Dr. Jeff Masters offers his prediction for hurricane season:
The active hurricane period that began in 1995 should continue this year, since there is no strong El Nino event present, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are .5 - 1.5 degrees C above normal across the tropical Atlantic, and the other four indicators we look at to predict seasonal hurricane activity are all positive. However, SSTs are nearly 1 degree cooler than last year’s record levels, so I am not expecting another 2005. That was a once-in-a-lifetime year. My worst-case scenario calls for another year like 2004, with 15 to 20 named storms, and two to four major hurricanes hitting the U.S. My best-case scenario is still for an active year with 15 or so named storms, but with most of the storms recurving harmlessly out to sea. This happened in 1995, when the Bermuda High set up shop further east than usual, allowing the storms to recurve before hitting the coast. There will probably be at least three Category 4 or 5 hurricanes this year, and I expect one of these will make it into the top ten list for most intense Atlantic hurricanes on record. I don’t look for anything like 2005, when three of the six most intense hurricanes on record occurred.
As for Masters’s opinion of AccuWeather’s hair-on-fire predictions about hurricanes hitting the East Coast, he sounds rather skeptical:
The jet stream pattern controls where hurricanes recurve. Our ability to forecast the jet stream pattern is limited; the best we can do is about a one week forecast. At times, we can get a general idea out to two weeks. Thus, it is difficult to make a skilled forecast at this time about which parts of the U.S. are likely to face the brunt of this year’s hurricane season. Dr. Gray and some other researchers have shown that one can use statistical methods to make a slightly skillful prediction several months in advance about what parts of the U.S. might get hit most. Dr. Gray is predicting that the U.S. East Coast is more likely to get hit by a major hurricane then the Gulf Coast this year, but forecasts of this nature are only a little better than chance.
This is really interesting, too, and I hadn’t heard it before:
[B]etween 1000 and 3400 years ago, sediment records along the Gulf Coast show that Category 4/5 hurricane landfalls were about three to five times more common that we’ve seen during the past 1000 years. It’s possible, but unlikely, that the intense hurricanes we’ve seen in the Gulf the past few years mark a return to this hyperactive pattern. It is not yet known if the Eastern U.S. coast also experienced this same hyperactive pattern 1000 to 3400 years ago; the researchers haven’t done a full study of the sediment records there yet. I speculate that the East Coast saw a drop in intense hurricane during the same 1000 to 3400 year period, since a shift in the Bermuda High position steered most of the hurricanes into the Gulf of Mexico, and relatively few into the East Coast.
In other hurricane news, WXNation has a list of hurricane-related resources online. (I’m on it, among several other bloggers, including Masters. But they really need to add Charles Fenwick.) My full list of hurricanes links (which is constantly growing and changing) is in the right sidebar on my hurricane category page.
Finally, just a reminder… “Katrina: The Lost Episode” airs tomorrow on The Weather Channel at 9:00 PM EDT (6:00 PM MST/PDT).
Residents of New Orleans are being told to stop burning down their houses. (Hat tip: Andrew Leyden.)
This is a deadly serious issue, but it reminds me of a funny line from Carlos Mencia’s hilarious monologue right after Hurricane Katrina, mocking those who were still refusing to leave their homes days after the storm: “You know what there is in the middle of [New Orleans] right now? A bunch of water, and fires on top of the water. Do you understand that? What do we use to put out fires? Water. There’s f***in’ fire on top of water. Listen: when you walk outside, and there is fire on top of water, that is God’s way of saying, ‘Get the f**k out!!!‘” Heh. (You can buy that Mencia episode from iTunes, or you can watch the first 2 1/2 minutes — not including the “fire” quote — for free here.)
It’s been hot for most of the time we’ve been here, but today was the first “holy crap, I just walked into a furnace” day of the summer. The high temperature was 112 degrees, which is a new record high for Phoenix on June 3. As of 7:36 PM, the temperature has cooled to a mild 108°. Yeah, needless to say, we won’t be taking Robbie to the dog park this evening. Sheesh.
An excessive heat warning is in effect, which seems like an exercise in NWS understatement. This misery is expected to “continue unabated into early next week.” I realize it’s Phoenix and it’s summer, but still. Harumph.
P.S. I blame Al Gore!
I mentioned this morning that, despite my misgivings about the current Democratic leadership, I definitely want to see the Republicans out of power (in at least some part of the government!), but I’ve been feeling conflicted about whether to vote for the Democratic candidate (Joe Donnelly) in my swing House district this November, or whether to cast a purely strategic vote for the Republican incumbent (
Count Chris Chocola). Why? Because I fear a Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006 will likely mean a Republican victory in 2008; the Dems will have “peaked too soon,” and the public will have exhausted its periodic spasmodic urge to oust the incumbent party — just like what happened in 1994-1996, as I explained here. And despite my hyperbole this morning about DHS’s idiocy, I’ll admit that I’m probably going to keep pondering this issue. (Full disclosure: because I’m a political junkie, I’m that rare voter whose congressional vote will be determined largely by national issues, and indeed, by national strategy or my perception thereof, rather than local issues or personalities. Because honestly, neither Chocola nor Donnelly will have very much power as one House member among 435. But the difference between 218-217 and 217-218 would be a very big one, so that’s what I’m going to be primarily thinking about when I go to the polls on Nov. 7.)
