico. The neighborhood was cut off from help for about 2 weeks after the category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

3. Maria (2017)

  • $90,000,000,000
  • Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

Residents evacuate by boat on September 3, 2017 in Houston, Texas after Hurricane Harvey slammed into the city. Harvey was the first Category 4 storm to make landfall in the US since Hurricane Charley in 2004, unleashing record rainfall that quickly flooded the city. (Getty)

2. Harvey (2017)

  • $125,000,000,000
  • Texas, Louisiana

Flood waters from Hurricane Katrina cover a cemetery 30 August, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (POOL/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Katrina (2005)

  • $160,000,000,000
  • Southeast Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi

For the complete list, see the NOAA report.

CNN contributed to this article.

The year 2017 was the costliest ever for weather and climate disasters in the United States, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday, totaling $306 billion. The previous record year, 2005, saw $215 billion in disasters. Three storms, Harvey, Irma and Maria all landed in the top five on NOAA’s updated list of the costliest U.S. tropical cyclones, released last week. Highlighted by a string of hurricanes that pounded the southeastern U.S. coast in August and September, as well […]

via These are the 10 costliest hurricanes in U.S. history – 3 are from 2017 — CW33 NewsFix

All I could think of was….. say my name. Say my name. In the pounding surf, in the wind shivering the palms. In the quiet of your arms. Say my name. It has been a total of 168 Days since Hurricane Maria made landfall & 182 Days since Hurricane Irma made landfall on the island […]

via Say My Name — Synchronicity Of The Heart

Pacific island Vatuvara wildlife survey — via Dear Kitty blog

This 2017 video from Fiji is called Vatuvara Private Islands.

From BirdLife:

22 Nov 2017

Exploring the untouched island of Vatuvara

This is the first time a full biological survey has ever been performed on this remote, almost untouched island in the South Pacific. The intriguing and fascinating results have redoubled the Vatuvara Foundation’s efforts to safeguard this lush wildlife haven.

By Steve Cranwell

The island of Vatuvara perfectly embodies the intrigue and beauty of the South Pacific islands. Located in the north of Fiji’s Lau group, the 800-hectare island has been uninhabited for most of human history. This is due in part to the absence of a permanent water source – but the sharp, unforgiving coral terrain certainly doesn’t help.

For a time, the island hosted a fortified village atop the 300-metre summit – no doubt a strategic lookout point for Fijian warriors. But apart from a desperate attempt at coconut production during Fiji’s plantation era, Vatuvara has largely been spared the impacts of human influence. And that includes many invasive species common on other South Pacific islands – making Vatuvara an invaluable refuge for wildlife.

Despite the detailed knowledge of the indigenous Fijians, practically the only formal scientific account of the island comes from the remarkable Whitney Expeditions, which visited Fiji in 1924, identifying the endemic Fiji Banded Iguana Brachylophus fasciatus among other native flora and fauna species.

Now under the care of Vatuvara Private Islands, the island is protected as a nature reserve. In November, BirdLife International Pacific, together with NatureFiji-MareqetiViti (BirdLife in Fiji) and the US Geological Survey, joined the Vatuvara Foundation to conduct a pioneering four-day survey.

The survey initially focused on the island’s reptiles, in particular the Banded Iguana – currently threatened with extinction – and a snake, the Pacific Boa Candoia bibroni. During the night, several sleeping reptiles were stealthily extracted from the branches above for identification.

Coconut crabs Birgus latro proved to be a very visible part of the island fauna. Although active throughout the day, it was at night that the forest came alive to a slow, deliberate dance as the world’s largest arthropods (weighing up to 4kg and a metre from leg to leg) shuffled about the forest floor, or climbed trees and vertical rock faces in search of sustenance. Once common throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans, these unique, long lived terrestrial crabs, who can survive for 40-60 years, are under threat. Considered a local delicacy, crab populations are now increasingly confined to remote inaccessible islands or locally protected areas.

