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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Wind"

Why the Big Balloons Might Not Fly at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Westlake Legal Group 26macysparade1-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Why the Big Balloons Might Not Fly at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Wind Thanksgiving Day Parades Manhattan (NYC) Macy's Inc Balloons

Astronaut Snoopy might not be cleared for take off. The usually buoyant SpongeBob SquarePants may wind up deflated and depressed. Olaf, the garrulous snowman from “Frozen,” could find himself melting into a heaping puddle on the pavement.

That’s because though New York City plays Thanksgiving host to the annual Macy’s parade, it has a strict and specific set of balloon-flight regulations that have been in place since 1997, when a windswept inflatable Cat in the Hat caused destruction that left one woman in a coma for nearly a month.

So as omnipresent as the mammoth character balloons are, so, too, are weather forecasters, police officers and others trying to guess which way the wind will blow.

Macy’s has a licensed meteorologist — armed with a laptop and an open line to the National Weather Service — on hand every year to observe weather conditions, monitor gusts and help make decisions about the floating characters in the procession.

The Police Department assigns trained officers to balloons and has seven wind-monitoring devices, called anemometers, to measure gusts along the route and guide the parade accordingly.

“We are always attuned to weather conditions for Parade Day,” Orlando Veras, a Macy’s spokesman, said. “We monitor the weather on a daily basis, but at this time, it is too early to make any determinations.”

This year, with high winds in the forecast, parade enthusiasts are particularly anxious that the most famous balloons in America might get grounded.

Maneuvering a massive helium-filled balloon down the two-mile parade route can be a challenge even in the best of conditions. The biggest of the balloons measures between 50 and 60 feet tall and can be just as long.

The giant balloons also weigh hundreds of pounds and require dozens of trained handlers to guide them through streets lined with gawking spectators and hulking buildings.

To help avoid crashes and other catastrophes each year, every floating behemoth is assigned a supervisor, according to Chief Rodney Harrison, the Police Department’s chief of patrol. He added that each balloon had its own “predetermined flight risk” based on its size and weight.

As the inflated characters hover their way downtown, the supervisors are fed information from the anemometers. They then instruct handlers to reel balloons lower or higher based on changing wind conditions, Chief Harrison said.

According to city regulations, the giant balloons cannot fly at all if there are sustained winds above 23 miles per hour or if gusts exceed 34 m.p.h. Though guidelines for balloon handling had long in been place, the rules became more severe after the accident in 1997.

On that Thanksgiving, balloon handlers were grappling with winds that reached speeds in excess of 40 m.p.h., when a six-story Cat in the Hat balloon was pushed by the gusts into a lamppost.

One part of the lamppost broke off and fell onto parade spectators, injuring four people, including a 33-year-old woman who suffered a serious head injury and spent more than three weeks in a coma.

While balloon accidents had caused some chaos in the past — even as early as 1931, when a Felix the Cat balloon that was released from the parade later drifted into telephone wires and caught fire — the severity of the 1997 incident caused then-Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to open a city investigation that led to the current rules.

The regulations have not prevented further collisions. In 2005, a giant M&M balloon smacked into a light pole in Times Square and pulled off a fixture that crashed to the ground and injured two spectators.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service was predicting that Thanksgiving Day would bring winds of up to 25 m.p.h, with gusts nearing 40 m.p.h. throughout the New York region.

Matthew Wunsch, a meteorologist at the Weather Service, warned that gusts in the densely built parts of Manhattan, where tall buildings create a wind tunnel, could rise even higher.

“It’s going to be windy regardless,” Mr. Wunsch said. “But the buildings make it a lot more variable.”

If the giant balloons are grounded, Mr. Veras said, it would be only the second time in the history of the Macy’s parade that they were forbidden to take flight. The first was in 1971, when a cold, wet and windy Thanksgiving kept the balloons on the ground. (There were also no balloons between 1942 and 1944, when the parade was suspended because rubber and helium were needed for World War II.)

The character balloons have been a staple of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since 1927. This year’s, Macy’s is hoping to feature new versions of two parade fixtures, Snoopy and SpongeBob, and the return of Smokey Bear for the first time since 1993.

Even if winds are high, Macy’s still plans to bring out 40 smaller inflatable figures. The themed floats will still sail down the street and Broadway performers, musicians and marching bands from across the country will still serenade the assembled crowds.

The final decision on whether the parade’s 16 giant balloons get pulled from the lineup this year won’t be made until Thursday morning, officials said.

“It’s going to be a game-day decision,” Chief Harrison said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Why the Big Balloons Might Not Fly at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Westlake Legal Group 26macysparade1-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Why the Big Balloons Might Not Fly at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Wind Thanksgiving Day Parades Manhattan (NYC) Macy's Inc Balloons

Astronaut Snoopy might not be cleared for take off. The usually buoyant SpongeBob SquarePants may wind up deflated and depressed. Olaf, the garrulous snowman from “Frozen,” could find himself melting into a heaping puddle on the pavement.

That’s because though New York City plays Thanksgiving host to the annual Macy’s parade, it has a strict and specific set of balloon-flight regulations that have been in place since 1997, when a windswept inflatable Cat in the Hat caused destruction that left one woman in a coma for nearly a month.

So as omnipresent as the mammoth character balloons are, so, too, are weather forecasters, police officers and others trying to guess which way the wind will blow.

Macy’s has a licensed meteorologist — armed with a laptop and an open line to the National Weather Service — on hand every year to observe weather conditions, monitor gusts and help make decisions about the floating characters in the procession.

The Police Department assigns trained officers to balloons and has seven wind-monitoring devices, called anemometers, to measure gusts along the route and guide the parade accordingly.

“We are always attuned to weather conditions for Parade Day,” Orlando Veras, a Macy’s spokesman, said. “We monitor the weather on a daily basis, but at this time, it is too early to make any determinations.”

This year, with high winds in the forecast, parade enthusiasts are particularly anxious that the most famous balloons in America might get grounded.

Maneuvering a massive helium-filled balloon down the two-mile parade route can be a challenge even in the best of conditions. The biggest of the balloons measures between 50 and 60 feet tall and can be just as long.

The giant balloons also weigh hundreds of pounds and require dozens of trained handlers to guide them through streets lined with gawking spectators and hulking buildings.

To help avoid crashes and other catastrophes each year, every floating behemoth is assigned a supervisor, according to Chief Rodney Harrison, the Police Department’s chief of patrol. He added that each balloon had its own “predetermined flight risk” based on its size and weight.

As the inflated characters hover their way downtown, the supervisors are fed information from the anemometers. They then instruct handlers to reel balloons lower or higher based on changing wind conditions, Chief Harrison said.

According to city regulations, the giant balloons cannot fly at all if there are sustained winds above 23 miles per hour or if gusts exceed 34 m.p.h. Though guidelines for balloon handling had long in been place, the rules became more severe after the accident in 1997.

On that Thanksgiving, balloon handlers were grappling with winds that reached speeds in excess of 40 m.p.h., when a six-story Cat in the Hat balloon was pushed by the gusts into a lamppost.

One part of the lamppost broke off and fell onto parade spectators, injuring four people, including a 33-year-old woman who suffered a serious head injury and spent more than three weeks in a coma.

While balloon accidents had caused some chaos in the past — even as early as 1931, when a Felix the Cat balloon that was released from the parade later drifted into telephone wires and caught fire — the severity of the 1997 incident caused then-Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to open a city investigation that led to the current rules.

The regulations have not prevented further collisions. In 2005, a giant M&M balloon smacked into a light pole in Times Square and pulled off a fixture that crashed to the ground and injured two spectators.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service was predicting that Thanksgiving Day would bring winds of up to 25 m.p.h, with gusts nearing 40 m.p.h. throughout the New York region.

Matthew Wunsch, a meteorologist at the Weather Service, warned that gusts in the densely built parts of Manhattan, where tall buildings create a wind tunnel, could rise even higher.

“It’s going to be windy regardless,” Mr. Wunsch said. “But the buildings make it a lot more variable.”

