Sunday, September 3, 2017

Mother, what have you done?

Pictured here is one of the better images yet recorded of a waterspout, a type of tornado that occurs over water. Waterspouts are spinning columns of rising moist air that typically form over warm water. Waterspouts can be as dangerous as tornadoes and can feature wind speeds over 200 kilometers per hour. Some waterspouts form away from thunderstorms and even during relatively fair weather. Waterspouts may be relatively transparent and initially visible only by an unusual pattern they create on the water. The featured image was taken in 2013 July near Tampa Bay, Florida. The Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida is arguably the most active area in the world for waterspouts, with hundreds forming each year.

Some people speculate that waterspouts are responsible for some of the ship losses recorded in the Bermuda Triangle.

As of the writing of this blog, the water is still rising in Texas from Hurricane Harvey. With the technology of the day, we can predict a Hurricane many days before it hits landfall. We can take pictures from space, monitoring the massive storms. We can prepare, we can warn the people. But there is nothing that we can do about the storms themselves.

Technology allows us to prepare for Mother Nature having a bad day, but never preventing her from reminding us who's boss.

It will be interesting to see the role that technology plays in the recovery and the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. 51.88 inches of rain. 27 trillion gallons of rain over 6 days - these are national records. Thousands of homes destroyed with only around 28% with flood insurance. 20,000 rescues reported. 37,000 living in shelters as of Friday night. Gas prices are up $0.23 in a week.

Total estimated costs of cleanup from this single storm: up to $180 Billion.

And the 2017 Hurricane Season has just begun.

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