I guess we’ll find out tomorrow. Maybe.
But it seems we won’t find our the name(s) of Bush’s appointee(s) to the Court until “the last week of July,” according to a forthcoming Washington Post story (as cited by Drudge).
The terrorists of 7/7 were not suicide bombers, and British police fear they are plotting another attack, according to The Times of London:
Britain’s terrorist alert has been raised to its highest-ever level because the London rush-hour bombers are alive and planning another attack, The Times has learnt.
Security services, military and police are on â€œsevere specificâ€ alert â€” the second highest status and higher than after the September 11 atrocities â€” after it emerged that the terrorists who killed as many as 70 people were not suicide bombers. …
Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, said that the Governmentâ€™s priority was catching the surviving bombers before they struck again.
The heightened security and a sense of nervousness has led to more than 100 bomb alerts, including the evacuation of 20,000 people from the centre of Birmingham on Saturday.
The alert levels in Britain are:
Meanwhile, Robert of The 26th Parallel says “the way the media covers landfalling hurricanes has always amused me.” He recalls two of the “highlights” from today’s coverage of Dennis:
- The Weather Channel’s Jeff Morrow hanging on to a lamp post to prevent from flying away.
- CNN deciding to have not one, but two reporters in the same location measuring the wind and telling us how bad conditions were. During the height of the storm, they watched in amazement as a tall metal sign from a Ramada Inn came crumbling down. One of the reporters said it was the most incredible thing he’d ever seen (at least until the next hurricane).
LOL! Yeah, I saw both of those moments, and they were indeed quite amusing. (This is amusing, too.)
Of course, nothing can ever top Dan Rather in Hurricane Opal in 1995, clinging to a lamp post for dear life (literally!) and very nearly being blown into the Gulf of Mexico.
(Well, Jeff Morrow’s antics might have topped Rather’s in the mind of one blogger — Amanda at DIVA Domain — but that’s only because she has a “total nerd” crush on him. :)
What did Karl Rove say, and when did he say it? Newsweek, doing some investigative reporting of rival publication Time’s reporting (!), tries to answer that question:
Rove told Cooper that Wilson’s trip had not been authorized by “DCIA”â€”CIA Director George Tenetâ€”or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, “it was, KR said, wilson’s wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip.” …
Nothing in the Cooper e-mail suggests that Rove used Plame’s name or knew she was a covert operative. Nonetheless, it is significant that Rove was speaking to Cooper before Novak’s column appeared; in other words, before Plame’s identity had been published.
RedState.org says this means Rove said/did nothing illegal in his conversations with Cooper. Perhaps not, but what I’ve wondered all along is whether he later lied under oath about those conversations. Newsweek reports that a “source close to Rove” says no:
A source close to Rove…added that there was “absolutely no inconsistency” between Cooper’s e-mail and what Rove has testified to during his three grand-jury appearances in the case.
If that’s accurate, then there’s nothing to see here.
The once-mighty storm known as Dennis — a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mile-per-hour winds just 16 hours ago — was downgraded to a tropical storm at 8:00 PM, less than six hours after making landfall near Pensacola, Florida.
In typical sensationalistic fashion, Matt Drudge’s current headline reads “HELL FROM THE SEA,” but the truth is that Dennis wasn’t all that bad, especially considering the calamity it could have been. Technically, it was a Category 3 “major hurricane” at landfall — which means, among other things, that its name will be retired from the sextennial hurricane name rotation; there will never be another Dennis in the Atlantic basin — but it seems somewhat questionable (to me at least) whether Dennis really had 125 mph sustained winds at landfall. At any rate, substantial weakening in the hurricane’s final hours over water, combined with a favorable landfall location (with the more heavily populated and flood-prone areas on the less-powerful west side of the storm), conspired to make the damage considerably less severe than virtually anyone would have dared to hope 24 hours ago, when Dennis was strengthening so rapidly that some feared it might become a Category Five monster. Ultimately, the Gulf Coast simply got lucky:
Hurricane Dennis roared quickly through the Florida Panhandle and Alabama coast Sunday with a 120-mph bluster of blinding squalls and crashing waves, but shellshocked residents emerged to find far less damage than when Ivan took nearly the same path 10 months ago.
The tightly wound Dennis, which had been a Category 4, 145-mph monster as it marched up the Gulf of Mexico, weakened just before it struck less than 50 miles east of Ivan’s landfall. And despite downed power lines and outages to more than 200,000, early reports indicated no deaths and relatively modest structural damage.
“We’re really happy it was compact and that it lasted only so long,” said Mike Decker, who lost only some shingles and a privacy fence at his home near where the storm came ashore. “It was more of a show for the kids.” …
Escambia County Commissioner Mike Whitehead said initial reports indicate some broken windows, trees and power lines down, minor flooding in downtown Pensacola and a few trees falling on houses.
“Because of where it went in, we missed a real close shot. It went into a relatively unpopulated area,” Whitehead said. “If that thing had shifted 20 miles to the west, we’d have been in trouble, but we got real lucky.”
In Alabama’s coastal Baldwin County, which was ground zero for Ivan last year, officials also breathed a sigh of relief.
“We dodged a bullet,” said emergency management director Leigh Anne Ryals.
Depending on what happens with the steering currents over the next few days, Dennis’s legacy in the United States may be inland flooding, rather than coastal destruction. If the current forecast track holds, this could be a major rain event for the Ohio Valley.
But for now, there is reason to be thankful. Dennis could have been a catastrophe for the U.S. Gulf Coast, but in the end, it wasn’t.