If the giant balloons are grounded, Mr. Veras said, it would be only the second time in the history of the Macy’s parade that they were forbidden to take flight. The first was in 1971, when a cold, wet and windy Thanksgiving kept the balloons on the ground. (There were also no balloons between 1942 and 1944, when the parade was suspended because rubber and helium were needed for World War II.)

The character balloons have been a staple of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since 1927. This year’s, Macy’s is hoping to feature new versions of two parade fixtures, Snoopy and SpongeBob, and the return of Smokey Bear for the first time since 1993.

Even if winds are high, Macy’s still plans to bring out 40 smaller inflatable figures. The themed floats will still sail down the street and Broadway performers, musicians and marching bands from across the country will still serenade the assembled crowds.

The final decision on whether the parade’s 16 giant balloons get pulled from the lineup this year won’t be made until Thursday morning, officials said.

“It’s going to be a game-day decision,” Chief Harrison said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

California Fires Fanned by Strong Winds: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

Video

Westlake Legal Group 29fires-01sub-videoSixteenByNine3000-v4 California Fires Fanned by Strong Winds: Live Updates Wind Wildfires Weather Protective Clothing and Gear National Weather Service Forests and Forestry Fires and Firefighters Environmental Protection Agency California Cal Fire

A forecast of powerful winds and low humidity was expected to worsen conditions for the fires that are burning in Northern and Southern California.CreditCredit…Eric Thayer for The New York Times

The worst kind of weather for wildfires — strong, gusty winds and very low humidity — is returning on Tuesday after a relative respite on Monday, the National Weather Service said, raising the prospect of more fire outbreaks and rapid growth of the blazes that are already burning.

The agency has posted “red flag” warnings for most of Northern California and much of Southern California, taking effect at various times on Tuesday.

Forecasters are predicting winds between 50 m.ph. and 70 m.p.h. in Los Angeles County and Ventura County starting late Tuesday and continuing on Wednesday and Thursday, with some gusts up to 80 m.p.h. in the mountainous areas of Los Angeles County, the National Weather Service said. The scale for Category 1 hurricanes begins at 74 m.p.h.

[Read more about how climate change could shift California’s winds.]

Winds gusts of up to 60 miles an hour could be expected beginning in the morning over a vast stretch of the state from the Sierras to the Pacific and from the southern fringes of the Bay Area north nearly to the Oregon border, except for coastal areas north of Sonoma County.

The winds, known as Santa Anas in the southern part of the state and Diablos in the north, arrive regularly in the fall. Recent research suggests that as the climate warms, Santa Ana winds may become less frequent. Coupled with precipitation changes, that could mean more intense fires later in the year.

Red-flag weather has played an important role in driving the growth of the Kincade, Getty and other fires, and has prompted pre-emptive blackouts by utility companies hoping to keep wind-damaged power lines and equipment from touching off more blazes.

[ The New York Times has photographers on the ground, documenting the California wildfires and the battle to contain them. Follow their work here. ]

Hundreds of firefighters mobilized to fight the Kincade fire gathered in the morning darkness on Tuesday for a briefing at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Crowded into an event hall in navy blue uniforms and yellow jackets, they listened as commanders took stock: Monday had been a good day.

The wind had died down, allowing for a real attack on the fire, which is now 15 percent contained. But today was going to be difficult, the crews were told.

“We’re going to be wind-tested again,” Ben Nichols, a representative from Cal Fire, told them. The breeze was supposed to get particularly powerful in the afternoon and evening, hurling hot embers toward dry areas and threatening the many houses tucked into the wooded areas of Sonoma County. Protecting those houses would be a major priority.

Many of the firefighters have been on the line for days, and some have worked as many as 36 hours at a stretch with no rest. Top officials warned them against fatigue.

Think things through, they were told. Have an escape plan. Throw out lunches that have gone bad after days in the truck. Don’t let sickness get in the way of work. And get ready for the wind.

Tuesday, said Mike Blankenheim of Cal Fire, was going to be a “max effort day.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_163492827_9be556f9-629e-471b-a68e-4b1578143d7e-articleLarge California Fires Fanned by Strong Winds: Live Updates Wind Wildfires Weather Protective Clothing and Gear National Weather Service Forests and Forestry Fires and Firefighters Environmental Protection Agency California Cal Fire

A firefighter worked on a hot spot in Windsor, Calif., on Monday.Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

The Kincade fire has grown to more than 74,000 acres but is now 15 percent contained, according to Cal Fire, the state firefighting and fire prevention agency. It has destroyed more than than 120 structures and damaged another 20.

As the Kincade and Getty fires raged through dry vegetation at opposite ends of California on Monday, they raised fears that the state’s vicious wildfire season was straining the resources of fire departments that are already spread out battling 16 fires across the state, pushing fire crews beyond the brink of exhaustion.

“It’s all starting to blend together,” said Joe Augino, a firefighter with the Arcadia Fire Department in Southern California who had just finished battling a wildfire in the canyons north of Los Angeles last week when his company was summoned to travel eight hours to the north to help fight the Kincade fire in Sonoma County.

On a winding road near the front lines of the Kincade fire, where about 156,000 people remained under mandatory evacuation orders, Mr. Augino and his fellow firefighters were extinguishing spot fires with water and hand tools.

We’re continuing to update our page of maps showing the extent of the fires, power outages and evacuation zones. Data from Cal Fire shows how the Kincade fire in Northern California has spread and where it is burning most intensely. Satellite images pinpoint the Getty and Tick fires and affected areas nearby.

Westlake Legal Group california-fire-map-promo-1572020277850-articleLarge-v8 California Fires Fanned by Strong Winds: Live Updates Wind Wildfires Weather Protective Clothing and Gear National Weather Service Forests and Forestry Fires and Firefighters Environmental Protection Agency California Cal Fire

Maps: Kincade and Getty Fires, Evacuation Zones and Power Outages

Detailed maps show the current fire extents, power outage zones and areas under evacuation orders.

Fernanda Santos, a former New York Times correspondent based in Phoenix, is the author of “The Fire Line,” the story of 19 firefighters killed in an Arizona wildfire in 2013.

It is an arresting scene, the dangers unimaginable: Firefighters clad in yellow and green flame-resistant uniforms, battling a wind-whipped and fast-moving blaze with what amount to farming and logging tools.

Fighting fires — including immense untamed wildfires — requires a combination of brutal force, endurance and skill. From the air, firefighters may release water and fire retardant, which can slow its spread but will not extinguish the raging flames. The most effective man-made way to contain a wildfire is to box it inside buffer zones that are absent of everything that burns — a laborious, intense pursuit that requires clearing the land.

Members of a 20-person crew work in a line, hacking at the hardened ground, chopping down trees, yanking out roots and sawing down undergrowth. It is a carefully choreographed ballet, where one person’s movements affect the next’s.

“Imagine, if you can, 16-hour days of manual labor where you’re hustling all the time, and you do it oftentimes for 14 days straight,” said Doug Harwood, a firefighter in the city of Prescott, Ariz., who spent years fighting wildfires in the Western United States.

The mechanics of the job have not changed considerably since 1910, when a monster wildfire known as the Big Burn devoured 3 million acres and killed 85 people across three Northwestern states, and a United States Forest Service ranger named Ed Pulaski returned from obscurity a handy tool that can both dig soil and chop wood.

The Pulaski, as it is known, combines an ax and an adz in one head, and is now arguably the most important piece of equipment in wildfire suppression.

Alan Sinclair, who commands one of 16 teams trained to manage the most challenging wildfires in the United States, said team leaders have to weigh the risks of clearing land when flames may be racing toward them. At some point, it may be too risky, he said.

Communities can help, he said, by working together to create buffer zones around them, what is known as “defensible space,” before a fire strikes.

“It’s really hard for firefighters to go into an area where no work has been done and be expected to save the neighborhood,” Mr. Sinclair said.

Power companies across the state warned that power could be cut pre-emptively because of worsening weather conditions.

Pacific Gas & Electric said it would shut off power to an additional 600,000 customers in 29 counties in Northern California on Tuesday and Wednesday because of the danger that wind-damaged lines or equipment could cause more fires. Some 500,000 PG&E customers were still blacked out from previous shut-offs, and the company said it could be several days before power is restored.