Vatuvara is an island for birds. Dawn and dusk resounded to a cacophony of calls as the Wattled Honeyeater Foulehaio carunculatus, along with the 20 other species we identified, made their presence known. Almost all were forest birds, a validation of the quality of Vatuvara’s forest. A particularly encouraging sighting was the Shy Ground Dove Alopecoenas stairi, threatened with extinction elsewhere due to introduced predators such as feral cats and rats.

In terms of invasive species, no evidence of cats, pigs, goats, Black rats Rattus rattus, mongoose, invasive ants or any of Fiji’s usual suspects could be found. However, the Pacific rat Rattus exulans was present. This non-native rat predates small birds and their eggs, as well as many of Fiji’s invertebrates and fauna.

All good surveys pose as many questions as they answer, and something of a surprise for Vatuvara was the notable absence of seabirds, generating numerous hypotheses, including what influence Coconut Crabs may pose. Ornithologist Vilikesa Masibalavu also noted an unusual phenomenon among the Island’s Fiji Whistlers Pachycephala vitiensis. They weren’t hard to find – but they were strangely silent, and not a single male could be found.

While much still remains to be discovered on Vatuvara, the survey highlighted the Island’s vital importance to Fiji’s natural history. It was found to hold a wealth of diverse native plants and wildlife increasingly under threat on other islands. Future work will build on this baseline, tracking trends in birds, coconut crabs and reptiles and ensuring harmful invasive species don’t establish. In protecting the island, the Vatuvara Foundation have made a visionary commitment to safeguarding a crucial haven for Fiji’s wildlife.

 

This 2017 video from Fiji is called Vatuvara Private Islands. From BirdLife: 22 Nov 2017 Exploring the untouched island of Vatuvara This is the first time a full biological survey has ever been performed on this remote, almost untouched island in the South Pacific. The intriguing and fascinating results have redoubled the Vatuvara Foundation’s efforts […]

via Pacific island Vatuvara wildlife survey — Dear Kitty. Some blog

The E.P.A.’s Top 10 Toxic Threats

The Environmental Protection Agency has published a list of 10 toxic threats it will evaluate first under a law passed last year intended to crack down on hazardous chemicals. They are among 90 chemicals identified by the agency that may harm children, damage nerve tissue, cause cancer, contaminate the environment, accumulate in the bloodstream or show up in consumer products. As the review begins, industry and other interest groups are urging the E.P.A. to limit any restrictions.

Asbestos

Where you may find itAsbestos has not been manufactured in the United States since 2002, but imports surged last year, and it is still used in certain vehicle braking systems, asphalt roof coatings and gaskets. Asbestos is also commonly used by chlorine manufacturers.

How it could hurt you: Asbestos is associated with lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin lining of the lung, heart, chest and abdomen.

Industry intervention: The trade group representing the chlorine industry, the American Chemistry Council, argues that “the few remaining uses for asbestos are tightly controlled,” and that banning it would not do much to protect health.

1-Bromopropane

The geologists Brenda Buck, left, and Rodney Metcalf have found asbestos on rocks and soil near Las Vegas.CreditIsaac Brekken for The New York Times

Where you may find it1-bromopropane is used as a refrigerant, a lubricant, a degreaser and a solvent in spray adhesives and dry cleaning. Its use in agricultural chemical manufacturing and foam-cushion manufacturing has also been reported.

How it could hurt you: Exposure can cause dizziness, headaches, slurred speech, confusion, muscle twitching, difficulty walking and loss of consciousness. Studies on animals suggest that exposure is also associated with reduced blood cell counts along with toxicity to the liver and the reproductive and nervous systems.

Industry intervention: The Alkylphenols & Ethoxylates Research Council, which represents companies that manufacture the chemical, arguethat the E.P.A. should not consider health threats that occur when people do not follow warning labels.

Carbon Tetrachloride

Where you may find it: Carbon tetrachloride, a clear liquid with a sweet smell, was once used in refrigeration fluids, aerosol propellants, pesticides, cleaning fluids, spot removers and degreasing agents. Most of those uses have been banned, but it is still has industrial applications, such as manufacturing petrochemicals.

