When I went to bed last night the various experts seemed certain Hurricane Matthew would head out to sea south of New England late next week, which is just fine with me.
When I was younger I was eager to see a storm bring ruin, because I could show off my prowess with a chainsaw afterwards, and make a heap of money, and also get a lot of free firewood. Now I’m 63, and my aspirations are more modest. I’d rather sit in a chair and think about hard work. Or perhaps watch a young man stack the wood I had delivered, (rather than cutting it for myself), and I am a bit grumpy that I am not yet fabulously wealthy, and have to stack the darn stuff myself.
I would have put off even starting the job, but the old friend who delivered the wood let it spill into the neighbor’s drive a little, when he unloaded his dump truck, so I had to hustle out and get cracking. When I was younger I enjoyed the way my muscles felt when I worked hard. Now…not so much, but at least the pile is started.
It seems a bit amazing to me that I actually pay $250.00/cord for wood I once only paid for with sweat, however there is nothing like the radiance of a wood-stove in January. Heat coming up through the floor registers just doesn’t match it. Also I like the way I am not paying Arabs for my heat, (beyond, perhaps, a bit for the gas and oil in a chain saw). Also there is an old saw (pun) about how firewood “warms you twice.” There is many a winter scene I might have missed, if I didn’t need to go out and get more firewood. Lastly, it keeps you in shape.
If a hurricane hits us, it will seem foolish to have paid for wood, for trees will be down all over the place. Chainsaws will be going nonstop for weeks. People in New England have no idea of what a huge mess it will make, because the last powerful hurricane to bisect New Hampshire was Carol in 1954. (Donna in 1960 was further east.) Carol pretty much flattened all the trees on the hilltops around here, but since Carol 62 years have passed, and a sapling can get pretty tall in 62 years. Our streets are lined with lovely trees that all could become lovely roadblocks.
I was pretty certain that, when the AMO moved into its “warm” phase again around 1990, we would see a return to the situation that gave New England so many hurricanes between 1930 and 1960. I tried to alert people who seemed to be unaware, and be building or buying homes in unwise places. I saw myself as a sort of Paul Revere, but have been a sort of Chicken Little, for no really bad hurricanes have ever hit us.
Still, I figured people should at least be educated to what “might” happen. One effort was printed by Eliot Abrams in his blog, back in June of 2006:
I always found it a bit annoying that there wasn’t a disaster, after I predicted one, but 2006 was particularly annoying, for that was the year Bill McKibben made big money publishing in National Geographic , warning about hurricanes, but rather than saying what-happened-before-could-happen again, he spoke a lot of hoopla about how the hurricanes would be “unprecedented” and caused by “Global Warming.” He was every bit as wrong as I was, but he got all sorts of press, and likely could pay someone else to stack his wood.
Call it envy if you will, but I grumbled a lot to myself as year followed year with no hurricanes, and I got only abuse, as McKibben got richer and richer. Finally, in August, 2012, I ventilated and had my rant published on Watts Up With That.
Hurricane Warning; McKibben Alert
In Many ways I think this is my best effort, when it comes to being a Chicken Little about hurricanes, and, if “The Big One” ever does hit New England, my rant will make me look like a Paul Revere. It began:
I would like to venture two predictions which I believe have a, (as they say,) “high degree of probability” of proving true.
The first is that a terrible hurricane, as bad as the ferocious 1938 “Long Island Express,” will roar north and bisect New England. True, it might not happen for over a hundred years, but it also might happen this September. The fact is, 1938 showed us what could happen. 1938 set the precedent.
My second prediction is that if such a storm happens this September, it will not matter if it a Xerox copy of the 1938 storm; Bill McKibben will call it “Unprecedented.”
It really makes me wonder: Why on earth would such a seemingly smart person want to make such a total fool of himself? How can McKibben call so many events “unprecedented’ when all you need to do is open a history book, and you can see so many other prior storms set precedents?”
The post is worth reading, if you want to read about the history of past storms, and also about what a storm similar to the 1938 hurricane might do the the structures we have built since 1938, especially in Boston.