In and around Los Angeles, Southern California Edison said on Tuesday morning that as many as 205,000 customers could be affected by safety-related shutoffs, but that so far only a few hundred had been blacked out.

San Diego Gas & Electric warned that shutoffs may become necessary in some inland areas east and northeast of the city, but none had been imposed yet.

A new state web portal includes links to updated information on the power outages, as well as shelters and housing, road conditions and other information related to the fires, compiled by state agencies like Cal Fire and Caltrans.

As ashen skies, raging wildfires and blackouts blanket areas of Northern and Southern California, many residents and evacuees are relying on Twitter hashtags for up-to-date information about their homes, loved ones, road closures and further evacuations.

Over the past week, “Kincadefire,” “Gettyfire,” “Tickfire,” “Skyfire” and “Sawdayfire”— the names of the wildfires — have become popular search terms on social media. But often there is confusion as to where their names come from.

As opposed to the predetermined list of names provided for hurricanes, wildfires are named by officials according to the location or local landmark, including streets, lakes and mountains, where the fire broke out. Fires often go without names if they are too small.

“Quickly naming the fire provides responding fire resources with an additional locator, and allows fire officials to track and prioritize incidents by name,” the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

If there is a long human presence in the area, there’s no challenge in finding a name — officials just draw from geographically local, named landmarks, according to Susie Kocher, a Natural Resources Advisor at the University of California.

The 2003 San Diego Cedar fire, one of the state’s largest wildland fires in history, unsurprisingly spread across the Cedar Creek Falls area. It burned over 270,000 acres, destroyed more 2,200 homes and killed 14 civilians and one firefighter.

But when it comes to naming there are always weird exceptions. The 416 Fire, for example, burned more than 50,000 acres in Colorado in 2018. Why 416? According to the Durango Interagency Dispatch Center, it was after a “system-generated number” that represented the 416th “incident” in the San Juan National Forest that year.

Another curious choice was in 2015, when fire officials in southeast Idaho ran out of naming ideas following the outbreak of a swarm of fires; for a fire with few landmarks nearby, they went with “Not Creative.

The Kincade fire in Sonoma County, which had burned more than 66,000 acres and has displaced nearly 200,000 residents as of Monday night, has proved challenging to remember for journalists and people on social media alike.

Misspellings online include Kincaid, Kincaide, Kinkade and Kinkaid.


Reporting was contributed by Adeel Hassan, Liam Stack, Sarah Mervosh and Vanessa Swales.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

California Fires Live Updates: Getty Fire Fanned by Strong Winds

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_163492827_9be556f9-629e-471b-a68e-4b1578143d7e-articleLarge California Fires Live Updates: Getty Fire Fanned by Strong Winds Wind Wildfires Weather Protective Clothing and Gear National Weather Service Forests and Forestry Fires and Firefighters Environmental Protection Agency California Cal Fire

A firefighter worked on a hot spot in Windsor, Calif., on Monday.Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

The worst kind of weather for wildfires — strong, gusty winds and very low humidity — is returning on Tuesday after a relative respite on Monday, the National Weather Service said, raising the prospect of more fire outbreaks and rapid growth of the blazes that are already burning.

The agency has posted “red flag” warnings for most of Northern California and much of Southern California, taking effect at various times on Tuesday.

Forecasters are predicting winds between 50 m.ph. and 70 m.p.h. in Los Angeles County and Ventura County on Wednesday and Thursday, with some gusts up to 80 m.p.h. in the mountainous areas of Los Angeles and Santa Monica counties, the National Weather Service said. The scale for Category 1 hurricanes begins at 74 m.p.h.

Winds gusts of up to 60 miles an hour could be expected beginning in the morning over a vast stretch of the state from the Sierras to the Pacific and from the southern fringes of the Bay Area north nearly to the Oregon border, except for coastal areas north of Sonoma County.

The winds, known as Santa Anas in the southern part of the state and Diablos in the north, arrive regularly in the fall. Recent research suggests that as the climate warms, Santa Ana winds may become less frequent. Coupled with precipitation changes, that could mean more intense fires later in the year.

[Read more about how climate change could shift California’s winds.]

Red-flag weather has played an important role in driving the growth of the Kincade, Getty and other fires, and has prompted pre-emptive blackouts by utility companies hoping to keep wind-damaged power lines and equipment from touching off more blazes.

[ The New York Times has photographers on the ground, documenting the California wildfires and the battle to contain them. Follow their work here. ]

The Kincade fire has grown to more than 74,000 acres but is now 15 percent contained, according to Cal Fire, the state firefighting and fire prevention agency. It has destroyed more than than 120 structures and damaged another 20.

As the Kincade and Getty fires raged through dry vegetation at opposite ends of California on Monday, they raised fears that the state’s vicious wildfire season was straining the resources of fire departments that are already spread out battling 16 fires across the state, pushing fire crews beyond the brink of exhaustion.

“It’s all starting to blend together,” said Joe Augino, a firefighter with the Arcadia Fire Department in Southern California who had just finished battling a wildfire in the canyons north of Los Angeles last week when his company was summoned to travel eight hours to the north to help fight the Kincade fire in Sonoma County.

With no rain in the forecast, a brief break in the ferocious winds on Monday offered Mr. Augino’s crew and other firefighters a tiny but crucial window to try to gain control over the fast-spreading fires. But forecasters warned that the respite would not last and that wind gusts would grow to 50 or 60 miles per hour by Tuesday.

On a winding road near the front lines of the Kincade fire, where about 156,000 people remained under mandatory evacuation orders, Mr. Augino and his fellow firefighters were extinguishing spot fires with water and hand tools.

We’re continuing to update our page of maps showing the extent of the fires, power outages and evacuation zones. Data from Cal Fire shows how the Kincade fire in Northern California has spread and where it is burning most intensely. Satellite images pinpoint the Getty and Tick fires and affected areas nearby.

Westlake Legal Group california-fire-map-promo-1572020277850-articleLarge-v8 California Fires Live Updates: Getty Fire Fanned by Strong Winds Wind Wildfires Weather Protective Clothing and Gear National Weather Service Forests and Forestry Fires and Firefighters Environmental Protection Agency California Cal Fire

Maps: Kincade and Getty Fires, Evacuation Zones and Power Outages

Detailed maps show the current fire extents, power outage zones and areas under evacuation orders.

Fernanda Santos, a former New York Times correspondent based in Phoenix, is the author of “The Fire Line,” the story of 19 firefighters killed in an Arizona wildfire in 2013.

It is an arresting scene, the dangers unimaginable: Firefighters clad in yellow and green flame-resistant uniforms, battling a wind-whipped and fast-moving blaze with what amount to farming and logging tools.

Fighting fires — including immense untamed wildfires — requires a combination of brutal force, endurance and skill. From the air, firefighters may release water and fire retardant, which can slow its spread but will not extinguish the raging flames. The most effective man-made way to contain a wildfire is to box it inside buffer zones that are absent of everything that burns — a laborious, intense pursuit that requires clearing the land.

Members of a 20-person crew work in a line, hacking at the hardened ground, chopping down trees, yanking out roots and sawing down undergrowth. It is a carefully choreographed ballet, where one person’s movements affect the next’s.

“Imagine, if you can, 16-hour days of manual labor where you’re hustling all the time, and you do it oftentimes for 14 days straight,” said Doug Harwood, a firefighter in the city of Prescott, Ariz., who spent years fighting wildfires in the Western United States.

The mechanics of the job have not changed considerably since 1910, when a monster wildfire known as the Big Burn devoured 3 million acres and killed 85 people across three Northwestern states, and a United States Forest Service ranger named Ed Pulaski returned from obscurity a handy tool that can both dig soil and chop wood.

The Pulaski, as it is known, combines an ax and an adz in one head, and is now arguably the most important piece of equipment in wildfire suppression.

Alan Sinclair, who commands one of 16 teams trained to manage the most challenging wildfires in the United States, said team leaders have to weigh the risks of clearing land when flames may be racing toward them. At some point, it may be too risky, he said.

