WeatherNation Blog

Recent Earthquakes, Isaac Update, Labor Day Forecast


An earthquake this morning off the coast of the Philippines has caused some concerns for Tsunamis in the Pacific.  This was a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 but it was very deep at nearly 22 miles below the sea floor.  Epicenter was located 93km (58mi) East of Sulangan, Philippines.

Earlier this morning a Tsunami Watch had been issued for Hawaii but that has been canceled due to no apparent threat of a Tsunami from this earthquake.

California Earthquakes

A recent sequences of frequent earthquakes in Southern California is causing concern for residents. Although, none of these earthquakes were that significant, the number of them in a short period of time may mean that tectonic plates are becoming more unsettled. This type of event is called a Swarm. From Wikipeidia: “Earthquake swarms are events where a local area experiences sequences of many earthquakes striking in a relatively short period of time. The length of time used to define the swarm itself varies, but the United States Geological Survey points out that an event may be on the order of days, weeks, or months.[1] They are differentiated from earthquakes succeeded by a series of aftershocks by the observation that no single earthquake in the sequence is obviously the main shock. Earthquake swarms are one of the events typically preceding eruptions of volcanoes.”

Earthquakes from this past weeek:

And the Earthquakes have been continuing for the past day, with 72 reported in some of the same areas:

Images From the USGS

From the “More than 400 earthquakes greater than magnitude 1.0 have been recorded in Imperial County since Saturday evening, said U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Elizabeth Cochran. The largest were a 5.3 and a 5.5 about midday Sunday. Scientists say the reason is not fully understood, but there is a clue: Earthquake faults work much differently south of the Salton Sea than they do closer to Los Angeles. Take, for instance, the San Andreas fault as it runs through Los Angeles County. It’s a fault where, generally speaking, two plates of the Earth’s crust are grinding past each other. The Pacific plate is moving to the northwest, while the North American plate is pushing to the southeast. South of the Salton Sea, the fault dynamic changes. The Pacific and North American plates start to pull away from each other, Cochran told The Times from her Pasadena office. (That movement is what created the Gulf of California, which separates Baja California from the rest of Mexico.) So Imperial County is caught between these two types of faults in what is called the Brawley Seismic Zone, which can lead to an earthquake swarm, Cochran said.”

Rain Continues

Although Isaac has now lost its tropical cyclone status, it still bringing heavy rain and flooding conditions to the Central Mississippi River Valley before curving into the Ohio River Valley this weekend.  Rainfall totals will be impressive in these areas with the potential of 7 plus inches through early next week:

There could also be a chance for Severe Weather.

Not only is there concerns for damaging winds associated with severe thunderstorms but the sustained winds will also be quite strong.  Memphis has issued a  Wind Advisory:


Holiday Weekend Outlook

With the exception of the portions of the Northeast and the Ohio River Valley, most of the nation will be able to enjoy pleasant conditions for the Labor Day weekend. Those of you in the Ohio River Valley will want to have a plan B in mind for out door plans throughout this coming weekend.


Hot weather extends from the Dakotas all the way down to Texas.  A slight cool down for the Northeast while the Northwest keeps seasonal temperatures.


Cooling down in the Midwest but staying hot in the Southern Plains.  Rain from Isaac will move through the Ohio Valley and into the Mid Atlantic region. Dryer weather slowly returns to the Gulf Coast.


Cooling trend continues for the Midwest but remaining generally rain-free. Temperatures drop by about 10 degrees compared to Saturday. Soggier weather impacts the Northeast.

Have a great weekend!

Gretchen Mishek

Isaac Pushes Flooding Rains Toward Ohio Valley

Soggy Swirl. The soggy remains of “Isaac” are pushing north across the Mississippi River Valley, soaking Arkansas and southern Missouri. Thursday evening IR image courtesy of the Naval Research Lab.

Isaac: A Drought-Denting Extra-Tropical Rainstorm. The models are in pretty good agreement that what’s left of Isaac will push toward Kansas City and St. Louis, then veer east into Peoria and Indianapolis, unleashing excessive rains on drought-parched counties across the Midwest and Ohio River Valley. Rain is coming too late to help farmers this year, but Isaac’s soggy remnants may help to recharge soil moisture and underground aquifers.

Instant Deluge. When you move to St. Louis, Louisville or Cincinnati, the last thing you probably think about is a washed-up hurricane washing out your Labor Day plans. NOAA HPC is printing out some 4-8″ rainfall amounts from Missouri to West Virginia from Saturday into Monday of next week.

Washout! Here’s what a tropical storm can do, turning creeks into raging rivers, washing out highways from the sheer force of moving water. Photo courtesy of WKRG.

Not Recommended. This is how many people mee their maker, crossing flooded-out roads. All it takes is 2 feet of rapidly-moving water to turn your vehicle into a boat, with potentially tragic consequences. As the NWS likes to say, “turn around, don’t drown!” Find a detour or stay put until waters recede. Thanks to Anna Mills and WeatherNation TV for passing on this pic taken near Mobile, Alabama.