However I’ve been there and done that, and have to stack wood. I simply haven’t the time to write the whole danged thing all over again. Anyway, after being wrong so many years, who the heck would listen? It has been something like 4000 days since a major hurricane has hit the mainland of the USA. Both McKibben and myself look like total jokes. Therefore I was glad to go to bed, and not feel I had to warn anyone. Then, when I got up this morning, to my dismay I see the GFS computer is producing this track:
Oh bleep. Right over Boston. So I do have to dust off my Chicken Little outfit and run around squawking, after all.
Well, consider it done.
The storm is still a week away, and there are many things that could knock it off track or weaken it, so I’m only raising an eyebrow slightly, at this point. But I will keep watching, and update this post if things become exciting. Expect a lot of hoopla, even if it goes out to sea.
It’s the first major hurricane we’ve seen in a while, and is over very warm water that should keep it well fed:
It’s eye-wall looks like it is going through some sort of reformation phase, which has weaken it to a strong force 4 from a weak force 5, but that is still one heck of a storm. Steady winds of 155 mph is something we can’t imagine. A sky-diver falling in a belly-down position is experiencing winds of 125 mph. Therefore 155 mph winds could pick you up and blow you away like a leaf.
SATURDAY NIGHT UPDATE
The European model takes it safely out to sea:
But the GFS has it clobbering Cape Cod
The Hurricane itself? It has no idea what to do, with so much advice, so it currently is being very indecisive and wobbling in a small circle like a spinning top. (I now realize this animation below automatically updates. The wobble no longer shows.)
SUNDAY MORNING YIKES UPDATE (Or, pick your poison)
The thing about computer models a week away is that they can jump about quite a bit from run to run. Last night’s GFS 0000z run had Matthew safely out to sea:
But this morning’s 0600z run? Yowsa! New York City gets clobbered!
If you allow your emotions to be swayed by all these various runs you will become a nervous wreak, a mere shadow of your normal confident and happy self. If I were you I’d take it easy, and maybe check out your generator, if you have one. Don’t rush out and buy one, like I did around 20 years ago when Eduard (?) was suppose to hit Boston, and then swerved a hundred miles out to sea. (I couldn’t afford it. If you can afford it, buy one.)
Me? Well, personally, I am going to party like mad all week, for at this time next week I could be dead.
(By the way, this is a really good time to go to the Weatherbell Site and sign up for their one week free-trial. Most of the above maps are from that site. And Joe Bastardi is quite good, tackling the unpredictable whims of such storms, while Joseph D’Aleo is a brilliant teacher.)
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE –CALM DOWN–
The models continue to show a lot of options for route Matthew will take.
These models can be roughly divided into two camps, the “faster” and the “slower”. The faster models have Matthew hook up with a trough to the north, and the trough whisks it nicely out to sea. The Canadian “JEM” model typifies this idea, with the storm on its way out by Sunday, and the focus of people returning to football.
The slower models have Matthew miss the connection with the trough to the north, and instead of zipping out to sea the storm just stalls and prowls about off the south Carolina coast. While the above map shows the storm heading out on October 9, the below “European” map shows it still hanging back on October 13.
One interesting possibility is shown by the small storm to the north of Matthew in the above map, which would be a second tropical low sucked into the first.
In essence, my take is that even a chronic worrier like myself can kick back at least until Sunday, by which point we will know if the storm is going to be “faster” or “slower”.
But if you really need to worry, I won’t deprive you. The computer runs we see tend to be an average of many runs, and there are always a few runs, called “outliers”, that stray from the mainstream and march to a different drummer. The GFS may be suggesting Matthew will head out to sea, but check out the outliers. A few crash right into Massachusetts, and one very much resembles the 1938 hurricane (but slower).
Nearly exactly a year ago Hurricane Joaquin was threatening, and then the predicted path went from freaking out New York City to being a fish-storm.
This has happened so many times it is a bit like the “Boy Crying Wolf” to warn people. However, as I said last year after Joaquin turned out to be a false alarm, “I stand by my guns, when it comes to the fact that one of these days one of these storms will look all the world like it is going out to sea, and then will swerve back northwest and shatter the windows of Boston’s skyscrapers while ripping just west of town, heading north at 50 mph. However even a blind squirrel can find a nut. I will be wrong 99 times before I am right once…”
(A storm taking the path of the left hand map above would completely flood New York City’s subways. They have had countless close calls and warnings, (including Hurricane Irene in 2011) but they only use the warnings to collect taxes. Then they spend all the money on “administration”, and never fix the subways with better pumps and better protection.)