Communities can help, he said, by working together to create buffer zones around them, what is known as “defensible space,” before a fire strikes.

“It’s really hard for firefighters to go into an area where no work has been done and be expected to save the neighborhood,” Mr. Sinclair said.

With wildfires raging up and down California, smoke filled the air in many places, ash fell from the sky, and residents were once again left to wonder whether the very air they were breathing was safe. Here is what you need to know about the air quality in the state.

Air quality is graded on a color-coded scale, with green for good quality, and yellow, orange, red, and purple representing increasingly significant risks.

After the Getty fire broke out on Monday, the Los Angeles area was experiencing moderately hazardous conditions — in the yellow category — with some locations recording air that was unhealthy for sensitive groups, coded orange. The Bay Area was also experiencing conditions in the orange range.

In general, wildfires come with a risk of breathing particulate matter, tiny pollutants too small to see individually that can cause a range of harmful effects when inhaled into the lungs.

Young children, older adults, people with asthma and people with pre-existing conditions are most at risk, but pollution from smoky air can affect even healthy adults.

When the air quality is poor, health experts recommend staying inside, closing windows to keep out smoky air, and using an air-conditioner with a recirculation option, if possible. If you must go outside, experts recommend using a mask designed to keep out particulate matter.

A surgical mask, scarf or bandanna will not do much to filter out many pollutants. Instead, experts recommend a respirator mask, such as a N95 face mask, which is designed to filter out 95 percent of airborne particles.

The current and forecast air quality conditions anywhere in the United States can be checked on AirNow.gov, a website set up by the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies.

While dry eyes and a scratchy throat may simply be a reaction to low humidity in fire-prone areas, a cough, shortness of breath or lightheadedness could also be a symptom of something more serious, said Dr. Kathryn Melamed, a pulmonologist at U.C.L.A.

As ashen skies, raging wildfires and blackouts blanket areas of Northern and Southern California, many residents and evacuees are relying on Twitter hashtags for up-to-date information about their homes, loved ones, road closures and further evacuations.

Over the past week, “Kincadefire,” “Gettyfire,” “Tickfire,” “Skyfire” and “Sawdayfire”— the names of the wildfires — have become popular search terms on social media. But often there is confusion as to where their names come from.

As opposed to the predetermined list of names provided for hurricanes, wildfires are named by officials according to the location or local landmark, including streets, lakes and mountains, where the fire broke out. Fires often go without names if they are too small.

“Quickly naming the fire provides responding fire resources with an additional locator, and allows fire officials to track and prioritize incidents by name,” the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

If there is a long human presence in the area, there’s no challenge in finding a name — officials just draw from geographically local, named landmarks, according to Susie Kocher, a Natural Resources Advisor at the University of California.

The 2003 San Diego Cedar fire, one of the state’s largest wildland fires in history, unsurprisingly spread across the Cedar Creek Falls area. It burned over 270,000 acres, destroyed more 2,200 homes and killed 14 civilians and one firefighter.

But when it comes to naming there are always weird exceptions. The 416 Fire, for example, burned more than 50,000 acres in Colorado in 2018. Why 416? According to the Durango Interagency Dispatch Center, it was after a “system-generated number” that represented the 416th “incident” in the San Juan National Forest that year.

Another curious choice was in 2015, when fire officials in southeast Idaho ran out of naming ideas following the outbreak of a swarm of fires; for a fire with few landmarks nearby, they went with “Not Creative.

The Kincade fire in Sonoma County, which had burned more than 66,000 acres and has displaced nearly 200,000 residents as of Monday night, has proved challenging to remember for journalists and people on social media alike.

Misspellings online include Kincaid, Kincaide, Kinkade and Kinkaid.


Reporting was contributed by Adeel Hassan, Liam Stack, Sarah Mervosh and Vanessa Swales.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

California Fire Updates: More Evacuations and Blackouts Ordered

ImageWestlake Legal Group 27fires-livebriefing1-articleLarge California Fire Updates: More Evacuations and Blackouts Ordered Wind Weather Sonoma County (Calif) San Francisco Bay Area (Calif) Power Failures and Blackouts Pacific Gas and Electric Co Fires and Firefighters California Cal Fire

Firefighters lit backfires to help contain the Kincade fire in Geyserville, Calif., on Saturday.Credit…Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Emergency responders expanded a mandatory evacuation zone west to the Pacific Ocean on Saturday night, more than doubling the number of residents who have been told to flee the Kincade fire north of San Francisco. Firefighters have been struggling to contain the blaze, driven by winds of up to 80 miles an hour and fed by dry conditions. The expanded evacuation zone now covers more than 83,000 people.

The Kincade fire, which began late Wednesday night, has spread to 25,955 acres, and was 11 percent contained as of early Sunday morning. The authorities said the fire had destroyed 77 buildings, including 31 homes. No serious injuries have been reported.

About 90 to 95 percent of people in the mandatory evacuation zones are fleeing, said Sgt. Spencer Crum of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. He said deputies would not force people out of their homes or arrest them if they refused to follow the order, but that “they will be on their own in the event of an emergency.”

Public safety officials pleaded with residents to comply, recalling a 2017 fire in the area that killed 22 people.

“I’m seeing people reporting that they’re going to stay and fight this fire,” Mark Essick, Sonoma County’s sheriff, said during a news conference Saturday night. “Fire is not something you can stay and fight.”

The blaze’s advance through the hilly rural areas of the county has made conditions difficult for the nearly 3,000 firefighters who are battling the blaze, the authorities said.

Westlake Legal Group california-fire-map-promo-1572020277850-articleLarge-v3 California Fire Updates: More Evacuations and Blackouts Ordered Wind Weather Sonoma County (Calif) San Francisco Bay Area (Calif) Power Failures and Blackouts Pacific Gas and Electric Co Fires and Firefighters California Cal Fire

Maps: California Wildfires, Power Outages and Evacuation Zones

Detailed maps showing current fire extents, power outage zones and areas under evacuation orders.

Just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, Marin County began to go dark on Saturday night as PG&E cut power to parts of the Bay Area.

Beginning in the northern part of the county, the shut-offs in Marin were part of a wave of planned power blackouts that could ultimately affect 940,000 homes and businesses across Northern California, which would leave as many as 2.7 million people without power. It would be the largest planned blackout to prevent wildfires in California’s history.

In Marin County, about 99 percent of residents could ultimately be affected, the sheriff’s office said. The authorities implored residents not to call 911 when they lost power, saying that the county’s emergency dispatch system was already flooded with calls.

Public safety officials warned residents that it could take up to five days to restore power in Marin County and that cellular phone service could be affected by the shutdown.

“Though the weather event will end Monday, power restoration could take several days,” the sheriff’s office said.

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Climate experts want more nuclear power. Sanders and Warren pledged to eliminate it

Westlake Legal Group CoolingTower Climate experts want more nuclear power. Sanders and Warren pledged to eliminate it Wind The Blog solar Nuclear Power Joe Biden green energy Energy Elizabeth Warren Bernie Sanders

I’m grateful that others had the time and patience to sort through that seven-hour “climate crisis” ratings debacle on CNN this week, because I certainly couldn’t sit through it. One of the key moments, at least in terms of the nation’s future energy policy, came from Elizabeth Warren when she decided to weigh in on America’s nuclear energy capabilities. The consensus among virtually every expert in this field, including scientists who are concerned about carbon emissions and climate change, is that we need more nuclear power (actually, a lot more) not less. And yet there was Warren, vowing to shut down every reactor in the country as quickly as possible. (Washington Examiner)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren benefits from the myth that she’s some sort of policy whiz, but her pledge during Wednesday night’s climate town hall to eliminate all nuclear power flies in the face of the advice of climate experts, who have argued that nuclear power needs to increase significantly to move society away from carbon-based energy and avert catastrophe.

Not only did Warren pledge to prevent the building of new power plants, but she also said she would phase out all nuclear power by 2035 and replace it with renewables.

The International Energy Agency has concluded that meeting the goal of keeping warming to no greater than 2 degrees Celsius would require doubling global nuclear energy generation capacity by 2050. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is often cited as the leading authority by liberals, reached a similar conclusion.