Not Again. Although the new and improved ($14.5 billion) levee system protected metro New Orleans, the outlying parishes didn’t fair nearly as well, in fact in some areas flooding rivaled Katrina, 7 years ago (almost to the day). Details: “Residents evacuate their flooded neighborhood, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in LaPlace, La. Isaac staggered toward central Louisiana early Thursday, its weakening winds still potent enough to drive storm surge into portions of the coast and the River Parishes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.” (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Isaac Headlines:

* Flooding areas north and south of New Orleans, and officials had to scramble to evacuate and rescue people as waters quickly rose.
* Along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans, officials sent scores of buses and dozens of high-water vehicles to help evacuate about 3,000 people as rising waters lapped against houses and left cars stranded
* Floodwaters rose waist-high in some neighborhoods, and the Louisiana National Guard was working with sheriff’s deputies to rescue people stranded in their homes.

Severe Flooding. Details: “A submerged cow is stranded amid debris in floodwaters after Isaac passed through the region, in Plaquemines Parish, La., Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Isac staggered toward central Louisiana early Thursday, its weakening winds still potent enough to drive storm surge into portions of the coast and the River Parishes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.” (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

* The LouisianaNational Guard ceased rescue operations in Plaquemines Parish, saying it felt confident it had gotten everyone out. There were no serious injuries. National Guard spokesman Capt. Lance Cagnolatti said guardsmen would stay in the area over the coming days to help.
* To the east, evacuations were ordered in a sparsely-populated area as a lake dam threatened to break near the Mississippi-Louisiana border. Officials in Tangipahoa Parish, La., feared the water it would pour into the already swollen river would flood low-lying areas downstream. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said officials there would release water at the dam.
* The hardest-hit area was Plaquemines Parish, southeast of New Orleans, where floodwaters overtopped at least one levee on Wednesday and left many homes under about 12 feet of water.

Entire Louisiana Parishes Submerged. Details: “A car sits submerged after Isaac passed through the region, in Plaquemines Parish, La., Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Isaac staggered toward central Louisiana early Thursday, its weakening winds still potent enough to drive storm surge into portions of the coast and the River Parishes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.” (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

* Parish President Billy Nungesser said U.S. Army National Guard troops and local sheriff’s office officials were going house to house through the area on Thursday to ensure that there were no deaths or injuries.
* Clearing weather permitted the use of military helicopters, mostly UH-60 Blackhawks, to aid in the operation.
* In St. John the Baptist Parish, northwest of the city, about 3,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes before dawn on Thursday due to storm surges from Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, authorities said.
* In Slidell, a town of about 27,000 people northeast of New Orleans, storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain left the Eden Isle community under about a foot of water.
* Emergency services rescued about 350 people from Slidell homes and neighboring communities hit by more severe flooding, local authorities said.

A Lonely Walk. Although downtown New Orleans dodged a bullet with Isaac, surrounding suburbs (not protected by the new levee) weren’t nearly as lucky. Details: “A man walks through floodwaters from Tropical Storm Isaac in Jean Lafitte, La., Aug. 30, 2012. The storm’s once fierce winds slowed to 45 miles per hour on Thursday as it moved out of southern Louisiana and headed north, continuing to bring heavy rains and flooding.” (Michael Appleton/The New York Times)

* Nearly half of Louisiana electrical customers lost power and another 150,000 were out in neighboring Mississippi. Louisiana’s Public Service Commission said 901,000 homes and businesses around the state — about 47 percent of all customers — were without power Thursday. Utility company Entergy said that included about 157,000 in New Orleans.
* New Orleans’ biggest problems seemed to be downed power lines, scattered tree limbs and minor flooding. One person was reported killed, compared with 1,800 deaths from Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi.
* Multi-billion dollar defenses built to protect New Orleans itself, after it was ravaged by Katrina almost exactly seven years ago, passed their first major test, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Storm Surge Aftermath. Tides rose 8-12 feet across coastal Mississippi and Louisiana, and although water levels dropped slightly today as Isaac’s winds diminished, coastal areas remained engulfed in water. Details: “Debris lines the parking lot of the Pass Christian Harbor on Thursday, August 30, 2012.” (Amanda McCoy/Biloxi Sun Herald/MCT)

* A Coast Guard helicopter hoisted a couple and their dogs early Thursday from a home in LaPlace, between the Mississippi Riverand Lake Ponchartrain, The couple was taken to New Orleans and reported in good condition.
* The oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico region has so far reported no major storm-related damage to infrastructure. Energy production was expected to start ramping up again, after nearly grinding to a halt as Isaac closed in on Louisiana on Tuesday.
* President Barack Obama declared federal emergencies in Louisiana and Mississippi late Wednesday, allowing federal aid to be freed up for affected areas.

