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posted on 10 September 2017

The Strafing Run Of Mother Nature, Installment 2 - The Path Of Total Destruction

by Reverse Engineer, Doomstead Diner

Published on The Doomstead Diner September 10, 2017

Discuss this article at the Environment Table inside the Diner

...or perhaps, the Eve of Destruction

As I begin writing this article, it is 3PM Alaska Time on Thursday, September 7, 2017. Cat 5 Hurricane Irma has already begun her Strafing Run to destroy Industrial Civilization even faster than it can do it by itself.


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https://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/9f2c77c49ee5c8c5597ec74afecf329ec1d3fc20/r=540/https/media.gannett-cdn.com/29906170001/29906170001_5562846439001_5562840325001-vs.jpg

Irma follows closely on the heels of Harvey, which focused it's attention on the center of the Oil based economy, Houston, Texas and left it in ruins. In "normal times", Houston and the cleanup would still be the focus of the MSM newz, since most of the area is still a complete disaster scene. Even FEMA admits it is a cleanup which will take "years". These are not "normal times" however, they are the "NEW Normal Times".

In the New Normal, there is a new and bigger disaster every week, which is great for a Collapse Observer and Writer, but not so great for the millions of people living in a given disaster zone. Even while these climate related disasters get ever larger and more frequent though, you have a large cadre of Politicians (mostly Repugnants) who remain deniers of Climate Change or Ocean Heating. Which is pretty amazing they can get away with since we have direct data from Da Goobermint's own agency of the NOAA that shows unequivocally that the Total Heat Content of the Oceans has risen over an order of magnitude since 1975.

https://c479107.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/files/20580/area14mp/gvzj8y37-1361767576.jpg

What happens when you put a pot of water over more heat? Do you get more steam or less steam? More, duh. So in this case, the Ocean is putting more water vapor up into the atmosphere. The Global Oceans are just a very big pot of water. More water vapor in the atmosphere means more water available to come down in buckets once the system moves its way over a land mass. It also means a lot more energy available to the storm, because on falling DOWN, all the energy stored in raising the water UP gets released. Remember the Law of Conservation of Energy. "Energy is neither Created nor Destroyed, only transformed from one form to another". In this case, the heat energy used to crank the water UP into the atmosphere is mostly transformed on the way DOWN into mechanical energy reflected in the terrific wind speeds we are now getting with these behemoths.

Irma made her first landfall in the Antilles and Virgin Islands, to absolutely devastating results on some of the islands, which were basically levelled. Some of the worst hit were St. Maartens and Barbuda, but few of them got away unscathed. Death toll numbers coming in from those islands are currently in the low double digits (publicly), but communications have been out there for a couple of days and rescue teams can't make it to many areas on these islands either. The Death Toll there will undoubtably rise over the coming days/weeks/months ahead, but for now everyone's eyes are turned toward each new destination on the Strafing Run of Irma.

As I pick up on writing this article on Friday, Irma finished her Strafing Run on the Carribean Islands, and made her way to the North Shore of Cuba. As you can see above, what she left in her wake in the Virgin Islands was a wasteland. The above satellite photograph is of the island of Barbuda Before & After. Not only the McHovels of the Locals and the McMansions of the Ex-Pats were flattened, so was all the vegetation as well. The island was basically stripped of every Palm Tree that grew there over the last 20 years at least. Maybe they can put in Plastic ones with spring loaded breakaway bases that will lay flat in the next Cat 5, then spring right back up after it is over! I'm sure the Touristas won't notice the difference!

Little Newz at all coming from Cuba, even though it's a few hours since Irma made First Contact there, but NOAA Sat imagery shows it has been raking the coastline which is scattered with numerous fishing villages all now undoubtable completely flattened. Hopefully, the Cubans in those locations found some refuge, although given storm surge and the fact these folks do not have a whole lot of transport ability to do a Bugout, it's hard to see where they would shelter or how. Will we ever get accurate casualty numbers out of Cuba on this? Unlikely.

Tonight here from my perch in Alaska I just watch the Satellite Imagery from the NOAA website to see when Irma makes her turn Northward to Strafe Florida. The track has moved progressively westward through the evening as Irma has lingered longer than expected by the computer models devasting the north coast of Cuba. In the latest RGB image I opened, it looks like the turn may be beginning. These things come agonizingly slow for the doom watcher.

On the latest & greatest Sat & Track forecasting from NOAA, It looks like First Contact comes from the Western/Gulf side, which might be good because it is slightly less populated than Miami-Dade, but on the other hand bad because it keeps Miami in the NE Quadrant of the Hurricane for the entire time it traverses the Florida Straights, where it is projected to further strengthen. It's already back to Cat 5 status, and southern Florida is already feeling the effects from the Outer Bands, with 25,000 Energy Konsumers already without power and Irma hasn't even left the north shore of Cuba yet! She has tracked far enough along that coastline now that Hurricane force winds are battering Havana, given the immense size of the storm.