In addition to Warren, Bernie Sanders has already released his own energy plan in which he describes nuclear energy as one of many “false solutions.” He goes on to promise that he will phase out American nuclear power “completely and quickly.”

To be fair, Joe Biden’s plan does still include nuclear, but he’s unclear as to whether he’s willing to help expand it or simply let it continue as is.

I’ll get to my rant on this in a moment, but first, we should clear up a couple of things about nuclear energy in the 21st century, both in terms of the politics and the science.

If you really want to understand the nuts and bolts of the benefits and importance of nuclear power in America’s future energy portfolio, read “The Politics of Nuclear Power,” by Steven Novella at Neurologica. And keep in mind that this wasn’t written by some conservative with an ax to grind against liberals. Novella is both abusive and dismissive of Donald Trump as an unscientific person who “probably doesn’t like to read.” He praises Democrats as being more on the right side of science but says the two things they get wrong are their collective objection to GMOs and their opposition to nuclear power. It’s a rather thick essay, but here’s the important part. (Emphasis added)

Nuclear power is the safest form of energy we have, if you consider deaths per megawatt of energy produced.

Nuclear waste can be dealt with, and the newer reactors produce less waste, and can even theoretically burn reprocessed waste from older plants

This is also the option most likely to succeed. We do have examples from other countries. Germany tried to go completely renewable and closed their nuclear plants, and now have to build coal-fired plants to meet their energy needs. Meanwhile, the countries that are doing the best with low carbon energy are France and Sweden, who invested heavily in nuclear. This is why Bernie’s plan would be a disaster, it would exactly follow the failed strategy of Germany, but on a larger scale.

You won’t find much of a better example than the one Novella mentions when he compares Germany and France. Germany eliminated their nuke plants entirely, promising to power the nation on wind and solar. They are now rushing to build coal plants because they can’t keep the lights on. France, on the other hand, has significantly increased its investment in nuclear energy and is currently building even more plants. They’re meeting their carbon emission goals and have electrical power to spare.

Liberals continue to cling to old beliefs based on watching The China Syndrome too many times and summoning up images of Chernobyl and Fukushima. The fact is that when Three Mile Island melted down, it created a God awful mess inside the protective dome that’s still being cleaned up today. But at no time did radiation leak out of that plant in greater amounts than you’d get by spending a day walking around Denver airport.

Chernobyl blew up because the Russians were using a horrible, unsafe reactor design. We don’t build them that way. Fukushima was working fine until it got hit by a tsunami. Yes, you have to be careful and you have to be smart when planning a new nuclear plant. Don’t build them on fault lines or on the coast where the ocean may swamp them. But there are plenty of geologically stable locations where we could start construction.

Concerns about the storage of spent fuel rods are mostly a thing of the past. They were a terrible and valid concern with our earlier reactor models, but the technology has come a long way. As you’ll read in the linked article above, we can now reclaim virtually all of the fuel from spent rods and reuse it. And if climate change is your thing, nuclear is 100% carbon-free. A nuke plant’s only emissions are excess heat from the cooling towers.

Why aren’t we building more nuclear plants in America today? Partly because of the politics, but also because we have so heavily regulated the industry that utility companies can no longer afford all of the hoops they have to jump through. New nuke plants under the current regulatory scheme will never be profitable so the energy companies don’t even bother trying. There is a regulatory overhaul on the table that could resurrect the nuclear energy industry (read all about it here), but the usual list of suspects are fighting it tooth and claw.

The government can make them profitable again if the political will exists to do so and then you could do away with a lot of the fossil fuel sources we currently rely on if you wish. Sure, build all the wind and solar facilities you like in places with enough wind and sun. But you’re not going to come close to powering the entire country that way using current technology. (See Germany, above.) This is a self-inflicted problem and we could address it if our elected officials from both parties got off their butts, learned a bit more about the energy industry and got us back on track, constructing new, modern nuclear power facilities.

The post Climate experts want more nuclear power. Sanders and Warren pledged to eliminate it appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group CoolingTower-300x159 Climate experts want more nuclear power. Sanders and Warren pledged to eliminate it Wind The Blog solar Nuclear Power Joe Biden green energy Energy Elizabeth Warren Bernie Sanders   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hurricane Dorian Batters Bahamas, Killing at Least 5: ‘a Historic Tragedy’

MIAMI — Hurricane Dorian, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, hung over the Bahamas on Monday, thrashing the archipelago with high winds and surging seawater that flooded neighborhoods, submerged vehicles and shredded homes. The storm has left at least five people dead, officials said.

With the storm expected to churn a menacing path toward the United States, forecasters warned that it could inflict serious damage from Florida to southeastern Virginia and possibly beyond. Forecasters moved the storm’s much-watched “cone of uncertainty” slightly eastward on Monday, but they emphasized that even a minor change could bring the storm onto the American coast.

The island of Grand Bahama was subjected to a particularly brutal pummeling as the hurricane came to a near-standstill for most of the day, spewing sustained winds as high as 180 miles per hour.

“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy in parts of the northern Bahamas,” Prime Minister Hubert A. Minnis said at a news conference late Monday afternoon. “Our mission and focus now is search, rescue and recovery. I ask for your prayers for those in affected areas and for our first responders.”

On the Abaco Islands, to the east of Grand Bahama, thousands of homes were believed to be damaged or destroyed. The prime minister said the five deaths happened on those islands, which were mauled by Dorian over the weekend, and were still being lashed by the storm’s outer bands on Monday.

Officials said it was too early to fully assess the damage because wind and rain were making it difficult to reach many of the smaller islands. The United States Coast Guard deployed helicopters and by Monday afternoon had landed in Marsh Harbour, Abaco’s main town, to conduct rescues, a spokesman said.

Dorian hit Grand Bahama late Sunday as a Category 5 hurricane, and then was downgraded on Monday morning by the National Hurricane Center in Miami to Category 4. Forecasters described it as “extremely dangerous.”

Dorian’s menace lay in the slowness of its passage: Its heavy rains had more time to produce flooding, its winds more time to batter and weaken structures. As it traveled west, it slowed to just one mile an hour, and then slowed further, pummeling the islands from a near standstill.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160045284_1afa04e2-3d89-43e1-9b2b-157eba186bf3-articleLarge Hurricane Dorian Batters Bahamas, Killing at Least 5: ‘a Historic Tragedy’ Wind National Hurricane Center Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Floods Bahama Islands Abaco Islands (Bahamas)

Choppy seas in Marsh Harbour, in the Bahamas, on Sunday.CreditMark Hall/ Christopher Hall, via Reuters

“We are afraid to even think of what those people on those islands went through with the storm slowing down and almost stopped for that amount of time, and being such a strong storm,” said Geoffrey Greene, the chief meteorological officer at the Bahamas Department of Meteorology.

“We did evacuate most of the keys around Abaco and Grand Bahama,” Mr. Greene said. “But there are a few people who refuse to leave. So we’ll have to look and make sure everybody is secure if they stayed.”

Caribbean disaster response managers said that they might not be able to send teams to Abaco and Grand Bahama until Wednesday, when the hurricane conditions were forecast to ease.

“It will delay any ability to get into these two islands and to collect specific information on the level of impact,” Ronald Jackson, the executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, said at a news conference.

With phone, internet and power lines down in many places, communication with the islands was difficult and firsthand accounts from eyewitnesses rare.

Still, officials were able to gather enough information to make grim assessments.

“Initial reports from Abaco is that the devastation is unprecedented and extensive,” said Mr. Minnis, the prime minister. “They are deeply worrying. The images and videos we are seeing are heartbreaking.”

Sune Bulow, head of the emergency operation center of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said his group anticipated widespread demand for shelter, economic support, clean water and health care.

As many as 13,000 houses may have been severely damaged or destroyed and that flooding on the Abaco Islands is believed to have contaminated wells with saltwater, according to the International Red Cross.

Michael Scott, chairman of the government-owned Grand Lucayan Resort and Casino on Grand Bahama, called the storm “apocalyptic” and “a truly cataclysmic event.”