How it could hurt you: It can cause injuries to the liver and kidneys and, at high levels, can result in fatal damage to the brain and nervous system.

Industry intervention: Halogenated Solvents Industry Alliance arguesthat worker exposures are already regulated by Labor Department safety rules and that “occupational conditions of use do not pose an unreasonable risk.”

1,4-Dioxane

Where you may find it: 1,4-dioxane is a flammable liquid with a variety of industrial applications, such as the manufacture of adhesives and sealants and other chemicals. It is used in paint strippers, dyes, greases, varnishes and waxes, and it can be found in antifreeze, aircraft de-icing fluids, deodorants, shampoos and cosmetics.

How it could hurt you: The E.P.A. says that the chemical is “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” and that it may cause kidney and liver damage. It is now often found at low levels in drinking water supplies.

Industry interventionThe American Cleaning Institute argues that while many consumer products may have small amounts of 1,4-dioxane, they are “extraordinarily low levels” and should be ignored.

Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster

Where you may find it: Cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster is a group of chemicals found in flame retardants, plastic additives and certain polystyrene foams used in the construction industry for thermal insulation boards.

How it could hurt you: People may be exposed to the chemicals from products and dust in the home. Animal test results suggest potential reproductive, developmental and neurological effects.

Industry intervention: The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers argues that the E.P.A. should not consider “potential of an accident or misuse, whether intentional or unintentional,” when deciding to restrict these chemicals, as “misuse is not even predictable and should never be included in toxicological risk assessment.”

Methylene Chloride

Where you may find it:Methylene chloride is used in pharmaceutical manufacturing and polyurethane foam manufacturing. It is also found in paint strippers, adhesives, metal cleaners and aerosol solvents. Many products are sold at home improvement stores.

How it could hurt you:Exposure can harm the central nervous system, with effects including dizziness, incapacitation and, sometimes, death. It is also linked to liver toxicity, liver cancer and lung cancer. It has been associated with dozens of deaths. The E.P.A., just days before the end of the Obama administration, proposed banning its use as a paint stripper because of these hazards.

Industry intervention: W.M. Barr & Company, the largest national manufacturer of solvents, removers, fuels and cleaning products, asked the E.P.A. to withdraw its proposed rule to ban methylene chloride in paint strippers, arguing that its products do “not present an unreasonable risk.”

N-Methylpyrrolidone

Where you may find it: N-Methylpyrrolidone is a solvent used in petrochemical processing. It can be found in plastics, paints, inks, enamels, electronics, industrial and consumer cleaning products and arts and crafts materials.

How it could hurt you: It may pose a particular risk to women who are pregnant or of childbearing age, according to studies on animals that suggest delayed fetal development.

Industry intervention: The NMP Manufacturers Group argues that the chemical “is used in many industry sectors, in varied processes,” and that it would be “unworkable for industry and unworkable for EPA” to evaluate them all.

Perchloroethylene

Where you may find it: Perchloroethylene, also known as perc, is a solvent widely used in dry-cleaning chemicals, automotive-care products, cleaning and furniture-care products, lubricants, greases, adhesives, sealants and paints and coatings.

How it could hurt you: High-level inhalation exposure is associated with kidney dysfunction, dizziness, headache, sleepiness and unconsciousness, while long-term inhalation exposure may affect the liver, the kidneys and the immune and reproductive systems. The E.P.A. has classified it as likely to be carcinogenic to humans, as it is associated with bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma. It is also a drinking-water contaminant.

Industry intervention: The Drycleaning and Laundry Institute and the National Cleaners Association argue that “any future decision to reduce or phase out the use of perc in drycleaning will put an oppressive burden on thousands of cleaners” and that “sadly, in taking any radical regulatory action the EPA will be doing little to reduce the negligible risks associated with the use, while threatening the future viability of thousands of dry cleaners.”

