Are you ready for Sandy?

13

Comments

  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,367 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?
    niel wrote: »
    coot,
    you don't get quakes where you are? well, even if you don't all it would take is a major eruption of one of the volcanoes around you and then you've got trouble.

    solar dave,
    it seems there have been some minor quakes around you. i'm looking at google earth's quake designations.

    Lived here 16 years now and have yet to feel but one minor tremble.
  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    Eric, add tornadoes to your list. I'd take the coast and hurricanes over tornado alley any day.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?
    niel wrote: »
    joe,
    i guess the point is there's always going to be something somewhere at some time that is going to be bad to whatever degree. hurricanes are not normal for pittsburgh, but once in awhile the remnants do hit us and cause major flooding.

    i'm also a bit confused as to sandy's status when it hit the coast as i was under the impression it was still a 90mph hurricane that fizzled quickly as it moved further inland. they are calling it a superstorm. isn't that what hurricanes and tropical storms basically are? the actual designation is important though for those who need to prepare and i've heard some insurance companies would require the hurricane designation or they wouldn't pay out. if a hurricane is just a few miles off shore packing hurricane force winds, i would certainly think those winds would be impacting those just a few miles inland with hurricane force winds. once the eye hits landfall it will lose its umph (strength) to one degree or another, but to those just a few miles inland it still looks the same with bad results.

    what do i know?

    I don't know the authoritative answer either, but what I heard explained on a news story was that many (most? all?) home insurance policies have a higher deductible amount for hurricane damage than for simple wind damage. So calling it a superstorm once the maximum wind speed dropped below the hurricane threshold, enabled the insurers (who apparently are not fighting it) to pay out MORE money to policyholders.
    The superstorm part (as compared to regular storm) is just a recognition that, as you say, the average winds over a very large area are higher than the winds a short distance from the peak wind zone of a formally recognized hurricane.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    One of my daughters girlfriends that live in Alabama said some local utility workers from Alabama went to New Jersey to help get the power back on. They were turned away because they weren,t unionized so was going back home. There was a group of local Emt.s from Mercer County in Western Pa that left testerday to help in NJ. I don,t think they are unionized either. The people without power wouldn,t care if the out of town utilility worker are unionized or not. It is a discrace! :Dsolarvic:D Update Update: The Utility workers went to NY to help and they welcomed them with open arms!
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?
    solarvic wrote: »
    utility workers from Alabama went to New Jersey to help get the power back on. They were turned away because they weren't unionized, so are going back home. It is a disgrace!
    Totally agree! People dying and/or in terrible distress, while the greed of others is preventing them getting help. This is the kind of thing that has turned so many people against unions, they shoot themselves in the foot when they pull stunts like this.
  • Eric LEric L Solar Expert Posts: 262 ✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    The Alabama utilities that sent crews deny that they were turned away:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57544237/ala-utilities-our-crews-not-turned-away-from-n.j/
  • Blackcherry04Blackcherry04 Solar Expert Posts: 2,490 ✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    lol..... This not to hard to understand. Agree to our terms or we don't want you here.

    "Upon arriving at a staging area in Virginia, crews were held in place pending clarification of documents received from IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) that implied a requirement of our employees to agree to union affiliation while working in the New York and New Jersey areas. It was and remains our understanding that agreeing to those requirements was a condition of being allowed to work in those areas. "
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    let's not make the thread a focus on the pluses and minuses of unions as there are good and bad points, or what some thought was a requirement as that is speculative.
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    To get back to the original thread. Made sure the batteries where as charged as much as I could and well tank was fully pressurize. Lights went out Monday night and came on Friday. During this time I had heat and lights. Could have gone another 2-3 days till the water ran out. Funny thing was a couple of weeks ago. Look at how much I spent on this solar system and thinking what a wast.
  • nsaspooknsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2225935/Hurricane-Sandy-probably-wiped-New-Yorks-rats-despite-warnings-rodent-apocalypse-say-experts.html?ICO=most_read_module
    In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, fears were rife that the streets would be overrun with rats escaping the flooded tunnels and subways.