Westlake Legal Group hurricane-dorian-map-promo-1566933204147-articleLarge-v252 Hurricane Dorian Batters Bahamas, Killing at Least 5: ‘a Historic Tragedy’ Wind National Hurricane Center Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Floods Bahama Islands Abaco Islands (Bahamas)

Maps: Track Hurricane Dorian’s Path

Maps tracking the hurricane’s path as it makes its way toward Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

His beachfront hotel, he reported, was operating as a refuge because many of the structures that were originally designated as shelters in Freeport, the island’s main city, were damaged.

Throughout the day on Monday, rescue teams brought in families seeking sanctuary in the hotel’s ballrooms, convention center and guest rooms.

“It’s catastrophic and horrible,” Mr. Scott said, “and we’re trying to ensure that people are able to exist with some degree of comfort.”

One resident of Great Abaco island posted a harrowing video on Monday showing water gushing along a roadway and extensive damage inside apartments. She said the storm had pried the roof off her building.

“Please pray for us,” she said. “We’re stuck right here. My baby’s only 4 months old.”

Another video that circulated widely on social media captured the storm surge heaving against the windows of the flooded home of the Bahama’s agriculture and marine resources minister, Michael Pintard.

“That’s the water hitting my front-room window, which is extremely high,” Mr. Pintard narrates as he pans the camera around his home. “That’s my kitchen window: That water is hitting and that has to be a minimum of about 20 feet off the ground.”

In a telephone interview, Mr. Pintard said that he, his wife and his daughter were trapped in the attic, looking out over the roof-high waters that had swept over their neighborhood. A couple of rescue attempts had failed to reach him, he said. But he was more concerned about his neighbors in single-story houses.

“I know that it was dire for them,” he said.

People climbed as high as they could and broadcast pleas for help over WhatsApp chat groups so that friends and relatives might contact the authorities.

In one of those appeals, a woman gives her name and address: “I need help. Me and my six grandchildren and my son we are in the ceiling,” she said, the quaver in her voice betraying her fear. “All the neighbors and everybody are in the ceiling. Can somebody please come and rescue us please. Everybody is in the ceiling and the water is rising fast.”

A man standing on the roof of a store while awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island, on Sunday.CreditRamon Espinosa/Associated Press

Sarah Kirkby, a resident of Freeport, said that people were waiting for the wind and rain to ease so that they could try to pluck people off their roofs by jet ski.

Relatives and friends of people who had remained on the islands scoured social media and news sites, trying to sift through rumors in search of solid information.

“Checking on Capt. Plug and Debbie and family? Any news?” wrote Sean Fletcher to the Facebook page of a volunteer fire and rescue unit in Hope Town, a settlement on Elbow Cay, an islet in the Abaco Islands.

“I’m trying to reach my brother, Pherrol Duncombe, the chef at the Harbour Lodge,” wrote Ohemaa Tamara. “If you have any information please let me know.”

There were nuggets of good news amid the fear and worry.

“PRAISE GOD!” exclaimed Karen Huff-Lowe in a post to the Facebook page of the Hope Town Bulletin Group. “I just got confirmation my family, Robert, Mercedes, Bessie and Maity are all O.K. They think everyone else on the island is too but communication limited.”

The Bahamas, a country that has long prided itself on withstanding powerful storms, revamped its building codes in the early 2000s, adopting some of the most stringent resiliency standards in the region. But Dorian’s slow pace, high winds and heavy rainfall, combined with the low-lying islands’ vulnerability to flooding, raised fears of huge losses.

“We saw what a Category 5 hurricane did in Dominica and the British Virgin Islands — that was Irma and Maria,” said Mr. Jackson of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. “So we are looking at a situation where we have a similar Category 5, a very powerful storm, a large storm, this time sitting for much longer than Maria sat on these countries.”

“We are seeing surge and high tide mixing in with rainfall to essentially deluge these islands,” he said. “We can safely say it is likely to be catastrophic.”

As the storm carved up the Bahamas on Monday, it was creating anxiety across a large swath of the United States.

The scene in the Abaco Islands on Monday.CreditCindy Russell

Even if Dorian does not reach the Florida coast, strong winds are all but certain to disrupt life in the region. Gusts up to 57 m.p.h. were expected to reach parts of South Florida overnight. And much of Florida’s eastern coast is also susceptible to storm surges.

The storm was predicted to move “dangerously close” to the Georgia and South Carolina coasts on Wednesday night and Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Gov. Brian P. Kemp of Georgia declared a state of emergency in 12 coastal counties, and ordered a mandatory evacuation for counties east of Interstate 95.

In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster ordered the evacuation of residents in parts of eight counties on Monday.

“We know that we cannot make everybody happy, but we believe that we can keep everyone alive,” he said.

North Carolina’s governor also declared a state of emergency. State officials warned that heavy rain could cause life-threatening flooding between Wednesday night and Friday and that there was a possibility of tornadoes.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has warned coastal residents for days they should expect to lose power.

On Monday, as the hurricane’s outer rain bands raked South Florida, Palm Beach, a barrier island in a mandatory evacuation zone, felt eerily calm. Roads were empty and businesses were closed and shuttered.

A small crowd gathered along the beach, staring in awe at the wild gray waves crashing onto the shore.

“I just wanted to take a look at this — it’s crazy,” said Brandon Atkinson, 40, a West Palm Beach resident. “You admire it for the beauty but know its devastation.”

Some South Florida residents had begun moving into shelters as rain began pelting the region.

By Monday morning, the West Boynton Park and Recreation Center in Lake Worth, Fla., was already home to 75 people and 114 animals, including 75 dogs, 28 cats and several birds and rabbits. A sign posted outside warned that no livestock, reptiles or vicious dogs would be accepted.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hurricane Dorian Batters Bahamas, Killing at Least 5: ‘a Historic Tragedy’

MIAMI — Hurricane Dorian, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, hung over the Bahamas on Monday, thrashing the archipelago with high winds and surging seawater that flooded neighborhoods, submerged vehicles and shredded homes. The storm has left at least five people dead, officials said.

With the storm expected to churn a menacing path toward the United States, forecasters warned that it could inflict serious damage from Florida to southeastern Virginia and possibly beyond. Forecasters moved the storm’s much-watched “cone of uncertainty” slightly eastward on Monday, but they emphasized that even a minor change could bring the storm onto the American coast.

The island of Grand Bahama was subjected to a particularly brutal pummeling as the hurricane came to a near-standstill for most of the day, spewing sustained winds as high as 180 miles per hour.

“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy in parts of the northern Bahamas,” Prime Minister Hubert A. Minnis said at a news conference late Monday afternoon. “Our mission and focus now is search, rescue and recovery. I ask for your prayers for those in affected areas and for our first responders.”

On the Abaco Islands, to the east of Grand Bahama, thousands of homes were believed to be damaged or destroyed. The prime minister said the five deaths happened on those islands, which were mauled by Dorian over the weekend, and were still being lashed by the storm’s outer bands on Monday.

Officials said it was too early to fully assess the damage because wind and rain were making it difficult to reach many of the smaller islands. The United States Coast Guard deployed helicopters and by Monday afternoon had landed in Marsh Harbour, Abaco’s main town, to conduct rescues, a spokesman said.

Dorian hit Grand Bahama late Sunday as a Category 5 hurricane, and then was downgraded on Monday morning by the National Hurricane Center in Miami to Category 4. Forecasters described it as “extremely dangerous.”

Dorian’s menace lay in the slowness of its passage: Its heavy rains had more time to produce flooding, its winds more time to batter and weaken structures. As it traveled west, it slowed to just one mile an hour, and then slowed further, pummeling the islands from a near standstill.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160045284_1afa04e2-3d89-43e1-9b2b-157eba186bf3-articleLarge Hurricane Dorian Batters Bahamas, Killing at Least 5: ‘a Historic Tragedy’ Wind National Hurricane Center Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Floods Bahama Islands Abaco Islands (Bahamas)

Choppy seas in Marsh Harbour, in the Bahamas, on Sunday.CreditMark Hall/ Christopher Hall, via Reuters

“We are afraid to even think of what those people on those islands went through with the storm slowing down and almost stopped for that amount of time, and being such a strong storm,” said Geoffrey Greene, the chief meteorological officer at the Bahamas Department of Meteorology.