As I awaken on Saturday morning here in my Perch on the Last Great Frontier, Irma still is pummeling the north coast of Cuba, and my mistake, the archipelago Keys along the north coast are no longer populated by mostly fishing villages. This area has seen a lot of development since the FSoA and Cuba decided to "normalize" relations, which amounts to allowing Amerikan Touristas being allowed to Vacation in Cuba and Amerikan Banksters to further exploit Cuba. Which also means those islands on the northern edge of Cuba have seen a lot of resort hotel development over the last couple of years. They are TOAST. The Insurance industry will take a nice hit from this Strafing Run also.

cone graphic

Irma's jog westward in the forecasts has made some changes to the devastation to come here in the FSoA, depending on how well it holds up. As of now, it looks like instead of skirting the East Coast of Florida, she will skirt the West Coast. In both scenarios, the Florida Keys will be decimated. There are old-timers down there who refuse to leave, they are goners. But if you are 70 years old and on Social Security living in your Van because there is no affordable housing down there anymore for any but the 1%, WTF else would you go? And just how far could you GTFO of Dodge at this point? Maybe you could make it to Jacksonville...maybe depending if you could get gas along the way. If you didn't make the decision to GTFO of Dodge 2 Days ago, you are SOL now. You will stay where you lay, and you will either make it through the maelstrom or you won't.

Meanwhile on the Mainland of Florida, they are now in a complete state of PANIC. The folks who did not get out early are now lined up in Traffic Jams and can't find available gas at the convenience stores to keep moving on their Bugout to the house of some relative in Atlanta. The folks who could not Bugout at all because they don't have a car are now lined up outside "shelters" to hunker down for the duration of the storm. These shelters are generally hastily organized from large facilicities with a lot of space available, Talladega Speedway in Alabama for instance is opening up the racetrack for Refugees from Irma, and inside the local Miami area pretty much every school gymnasium is being set up as a shelter, but the reality is there are far too many people living in this zone that you could possibly shelter them all in buildings that are sturdy enough to withstand the winds, and then if you get inundation from Storm Surge you are equally fucked in a concrete building as a stick built one, if the water rises above one story in height you will be flooded. Beyond that over the course of a day or two is the Potable Water problem and the Sanitation problem in these shelters. Toilets don't flush once the water rises past ground level. Further down the line the problem is what do you do with the people living in the shelter after Irma blows through town and they no longer have homes, just piles of flooded rubble? It's not like they can go back to the McHovel and take up BAU life again just because it stopped raining.

Before we get to the problem of how to get them OUT of the shelters once they are in them is the problem of getting them IN to the shelters before the storm arrives. Finally after days of dawdling on this, Da Goobernator of Florida Rick Scott ordered a "mandatory evacuation" for much of south Florida, although it really isn't mandatory for most people, just they are told nobody will come to rescue them if they get in trouble. Homeless people though are forced into shelters under a law which says people who pose a danger to themselves can be forcibly removed.

The problem getting the people IN to the shelters is that there are TONS of people now looking for shelter as they read or watch more about the devastation in the Virgin Islands, and there just aren't that many good shelter locations available. Basically every decent size school built from concrete has been turned into a "shelter" over the last 2 days, but that doesn't mean they have cots or water or food in supply there. IF you manage to get in, you better have your own air mattress and sleeping bag at the very least, or you will have a real uncomfortable couple of days sleeping on a hard floor in the gym.

https://dsx.weather.com//util/image/v/floodedinside.jpg?v=at&w=485&h=273&api=7db9fe61-7414-47b5-9871-e17d87b8b6a0

There is also no guarantee many of these shelters won't suffer from many of the same problems the stick built McHovels will face as Irma rolls into town. If the neighborhood is inundated by Storm Surge, school gymnasiums are no more water tight than a McMansion is, and the water will flood the ground floor of the building at least. If there is a 2nd Story, refugees might move their sleeping bags up there, but most school gyms don't have a 2nd story. They also don't usually have an emergency generator to keep the lights on either, so if/when they go out, the gym is plunged into darkness, with 1000 strangers surrounding you and a real racket coming from outside that sounds like you are standing behind the jet wash of the engines on a Boeing 747, or if you are right on the Eyewall maybe a Sonic Boom. If you are not completely terrified by this time, you have more fortitude than me. I would be shitting myself.

We're moving into the afternoon here, and Irma STILL has not made the right hand turn to Go North to Florida from Cuba. Cuba has been hammered all day by hurricane force winds all along the north coast, and little in the way of newz has emerged from there to this point. The Eyewall is close enough to Havana now they must be getting hurricane force winds and on-shore storm surge. Forward speed of the storm has slowed to the crawl speed of 6 mph, which is making all of this interminably slow for the Collapse Observer, and orders of magnitude worse for anyone who happens to be on the Path of Total Destruction. I can go faster than that in an electric Cripple Cart at Walmart! The longer the hurricane force winds hang out in your neighborhood, the worse the destruction. Hard to say whether suffering 1 hour at Cat 5 is worse than 2 hours at Cat 4. Both are not good scenarios though.

