Friday, November 2, 2012

Sandy Is The New Katrina


Photo credit: ABC News. The foundation is all that remains of a man's home  in Staten Island, NY when a 20 foot wave on top of 10+ feet of storm surge wiped it away in the early morning hours of Monday, October 30. 

7:00 PM EDT 11/2  (CEO Rich Foot) In the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina's impacts on New Orleans and the Gulf coast, Foot's Forecast published on this website a story titled  "A Beautiful City. A National Tragedy?" Now, 7 years later, it feels eerily familiar that we are watching another slow-moving catastrophe unfold before our eyes. I'll be blunt: My 75-member team and I have extreme concern our nation is facing the largest humanitarian crisis in it's history. If this is an outlandish claim, we invite a counter opinion as to why it's not. 

School-aged children waiting in line in New Jersey for gas.
Not unlike the scenes of desperation we saw 7 years ago.
Seeing this tragedy unravel begs the question: "Sandy vs. Katrina: Is It Fair To Compare?" We think it is, because both tragedies affected the same group: Americans. It's time for America to step up and act now. We urge you to donate to the Red Cross, the Salvation ArmyCatholic Charitiesthe United Methodist  Church or your local faith-based organization's relief effort, immediately. Our readers in Maryland have a number of good suggestions for other organizations to consider, in the comments of this post on our Central Maryland forecast page.

111 homes in Queens, burned to the ground.

One cannot measure death toll alone as an accurate gauge of a storm's effects, because the post-storm challenges of cold weather after Sandy, much like hot weather after Katrina will exacerbate existing problems of those without power, adding to the fatality and injury list. Has anyone thought about those on dialysis, undergoing cancer treatments, those who work for correctional facilities, utility workers without power themselves? When insured and uninsured losses are finally counted, as well as the government's response cost, we believe Sandy will easily eclipse Katrina to become the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. 

As far as disaster goes, Mid-Atlantic residents are far more familiar with paralyzing snowstorms and extreme cold - hazards that warm themselves up and eventually disappear, leaving the infrastructure generally unscathed. Residents affected by this storm are also accustomed to seeing terrible devastation wrought by hurricanes in the Southeast, along the central Gulf, not in Staten Island or Atlantic City.  Instead of dodging a bullet,, New York and New Jersey ended up in the line of fire. 

Photo credit: NBC News. New Yorkers lining up for bus service
Have the lessons of Katrina been applied and embraced? Whatever the country learned, and did not learn, is about to be revealed in cold fury by the citizens facing weeks without power as winter descends on them. In some communities, the entire infrastructure system is gone, hundreds of homes are either flooded, structurally unsound, unlivable or destroyed. And it's November. Temperatures are dropping, and frustration is boiling. For those who think "They're New Yorkers, they're used to the cold" - we invite you to spend ALL DAY, outside in 50 degree weather with no heat, limited food and no hope of power for weeks.  In Katrina, post-storm temperatures were in the 90's, not the 50's. That was a terrible situation to watch, but our citizens need help again, now.

One of hundreds of NYC subway escalators that remain flooded.
If this was your  only means of getting to work to make a living, what would you do?
What will be your role in helping our citizens in their darkest hour? Will your community, city or church rally to direct resources to those in greatest need? New York and New Jersey cannot do it alone. Neither can the federal government. If we are going to get these states back on their feet, it will require a national effort. Whoever is the next President will have an extremely daunting task, and he'll need all the help we can give.

We'd also like to see cries from those in media glass houses for "where's FEMA?" turn into "what can I do to help?" As John F Kennedy said, it's "Ask Not" time as in, "Ask not what your country can do for you, Ask what you can do for your country."  As for the  national media, when will we see efforts turn toward marshaling viewer awareness on how the public can help. When are we going to start seeing graphics with donation information for the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, local charities? When will anchors stop asking useless questions of FEMA, the answers for which are clearly the jurisdiction of local law enforcement. We'd like to see them instead ask, "how can we at (CNN, ABC, FOX, CBS, NBC, NPR) help you get the word out?"

Flood waters flooding Sandy's surge inundate coastal New Jersey
To all our new and seasoned readers, if you've followed our team before in disaster, you know Foot's Forecast is not timid in the predictions, or the post-storm analysis. It is time to accept that the worse case scenario, until now only modeled in simulations and tabletop exercises, has become real. For some, the worse case arrived with such ferocity and fervor, it looked more like a scene from Day After Tomorrow than reality. 

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal sloshing through a flooded
Manhattan street near the New York Public Library  

This is as real as it gets. We believe this storm has put America at a turning point, and we ask all our readers to do their part in to help this crisis as quickly as you possibly can. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

No comments:
Hurricane Sandy & Foot's Forecast


While Forecaster Aaron worked the Hurricane from Anne Arundel County, MD
Forecaster Foot personally briefed Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings Blake

Ocean City, MD Before Hurricane Sandy had even reached the coast of Cuba, the Foot's Forecast Tropical Team had already contacted several local emergency managers across Maryland, including Ocean City. Then, by three days out, as the threat was looming much larger, Meteorologist Alex Davies and CEO Rich Foot alerted the town's Emergency Services staff on Friday to a storm surge potential of 4 feet or more by Monday. 

Each day leading to the storm, from early morning to late at night, our forecasters kept town officials closely appraised of the latest National Hurricane Center projections and computer model scenarios. When the worst had passed, town officials reported back that the recorded water rise in Ocean City was 6.3 feet above mean sea level. Once the water subsided, Forecaster Joey went to assess the damage as shown in this album  titled "Battered But Not Beaten" posted on our Surf & Sail Team. 
A bent light pole in North Ocean City,
Photo by Forecaster Joey, 10/30/12
  • WEATHER INTELLIGENCE Our forecasters know that in a weather emergency, local officials need site-specific details to help streamline decision-making. Long before Hurricane Sandy's storm surge had begun, Ocean City's Department of Emergency Services could back their decision with real-time, on-demand actionable weather intelligence from our team, based on our tracking of NOAA buoy data, NHC aircraft reconnaissance, and cross referenced with several NWS forecast offices.
Forecaster Connor working with state and local officials
during the 2012 Dew Tour in Ocean City earlier this summer 

Anne Arundel County, MD  When it became clear to county and state emergency managers in Maryland that Hurricane Sandy posed risk to the region, emergency operations centers (EOCs) were activated on Sunday across the state. Before Anne Arundel County even scaled up their center, they requested our team provide a FEMA-course trained forecaster to work the storm with them, inside the EOC. 

  • ON-SITE SUPPORT When our forecasters work a storm on-site, their mastery of social media provides added value to the client's experience. In addition to serving as a liaison between the EOC and the team, Forecaster Aaron Salter participated in live briefings on the county's Public Access TV channel, provided decision support to the county BGE representative, and kept busy county officials updated on changes in the storm track. It's a level of service county officials enjoyed having, knowing the forecaster FEMA-level training and background for the role. 
Forecaster Aaron Salter (left) with Anne Arundel County Officials
at the Emergency Operations Center in Glen Burnie, MD

Before the next storm, isn't it time 
you consider the Foot's Forecast Team?
Photo of OC Fishing Pier by Forecaster Joey 

to learn more about our Weather Intelligence Services, 
contact us for a free phone or on-site consult: or call 443-929-0721 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            443-929-0721      end_of_the_skype_highlighting