“We did evacuate most of the keys around Abaco and Grand Bahama,” Mr. Greene said. “But there are a few people who refuse to leave. So we’ll have to look and make sure everybody is secure if they stayed.”

Caribbean disaster response managers said that they might not be able to send teams to Abaco and Grand Bahama until Wednesday, when the hurricane conditions were forecast to ease.

“It will delay any ability to get into these two islands and to collect specific information on the level of impact,” Ronald Jackson, the executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, said at a news conference.

With phone, internet and power lines down in many places, communication with the islands was difficult and firsthand accounts from eyewitnesses rare.

Still, officials were able to gather enough information to make grim assessments.

“Initial reports from Abaco is that the devastation is unprecedented and extensive,” said Mr. Minnis, the prime minister. “They are deeply worrying. The images and videos we are seeing are heartbreaking.”

Sune Bulow, head of the emergency operation center of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said his group anticipated widespread demand for shelter, economic support, clean water and health care.

As many as 13,000 houses may have been severely damaged or destroyed and that flooding on the Abaco Islands is believed to have contaminated wells with saltwater, according to the International Red Cross.

Michael Scott, chairman of the government-owned Grand Lucayan Resort and Casino on Grand Bahama, called the storm “apocalyptic” and “a truly cataclysmic event.”

Westlake Legal Group hurricane-dorian-map-promo-1566933204147-articleLarge-v252 Hurricane Dorian Batters Bahamas, Killing at Least 5: ‘a Historic Tragedy’ Wind National Hurricane Center Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Floods Bahama Islands Abaco Islands (Bahamas)

Maps: Track Hurricane Dorian’s Path

Maps tracking the hurricane’s path as it makes its way toward Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

His beachfront hotel, he reported, was operating as a refuge because many of the structures that were originally designated as shelters in Freeport, the island’s main city, were damaged.

Throughout the day on Monday, rescue teams brought in families seeking sanctuary in the hotel’s ballrooms, convention center and guest rooms.

“It’s catastrophic and horrible,” Mr. Scott said, “and we’re trying to ensure that people are able to exist with some degree of comfort.”

One resident of Great Abaco island posted a harrowing video on Monday showing water gushing along a roadway and extensive damage inside apartments. She said the storm had pried the roof off her building.

“Please pray for us,” she said. “We’re stuck right here. My baby’s only 4 months old.”

Another video that circulated widely on social media captured the storm surge heaving against the windows of the flooded home of the Bahama’s agriculture and marine resources minister, Michael Pintard.

“That’s the water hitting my front-room window, which is extremely high,” Mr. Pintard narrates as he pans the camera around his home. “That’s my kitchen window: That water is hitting and that has to be a minimum of about 20 feet off the ground.”

In a telephone interview, Mr. Pintard said that he, his wife and his daughter were trapped in the attic, looking out over the roof-high waters that had swept over their neighborhood. A couple of rescue attempts had failed to reach him, he said. But he was more concerned about his neighbors in single-story houses.

“I know that it was dire for them,” he said.

People climbed as high as they could and broadcast pleas for help over WhatsApp chat groups so that friends and relatives might contact the authorities.

In one of those appeals, a woman gives her name and address: “I need help. Me and my six grandchildren and my son we are in the ceiling,” she said, the quaver in her voice betraying her fear. “All the neighbors and everybody are in the ceiling. Can somebody please come and rescue us please. Everybody is in the ceiling and the water is rising fast.”

A man standing on the roof of a store while awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island, on Sunday.CreditRamon Espinosa/Associated Press

Sarah Kirkby, a resident of Freeport, said that people were waiting for the wind and rain to ease so that they could try to pluck people off their roofs by jet ski.

Relatives and friends of people who had remained on the islands scoured social media and news sites, trying to sift through rumors in search of solid information.

“Checking on Capt. Plug and Debbie and family? Any news?” wrote Sean Fletcher to the Facebook page of a volunteer fire and rescue unit in Hope Town, a settlement on Elbow Cay, an islet in the Abaco Islands.

“I’m trying to reach my brother, Pherrol Duncombe, the chef at the Harbour Lodge,” wrote Ohemaa Tamara. “If you have any information please let me know.”

There were nuggets of good news amid the fear and worry.

“PRAISE GOD!” exclaimed Karen Huff-Lowe in a post to the Facebook page of the Hope Town Bulletin Group. “I just got confirmation my family, Robert, Mercedes, Bessie and Maity are all O.K. They think everyone else on the island is too but communication limited.”

The Bahamas, a country that has long prided itself on withstanding powerful storms, revamped its building codes in the early 2000s, adopting some of the most stringent resiliency standards in the region. But Dorian’s slow pace, high winds and heavy rainfall, combined with the low-lying islands’ vulnerability to flooding, raised fears of huge losses.

“We saw what a Category 5 hurricane did in Dominica and the British Virgin Islands — that was Irma and Maria,” said Mr. Jackson of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. “So we are looking at a situation where we have a similar Category 5, a very powerful storm, a large storm, this time sitting for much longer than Maria sat on these countries.”

“We are seeing surge and high tide mixing in with rainfall to essentially deluge these islands,” he said. “We can safely say it is likely to be catastrophic.”

As the storm carved up the Bahamas on Monday, it was creating anxiety across a large swath of the United States.

The scene in the Abaco Islands on Monday.CreditCindy Russell

Even if Dorian does not reach the Florida coast, strong winds are all but certain to disrupt life in the region. Gusts up to 57 m.p.h. were expected to reach parts of South Florida overnight. And much of Florida’s eastern coast is also susceptible to storm surges.

The storm was predicted to move “dangerously close” to the Georgia and South Carolina coasts on Wednesday night and Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Gov. Brian P. Kemp of Georgia declared a state of emergency in 12 coastal counties, and ordered a mandatory evacuation for counties east of Interstate 95.

In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster ordered the evacuation of residents in parts of eight counties on Monday.

“We know that we cannot make everybody happy, but we believe that we can keep everyone alive,” he said.

North Carolina’s governor also declared a state of emergency. State officials warned that heavy rain could cause life-threatening flooding between Wednesday night and Friday and that there was a possibility of tornadoes.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has warned coastal residents for days they should expect to lose power.

On Monday, as the hurricane’s outer rain bands raked South Florida, Palm Beach, a barrier island in a mandatory evacuation zone, felt eerily calm. Roads were empty and businesses were closed and shuttered.

A small crowd gathered along the beach, staring in awe at the wild gray waves crashing onto the shore.

“I just wanted to take a look at this — it’s crazy,” said Brandon Atkinson, 40, a West Palm Beach resident. “You admire it for the beauty but know its devastation.”

Some South Florida residents had begun moving into shelters as rain began pelting the region.

By Monday morning, the West Boynton Park and Recreation Center in Lake Worth, Fla., was already home to 75 people and 114 animals, including 75 dogs, 28 cats and several birds and rabbits. A sign posted outside warned that no livestock, reptiles or vicious dogs would be accepted.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hurricane Dorian Batters Bahamas, Killing at Least 5

Hurricane Dorian, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, left at least five people dead in the Bahamas after lashing the islands with sustained winds of up to 185 m.p.h., blinding rain and rising waters, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said on Monday afternoon.

Power failures, floods and communications breakdowns made it impossible to search for victims and assess the damage on Monday afternoon. But emergency responders said many thousands of homes in the Abaco Islands, in the northern Bahamas, were damaged or destroyed. Videos showed floodwaters just below battered rooftops, submerged cars and floating debris.

The storm, moving as slowly as one mile per hour, reached the island of Grand Bahama early on Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was downgraded from a Category 5 to an “extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane,” and is expected to hover in the region until late on Monday, inflicting more damage before moving close to the Florida coast, the center said.

Even for a region used to weathering powerful storms, Dorian’s size, strength and stamina posed an extraordinary threat.

“This is perhaps the worst hurricane to have ever struck the Bahamas,” said Michael Scott, the chairman of the government-owned Grand Lucayan Resort and Casino on Grand Bahama Island, which was operating as a shelter because many designated shelters were damaged.