Mystery Ship Near Fort Morgan. Look what washed up on the beach at Gulf Shores, Mississippi – whipped along by Isaac’s storm surge, wreckage of an old shipwreck. Details from Meyer Vacation Rentals via Facebook: “Look what Isaac uncovered! The first recent appearance of this mystery ship, believed to have been a blockade runner during the Civil War, was during Hurricane Ivan in 2004. In 2008, Hurricane Ike gave us a bigger glimpse. And now in 2012, Hurricane Isaac is giving us a nearly full view. Hmmm . . . 2004, 2008, 2012. All hurricanes with names beginning with I. All within a couple of weeks on the calendar. While we hope it’s the end of the pattern, we must admit it sure is interesting to see it appear!

Hurricane Leslie? Still a tropical storm, “Leslie” is forecast to become a hurricane, and then recurve to the north/northwest, posing some risk to Bermuda. The map above shows a strong Category 3 Hurricane Leslie next Friday, September 7. Odds are it will stay out to sea, but an approaching trough of low pressure may nudge Leslie farther to the northwest. New England will probably experience strong swells from this major hurricane; right now the odds of landfall over the USA are small, less than 1 in 10.


Hurricane Isaac Drives Up Gas Prices. Could That Affect The Election? The Washington Post has the story; here’s an excerpt: ”According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Isaac has forced 93 percent of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico to come to a halt. That’s a loss of 1.3 million barrels daily of crude, about 22 percent of all U.S. oil production. Five gasoline refineries in the Gulf and four crude pipelines have also closed temporarily. It’s not surprising, then, that gas prices are now jumping even higher, to about $3.80 per gallon. Gas prices had already risen 40 cents per gallon in the last two months after the United States tightened oil sanctions against Iran and a refinery exploded in Venezuela. Isaac is adding even new pressure. So, could these higher fuel prices sway the November election?

Severe Weather Warnings: Twitter, Text or TV? Here’s an interesting story from Information Week: “NOAA awarded four grants, worth a total of $879,000, in an attempt to understand and improve the use of various media in delivering timely information in a way that encourages people to take action to protect themselves.  The grants are in support of NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation initiative. Experts from the agency’s Storm Prediction Center, National Severe Storms Laboratory, and weather and river forecast centers will work with the award recipients. Twitter, text, email, the Web, or traditional media–what’s the best source of information in the face of life-threatening weather conditions like Hurricane Isaac? The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded four research grants to find out.

Advanced Tornado/Hurricane Shelter Panels From Recycled Materials. Here’s an interesting post from Clean Technica: “Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham have designed new storm shelter panels made from recycled materials that have passed the National Storm Shelter Association’s tornado threat test. The new panels are a part of a new high-tech shelter they are designing.”

Sony’s 84″ 4K TV In Stores By The End Of The Year. HDTV is so 2005. According to Sony and other TV manufacturers it’s almost obsolete, because now there’s 4K TV! They have to come up with a better name though. Details from; here’s an excerpt: “The biggest announcement from Sony’s IFA press conference, if you’re going purely by the size of the device, was the unveiling of its KD-84X9005 BRAVIA LCD TV. Packing an 84-inch LCD panel with 3,840 x 2,160 pixels (that’s a total of 8.29 megapixels), the KD-84X9005 is Sony’s first 4K television and outdoes Sharp’s AQUOS LC-90LE745U in resolution, although not in size. In another first, the edge-lit LED unit also features passive 3D instead of the active 3D seen in the company’s previous 3D models.”

* if you really have your heart set on a monstrous 145″ 4K TV, check this out. Only one small problem: there’s no 4K content…yet.

Galactic Service: Virgin Airlines Offers One Frequent Flier A Trip To Space. It’s pretty high up on my bucket list: seeing Earth (and weather) from 200 miles above the ground; at some point the prices will come down, right? No time soon, I fear. TechCrunch has the story; here’s an excerpt: “Virgin America is one of my favorite airlines to fly on — it’s kind of like the airline of the future, with interactive displays in every headrest, cool lighting, an animated safety video, and there’s almost always WiFi on board. But Virgin is looking to be even more futuristic, promising the customer with the most miles at the end of the year a chance to upgrade to Galactic status. That’s right, the person who flew the most on Virgin Airlines will win a ride to space courtesy of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Starting now through August 7, 2013, the contest will allow the most frequent flier to take a trip on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, a carbon composite commercial space craft.”

Experimental Device May Keep Trucks From Jack-Knifing. Technology will save us! Maybe not, but I found this entry from interesting: “If there’s one thing that truck drivers don’t want their articulated tractor/trailer rigs to do, it’s jack-knifing. This typically occurs when the tractor skids on the road, and the momentum of the trailer causes it to swing out from behind, ultimately resulting in the tractor and trailer being folded up against one another – not unlike a jack knife’s body and blade. The folded rig usually ends up blocking the road, and the tractor can’t undo the situation under its own power. Fortunately, Greek researchers have recently created a system that they claim could greatly reduce jack-knifing.”



My Photo

Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather

The Aftermath of Isaac

We’re tracking the aftermath of Isaac, leaving flooding conditions across portions of the south and the fear of levees and dams failing.