Jeff Masters at WU and the NOAA all predict that Irma will take the hard right hand turn north to the West Coast of Florida sometime today. I stay tuned to the NOAA website and their Satellite imagery to watch for this today here from my safe computer workstation on the Last Great Frontier. I count myself lucky, because at one time I DID live in Melbourne, Florida, for a short year-long gig job coaching gymastics for a couple of women I absolutely despised for the way they ran their program. But it was money I needed, and it was a job. So far though, this turn has not occured, and the possibility does exist that Irma may drift into the GoM further, missing the Florida Coastline altogether. That would spare Florida and a lot of people who did EVAC & BUGOUT will be mighty pissed off, but it wouldn't remove the danger that Irma poses, because once inside the GoM waters and roaming again, she would regather strength and finding a new place to go on a Strafing Run would be chosen by the Finger of God. Maybe she would set her sights on NOLA, who knows there?

I do have fair confidence though that the NOAA models are correct here only one day out from Lower 48 landfall, and the West Coast of Florida looks highly probable at this point. Biggest population center likely to take a big hit here would be Tampa, and Tampa Bay is perfectly set up for an enormous Storm Surge, probably close to 20' on the current projected track.

http://media2.kshb.com/photo/2014/11/01/WxCartoon_1414881038455_9409753_ver1.0_640_480.jpg

If in fact both the NOAA and Weather Underground get this one WRONG though and Irma moves further West in trajectory and misses the Florida Peninsula entirely, the whole Weather industry of Meteorologists Weathermen will take an ENORMOUS hit it their credibility. The costs even before the storm hits in terms of the evacuations and the lost bizness and wages to workers are enormous already, and all based on PREDICTIONS the Weathermen are making.

If this turns out to be a DUD for South Florida, first off you will have a lot of Finger Pointing and Blame Game being pitched around. and second it will make people less likely to GTFO of Dodge the next time one of these behemoths is targeting the neighborhood. Even with the Supercomputers and the great Algos on the job these days, even just one day out, a variation of a couple of degrees in the track makes a big difference as to where the mother fucker will make landfall and when. Strength at landfall also is a tossup right up until First Contact.

In this case, while also delaying the northward direction change, Irma has also slowed down substantially in translational movement, only plodding along now at 6 mph. That means she will spend more time over the warm waters of the Florida Straights, which means more time to regain strength after her Strafing Run on Cuba. She might even make it back up to a Cat 5 during this period, in which case she doesn't have to hit Miami dead on to wreak devastation, the wind field is so large it will cover all of southern Florida, and Miami would be in the worst position in the NE quadrant for that wind field and storm surge.

So even at this fairly late juncture, you can't really say for sure where Irma will hit in the Lower 48, or with how much strength or how much damage will be inflicted on Industrial Civilization in that neighborhood. It does look likely though that the damage will be severe, even if Miami doesn't take a full on direct hit from the Eyewall.

The bigger picture as we know from both Harvey and Katrina is that in reality, the biggest costs come not from exactly how powerfully a hurricane arives at on the Saffir-Simpson scale, but how much water gets dropped down on a given neighborhood in a given period of time. Houston suffered its greatest problems not from Wind Speeds, but from inundation of rainwater measured in FEET, not inches. In this case, the most likely inundation comes from Storm Surge all the way up the West coast of FL if Irma stays offshore. She will make landfall somewhere though, if not Tampa than maybe north of there towards Tallahassee. Of course, to have real big media impact the landfall needs to be near a major Big Shity, So that would dampen the psychological impact and the MSM will say "we dodged a bullet".

OK. PUBLICATION TIME has arrived here on the Diner for the Sunday Brunch article. As of now, all the Livestream Cameras that AZ (one of the Diners) put up Inside the Diner are now offline with NO SIGNAL. I'll leave this installment of The Strafing Run of Mother Nature with the latest update of the NOAA Sat Animated GIFS in nice RGB colors. Still moving at an intemrinably slow 6MPH, now moving NW and likely to make a close hit on Key West as First Contact. Unless she takes a more NNW track though, she will miss the FL West Coast entirely and collide with the North American continent somewhere around Pensacola, or even NOLA. That would be a hoot.

If JM & BH at WU and all the Code Jockeys running the models at the NOAA are right though, tomorrow will see a few million Retired Floridians experiencing FAST COLLAPSE, with virtually the entire state destined to lose electric power. It will be quite some time if ever if it is all restored.

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You.


Editor's note: For more on Irma (as well as updates on damage from Harvey in Texas and Irma in the Carribean) follow Sig Silber. He has more great weather graphics (auto updated) along with the latest bulletins and advisories from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) as they are issued.


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