There were already 200 people in the hotel’s ballrooms, convention center and a few hotel rooms, but rescue teams continued to bring in families.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160045284_1afa04e2-3d89-43e1-9b2b-157eba186bf3-articleLarge Hurricane Dorian Batters Bahamas, Killing at Least 5 Wind National Hurricane Center Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Floods Bahama Islands Abaco Islands (Bahamas)

Choppy seas in Marsh Harbour, in the Bahamas, on Sunday.CreditMark Hall/ Christopher Hall, via Reuters

“You’re never prepared for a disaster like this,” he said. “We’re doing the best we can.”

On the Abaco Islands, which endured more than a day of the hurricane’s wrath over the weekend, officials said it was too dangerous to reach many of the smaller offshore islands.

But the U.S. Coast Guard said that it had landed in Marsh Harbor on Great Abaco Island and was rescuing people.

Geoffrey Greene, the chief meteorological officer at the Bahamas Department of Meteorology, said on Monday afternoon, “We are afraid to even think of what those people on those islands went through with the storm slowing down, almost stopping for that amount of time, and being such a strong storm.”

“We did evacuate most of the keys around Abaco and Grand Bahama, but there are a few people who refused to leave so we’ll have to look and make sure everybody is secure,” he said.

Getting to the islands by plane after the storm passes may be difficult because torrential rain and the storm surge could have left runways under water, he said.

One resident on the Great Abaco island posted a harrowing video on Monday showing water gushing through a roadway and extensive damage inside apartments. She said the roof came off her building.

Westlake Legal Group hurricane-dorian-map-promo-1566933204147-articleLarge-v248 Hurricane Dorian Batters Bahamas, Killing at Least 5 Wind National Hurricane Center Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Floods Bahama Islands Abaco Islands (Bahamas)

Maps: Track Hurricane Dorian’s Path

Maps tracking the hurricane’s path as it makes its way toward Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

“Please pray for us. We’re stuck right here. My baby’s only four months old,” the woman said.

[Follow live updates on Hurricane Dorian here.]

Foreign Minister Darren Henfield, speaking from the main government building in Marsh Harbour, Abaco’s largest city, told the ZNS Network that from all accounts, the damage was “catastrophic.”

“We have reports of casualties, we have reports of bodies being seen,” he said. “We cannot confirm those reports until we go out and have a look for ourselves.”

Mr. Henfield said that the main government building in Marsh Harbour had become a makeshift shelter because many of the churches and schools that had been assigned to provide safety during the storm had been damaged. People were also taking refuge in the public clinic of Marsh Harbour “which is packed to capacity, as I understand it.”

The International Red Cross said Monday that as many as 13,000 houses may have been severely damaged or destroyed and that flooding on the Abaco Islands is believed to have contaminated wells with saltwater.

Although it was still early to have a complete picture of the destruction, “it is clear that Hurricane Dorian has had a catastrophic impact,” said Sune Bulow, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Emergency Operation Centre in Geneva. “We anticipate extensive shelter needs, alongside the need for short-term economic support, as well as for clean water and health assistance.”

A man standing on the roof of a store while awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island, on Sunday.CreditRamon Espinosa/Associated Press

Residents of the Abaco Islands anxiously scoured social media and the news, trying to sift through rumors for solid information on the condition of their communities and the status of their neighbors, friends and relatives.

But with phone, internet and power lines down in many places, communication was severely limited.

“Checking on Capt. Plug and Debbie and family? Any news?” wrote Sean Fletcher to the Facebook page of a volunteer fire and rescue unit in Hope Town, a settlement on Elbow Cay, an eight-mile islet in the Abaco Islands.

“I’m trying to reach my brother, Pherrol Duncombe, the chef at the Harbour Lodge,” wrote Ohemaa Tamara. “If you have any information please let me know.”

But there were also flashes of good news amid the fear and worry.

“PRAISE GOD!” exclaimed Karen Huff-Lowe in a post to the Facebook page of Hope Town Bulletin Group. “I just got confirmation my family, Robert, Mercedes, Bessie and Maity are all ok. They think everyone else on the island is too but communication limited. No other news to report at this time.”

Late Monday morning, Hope Town Volunteer Fire and Rescue reported on its Facebook page that there were plans for a rescue flotilla of boats carrying basic supplies to leave Nassau bound for Hope Town “as soon as the weather permits.”

José Andrés, the celebrity chef who launched an enormous operation to feed people in the wake of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico two years ago, said he was in Nassau, working out of hotels and getting ready to do the same in the Bahamas.

“We are making 10,000 sandwiches as we speak,” Mr. Andrés said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Andrés, who runs World Central Kitchen, said airports are now under water, but they are hoping to be on some of the first flights to Abaco island on Tuesday.

“The situation is as bad as you can imagine,” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

At Least Five Dead as Hurricane Dorian Batters Bahamas

As Hurricane Dorian churned its way over the northern Bahamas early Monday, scenes of devastation emerging from the Abaco Islands revealed the destructive fury of one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record.

Packing 185 mile-per-hour winds, Dorian first hit the Bahamas’ Abaco Islands on Sunday and then took aim at Grand Bahama Island as it crept slowly westward. Residents of the Abaco Islands, who endured hours of the raging storm on Sunday, struggled to take stock of the damage on Monday.

Images and video from the Abaco Islands showed floodwaters swirling just below battered rooftops, submerged cars and floating debris from damaged houses.

One resident on Great Abaco Island posted a harrowing video on Monday showing water gushing through a roadway and extensive damage inside apartments. She said the roof came off her building.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160054947_4627969d-0a26-4041-8a86-8a1b9ede709d-articleLarge At Least Five Dead as Hurricane Dorian Batters Bahamas Wind National Hurricane Center Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Floods Bahama Islands Abaco Islands (Bahamas)

A man standing on the roof of a store while awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island on Sunday,CreditRamon Espinosa/Associated Press

“Please pray for us. We’re stuck right here. My baby’s only four months old,” the woman said.

[Follow live updates on Hurricane Dorian here.]

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center described Dorian, a category 5 storm with winds gusting as high as 220 m.p.h., as “catastrophic.”

As it approached the Bahamas, the storm grew larger, with winds extending up to 45 miles from the center. Its core was expected to move slowly — it crawled westward at just one m.p.h. early Monday — across Grand Bahama Island throughout much of Monday. Along with the storm surge, Dorian was forecast to dump as much as two feet of rain in some areas.

“These hazards will cause extreme destruction in the affected areas and will continue for several hours,” the hurricane center warned late Sunday.

In a region that prides itself on withstanding powerful storms, the Bahamas has revamped its building code and stepped up enforcement to prepare for such storms. But the combination of Dorian’s slow pace, furious wind speeds and heavy rainfall with the low-lying islands’ vulnerability to flooding raised fears of huge losses.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 01dorian-briefing02-promo-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600-v7 At Least Five Dead as Hurricane Dorian Batters Bahamas Wind National Hurricane Center Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Hurricane Dorian (2019) Grand Bahama Island Floods Bahama Islands Abaco Islands (Bahamas)

The storm made landfall in the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane, with sustained winds in excess of 180 miles per hour.CreditCreditGuardian News, via YouTube

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, who had warned that 73,000 residents and 21,000 homes could be affected, urged residents of the Grand Bahama Island on Sunday to move to safer ground in the main city of Freeport. On the Abaco Islands, parts of the main city of Marsh Harbour flooded.

“As a physician, I have been trained to withstand many things — but never anything like this,” Dr. Minnis said during a news conference. “This is a deadly storm and a monster storm.”

But not everybody was moving to higher ground. Frederick Smith, a lawyer who had promised to ride the storm out at his beachfront home in Freeport, was unmoved by the prime minister’s appeals, even after he saw the destruction in the Abaco Islands.

“I built my home to survive,” he said by telephone as he waited for the storm to hit. “We’re a set of pirate islands, we survive.

“Unfortunately a lot of people are going to have their lives disrupted,” he said. “It is very challenging and difficult for many people.”

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