    But it now looks as if those fears may have been groundless as there have not, as yet, been any reports of rodents roaming the streets.

    Experts are saying the water likely rushed into tunnels so fast that the rats - despite being strong swimmers - had no time to escape and died.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?
    n3qik wrote: »
    To get back to the original thread. Made sure the batteries where as charged as much as I could and well tank was fully pressurize. Lights went out Monday night and came on Friday. During this time I had heat and lights. Could have gone another 2-3 days till the water ran out. Funny thing was a couple of weeks ago. Look at how much I spent on this solar system and thinking what a wast.

    ken,
    good to hear from you and to know you're ok. i did fire off an email to you, but i'm not sure if you got it or not. i assume your cable was probably out longer than the power and delayed your getting back on the forum. did you get any hamming in during the time-out gave you and if so what bands or frequencies where you predominantly at? i thought of looking around on the ham bands for you, but that would've been a needle in a hay stack providing you were on the air and conditions were good between us for any bands that would've allowed the connection based on our locals and time of day.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?
    nsaspook wrote: »
    In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, fears were rife that the streets would be overrun with rats escaping the flooded tunnels and subways.

    But it now looks as if those fears may have been groundless as there have not, as yet, been any reports of rodents roaming the streets.

    Experts are saying the water likely rushed into tunnels so fast that the rats - despite being strong swimmers - had no time to escape and died.

    the rats aren't something that i'd have thought of.
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?
    niel wrote: »
    i'm also a bit confused as to sandy's status when it hit the coast as i was under the impression it was still a 90mph hurricane that fizzled quickly as it moved further inland. they are calling it a superstorm. isn't that what hurricanes and tropical storms basically are?
    It wasn't just a hurricane, but a hurricane colliding with a strong cold front. It was much the same as the scenario depicted in the movie The Perfect Storm except that the collision occurred over land instead of out at sea.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,061 admin
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    If you are interested in the details of Sandy:

    The hybridization of hurricane Sandy


    Note, the above link is a "climate septic" site--Not trying to start an argument--Just an article on what "Sandy was":
    The hybridization of hurricane Sandy

    Posted on November 3, 2012 by Anthony Watts
    by Bob Henson, NCAR News with contributions from Dr. Ryan Maue


    Every so often, a quiet corner of research suddenly grabs the spotlight. Such was the case this week when a Category 1 Atlantic hurricane morphed into Superstorm Sandy (note- it wasn’t a hurricane when it made landfall, it was an extratropical cyclone – Anthony), wreaking tens of billions of dollars in damage and taking scores of lives in the eastern United States.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    to me calling it a hybrid or superstorm may detract from what it really is, a hurricane. it doesn't get worse than a hurricane and the other titles it is being given even though applicable and true detracts from that imho. it was given a name because it met certain criteria none of which the words superstorm or hybrid enter into it. it is semantics and the semantics they are using downgrade what this was rather than add to what this was. in the insurance industry the terms superstorm and hybrid don't exist, but hurricane and tropical storms do. if they'd say a hybrid hurricane it would contain the key word needed for proper designation, hurricane.

    when the perfect storm in 91 occurred, it didn't matter too much as it was out to sea, but that was a hurricane and not a storm. semantics do matter when dealing with insurance companies and anything legal. now maybe i missed it, but i did not hear of hurricane warnings being given out for the east coast.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,061 admin
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    Insurance models are always going to be updated:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/11/04/164185424/insurance-companies-rethink-business-after-sandy
    Clark says the problem is that hurricane prediction is a very young science. She notes that records documenting hurricanes go back only about a century, a data set far too small to draw big conclusions.

    She says after Hurricane Katrina — the most expensive of all documented storms — some predicted a warming cycle would produce more powerful storms. That forecast did not bear out.