Impacts of Isaac

We have seen numerous amounts of 6″+ totals coming out of the system so far, some of the heaviest in coastal areas and New Orleans. Here are some of the totals as of earlier today:

  • Pascagoula, MS: Approximately 20” (via WeatherBug stations in the area, the airport reported 7.5″ Wednesday)
  • Gretna, LA: 18.35”
  • New Orleans International Airport: 9.69”
  • Waveland, MS: 8.69”
  • Mobile, AL: 4.67”

Some of this heavy rain has led to severe flooding (along with the storm surge). We reported yesterday on the dam near Braithwaite, LA that water overtopped, causing water to reach the peaks of third-level homes in the area. This morning we are hearing of more cities underwater, including Pascagoula, MS and Slidell, LA. It appears the Slidell water was due to a breach in railroad tracks. We are also watching other dams this morning, as the NWS New Orleans put out a statement this morning that the Lake Tangipahoa Dam in southern Mississippi could end up failing later today.

The peak wind we have found was the 113 mph gust reported yesterday morning in Belle Chasse, LA that we reported on. However, one of the more impressive factoids that came out of the storm was that New Orleans had a wind gust of at least 30 mph for 51 straight hours during the storm!

The Times-Picayune is reporting this morning that 700,000 people lost power in Louisiana throughout the storm, and that most of New Orleans was included in that total. It is possible that some could be without power for a week.

And for those not along the Gulf Coast, gasoline saw its biggest national jump for one day in the past 18 months.

Where the Storm is Going Next


Isaac is quickly weakening as it heads somewhat northward, bringing rain over the next few days for the Central Plains and Ohio Valley.

The path of this storm is expected to be a little bit more south through the Ohio Valley over the next few days, and some areas including St. Louis and Louisville could see 4”+ of rain throughout the weekend. With the start of college football this weekend, there could be some soggy games out there!

You may ask if this system will continue to have strong winds like Ike did as it moves across the country. The answer should likely be no. We have a different upper air set up with Isaac compared to Ike, where it’s more favorable to weaken compared to what Ike did. You can see more in the explanatory graphic above from the NWS Wilmington OH office.

Other Tropical Systems

 There are a couple other tropical systems out there, neither of which is expected to currently affect the US and expected to mainly be fish and boat storms.

Hurricane Kirk is spinning out in the Central Atlantic, moving to the NW. Kirk should soon start turning to the northeast, avoiding both Bermuda and the Azores.

We also now have Tropical Storm Leslie, currently moving to the west. A gradual turn to the northwest is expected, as well as strengthening to hurricane status by the weekend. We’ll have to watch this system to make sure it doesn’t have any impacts on the Lesser Antilles or Bermuda.

Send us your photos!

We would also love to see your videos and photos of the storm — whether it’s of the storm rolling through your area or the aftermath of Isaac – of course, only if you can do it safely! Your safety is ALWAYS our number one concern here at WeatherNation. If you do so, you can upload them to the WeatherNationTV website by clicking here. You can also post them on our Facebook page, @ us on Twitter, or upload them via our app for iOS devices (like the iPhone). You can help tell the story of how Isaac has affected your area and your photos/videos may be featured on-air and online!

Stick with WeatherNation for the very latest on recovery efforts of Isaac as well as the weather for your area!

Meteorologist D.J. Kayser
Follow me on Twitter at: @weathrlver

Isaac Headlines

But storms of Category 3 and above are likely to become more common. In fact, scientists have already observed an uptick in intense hurricanes since 1970, according to an upcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which Abraham has reviewed. And a rating of Category 3 is enough to destroy lives.” – excerpt from a story about a hypothetical “Category 6″ hurricane from Discovery News below.

What Category 1? I think a lot of people (myself included) underestimated Isaac. “Category 1 – how bad can it be?” Katrina was a Category 4, so the natural instinct was to discount Isaac. But here’s the problem: the rating of a hurricane or tropical storm is far less important in the scheme of things than the speed of the storm. In the case of Isaac it stalled over southeastern Louisiana last night (as the models were hinting at Tuesday and we reported). That compounded the rainfall amounts. On Wednesday Isaac did a series of loops over the Gulf, coming ashore TWICE, and then drifting west/northwest at only 4-8 mph most of the day. Think of Isaac as a giant atmospheric vaccum cleaner, hoovering up Gulf moisture and unloading it on the parishes of Louisiana. As of 11:30 pm last night nearly a foot of rain had soaked metro New Orleans, persistent spiral bands sparking 3-4 month’s worth of rain in less than 36 hours.


Storm Surge. This is what hurricanes do; the combination of low pressure and sustained (extreme) winds carving out a dome of water that is pushed ashore out ahead of the eye. Tides can rise 5-10-15 feet in a matter of minutes, cutting off escape routes, increasing the risk of drowning in the storm. Reed Timmer took this remarkable photo as Isaac’s storm surge overran Lakeshore, Mississippi. Thanks to Reed and Kory Hartman at Severe Studios for passing this along.


