NASA’s Earth Observatory has satellite images that display flooding in the area around Fargo, North Dakota from early and late April 2013. They show waters of the Red River covering farmland around the city.
Most homeowners insurance policies have exclusions that make them worthless when the home is damaged by common geologic problems such as floods, earthquakes, landslides, mine subsidence, cavern collapse and expansive soils. When a home is damaged the homeowner often is surprised that his “all perils” policy has these exclusions.
“According to a new technical report, the effects of climate change will continue to threaten the health and vitality of U.S. coastal communities’ social, economic and natural systems. The report, Coastal Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities: a technical input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment, authored by leading scientists and experts, emphasizes the need for increased coordination and planning to ensure U.S. coastal communities are resilient against the effects of climate change.” Quoted from the USGS press release.
“Climate change is already affecting the American people. Certain types of weather events have become more frequent and/or intense, including heat waves, heavy downpours, and, in some regions, floods and droughts. Sea level is rising, oceans are becoming more acidic, and glaciers and arctic sea ice are melting. These changes are part of the pattern of global climate change, which is primarily driven by human activity.” Quoted from the Executive Summary of the Federal Advisory Committee Draft Climate Assessment Report
“2012 was a historic year for extreme weather that included drought, wildfires, hurricanes and storms; however, tornado activity was below average. 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn.” Quoted from the NOAA press release.
Did you know that the NOAA website has a tabulation of “Watches, Warnings and Advisories” for each of the 50 states? These include blizzard warnings, avalanche warnings, fire weather watches, wind advisories and much more.
“The primary goal of U.S. Geological Survey Natural Hazards Response is to ensure that the disaster response community has access to timely, accurate, and relevant geospatial products, imagery, and services during and after an emergency event. [...] Post-event imagery and analysis can provide important and timely information about the extent and severity of an event. USGS Natural Hazards Response will also support the coordination of remotely sensed data acquisitions, image distribution, and authoritative geospatial information production as required for use in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery operations.” Quoted from the USGS Fact Sheet.
On November 19th the U.S. Department of the Interior releases Colorado River water from Lake Powell reservoir under its new science-based protocol for adaptive management of Glen Canyon Dam.
Since the dam was constructed in 1963 the river has not experienced its natural high flows. These controlled high flow experiments give the river an opportunity to redistribute sediments and scientists an opportunity to observe the change.
An article in the Anchorage Daily News explains how about 60% of physical goods shipped to disaster areas are not beneficial to the victims. If you want to help, the best way to do that is through a donation of money to an established relief organization.
The USGS real-time streamflow monitoring system is reporting record high water levels for this date for many streams in eastern New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware. Visit the USGS WaterWatch website for an updated map and access to their thousands of stream gages.
Google has a simple online GIS for Hurricane Sandy that you can use to display information from a variety of sources. (Use the checkboxes in the lower right margin to toggle data layers off and on. Data layers include information on weather, storm surge, emergency shelters, webcams locations, public alerts, traffic conditions, stream gauges and more.)
NOAA has posted a series of “U.S. Rainfall Potential Maps” that show the cumulative geographic distribution of potential rainfall amount across the eastern United States. Very large geographic areas could receive 12 inches of rain or more and experience significant flooding.
“Use ‘ProjectAlert’ to keep up with USGS scientists as they respond to floods, droughts, and chemical spills. These alerts are official, yet informal notices that describe flood, drought, or water quality conditions across the country, as well as how USGS field crews are responding to the event.” Quoted from the USGS website.
“September is National Preparedness Month, a time to highlight the threats posed by natural hazards and the importance for individuals and communities to be prepared.” Quoted from the USGS press release.
“The maps were provided to the National Weather Service for incorporation into a Web-based flood-warning system that can be used in conjunction with NWS flood-forecast data to show areas of predicted flood inundation associated with forecasted flood-peak stages.”
USGS has a new mapping technique known as “terrestrial lidar” to map urban flooding during events like Hurricane Isaac. “In a four-to-five minute scan, the instrument collects millions of topographic data points in a full 360-degree view to quickly produce highly accurate topographic information and can map areas up to two-thirds of a mile away.” Quote from the USGS press release.
Ancient pollen and charcoal preserved in deeply buried sediments in Egypt’s Nile Delta document the region’s ancient droughts and fires, including a huge drought 4,200 years ago associated with the demise of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, the era known as the pyramid-building time.
MunichRE has published a list of the ten natural disasters with the highest insured losses between 1980 and 2011. Six of the top ten are hurricanes, three are earthquakes and one is a regional flooding event.
Melting across the Greenland ice sheet has some rivers flowing at flood levels. Earth Observatory has a satellite image of flooding along the Watson River near Kangerlussuaq. The meltwater is a gray color from being laden with rock flour.
“The heaviest rainfall in 61 years fell on the Chinese capital city of Beijing on July 21, 2012. [...] The state news agency Xinhua reported that rainfall over Beijing averaged 170 millimeters (almost 7 inches), and reached 460 millimeters (18 inches) in the city’s Fangshan District. This color-coded image shows rainfall totals from July 21 and 22, 2012. The heaviest rainfall—more than 175 millimeters (7 inches)—appears in dark blue. The lightest rainfall—less than 25 millimeters or 1 inch—appears in light green.” Quoted from the Earth Observatory image release.
FEMA has published the website Ready.gov which provides lots of information about being prepared. Natural disasters make up an entire category on the site with lots of information on mitigation and how to citizens can prepare. Check it out.