    "It just shows you that we just are not that smart, you know, when it comes to what's really going on," Clark says.
    Bill Keogh, president of Eqecat, one of the major risk-modeling firms in the U.S., says that despite what it may seem, we are now in a statistically low period of hurricane activity. After Katrina, few powerful hurricanes have made landfall in the U.S.
    That is not to say Sandy won't change the way insurance companies assess their weather risks.
    "Risk models change all the time, and they change when we have new information," Keogh says.
    That's especially true when that information is unusual. And Sandy was unusual because it hit the Northeast, as few hurricanes do, and because it veered inland, instead of toward the ocean. That information from Sandy, Keogh says, will shape views about the probability of future risks. But probability is not the same as a crystal-ball prediction.

    "Everybody wants to know: 'Tell me the answer. You know, over the next five years, how many hurricanes will we have, what will they look like, how will much they cost. And when will the occur?' We don't do that," Keogh says.

    The only thing we can do, insurers say, is build our buildings safer, and better prepare for what will eventually come.

    From here:

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/lack-of-hurricane-warning-for-sandy-may-help-homeowners-15198
    Silver linings post Hurricane Sandy have been hard to find. But the decision by the National Weather Service not to issue hurricane warnings north of North Carolina, and to instead declare Hurricane Sandy a “post-tropical cyclone” mere hours before landfall near Atlantic City on Oct. 29, may have significant ramifications for homeowners and insurance companies. In four hard-hit states — Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York — the storm classification may save homeowners from having to pay costly hurricane insurance deductibles.
    ...
    Governors and insurance regulators in the four states have stated that hurricane deductibles will not apply in this case, in large part because the storm was not officially a hurricane with sustained winds of 74 mph or greater at landfall, and it did not prompt the Weather Service to issue hurricane warnings.
    ...
    [h=3]NWS’ Naming Dilemma[/h] With Hurricane Sandy, the Weather Service faced a rare challenge — how do you warn people in a heavily populated area of a storm that would have all the impacts of a hurricane, yet was going to lack the structure of a true hurricane when it made landfall?

    The main difference between a hurricane and a “post-tropical cyclone” has to do with the energy source from which the storm is drawing. Hurricanes draw their power from warm ocean waters, whereas post-tropical cyclones are energized by sharp temperature differences between air masses.

    As Sandy moved up the East Coast, it gradually transitioned into a post-tropical storm as it interacted with a cold front, and that is what helped expand its wind field, and actually contributed to its much larger impacts than had it been a typical hurricane.
    ...
    The Hurricane Center chose not to issue any hurricane watches or warnings beyond North Carolina, even though many areas would see hurricane-force wind gusts. Instead, NHC allowed local NWS offices to issue an array of warnings ranging from high-wind warnings to coastal-flood warnings. Rick Knabb, the director of the NHC, told reporters that the decision was made in order to minimize confusion in the event that Sandy was reclassified as a post-tropical cyclone before making landfall, which would have required that all hurricane warnings be canceled, and other warnings to be issued instead.
    “By using non-tropical warnings in these areas from the start, we avoid or minimize the significant confusion that could occur if the warning suite changed from tropical to non-tropical in the middle of the event,” NHC said in a statement.
    The lack of hurricane warnings north of North Carolina was heavily criticized by TV meteorologists, who took to social media platforms to question the Weather Service’s decision.

    I can see the insurance companies rewriting the deductible clauses right now for the next storm...

    If you look at the table I posted earlier, there were two Sandy scale storms 3 years apart ( 1635/1638 )--Then nothing on that scale for almost 200 years, then another 100 years for the next...

    It does become quite a business decision on how to "insure" for two back to back storms and then nothing like it for the next 200 years.

    There have been streaks of major storms--From 1954 to 1960, there were more than a 1/2 dozen H3 (and one H4) rated hurricanes that hit the east and north east (much before my time).

    What has happened is an increase in population and more folks in the path of major storms when they come. In earth quake country, we are slowly learning how to better survive them. But--From what I have seen, a major storm/hurricane affects a much larger area of land and more peoples/structures than even a good sized earth quake (in the the 1989 one we had here--The destruction was over a wide area--but really was mostly in widely scattered pockets--Not a swath of hundreds or thousands of square miles of total flooding and ruin.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?
    BB. wrote: »
    Insurance models are always going to be updated:


    I can see the insurance companies rewriting the deductible clauses right now for the next storm...