I hope I keep on being wrong, and when the one time in a hundred arrives, I am long gone. I’ve done my job, which is to be a Chicken Little. I deserve a break, so I’m just going to calm down.
Looks like Matthew is swerving NNE a little. Pray for the people of Haiti. They are poor on a good day, and have a couple bad ones ahead.
TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE –Pray For Haiti–
My gorge has risen this morning, as first thing I read this morning (on another site) was a somewhat sneering comment about the people of Haiti being “those permanent victims”. Unspoken was the idea they deserve what they get. Admittedly they are poor, and that poverty extends to poor government, but I don’t subscribe to the mind-set that seemingly wants to “reduce overpopulation” by keeping poor countries poor. It seems a sign you are one of the so-called “elite”, when you smack your lips eating cherries while watching misery in the Third World on TV.
There are many problems with the concept of “nation building”, but that is no reason to not try to help others help themselves. My little church sent a group of seven teenagers to Haiti back in the late 1990’s and they actually had a wonderful time. The main project was to build a strong structure of cinder blocks in a neighborhood where most homes were made of flimsy tin sheeting. I can’t help but think a cinder block structure will now be where people flee, if winds get over 100 mph. Sheets of tin will be but flying guillotines.
Stewart Pid alerted me to this remark over at WUWT. “The NHC estimates winds speeds using aircraft. There was a NDBC discus buoy that recorded surface sustained winds at 67 knots maximum. Category 1 hurricane threshold is 64 knots. Mathew was barely a category 1 hurricane when it passed directly over buoy number 42058. The NHC has been doing this for years, making wind speed claims greatly in excess of actual recorded surface winds.”
If it is true winds are not as bad as the NHC reports, I’ll call it an answered prayer. Because that is all I can do, at this point: Pray. I have none of the power of the “elite”. I have enough trouble using my waning strength to help people in my own small corner of the planet, and the only worldly power I have is the power of a single vote. So it only natural (if you own a thing called a “heart”) to turn to otherworldly power, and to pray for brothers and sisters in Haiti.
(Talk about other worldly… A fellow named Frankie Lucena was aboard a hurricane hunter above Hurricane Matthew last night, and got some pictures of electricity discharging in the upper atmosphere above the storm. I guess you could call it “lightning”, and it is known as “sprites”. We didn’t even know this sort of lightning existed, when I was young.)
TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE –Complications–
Hurricane Matthew has smashed through the east of Haiti, and our vaunted media reports 5 deaths. Does not compute. Complications arise, which any competent media, with even the most elementary educations, would wrestle with. What are the complications? Well, either the government’s Hurricane Center is completely inept, and the storm is much weaker than they say, or our government’s reports about the conditions in Haiti are completely inept, and the poverty Haitians purportedly endure does not exist.
The simple fact of the matter is that around 60,000 in Haiti are so down-in-their-luck they are living in tents. (I know about that. I lived in a tent and slept in my car for long periods, when I was younger, and down-in-my-luck.) Others live in flimsy houses made of sheets of metal nailed to 2-by-4’s. None of this stands up well to 125 mile/hour winds.
My gut feeling is that those people have been through sheer hell, if the winds were as high as the Hurricane Center proclaimed. Sheet metal is not nice stuff, when it is blowing about at 125 miles an hour. 5 deaths? A foot of rain on hills stripped of vegetation can turn a dry brook into a brown torrent carrying trees, cars and houses. 5 deaths? A storm surge of ten feet, with twenty foot waves on top, is hard on people in Florida with comfortable cars and interstates to flee upon, but Haitians have nowhere to flee. 5 deaths?
My gut feeling is that our media is utterly inept. They have no on-the-scene reporters in Haiti. They are so bankrupt they can’t afford it. Anyway, any reporter with the guts to take on such a dangerous assignment would also have long ago had the guts to tell their editors to take their job and shove it. Their remaining workers are timid souls, who believe “news is reporting what you are told to report”. Most news they get they obtain through social media, because they are too timid to go out and see things for themselves. Why should I heed them? I can obtain stuff through social media myself. I know the waters were chest deep in the Main Street of a small town in the southeast Haiti, because I read the “tweet”.