Bad Idea. Here’s what NOT to do when a hurricane approaches: “Against the advice of authorities, young people frolic in the high surf on the Lake Pontchartrain lakefront in Mandeville, La. as Isaac batters the north shore with high winds and high tides, Wednesday Aug. 29, 2012.” (AP Photo/The Times-Picayune, Ted Jackson)

Isaac Headlines:

* Arrival falls on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

* New Orleans levee systems holding up well.

* Water has toppled over at least one rural levee. Possibly two.

* At least two dozen people were stuck and in need of a rescue on the east bank of Plaquemines Parish.

* Authorities issued a new mandatory evacuation order in the parish for a portion of the west bank of the Mississippi River out of concern that more storm surge would be pushed into the area.

* Mandatory evacuations on the east bank and other portions of the west bank had been issued earlier.

* Water driven by the large and powerful storm pushed over the top of an 18-mile stretch of one levee in Plaquemines Parish south of New Orleans, flooding some homes in a thinly populated area. The levee is one of many across the low-lying coastal zone and not part of New Orleans’ defenses.

* More than a half million Entergy Customers without power.

Searching For Survivors. Details: ”National Guard soldiers look for troubled residents during Tropical Storm Isaac in Pearlington, Miss., Aug. 29, 2012. Tropical Storm Isaac hovered over the Gulf Coast on Wednesday morning, punishing southeast Louisiana and parts of Mississippi with wind gusts of 75 mph, horizontal rain and the threat of calamitous flooding.” (Brendan Hoffman/The New York Times.

A Ghoulish Sight. The storm surge (8-12 feet above normal high tide) was so powerful it unearthed coffins, as reported by Jason Whitely via Facebook: ”Tombs and caskets are floating in flood water from an above ground cemetery near Braithwaite, LA where Hurricane Isaac’s storm surge topped a local levee.”

Staggering Flooding. The parishes just south and east of downtown New Orleans (not protected by the new $14 billion levee) were hardest hit, as reported by Jeff Leblanc via Twitter: “this was taken in

Additional Rainfall Thru Sunday. Another 10″ of rain from the soggy dregs of Isaac may soak Shreveport, Louisiana, with some 8″ amounts predicted near Little Rock, 5″ amounts for St. Louis. Although it’s coming too late for most farmers this summer, water from Isaac will help to recharge soil moisture and underground aquifers, helping in 2013.

Real-Time Winds. This is one of my favorite sites - it did a very good job of picking up Hurricane Isaac over Louisiana yesterday. It combines current conditions with a high-resolution NOAA NDFD wind forecast (more like a “nowcast”) looking out 6 hours or so. Very cool.

Could Isaac Join List Of Billion Dollar Storms? We won’t know for a couple of days or weeks, but flood and surge damage from Category 1 Isaac is going to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. WWL-TV has more details: “Here is a complete list of tropical storms and hurricanes causing at least $1 billion in damage to the U.S. since 2000. (Listed chronologically.)

Hurricane Irene, August 2011. Category 1 hurricane made landfall over coastal NC and moved northward along the mid-Atlantic Coast (NC, VA, MD, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, VT) causing torrential rainfall and flooding across the Northeast. Over seven million homes and business lost power during the storm. Damage estimated to be $9.8 billion.

Tropical Storm Lee, September 2011. Wind and flood damage across the Southeast (LA, MS, AL, GA, TN), followed by considerably more damage from record flooding across the Northeast (PA, NY, NJ, CT, VA, MD). Pennsylvania and New York were most affected. Property damage estimated at $1.3 billion.”

Hurricane Safety: When The Lights Go Out. has some very good advice; here’s an excerpt: “Hurricane shutters, water jugs and batteries are not the only things to consider when extreme weather threatens the coast. Officials said Wednesday morning that more than half a million customers were without power in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama as Hurricane Isaac bore down on the Gulf Coast — and in several regions, experts said the worst is yet to come. At least 5,200 people spent Tuesday night in Red Cross shelters, according to Red Cross spokesman Jonathan Aiken. The agency opened 80 shelters in six states. Power outages and evacuations can pose safety issues, especially for those managing chronic illnesses.”

Isaac Brings Back Painfull Katrina Memories. What are the odds? 7 years after Katrina, to the day…Isaac arrives. But the storm proved that a “mere Category 1″ can still produce widespread and severe flood-related damage. Sometimes the weakest tropical storms and hurricanes (moving the slowest) squeeze out the most extreme rainfall amounts. Here’s an excerpt of a story at Bloomberg Businessweek: “NEW ORLEANS (AP) — As she loaded supplies into her car to prepare for Isaac, Linda Grandison’s mind rewound to the nightmare of Katrina: Back in 2005, she had to flee her family’s flooded home and waited on a bridge for more than three days before being rescued by helicopter. Though Isaac is far less powerful than the historic hurricane that crippled New Orleans, the system was on an eerily similar path and forecast to make landfall on the seventh anniversary of Katrina, raising familiar fears and old anxieties in a city still recovering from a near-mortal blow seven years ago.”