    If you look at the table I posted earlier, there were two Sandy scale storms 3 years apart ( 1635/1638 )--Then nothing on that scale for almost 200 years, then another 100 years for the next...

    It does become quite a business decision on how to "insure" for two back to back storms and then nothing like it for the next 200 years.


    Unfortunately with the warming of the oceans, the trend of more frequent, highly destructive ocean born storms will continue. Even if storm intensity (wind speeds, precipitation) does not increase, damage to coastal areas will increase due to higher storm surge. NYCs 13+ foot storm surge far exceeded any prior records. Storms that previously would have done damage from high winds and flooding from rain but with little storm surge damage will increasingly have major impacts on coastal communities due to rising ocean waters.

    Insurance companies will have a difficult time indeed. They have no data set that will be adequate to make accurate predictions going forward. Suffice to say it is extremely unlikely that it will take another 200 yrs before we see back to back highly damaging storms.
  • nsaspooknsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    We don't get hurricanes in Oregon either they are all classified as extra-tropical cyclones but the end effect is the same with cat-3 plus winds and damage.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5_uSpweQlU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfVH7usmHkg&feature=related
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,061 admin
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    As I have posted in this here, there have been a at least 5 Hurricanes (as far as they can tell) with storm surges on the order of Sandy (~4 meters, with Sandy ~3 on of the top ~6 list--Nothing "new" in short term history vs geological time frames) in the last 480 years... Some as close as 3 years apart.

    And a half dozen H3-H4 category Hurricanes hitting the east and north east cost in the ~1954 to 1960 time frame.

    There is nothing in history that says we won't see this again this year, 3 years from now ( 1635 vs 1638 ) or 100 or 200 years from now.

    We live with the same unknown here in Earthquake country... "Big Ones" happen around every 100 years--And the last big one in our area was in 1906.

    Does deep well pumping (both drawing water and injecting water) cause more earthquakes? They do seem to cause smaller quakes. And it is unknown if a lot of small quakes release pressure or not (a series of smaller quakes may be a precursor for a large quake). And a number of smaller quakes do not release near as much energy as one big quake (and smaller quakes may simply focus more pressure on a "locked" fault line--And, possibly, inducing a sooner than later big quake).

    There is a lot we don't know--And we do choose to spend money/risk life to a certain level (commercial aviation is safer than private autos--Are we ready for a trained pilot and certified maintenance on cars and roads with positive traffic control for all? Not yet).

    Based on "recent history" (400+ years), nothing in Kyoto would have "prevented" this storm. And the monies could have been spent on preparation--All the way from homes with emergency supplies, moving homes from historical flood planes (which should have happened with the Nuke plants in Japan), regional supplies, regional flood/surge control, etc...

    Out on the coast of SF, we have seen 150 meter rise in sea level over the last 20,000 years (since the last ice age).

    Change happens...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    Here is a prediction you can count on: insurance rates will go up.

    I've never known them to do otherwise (except at election time in B.C. when whichever party is 'in' gives us ICBC rebates as a pathetic attempt at vote-buying :p ).
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?
    nsaspook wrote: »
    We don't get hurricanes in Oregon either they are all classified as extra-tropical cyclones but the end effect is the same with cat-3 plus winds and damage.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5_uSpweQlU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfVH7usmHkg&feature=related

    yes, it is a known fact that a cyclone is the pacific's equivalent to a hurricane. now if something like sandy was coming for the west coast and they did not post warnings for it as a cyclone, but just labeled it new terms like a hybrid or superstorm, what are people to think? with terms like that a cyclone did not happen and that's reinforced with no warnings for a cyclone. stupid huh? one person either in jersey or possibly staten island, forgot which, said point blank that had they issued warnings or even a watch that they'd have gotten out of town. now after the fact it's still not being labeled as hurricane damages and that is exactly what it was.