Why should I care? Well, I suppose it is because my little church cared for Haiti a quarter century ago, and, after our teens joined other teens from other small churches to go south and build some cinder-block structures, and we felt all warm and cozy about what a good thing we had done, some lady from Haiti came north to thank us (and, of course, to seek more help). In the process of thanking us she sort of punctured our self-righteousness, because in the process of saying why she was thankful she described the reasons, and this involved describing the brutality of the reality. For me it was a real eye-opener.
After she spoke to our church, I sought the woman out and asked the sort of questions our wimpy media is too spineless to ask, and she seemed downright relieved. I asked politically incorrect questions, but never with malice. We had a talk that was full of laughter and understanding, and which the “elite” think cannot happen between a conservative, white-skinned bumpkin from New Hampshire and a very-dark skinned social-worker from Haiti.
The result was that my world became larger. I cared for people beyond my horizons. If I ride a taxi in Boston, and the driver is Haitian, I want the “news from home”.
Our president could care less. He thinks that, because his skin is dark and mine is whitish, people from Haiti will automatically flock to him. But my family has more experience of the agony of slavery than he can imagine. (Look up Robert Gould Shaw, who died with his black troops in the American Civil War.) Our president’s black skin has no knowledge of slavery, and in fact he of the “elite”, too high and mighty to sink to such lows. What do the “elite” really care about a nation of slaves that rebelled from their masters, like Haiti?
I personally think the suffering in Haiti at the moment is more than “5 deaths”, but it might make our president look bad if, after 8 years of his leadership, our close neighbors had not even the slightest improvements, as he spent billions on wind turbines and solar panels that are failures. Therefore the media, as meek and timid souls, does not dare report the actual suffering in Haiti that is actually happening.
I could be wrong. Maybe it is the Hurricane Center that is wrong, and Matthew passed through Haiti with breezes and showers. If that is the case, how are we to trust government scientists about Global Warming? If they can’t get today right, how can we trust their ideas about tomorrow?
That is only the first complication I have to report.
The second involves a glitch in the confidence Matthew will move as predicted. The glitch is a second tropical storm to the east-northeast of Matthew, named “Nicole”. In the map below, Matthew is the big storm between Cuba and Haiti, and Nicole is the small blob of clouds way out in the Atlantic, to the east-northeast .
The glitch is this: When two tropical storms exist in close proximity something called the Fujiwhara Effect occurs. In theory this would whip the eastern storm (Nichole) forward, but cause the western storm (Matthew) to slow, or even stall.
No computer model sees this yet. All seem to see the “faster” option, (which I mentioned earlier) which whisks Matthew out to sea, only brushing the east coast of the USA.
No model sees the “slower” option, wherein the Fujiwhara effect stalls Matthew, and causes us a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Personally, I hope this coming Sunday sees Matthew whisking out to sea, and our focus on football, and Haiti. The last thing I want to see is Haiti’s trouble happening here. But at least the hurricane is past those people, and winds are dying down in Haiti.
WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE
Cuba’s mountains have weakened the hurricane slightly, as it passed through the Windward Passage. Waters are warm and the storm will likely intensify as it moves away from the mountains. The Bahamas have no high peaks.
The only Tweets and Facebook posts I have seen come from far from the center. Port-au-Prince only received strong breezes and heavy rains.
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON –HAITI CUT OFF–
Hurricane Matthew is back out over water and the eye has reappeared, and likely it will strengthen as it moves northwest through the Bahamas towards Florida. (Notice the second tropical storm, Nichole, to the right.)
All attention will look ahead to Florida now, as Haiti is forgotten. However the “Drudge Report” had an apt picture from space of a skull-like Matthew hitting Haiti.
The death toll is not being released; government officials are simply stating “We don’t know,” which is the truth, for the bridges are washed out and the roads flooded and all phone and cell-phone connections seem lost. The tweets we do get show rains were extreme even far from the center over by Port-au-Prince, and people may be having trouble recharging their phones.