Hurricane Irene: Vermont Remembers The Storm One Year Later. Nobody predicted that the worst impacts of Irene would come hundreds of miles inland, days after landfall, in Vermont? Historic flooding resulted, as recounted in this Huffington Post story; here’s an excerpt: “WAITSFIELD, Vt. (AP) — For some, there will be block parties and parades. For others, a moment of silence. Or it might be just another day of cleaning up the mess. But if there’s one unifying event, it’ll probably be the sound of all Vermont’s church and town hall bells reverberating simultaneously through the same mountain valleys that Hurricane Irene’s floodwaters shredded exactly a year ago. Gov. Peter Shumlin has called for the bell-ringing commemoration as Vermonters make plans to pause on Tuesday or the days around it to reflect on how far the state has come since the remnants of Irene unleashed the worst flooding in recent memory, killing six people, wiping out hundreds of homes and businesses, and cutting off whole towns with miles of wiped-out roads and dozens of destroyed bridges.”

NASA To Field UAV’s To Monitor Hurricanes. Drones providing data to make hurricane forecasts more accurate? Government Security News has the story; here’s an excerpt: “The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will field two unmanned aircraft capable of high altitude, long duration observation, to fly over hurricanes during the peak of hurricane season in September. The two surplus Northrop Grumman Global Hawks, said NASA on Aug. 15 in a post on its Web site, are part of the agency’s Hurricane Severe Storm Sentinel Mission, or HS3. Both Global Hawks will be flying out of NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in September, too late for Hurricane Isaac currently lashing the Gulf Coast, but in time to monitor the peak of the hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. The hurricane season lasts from June 1st to November 30th, with the most active period usually falling in September, when wind shear that can tear storms apart is low and ocean temperatures are at their warmest.”


Will Hurricanes Ever Reach Category 6? I hope I’m not around if and when we achieve this dubious meteorological milestone. The answer: probably not, but just the fact that some are asking the question is troubling enough. Here’s an excerpt from a story at Discovery News: “As it moved toward to coast of Louisiana today, Hurricane Isaac was upgraded to a Category 1 on a scale that tops out at 5. With wind speeds of about 75 miles per hour, Hurricane Isaac just barely earned the designation. Only at minimum speeds of 74 mph do winds become strong enough to cause significant damage, according to the National Hurricane Center. Even though Category 5 storms, which sustain catastrophic gusts that blow at 157 mph or higher, are extremely rare, scientists predict an increase in strong hurricanes with global warming. That raises the question: Will we ever need to push the hurricane scale up to a 6? Probably not, experts say. Even as warmer ocean temperatures provide more fuel for hurricanes, there are several factors that limit how powerful the storms can become.”


“Ask Paul”. Weather-related Q&A:

Dear Mr. Douglas,

As we all suffer through this overheated summer, following on an unprecedented run of months well above normal temperatures, it is certainly understandable to wonder about what connections North American temperatures rises may have with global trends.

It is interesting to me that on those occasions when you have chosen to write in your column on the subject, I can recall no mention of what’s going on in the rest of the world. Especially do I have in mind the cool and rainy spring in Northern Europe, which weather has persisted into the summer.

Perhaps you’d like to comment on this phenomenon in your column.

Yours very truly,

James Howard

James – your question is a good one. Anyone can cherry-pick data to make a point. If the USA is breaking heat records while the rest of North America experiences unusually cool weather, it would be much harder to make a case that larger trends are at work. Keeping a global perspective is tricky, even for meteorologists, who usually have a local bias, at best watching weather patterns for the USA. It is true that the UK and much of northern Europe did experience a cool spell during the spring and part of the summer. I checked one of NASA’s databases to find monthly temperature anomalies for the entire planet, the actual departure from normal, averaging highs and lows for every day, over all continents. The result is above. The bright-red shaded areas show an average temperature anomaly of +2 C, or nearly 4 F. Even the southern hemisphere (where it’s winter, I’m told) showed a slightly warmer bias. It’s true that one year doesn’t “prove” anything. But we’ve seen these trends year after year, for several decades now. No, you can’t look out your window and make grand pronouncements about global warming. But the trends are fairly significant. All I’m trying to do is share the trends – not make policy suggestions. I’m a small businessman; I think the market will ultimately drive innovation and help us mitigate some of the warming we’re seeing. What I can’t predict is when our political leaders in Washington D.C. will start to take this seriously. On that your guess is as good as mine.

Maps above created by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. You can call up any month, and get a global plot.


One Step Closer To Cyborgs: Scientists Create Biological Tissue With Embedded Wiring. Cue The Terminator. Here’s an excerpt from “Under its human skin, James Cameron’s Terminator was a fully-armored cyborg built out of a strong, easy-to-spot hyperalloy combat chassis – but judging from recent developments, it looks like Philip K. Dick and his hard-to-recognize replicants actually got it right. In a collaboration between Harvard, MIT and Boston Children’s Hospital, researchers have figured out how to grow three-dimensional samples of artificial tissue that are very intimately embedded within nanometer-scale electronics, to such an extent that it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. It could lead to a breakthrough approach to studying biological tissues on the nanoscale, and may one day be used as an efficient, real-time drug delivery system – and perhaps, why not, even to build next-generation androids.”