Pigment Violet 29

Where you may find it: Pigment Violet 29 is used in watercolors, acrylic paints, automotive paints, inks for printing and packaging, cleaning and washing agents, pharmaceuticals, solar cells, paper, sporting goods and industrial carpeting. It is also approved to be used in food packaging.

How it could hurt you: There are limited health studies, but preliminary work suggests “acute toxicity, eye irritation, skin irritation, skin sensitization,” and perhaps reproductive and developmental toxicity.

Industry intervention: Color Pigments Manufacturers Association argues that it “does not pose any known hazard in any reasonably foreseeable use or misuse, and therefore cannot present an unreasonable risk.”

Trichloroethylene

Where you may find it: Trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, is used to make a refrigerant chemical and remove grease from metal parts. It is also a spotting agent for dry cleaning and can be found in consumer products. The E.P.A., in the final days of the Obama administration, proposed a ban on its use in dry-cleaning chemicals, spot removers and aerosol degreasers.

How it could hurt you: It is associated with cancers of the liver, kidneys and blood. Animal studies suggest that it may also be a factor in birth defects, testicular cancer, leukemia, lymphomas and lung tumors. TCE is also a drinking-water contaminant.

Industry intervention: The Halogenated Solvents Industry Alliance, which manufactures the chemical, argues that the E.P.A. has conducted a “very deficient risk assessment.” Pointing to one study the E.P.A. has used, the group says that “a single flawed study should not be the basis for the toxicological value that serves as the basis for regulation.”

High Surf, Dangerous Rip Currents Expected at O.C. Beaches — KTLA

Elevated surf and strong rip currents are expected along the Orange County coast through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Ellina Abovian reports for the KTLA 5 News at 1 on Oct. 18, 2017.

via High Surf, Dangerous Rip Currents Expected at O.C. Beaches — KTLA

Study links at-risk orcas’ failed pregnancies to scarce food — Q13 FOX News

SEATTLE (AP) — Endangered killer whales that frequent the inland waters of Washington state are having pregnancy problems because they cannot find enough fish to eat, according to a new study. Researchers analyzed hormones in excrement collected at sea and found that more than two-thirds of orca pregnancies failed over a seven-year period. They linked…

via Study links at-risk orcas’ failed pregnancies to scarce food — Q13 FOX News

Australia’s Reef

This March 2017 WWF video is about the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It has coral bleaching problems. Related articles Coral bleaching returns to the Great Barrier Reef Global Warming Is Killing the Great Barrier Reef Great Barrier Reef could lose one million visitors annually if coral bleaching continues New coral reefs study finally gives […]

via Australian Great Barrier Reef coral problems — Dear Kitty. Some blog

Turtle Sanctuary in San Diego

San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge has a residential group of approximately 60 protected Eastern Pacific Green Sea Turtles. No one knows how they got here, but it is assumed they were caught many decades ago in Mexico, brought to the bay alive, and escaped from fishing pens, prior to being slaughtered. They settled successfully […]

via Green Sea Turtle Refuge~ —

Intensity of hurricanes is increased by global warming — nuclear-news

Dahr Jamail | Record Heating of Earth’s Oceans Is Driving Uptick in Hurricanes http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37877-record-heating-of-earth-s-oceans-is-driving-uptick-in-hurricanes Thursday, 06 October 2016 By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report As Hurricane Matthew impacts the East Coast of the US this week, it is important to consider how rising ocean temperatures are contributing to the intensification of storms worldwide. Earlier this year, a scientific study titled […]

via Intensity of hurricanes is increased by global warming — nuclear-news

Oh, darn. Study: Most meltwater in Greenland fjords likely comes from icebergs, not glaciers — Watts Up With That?

How to snorkel with sharks without a cage! – Oahu, Hawaii

 

 

/   Sharks are often misunderstood because of Hollywood’s interpretation of them – think Jaws and Snarknado.  One Ocean Diving is a research facility who is trying to change the perception of these gentle giants.  If dolphins are like the dogs of the ocean, sharks would be cats.  Their personality is curious by nature, inquisitive and intelligent, silent, graceful and a bit mysterious.