The further toward the track one traveled the more extreme the damage would be, but to get any idea of how incredible such winds and tides are it is helpful to look at Westernmost Cuba, where the buildings were far more sturdy.
This demonstrates the winds were as strong as hurricane hunter aircraft suggested, at ground level. However Matthew was “weakened” by the time it hit western Cuba. The storm surge was around nine feet. As Matthew hit Southwest Haiti the winds were 20 mph higher and the storm surge was likely over ten feet. People were camped on flat-lands by the sea, in tents and in tin sheds, and afraid of leaving their few belongings, and basically stayed and prayed. Unless some leader rose, who got a great many people to head for the local highlands, I fear the death-toll must be in the thousands.
I find the media silence peculiar. Perhaps they fear causing a panic in Florida. However the survivors in southwest Haiti likely need help now, not tomorrow. We do have an aircraft carrier and hospital ship headed down that way, but they have a hurricane to avoid.
Continue to pray for them, because most of us cannot help in any other way.
Wednesday Night –Fujiwhara Craziness–
I just watched some young fool on the Weather Channel say Matthew’s winds have weakened because it is disorganized. Total Nonsense. Compare it with the picture above. It is quite obviously better organized. It’s central pressure is even lower. The drop in wind-speed is some glitch caused by needing to take the pulse from a distance. There are times one needs to use the eyes God gave us, but the young fellow on the Weather Channel is displaying a surprising respect of authority. (Maybe that’s what got him his job.)
Now our concern should be the Bahamas. I visited those islands back when I was eighteen and very disrespectful of authority, aboard a “borrowed” sailboat. The isles are largely low, coral islands, and no place you want to be when the ocean rises ten feet, with huge waves and high winds. I am praying for the inhabitants, who were very kind to a forlorn object like myself, cast upon their shores, with the captain of my ship so violently ill I thought he might die.
I am also praying for the engineers behind the building of the hotels in Nassau. They likely are not sleeping well. No engineer wants to see his structure blown down, but they are also under unreal pressure to “keep costs low.” It is somewhat amazing how much the costs rise, if you engineer a hotel to withstand 130 mph winds, compared to what they are when you engineer a hotel to withstand 110 mph winds. The one thing about Nassau is that, unlike Haiti, we likely will get swift pictures of what has happened. It looks like the eye might go right over the capital.
As far as Florida is concerned, I think they are doing the right thing to evacuate the coast. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Notice tropical storm Nichole, to the right of the map. This, and the young meteorologist Tom Downs over on the Weatherbell site, may actually succeed in getting the word “Fujiwhara” into the vocabulary of the mainstream media. (If so, it will be fun to watch, as puffed people attempt to pontificate, like they know what “Fujiwhara” means.)
We don’t even know if Matthew will hit Florida, or stay just off-shore. That seems work enough. However, looking beyond, some models are showing Matthew pulling a loop, swinging out to sea only to curve back around and hit Florida again, due to the Fujiwhara effect.
I’m not worried about that. After all, I don’t live down there. What I am worried about is stuff that is above my head, in the upper atmosphere. I don’t understand the workings of that world, up there. But it does seem that, when these hurricanes create massive updrafts, it does some destabilizing that needs to be rectified, and you see these odd, very-fast streamers of high clouds heading north around the edges of hurricanes. I suppose, guessing greatly, that they are a sort of jet stream. I have never seen one “steer” a storm, but then, I have never seen what brings certain hurricanes north to New England at unheard of speeds of between 50-60 mph. I just see it has happened in the past.
I am worried about something that the models are not showing. They have produced an incredible number or tracks, all over kingdom come, over a few short days, but not one is mine.
Because the upper atmosphere’s jet streams are a subject miles above my head, there is no way I can talk about the subject scientifically, and therefore the best option is to talk about it facetiously:
You young whippersnappers can’t forecast like the oldsters could. Heck, back when me and George Washington used to chop down cherry trees together, we thought nothing of forecasting storms years in advance. Why, as late as 1868 a Limey named Lieutenant Stephen Martin Saxby published a forecast, on Christmas, in the “Standard of London”, and it began…“I now beg leave to the state, with regard to 1869, that at seven a.m., on October 5, the moon will be at that part of her orbit which is nearest to the earth…”
Now I reckon you so-called scientists got your noses in the air, because you can’t figure out how to read the moon, but Saxby nailed his forecast. You fellows keep changing yours, every time your computer goes “urp.”