12 Brunch Orders Worse Than A Steak Dinner. I want to thank my dear sister for passing this one along; thanks for ruining Eggs Benedict (forever). Back to my broccoli. Here’s an excerpt “…The one redeeming quality about this brunch staple: It contains protein-rich eggs, which are a great source of selenium and vitamin D, says Margaux J. Rathbun, certified nutritional therapy practitioner and creator of nutrition website Authentic Self Wellness. But the benefits of this calorie bomb end there, thanks to toppings like ham and and high-fat Hollandaise sauce—all served on an English muffin….Exactly how bad are they? Eggs Benedict from one popular breakfast chain come in at a whopping 1,050 calories and 57 grams of fat.”

Climate Stories…

Dear Paul Douglas…Tell them! 2013 is going to be worse than 2012! And 2014 is going to be worse than 2013! The only question is: will they be somewhat worse, or will they be a lot worse?” – J Drumke. Ph.D. Ecology, Superior WI.


Arctic Sea Ice Will Vanish Within 3 Years, Says Expert. Some troubling predictions in this article at; here’s an excerpt: “ARCTIC sea ice has melted to a record low, confirming experts’ fears about the “devastating” impact of climate change on the planet. Figures published yesterday from the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), in the United States, reveal that sea ice in the Arctic has dropped to its lowest level since satellite recording started 30 years ago. It is the sixth year in a row that a new record low has been recorded, following consecutively worsening melts first identified in 2007. There is now 40 per cent less sea ice in the polar region than the average levels recorded between 1979 and 2000. With melting season still not over, concerns are growing that in a few years there will be no summer sea ice at all – spelling disaster for wildlife such as polar bears, which rely on ice to hunt.

Colorado’s Climate – Changes Coming? Here’s an excerpt of a post, from a TV meteorologist I have a lot of respect for, Mike Nelson in Denver. He too is being attacked for being pro-science, and having the temerity to actually believe the climate scientists when it comes to AGW. Here is a portion of a recent post on climate change impacting Colorado’s day to day weather patterns: “…..I address this topic at some peril! In many ways, the job description for the TV “Weathercaster” is to simply be the nice friendly person that tells you what the high was, how much rain will fall and what to expect next weekend. I have found that, especially in recent years, broaching the topic of GLOBAL WARMING can stir up deep emotions within viewers and can bring some rather tough responses via e-mail and Facebook.Over the course of time, I have been called many different things while talking and writing about this subject. From courageous to foolish, to “the Pied Piper of Anti-Science”! I appreciate the fact that my viewers have many differing views and opinions on many issues and climate change is one topic that seems to bring a strong reaction.”

Here’s a Facebook post from Greg Fishel, one of my oldest friends, the Chief Meteorologist at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina. He’s been there a long time, a true fixture in the Carolinas. 5 years ago he was very skeptical about climate change, but after taking a closer look at the data, the peer-reviewed science, he changed his mind. Here is what he wrote: ”

  • - Completely understand Isaac is the big story, but wanted to get this out there. Just returned from the AMS Broadcast Conference/Short Course in Boston. One of the elements of the short course was a panel discussion on Climate Change with Dr. Kevin Trenberth of NCAR, Dr. Kerry Emanuel of MIT, and Dr. John Abraham of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team. First of all, there is no way that any rational human being sitting in that room could accuse any of these 3 gentlemen of being extremists. In fact, the pro-AGW folks that are not scientists are doing these researchers a grave disservice by making them look extreme. These are responsible researchers who are dedicated to the principles of the scientific method. They are skeptical by nature, and it is that skepticism that insures the conclusions they reach are based on fact and not emotion or politics. What really disturbed me is the number of meteorologists I know that are hard core skeptics, and… either chose not to attend the short course, or if they did never once raised their hand to confront the climate scientists. Until we abandon this “junior high dance” mentality where one side is locked to one side of the room, and the other side to the other side of the room, nothing gets resolved. To be fair, the AMS didn’t exactly make it cheap to attend the short course, so that may have played a role in increasing the number of no-shows. I know what it is to avoid conflict-I have done it most of my life, but if I do that, I have no right to bad mouth the people I am avoiding. Everybody involved in this debate needs to grow up, stop the name calling, and look for opportunities to engage in conversations with folks they don’t agree with. That’s the mature way to do it. It wasn’t that long ago that I was one of the name callers. When I realized that I was only looking for information that supported what I already believed, I concluded that I was not being loyal to the scientific method. I didn’t jump to the other extreme, but rather made a commitment to try my very best to be objective and open minded. By simply doing that, some said I had caved. Really? Do we want to live in a binary society where you’re either a zero or a one? Personally, I think the spectrum is still there-we just need to have the guts to explore it.