    some of what the weather service does does not make sense. take for instance a tornado. the definition of it is a funnel on the ground, but if it isn't on the ground it is just a funnel. now this same funnel can hop 10 times onto the ground and the weather service looks at it to have spawned 10 separate tornadoes and yet it is the very same storm cell and funnel.

    btw, i am not keying on the specialness of the hurricane or that it is more severe than in the past because there have been plenty of hurricanes that were more severe. was this one special? yes, but it was still a cat 1 hurricane and what made it special was the funneling of the cold air being wrapped around the bottom side from a front that was also having a blocking high forcing the hurricane to follow a path hurricanes do not usually follow and that was, by coincidence, inland to the west into the midatlantic area of the states.

    it is bad semantics on the part of the weather service causing people to not know what really that superstorm or hybrid actually represented to them and adding no hurricane warnings is just plain stupid to me.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,061 admin
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    For us in earthquake country--Do you plan on a quake every 100 years, and from $100 to $600 per sqft to rebuild the home... If you go a hundred years between quakes--The first two generations are pretty well off and don't pay a lot of insurance/risk life and limb. Get out a 100 years--Do you plan on a wipe out in the next 5-10 years and save/charge rates (or run) accordingly?

    Only positive things I can say about earthquakes--They don't (necessarily) happen in bad weather, in western US we have "young" rocks which "dampen" waves pretty quickly (out east, you have "old rock" which rings like a bell--in theory your risk for major quakes are about the same as out here in California--Our quakes affect "smaller regions"--Out east, it could hit a huge area that is unprepared with masonry buildings, etc.).

    Do a search for "New Madrid Fault" and you will see that a major earthquake in southern California only affects a relatively small area in souther Cal... Same earthquake in New Madrid Missouri will cover much of the central/east US.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?
    BB. wrote: »
    As I have posted in this here, there have been a at least 5 Hurricanes (as far as they can tell) with storm surges on the order of Sandy (~4 meters, with Sandy ~3 on of the top ~6 list--Nothing "new" in short term history vs geological time frames) in the last 480 years... Some as close as 3 years apart.

    A couple of issues with the referenced article as far as Sandy:

    1. That was published in 2001 (and looks at data through 1993)and does not show what the comparative Storm surge was for Sandy or any of the recent Hurricaines. Do you know what the storm surge was for Sandy at their studied location???

    2. It is looking at Succotash marsh, Rhode Island not New York city. The large surges there in the 1600s occured in a radically different, pre develpement landscape.

    I don't think using data from that article to make an inference about recent years historic storm surges is useful - both because the landscape is radically different than it was in the 1600s and because it does not have any data from the last 19 yrs in it.

    The storm surge at New York City of almost 14 feet was 3 feet higher than any previously recorded.

    I think THIS Scientific American article does a good job of sumarizing some of the factors at play.
    As if all that weren’t enough to manage, there's the additional trial of coping with sea-level rise. Two major factors are at work in New York City. First, land rebounding farther north after the removal of the massive weight of Ice Age glaciers has caused the island of Manhattan itself to slowly sink. Second, at the same time, the oceans have risen by nearly three inches locally over the course of the 20th century, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. These changes will make creating long-lasting protection from storm surges even more challenging. "You're starting from a new zero," Rhome says. "The exact same storm is going to produce an even worse storm surge in a future time."

