Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Remember Floyd:

...and four years ago we were cowering in the face of Hurricane Floyd, another large storm that threatened to come ashore as a Category 4, but weakened to 2 before pounding the Carolina and Virginia coasts.

Floyd from space, enhanced (GSFC)

Even though Floyd had weakened considerably, the flooding caused large problems when the Tar, Neuse, Pamlico and Roanoake Rivers overran their banks. The floodwaters drowned thousands of chickens and pigs, and swept materials from farm livestock sewage holding ponds into the rivers.

Floyd was categorized as a 500-year storm. A more useful, but fully equivalent way of thinking of this is to consider the event as having a 0.2 percent probability of ocurring in any given year. The 500-year method is very prone to seducing people into thinking that now they had gone through Floyd, they had 499 safe years left -- a classic case of the gambler's fallacy. Well, surprise, here we are four years later, with Isabel knocking at our door - and what are the chances? Exactly the same as before -- they are independent events.

The Hurricane Hunters have some great photos from inside the eyes of various storms. This one shows some amazing cloud structure in Floyd:

Sept 13 Floyd structure

Here's the Isabel NOAA Forecast Advisory Archive.

This is a link to a loop of the latest water vapor images from the GOES satellite (an earlier version of the satellite Lockheed-Martin dropped on the floor last Saturday...). Water vapor tends to show the flow structures much better, and the flow of the images often reminds me that we live on a planet similar to Venus, Jupiter, etc. (oh, except for that 'life' thingy).

...and I see that the NOAA image server seems to be hostile to Mac/IE browsers, sigh... but Safari seems to work.

Our happy little home:

Full Disk Visible, EastFull Disk Visible, Indian OceanFull Disk Visible, GOES-9