Study Offers New Hope For Increasing Global Food Production, Reducing Environmental Impact of Agriculture. Here’s a fascinating new paper from the University of Minnesota’s Institute On The Environment - an excerpt: “Can we have enough to eat and a healthy environment, too? Yes—if we’re smart about it, suggests a study published in Nature this week by a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota and McGill University in Montreal. Global demand for food is expected to double by 2050 due to population growth and increased standards of living. To meet this demand, it is often assumed we will need to expand the environmental burden of agriculture. The paper, based on analysis of agricultural data gathered from around the world, offers hope that with more strategic use of fertilizer and water, we could not only dramatically boost global crop yield, but also reduce the adverse environmental impact of agriculture.”

Why Does The GOP Still Ignore Climate Science?

Yes, I’m a (rare) Republican who acknowledges the obvious: 90 trillion tons of greenhouse gases in the last 50 years (EPA estimate) may actually be having some effect on our global climate. Here’s an excerpt of a story “…But instead of acknowledging the fact that climate change exists and is responsible for the increasingweatherextremes—more hurricanes, more snowstorms, more tornadoes, more scorching-drought-filled summers—the Republicans continue to not just ignore climate change, but mock President Obama for being concerned about it. The only mention of climate change in the entire 2012 Republican Platform isn’t in the environmental/energy section, but in a critique of Obama’s national security strategy:

“The current Administration’s most recent National Security Strategy reflects the extreme elements in its liberal domestic coalition…the strategy subordinates our national security interests to environmental, energy, and international health issues, and elevates “climate change” to the level of a “severe threat” equivalent to foreign aggression.”

Why would the Obama administration consider climate change to be a severe threat? Well, maybe it’s because the military and the Defense Department are really worried about it. Consider the Department of Defense’s Quadrennial Defense Review Report, which notes that:

“While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world. In addition, extreme weather events may lead to increased demands for defense support to civil authorities for humanitarian assistance or disaster response both within the United States and overseas.”

Photo credit above: NASA.



My Photo

Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather

Isaac Moves Onshore Over Louisiana

Isaac moved onshore for the second time earlier this morning, and is slowly starting to weaken. However, heavy rains are a big concern as we go through the next few days from the Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley.

Isaac as of 2 PM ET

Issac, now over land, is slowly starting to weaken. Winds are still reaching 75 mph, and the storm is finally starting to get a little kick to it, moving to the NW at 6 mph.

You can see the circulation of Isaac sitting just inland from the Gulf of Mexico on the Louisiana coastline via the wind map.

Impacts earlier today

Isaac has made two landfalls within the past 12-24 hours. The first, Tuesday Night near the mouth of the Mississippi, and then one earlier this morning around Port Fourchon.

We have seen high winds and impressive rainfall amounts from Isaac over the past couple days, greatly affecting how people are going about their lives in the Gulf Coast states. Above are some of the more impressive numbers we have found so far.

We’ve had reports of levees being topped in Plaquemines Parish. Areas near Braithwaite, LA are under 12′ of water from the overtopping. Residents are in the progress of being evacuated. We’ll have a picture from that area later in this blog.

We also had a report from Jeff Piotrowski of another levee almost being overtopped or breached in southern Plaquemines Parish. The levees are definitely going to be a concern in southern Louisiana over the next day.


We are looking at the system starting to pick up in speed over the next few days after hanging out over Louisiana for the next day or so. After that we should see the storm turn to the northeast and affect areas such as Illinois and Indiana into the weekend.

Rainfall amounts should be over 10″ in some locations of Louisiana over the next few days. As they system works northward, we expect to see rainfall amounts decrease, but 4″+ are possible from Missouri into Ohio through Monday morning.

Viewer Photos

Here are some of the latest photos we have gotten in from fans — we thank our fans very much for letting us use them on air and online!

Check out this flooded yard in Pass Christian, MS from @junk1600s

Another flooded street from @sweathers1971 in Pass Christian, MS

And here’s a photo from Braithwaite, LA where that levy was overtopped. Thanks to @devdomski for it!

And here is a photo from the Biloxi Sun Herald of the flooding conditions in the area.

We would also love to see your videos and photos of the storm, of evacuations in your area, and of preparations being made in your area — of course, only if you can do it safely! Your safety is ALWAYS our number one concern here at WeatherNation. If you do so, you can upload them to the WeatherNationTV website by clicking here. You can also post them on our Facebook page, @ us on Twitter, or upload them via our app for iOS devices (like the iPhone). You can help tell the story of how Isaac is affecting your area and your photos may be featured on-air and online!

You can also keep up-to-date with the very latest by watching our live stream on the WeatherNationTV homepage, just click on the red tab that says “Live” next to the video feed. You can also watch our headline segments and the weather forecast for each region on the home page.

We’ll continue to update you with the very latest — stay with WeatherNation!

Meteorologist D.J. Kayser
Follow me on Twitter at: @weathrlver