    As a start, getting emergency generators out of the basements of NYC buildings might be a good idea:roll:
  • firerescue712firerescue712 Solar Expert Posts: 93 ✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    New Madrid fault area here. This is what is constantly preached for us to prepare for. We have tornadoes, ice storms, storms with high winds. These are typically localized and isolated. Very few are affected, unless the power grid goes down. But earthquakes. It will be like we see time after time following a disaster. The mindset seems to be "the government will take care of me." Whatever happened to "take care of yourself, your family, and your neighbors?" This is the main reason I have ventured into solar. We live in the country, so emergency assistance will not be here quickly. We must be able to take care of ourselves. At least for a while. I feel for the people that have been caught by Sandy's wrath. But when told to evacuate, listen. As it tell the young firefighters, the cemeteries are full of "it won't happen to me" people. Like if full of risks. Why take them if you are no prepared for the outcome? We cannot avoid all risks. We just need to be prepared materialistically, not only mentally. I am thankful there was no large loss of life after Sandy. Or after the other disasters we have encountered recently. Look overseas. Tens or hundreds of thousands of life's lost. That is a true tragedy. Be safe. Preparation is the key. No one really knows how bad it will be. Just plan for the worst, and hope for the best.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    World record storm surge supposedly was in 1899 - http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/surge_world_records.asp but no actual reliable measurements. Found this interesting though from same site "The highest storm surge from a Bay of Bengal cyclone is reputed to be the 44.6 foot (13.6 meter) storm surge (Shrestha, 1998) attributed to the Great Backerganj Cyclone of 1876. Banglapedia lists the surge from this cyclone at 40 feet (12.2 meters).
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    fr712,
    it's true they told some to evacuate, but they did not issue hurricane warnings or watches either. as to the many that did evacuate, what good was any preparation when everything is gone and there's nothing to return to? there is only a degree that people can prepare for things, but when one of the many possible disasters focuses on you, all bets are off no matter what you did in preparation. if you are lucky or it wasn't as severe and you came through it and it isn't always because you prepared (which helps), but more because you were spared.

    "Preparation is the key. No one really knows how bad it will be. Just plan for the worst, and hope for the best."

    i disagree to a point with the 1st sentence as it is not key for it guarantees nothing and only increases the odds a bit to you, but the last 2 statements are true.
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?
    Windsun wrote: »
    "The highest storm surge from a Bay of Bengal cyclone is reputed to be the 44.6 foot (13.6 meter) storm surge (Shrestha, 1998 ) attributed to the Great Backerganj Cyclone of 1876. Banglapedia lists the surge from this cyclone at 40 feet (12.2 meters).

    Whoa! I shudder to think what a 40 foot storm surge would do to the Eastern Seaboard of the US.

    As far as large eathquakes go - I experienced first hand both the 1971 Sylmar Eathquake in LA and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in Oakland as well as many smaller California quakes.

    I think just not living (or working) in masonry buildings and not being is a tsunami zone will greatly improve your odds of avoiding serious consequences. Oh - and - don't be underneath a concrete roadway during the quake..:roll:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,061 admin
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?
    As I have posted in this here, there have been a at least 5 Hurricanes (as far as they can tell) with storm surges on the order of Sandy (~4 meters, with Sandy ~3 on of the top ~6 list--Nothing "new" in short term history vs geological time frames) in the last 480 years... Some as close as 3 years apart.
    A couple of issues with the referenced article as far as Sandy:

    1. That was published in 2001 (and looks at data through 1993)and does not show what the comparative Storm surge was for Sandy or any of the recent Hurricanes. Do you know what the storm surge was for Sandy at their studied location???

    No--That is why I said approximately... I agree that different locations will produce different results--just as different storms will. From an engineering point of view--Factor of 2 differences (i.e., 2 meter and 4 meter) are very similar. From a building owners point view built on a 2 meter spit of sand behind a 3 meter dune/coastal bluff--That is a huge difference--I understand.

    The ~4meter surge is what I have been reading about lately--Nothing with a precision survey.

    And what I was trying to say--Was as before with the Japan observation--There is actually a lot of geological evidence of past "catastrophic events"--If we choose to look for them (see quote/link below).

    Problem is that our forefathers never looked for this evidence decades or centuries ago when our settlements/cities were laid out--And who would have worried about a once in 100-400+ year event when they were probably hanging on to life by the skin of their teeth.
    2. It is looking at Succotash marsh, Rhode Island not New York city. The large surges there in the 1600s occurred in a radically different, pre development landscape.

    Agree--But archaeological and historical references from events that did not occur "that long ago"--It gives you some idea that building on a 6 foot above high tide sand bar is probably not "good enough" if you are planning on 400 years plus of occupation.