It’s 7:00 AM and the sun has barely broken over the horizon and clouds from the evening are gently pushed away.  We are in Oahu, Hawaii’s North Shore famous for giant surfing waves but we didn’t come to watch the professionals.  We arrive at Hale’iwa Harbor and see another boat load passengers with a shark cage at the end. About 10 tourist get on this boat. Within minutes a small, non-pretentious boat labeled “One Ocean Diving” appears and we know this is one to get onto.  The tour size is small and intimate, accepting no more than 6 people at a time. The morning air is chilly and we’re thankful for brining wetsuits along with us given our aptitude to snorkeling in much warmer waters.  The tour is managed by a captain, dive master, and intern.

img_3383

We are one of the first to board the boat, nervously checking our surroundings Doug asks the captain, “Is that other boat with a cage going to see a different type of shark than we are or are they going somewhere else?” The young captain replies back “No, they are going to see the same sharks, but we are ones crazy enough to do it without a cage.”

Hayley, our dive master  gives us a shark briefing as we pull out of the harbor. Things that could make an already nervous me want to go back to the safety of shore: “The most dangerous part of today’s tour is walking around on this boat” (yeah right). “Sharks have 6 senses so try not to splash or make a lot of noise as this can excite the sharks” (like prey struggling to get out of the water). “No shark selfies, sharks are intelligent and can sneak up behind you” (stalking human pray).  The pep talk wasn’t really working or maybe I was too focused on staying alive.

Our little boat rolls over huge swells coming out of the harbor and I wonder how we’re expected to snorkel in these conditions.  About 15 minutes the boat slows and engine is turned off. A  buoy is thrown over and as we halt, I peer over the railing and see the light grey body of a Galapagos shark magnified through the water.  I’m thinking, “what did I sign myself up for?” Despite my body and mind telling me to turn back to safety, I didn’t come all this way to back out now.

The 2nd batch of swimmers to go into the water I follow Hayley’s instructions to a t. The first look into the water and I’m amazed at the amount of detail. The sharks swim effortlessly through endless blue ocean and we are so close, I can make eye contact.  It’s truly an unforgettable experience that was worth every doubt you may have.

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1. Sharks swim in order of dominance

The most dominant sharks swim at the top of the surface with the least dominant at the bottom.  If you remain at the top of surface, you’re indicating that you’re at the top of food chain.

2. Sharks have 6 senses

Sharks additional sense is electricity and vibrations in the water.  The sharks we saw knew the boat was in their territory 1 mi before we reached.  Sharks can get excited if there are a lot of vibrations so it’s recommended not to splash and attract too much attention.

3. Sharks are respectful of your space 

So long as you make eye contact with them (especially the dominant ones), they are respectful of your space.  They don’t see you as a food source or easy target, but rather they are curious about you.

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4. A simple buoy in the water attracts an ecosystem

A buoy placed in the middle of the ocean is like a palm tree in a desert.  The shrimp are attracted to the surface, the fish are attracted to the shrimp and the sharks are attracted to the fish.

5. Sharks need to keep swimming or else they would suffocate

Sharks need to have water constantly running through their gills so to sleep, sharks will find a current so that water keeps passing through their gills with minimal effort.

So, if you’ve reached the end of this article and you can’t wait to check it out yourself, here’s what you need to know:

Where: North Shore, Oahu through One Ocean Diving
Cost: ~170 USD per person
When to go: ideally book the morning slot because this is when the sharks are most active
Pro tip: if your itinerary is flexible, call One Ocean Diving ahead of time to find out when the conditions will be best for snorkeling
Why we love this company: One Ocean Diving is a research facility and in addition to swimming with the sharks, you get a crash course of shark 101.  The sharks are 100% wild and they do not feed or lure the sharks to tourist.

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