Up in the Bay of Funday the fog burned off on October 4, 1869, and it was a surprisingly warm day for October, even called “oppressive” by some. Then the south winds began to pick up, and the skies to the south grew dark and threatening, and by sunset it was raining and the winds were starting to howl. The tides were high, due to the new moon, but once the dark fell the wind went mad. In Moncton some farmers headed out to the flats to get their livestock in the dark, and then the thirty-foot-tall dykes protecting those lowlands were topped by a storm surge like none ever seen before, and sea waters came roaring across the flats, drowning lots of livestock, and farmers as well, though one fellow survived by riding a haystack that slowly got more and more waterlogged, sinking lower and lower until the fellow thought he was a goner, because not only was the stack sinking but the outgoing tide was sucking him out to sea, but luckily the stack sunk so low it grounded on the submerged top of the dyke, and there he stayed as the waters drained away, revealing a shattered landscape. Over in the state of Maine, entire forests were flattened, and the floods were so bad not a bridge survived in the north.
Now, when you young fellows can forecast a storm like that, ten months in advance, come back and maybe we’ll talk about naming a storm after you.
(On a side note, the hurricanes that clobber New England don’t dawdle on their way north, for in such cases cold waters weaken them swiftly. The ones to watch out for accelerate to amazing forward speeds of 50-60 mph, (and some nit-pickers might say they are no longer truly and purely “tropical”, but they have unholy power at their cores). So forecasters to the north should be wary of swiftly developing jets, that can suddenly suck a storm north.)
THURSDAY MORNING –BAHAMA BASHER
This graphic says it all. More later.
Picture from Haiti. Still no reports from southwest, but a helicopter view was not pretty. Likely no clean water, which can lead to cholera in a hurry.
Church will be at the usual time.
In westernmost Cuba, they do have their cellphone service back.
On the Weatherbell site Joe D’Aleo posted this cool satellite view of Matthew over the Bahamas, Nichole to the east, and, down in the lower right corner, the new kid on the block?
HAITI DEATH TOLL TO 103 ; HARDEST HIT AREAS STILL CUT OFF
Besides salvaging belongings, one task seems to be to dry things out, as everything is drenched. It is important to boil all water, but hard to start a fire.
THURSDAY EVENING -Honing In On Florida
FRIDAY MORNING REPORT –EYEWALL OFF-SHORE (So Far). Haiti Death-toll “jumps” to 253.
The inner eye-wall of Matthew looks like it fell apart and the out eye-wall looks like it is contracting, which is a sign of a strengthening storm. If the eye-wall gets over land the winds turn from gales to crazy. It is the eye-wall winds that have nasty vortexes sort of like sideways tornadoes, and do the worst damage. So far the eye-wall hasn’t made an on shore appearance, and all the hoopla looks laughable. Fine with me, though I do not like the weather service to get laughed at when they gave the proper warnings. Pictures from Haiti and Cuba should alert people to the “worst-case-scenario,” which we pray stays off shore.
We are starting to get a few reports from the cut off parts of Haiti, and Time magazine reports the death toll “jumped to” 253. No, fellows. The death toll didn’t “jump”, you just didn’t report it, just like you are still not reporting how many died.
The body of a man who perished during Hurricane Matthew lies on a piece of wood as survivors prepare to place his body in a coffin, in Cavaillon, Haiti. Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Haitian officials on Thursday dramatically raised the known death toll from Matthew as they finally began to reach corners of the country that had been cut off by the rampaging storm. Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph announced that at least 108 had died, up from a previous count of 23. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
The pictures we get are still from the edges, and from wealthier neighborhoods with sturdier structures. The slums are only viewed from helicopters. People are drying drenched laundry and waiting for water. Water is so expensive some can’t afford food, as the ocean’s salt water flooded the fresh-water wells.