    And, I am not sure that the sea bottoms/coastal landscape was changed that much--For the most part, people cut down brush/forests and build roads and settlements in their place.

    A 3" difference in mean tide levels is not going to make a huge difference in the impact (or planning) for a 4+ meter (13.3 foot?) surge...

    From a thread with some discussions about the Tsunami in Japan:
    Actually, there was a lot of historical information that Japan had been hit by such a tsunami centuries ago (and further back in geological times).

    So, do we design for 500 year events? How about 600 year events:
    Inscriptions on up to 600 years old stone marker located near the coastal city of Kesennuma warn descendants:

    "Always be prepared for unexpected tsunamis. Choose life over your possessions and valuables."
    "If an earthquake comes, beware of tsunamis."
    "High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants, remember the calamity of the great tsunamis. Do not build any homes below this point."

    The last tsunami came just about to the foot of that marker.

    And for over a decade, researchers have been trying to get the government/industry to realize that these events happen with some regularity:
    The size of the earthquake and tsunami shocked seismologists. The Indonesian quake had ruptured a thousand miles of fault, the Tohoku quake only 280 miles—and yet the latter produced a magnitude 9 quake. Most geologists didn't think the Japan Trench could do that, even with a longer rupture. The oceanic crust there is old, cold, and dense, and scientists reasoned it would sink beneath Japan too readily and with too little friction to generate such a big quake.

    Yet there was evidence that such a quake was possible. More than a decade ago scientists from Tohoku University, in Sendai, dug into the black mud around their coastal city and discovered three separate layers of sand that extended almost three miles inland. Abundant marine plankton in the sand layers showed they had been deposited by giant tsunamis at intervals of 800 to 1,100 years over the previous 3,000 years. The researchers' paper was published in 2001 in the Japanese Journal of Natural Disaster Science. It concluded with a warning: Because the last tsunami had struck Sendai more than 1,100 years earlier, the risk of another soon was very high. But to Japanese policymakers the uncertainty in that forecast seemed high too. When the tsunami came last March, it deposited another layer of sand at least two and a half miles inland.
    -Bill
    I don't think using data from that article to make an inference about recent years historic storm surges is useful - both because the landscape is radically different than it was in the 1600s and because it does not have any data from the last 19 yrs in it.

    I think that geological studies of sedimentation/flood activity at a least a good starting point... If you can find evidence in recent history (pick a point, 100 years, 1,000 years, 10,000 years) that something bad happened... Even if you decide to put light factories there and homes/schools elsewhere with a warning systems and dikes/barriers/etc.... It is a choice.
    The storm surge at New York City of almost 14 feet was 3 feet higher than any previously recorded.

    Well--If they knew about 9 foot surges and planned to protect against even that level of water--Things would have been a lot better than people that had 10' or more of water over their lot.

    We continue to learn--Mentioned here in another post, not to take shelter under a concrete freeway--Only a few of those failed in the Loma Preita 1989 quake. And engineers learned that the structures they designed were not good enough... Every since, we have seen re-enforcing projects for freeways and overpasses... In fact, I have seen major rework/remove and replace of freeway structures that were repaired shortly after 1989--After they did not study/simulations/etc..
    I think THIS Scientific American article does a good job of summarizing some of the factors at play.
    As if all that weren’t enough to manage, there's the additional trial of coping with sea-level rise. Two major factors are at work in New York City. First, land rebounding farther north after the removal of the massive weight of Ice Age glaciers has caused the island of Manhattan itself to slowly sink. Second, at the same time, the oceans have risen by nearly three inches locally over the course of the 20th century, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. These changes will make creating long-lasting protection from storm surges even more challenging. "You're starting from a new zero," Rhome says. "The exact same storm is going to produce an even worse storm surge in a future time."