Of course, that’s no reason for the folks down there to let their guard down. Those who evacuated were absolutely right to do so; a few minor changes in the meterological scenario could have yielded a totally different result. And next time, heaven forbid, they just might. So be thankful, Floridians, but also, be prepared for the next one. After all, it’s only July.
The video of The Weather Channel’s Jeff Morrow getting blown around by Dennis’s eyewall is freakin’ awesome.
CNN also has some dramatic video of its reporter almost getting hit by the flying remnants of a disintegrating hotel sign.
UPDATE: They changed the Morrow clip. It’s still pretty cool, but I prefer the previous one, where he says “Whoa! Whoa!”
Blogger Steve Gregory writes:
It is quite likely that on the northeast edge of the eye wall where Dennis came inland between Sanata Rosa Island and Ft Walton Beach area, wind gusts over 140mph likely occurred with a storm surge up to 15 feet, with the south facing beaches witnessing battering waves to 50 feet. …
Not to minimize the destruction and possible injury or loss of life, [but] had the storm come onshore 40 or 50 miles to the west, the more densely populated city of Pensacola would have suffered a far worse fate.
Dennis has weakened to a Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds.
It’ll keep weakening as it moves inland, but the big problem now is going to be inland flooding. It looks like it’s going to slow waaay down over the Ohio Valley, and inevitably dump a lot of rain.
The eye of Dennis came ashore on Santa Rosa Island, Florida at 2:24 PM EST:
The Weather Channel’s reporters in Gulf Breeze and Pensacola — both of which are in the eyewall as we speak — have been knocked off the air by the storm. (They probably can’t use the satellite uplinks at the moment.)
Here’s an animated GIF of the radar from noon EST through landfall. And here’s the latest satellite view:
UPDATE: Jim Cantore (in Gulf Breeze) is back on the air. He says a pocket of dry air “choked” the energy out of Dennis at the last minute, and as a result, it came on shore “more like an Opal than an Ivan.” In other words, the actual winds that Florida and Alabama may not be as strong as feared. Thank goodness for that.
Charles Fenwick at Eye of the Storm notes: “The eye made landfall squarely in Gulf Shores National Seashore, a fine place to make landfall as that area is completely undeveloped.” He wrote earlier that a last-minute northward jog took Pensacola out of the right-front (northeastern) quadrant. As a result, the downtown area probably only got winds of winds of 75-90 miles per hour (Category 1 strength).
Dr. Jeff Masters notes that Dennis made landfall “about 30 miles east of where Ivan struck.” He adds, “I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dennis carve a channel straight through Santa Rosa Island, the barrier island offshore from Pensacola. The worst storm surge damage will occur in the East Bay of Pensacola Bay, where a storm surge of 15 feet could occur. Extreme wind damage will miss Pensacola’s downtown, but will severely impact Milton, a town of 7,000 people just east of Pensacola. Whiting Field Naval Air Station, just 15 miles inland, will also suffer heavy damage.”
The Pensacola News Journal has photos of Dennis.
Dennis took a northward (rather than northwestward) wobble earlier this morning. It’s moving north-northwest again now, but that brief wobble might be enough to spare Mobile a direct hit. As Eye of the Storm wrote about an hour ago: “It is looking more and more like a Florida landfall every hour. Even if Dennis were to return to its overall north-north[west] course, the landfall would still happen just east of the Alabama line.”
The 10:00 AM advisory should be out any minute now. But we’re going to the zoo, so updates will be sparse-to-nonexistant for the next few hours. Check the links at left for the latest.
The 4:00 AM forecast/advisory edges the forecast track ever-so-slightly to the left, with the result that the NHC is now predicting a direct hit on Mobile, Alabama by Hurricane Dennis roughly 12 hours from now. With a storm surge of 14 to 19 feet flowing into a funnel-shaped bay, this could be quite bad.
The official map hasn’t been updated to reflect the new track yet, so I plotted it myself on Google Maps:
Of course, even at just 12 hours out, track forecasts are not exact… and also, it’s important to remember that hurricanes are not points, but rather, geographically large storms with a broad area of impact. But in terms of the storm surge, the exact track of the eye matters a lot. The more Mobile Bay is in the path of Dennis’s “right front quadrant” (the northeast side of the eyewall), the more serious the flooding will be. And right now, things are not looking good for Mobile. Any additional tiny westward nudges would, I think, make things even worse — and tiny westward adjustments with each new forecast seems to be the trend — but even as it stands now, I think the flooding would be pretty bad if Dennis follows the expected track.
At this point, it’s pretty much too late to evacuate (the weather is going to turn bad very soon; just look at the radar), so I’m afraid that anyone who hasn’t already left town is stuck inside of Mobile with the Dennis blues again, as it were.
Sorry, couldn’t resist. But this is no laughing matter. A 145-mile-per-hour Category 4 hurricane is bearing down on a flood-prone city of 200,000 (with a metropolitan area a half-million strong). Hope and pray it’ll weaken a bit before landfall…
And now, I’m really and truly going to bed.
…EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE DENNIS WITH 145 MPH WINDS…
UPDATE: Charles Fenwick at Eye of the Storm observes, “Once again, Dennis has mocked the NHC intensity forecast.”
He adds, “We are still seeing a pressure fall rate of 2+ millibar an hour. Based on this and how Dennis ran up to 145 quicker than I had expected, I will state that Dennis has a reasonable shot at 150 mph winds at the next advisory [at 4:00 AM EST].” But he thinks that’ll be as strong as it gets.
It’s plenty strong enough, of course. Now it needs to not just stop strengthening, but start weakening before landfall, or the Gulf Coast is going to be in some very serious trouble. Ivan was 120 mph at landfall… we’re talking 150.
Pray for a well-timed eyewall replacement cycle.
P.S. Fenwick notes an eerie precedent.