People walk on a street next to destroyed houses after Hurricane Matthew hit Jeremie, Haiti, October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
If you want to become angry at the UN, please consider the following: People catch cholera from water made dirty by sewerage that contains the germs from people called “cholera-carriers.” There was no cholera in Haiti. If the UN had wanted to keep Cholera from being a problem, all they needed to do was screen its workers, and make sure they sent no cholera-carriers. They did the opposite, and sent workers from Nepal, where cholera is rife. It seems so stupid I have the paranoid sense it must have been intentional, to “reduce over-population.” Cholera currently represents a threat of killing more people than the hurricane.
SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE –We lucked out; Haiti didn’t.
Hurricane Matthew did give the coasts of Georgia and South and North Carolina strong winds and very heavy rains (over a foot in places) but the worst of the storm surge dissipated out to sea and never brought its full brunt to the USA coast. This is of small consolation to those who have suffered, but the fact of the matter is that things could have been much, much worse, especially in Florida. Now most of the storms energy has been expended in rain to its north, and though still a formidable gale, especially on its west side, it has been dubbed “Post Tropical.” The actually center has little activity with it, in the second map below.
Tom Downs has a very good post at the Weatherbell site explaining what a huge difference even a fifty mile change in the track of the storm to the west would have made, and why the governors did the right thing to evacuate the coasts, though many are laughing at them now. You can’t always trust on luck, as Haiti knows.
The death toll in Haiti rose, as I expected, to 877, and now silence has again descended. I have the sense the officials involved are hiding the true nature of the disaster, likely out of shame. Some of the poor were not even aware the storm was coming, so inadequate were the preparations.
This is not due to a failure on the part of people to send money. The failure rests squarely on the shoulders of the leaders in charge of investing the money wisely. In the case of the World Bank, they may not have invested unwisely, and rather did not invest it at all.
I find these figures hard to believe, but will put them down:
After the disastrous 2010 earthquake the World Bank collected and oversaw a account holding 351 million, called the Haiti Reconstruction Fund. How much of that fund has been utilized? Out of 351 million, slightly less than 17 million.
I find this totally disgusting. For one thing, I am sure the officials didn’t dawdle, when it came to making certain their own salaries were paid. Secondly, there is no shortage of cheap labor in Haiti. The average person subsists on a dollar a day, and I’m certain you could get some good work-crews together paying the men ten dollars a day. Even using primitive methods, carrying dirt in baskets, the people of India built a decent system of flood control dams. Tall dykes could have been built to protect the southern cities from storm surges, as was done in Galveston after it was destroyed. Now it is all 20-20 hindsight.
There are some who suggest the actual intent of the UN and the World Bank is not to help such people, but rather to “reduce over population.” That is a terrible thing to suggest, tantamount to genocide, but I can’t say they are doing a very good job of defusing the suggestion they are evil. You cannot blame the leaders of Haiti, for how they use the money is so largely dependent on the overseers. (One thing I heard was the Haitian officials were not allowed to use the aid on anything but things directly related to earthquakes.) In any case, a human disaster is occurring, and the press is silent.
I expect the Haiti Reconstruction Fund records may soon be “accidentally deleted.”
SUNDAY AFTERNOON –Matthew Fades–Haitian Horror Continues–
I did a bit more study of the history of Haiti this Sunday, and it seems to me that the nation has had more than it’s fair share of oppression, brutal dictators, outside exploiters, and ill-advised spiritual “authorities”. In some ways it seems Haitians are a people with a chip on their shoulder, who have every reason to have a chip on their shoulder, but who draw abuse by asking for it. It is a most exasperating sort of history to read about, and one Evangelist even suggested Haitians had made a deal with the devil, and were reaping the consequences. I doubt they are any worse than the rest of us, in that respect, and in a sense they remind me of the rest of us, only they make our shortcomings more obvious.
However as this started out a study of hurricanes and not Haiti, I think I’ll save the rest of my thinking for a Halloween post. For some of Haiti’s horror is like that, and a warning to the rest of the world of what we could make our lives be like.
Speaking of which, I guess I’ll settle back for a presidential debate between a couple of Halloween characters.
The real danger is humans, not hurricanes. (Though we do have Irene waiting in the wings.)