    As a start, getting emergency generators out of the basements of NYC buildings might be a good idea:roll:

    And when they moved those generators up in the building, they had terrrible fires because the tanks were still in the basements, the fuel lines had sheared, and the "very reliable pumps with backup power" pumped fuel right into the fires. (Not pointing fingers at anyone--But just showing what failure analysis looks at and how a Space Suttle can be certified as safe for astronauts and safety margins with one form of fault analysis and another method can show a loss of life every 100 launches).

    Yep, there is still a lot to learn and we will never get it "right" (unlimited time--don't have; unlimited budget--don't have; God like knowledge--don't have).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    I listened to a radio interview with a marine biologist who suggested replanting the oyster reefs which once surrounded New York harbor before being dredged and overfished.
    The idea being that rather than acting as a barrier it would attenuate the energy of the storm surge.

    Sort of like the original Mississippi river delta would have done for New Orleans if the silt supply from upriver had not been cut off.

    Things have consequences.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Are you ready for Sandy?

    Bill-

    Thanks for elaborating. I really don't think we disagree on most of your points but I just looked through the paper the figure you referenced comes from. It makes interesting reading (if you're into that kind of stuff:blush:). Link is HERE

    There are several problems with using that figure to try to make any quantitative comparisons about storm surges, but perhaps the biggest is that the point of their study - was not to look at relative strength of storm surges but to validate the use of sediment deposits to date when large storms occur-not how largethe storm surges were.

    This is the caption from the figure you posted (emphasis mine):
    Figure 3. Storm surge heights in southern Rhode Island relative to contemporary mean
    sea level (MSL). The modern barrier height of 3 m above MSL at Succotash Marsh is
    noted by a dashed line. The height of storm surges dating back to 1936 has been measured
    by nearby tide gauges at Newport, Rhode Island, and New London, Connecticut (NOAA/
    NOS/CO-OPS, 2000; USACE, 1962). Historical written accounts of storm surge heights
    were used for storms that predated the tide gauges (Ludlum, 1963).

    So a few early settlers in the early 1600s wrote down their estimates of how high the sea rose during those storms. I suspect the anomaly of those 2 closely space storms in 1635 and 1638 having higher surges than any others in history through 1993 may have more to do with the difference between actually measuring something and relying on unscientific observations by 17th century settlers. Importantly, the authors of the paper were not interested in the exact height of the storm surges - only that they occurred and were large enough to deposit the sediments needed to validate their hypothesis.

    Being a scientist by training, one of my pet peeves is when the media takes specific findings, figures, etc from a scientific study out of context and makes unsubstantiated claims based on misunderstanding of the context. A quick google search of this study shows that this is how this figure from this study is being used by climate change deniers. As an engineer, I'm sure you can appreciate this point as well.
    BB. wrote: »
    And, I am not sure that the sea bottoms/coastal landscape was changed that much--For the most part, people cut down brush/forests and build roads and settlements in their place.

    That is true for many places but not the Rhode Island coastal areas. Again - a quote from the paper:
    Currently, tidal exchange occurs
    only through the Point Judith breachway to
    the east of Succotash Marsh. This inlet was
    excavated in 1909 and three breakwaters that
    form the Point Judith Harbor of Refuge were
    completed in 1914 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    [USACE], 1962).


    BB wrote:

    A 3" difference in mean tide levels is not going to make a huge difference in the impact (or planning) for a 4+ meter (13.3 foot?) surge...

    Actually I believe it makes a huge difference. 3" of water spread over many hundreds (or thousands) of square miles of coastal waters that is funneled into small coastal inlets during storms translates into much larger localized water rise -(aka - storm surge). And of course even the conservative estimates of sea level rise over the next few decades far exceed the 3" that has occurred in the recent past.

    I agree with you completely that large devastating natural disasters have occurred throughout geological history and will continue to do so. The question is what to expect going forward in terms of frequency and intensity. And as you argue - and I agree - this is a very difficult thing to accurately gauge.

    However, while the human contribution to global warming is something that has not been conclusively quantified, there is no serious scientific disagreement about global warming or sea level rise. Though the extent of these coming changes is still unknown, the changes will impact the coastal areas - and not benignly.
Sign In or Register to comment.