But I had a thought just now, while discussing the 2008 presidential scene with my Hillary-hating wife, that caused me to view my 2006 decision in a somewhat different light. Yes, a Democratic victory this November will decrease the likelihood of a “kick the bums out” spasm in 2008, thus potentially helping the Republicans in the general election for president. But a Democratic defeat this November would make the Angry Left even angrier than it currently is, if that’s even possible. At the very least, it would cause the far left to maintain its current level of seething, irrational anger — which leads to all sorts of bad things like increased fundraising, increased voter turnout, etc. (I say those are “bad things” because loony far-left liberals donating money and voting = loony far-left candidates winning nominations. Kinda like how increased voter turnout among evangelical Christians, while a “good thing” in the abstract sense that all good citizens should exercise their right to vote, is a “bad thing” strategically for Democrats.) Whereas, by contrast, it seems at least possible that a Democratic victory this November would take the edge off the fever-swamp fervor of the crazies. And that would be a good thing, for both the party and the country. It would increase the odds of a Mark Warner or an Evan Bayh emerging as the “anti-Hillary,” rather than an Al Gore or a Howard Dean filling that role. (You know there will be an “anti-Hillary.” The only question is that person’s identity, and whether he or she will emerge in time.) The last thing the Democratic Party, or this country, needs is a primary battle between Doctor Screech and Senator Shrill (may the least awful candidate win!). So perhaps I’ll vote Democrat in hopes of not just defeating the Republicans, but also of soothing — just slightly — the overpowering, self-destructive zeal of the Angry Left. It might be a longshot, but hey, a guy can dream. My new motto: “a vote for Donnelly is a vote for Bayh.” :)
P.S. On the other hand, the alternative motto “a vote for Chocola is a vote for sending Nancy Pelosi to her political grave” might be even more compelling… ah, the difficulties of trying to be a strategic voter!!
P.P.S. Maybe I should just vote for which candidate I think is better. Nah, that would be too simple!
Indianapolis authorities say the main suspect in shooting deaths of seven people surrendered to police. Visit CNN for the latest.
The Newington-Simsbury baseball game has been postponed again. All this rainy weather in the Northeast is really wreaking havoc on the outdoor sports’ state tournaments.
tOSU scientists have found a 300-mile-wide crater, a mile beneath the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, and they believe that’s where an enormous asteroid, perhaps 30 miles wide, hit the Gondwana supercontinent 250 million years ago, causing the Permian-Triassic extinction — “when almost all animal life on Earth died out” — and creating the continent of Australia. Pretty cool!
Regular readers may have noticed that commenting has been difficult in recent days, with the speed of posting a comment ranging from barely adequate to ridiculously slow. Sometimes, the comment script simply times out, in which case you have to try 2 or 3 times before a comment will go through, which I suspect helps account for a noticable downward tick in the daily volume of comments last week. I apologize for the frustration! I’ve been frustrated too. :) Anyway, it turns out the reason for these problems is a combination of my aforeblogged RAM issues and the enormous size of the comment table in my blog’s MySQL database (92,194 rows and growing). After the jump, an excellent, detailed explanation of the problem from WestHost tech Jonny Filmore.
As for solutions, I finally just bought a much-needed RAM upgrade for my dedicated server (I’ve been dragging my feet on that, for financial reasons, but bit the bullet just now), so that should be installed soon, and hopefully it will help, both with comments and with general site slowness issues during peak traffic times (like right now, after InstaBoost LIX). Beyond that, I may eventually need to consult the WordPress forums about some of the issues that Jonny mentions below.
P.S. REMINDER: I recently made some tweaks to my blog’s appearance. If this page looks like a monolithic one-column layout, it means your browser isn’t loading my stylesheet correctly. This page should look approximately like this (allowing, of course, for variations in browsers and window size). If it doesn’t, please clear your cache and/or cookies, and reload. Thanks!
Arielle Goodley is shocked, SHOCKED that St Hilda’s college at Oxford University — an all-female school — won’t let her wear her nightgown to breakfast. On the bright side, Arielle, now the entire world has seen you in your nightgown.
Ah, there’s nothing like a manufactured controversy whose entire raison d’etre is to create an opportunity to show pictures of boobies. (Hat tip: Fark.)
Speaking of which, I really need a blog category for “hot girls” or “boobies” or something. I’ll have to work on that. :)
UPDATE: I don’t mean to imply that Arielle Goodley is, in fact, a “hot girl,” because, well…
For (I believe) the first time ever, I just got an “Indeed” from InstaPundit. That’s pretty much the highest compliment you can get from Glenn, possibly tied with a “Read the whole thing” (which I’ve gotten once) and a “Heh” (if you’re trying to be funny).
Anyway, welcome, InstaPundit readers! Keep scrolling down… as it happens, I’ve been blogging a lot, about a lot of different topics, in the last ~20 hours, so hopefully you’ll find something you like!
P.S. Long-time readers, remember when I used to keep count of my “InstaBoosts”? Well, I lost track during Katrina, but I just counted them up, and today link’s from InstaPundit is InstaBoost LIX (that’s 59, for you Arabic numeral types). Woohoo! :)
“This one isn’t very exciting, but it is a depression“: Tropical Depression 2-E has formed in the Eastern Pacific. “As further development is not expected, the only problems it will cause will be heavy rains in southwest Mexico,” says Charles Fenwick.
Meanwhile, WXNation offers a review of “Katrina: The Lost Episode,” a one-hour “It Could Happen Tomorrow” special that will air on The Weather Channel tomorrow at 9:00 PM EDT, kicking off TWC’s “Hurricane Week.” Apparently it’s quite good. Personally, I’m just glad it doesn’t conflict with the premiere of the new Blue Collar Comedy Tour special. (The TWC special airs at 6pm Phoenix time; the blue-collar boys start at 8 on Comedy Central.) Otherwise, there was going to be a serious war over the TV in the Loy household. :)
In other weather news, somebody send Kristy an ark!
P.S. On the other hand, sending an ark might just be delaying the inevitable, if the 5-day forecast on Casey’s blog is any indication: