Chesapeake Bay wind speed maps for Irene

WeatherUnderground shows the potential wind speeds from Hurricane Irene. Starting from the hurricane icon off the coast of Ocean City, those in the closest rings will have hurricane force winds. As you’ll note they are stronger on the right side than they are on the left. What I’m talking about below is for the circle WHEN the hurricane is in the position in Ocean City area, not when it is moving up to that area. The next ring is tropical storm winds > 50 knots per hour but less than 73 knots. This includes parts of the Eastern shore just about to Cambridge. The next ring, the largest ring, is tropical storm winds > 34 knots and < 50 knots. This includes basically everyone East of Bethesda, East of Woodbridge, East of the Mixing Bowl. Please note the storm will be moving, which is why toward the bottom you see the remnants of other circles drawn. There you will see a large swath of hurricane strength wind to the right of the storm when it the hurricane icon (not seen) is south of Newport News. In this ‘circle’ you’ll see hurricane strength winds extending over nearly the ENTIRE Eastern Shore. What does this mean in English?  Check out the Washington Post’s story on Wind Speed and what it means for your home and trees. Direct link to map:

You can monitor the wind speeds on the various bouys in the Chesapeake Bay if you so desire, all from your mobile phone.          ]]>

Hurricane Irene on the Chesapeake Bay–time to get nervous.

During Isabel, we lost a few dozen roofing shingles along with having quite a bit of water flood into our house through the ceilings. All told I think it was about $10,000 in damage after FEMA and the insurance companies finished arguing. I also lost quite a bit of soil on my seawall, which spent hours underwater.  The nearby towns of Chesapeake Beach and North Beach were heavily flooded, with 4 feet of water heading inland a few hundred yards and National Guard troops called out to control security.  We were also without power for 7 days.

The posts are normally 6 feet above sea level
    So how will Irene stack up to this storm?  It’s slower moving, stronger, but also further away than Isabel.  The most similar track was that of Hurricane Floyd in 1999, which caused considerable rain and flooding along with some tropical storm level winds. As you can see from the pictures, I’m not really worried about a storm surge taking my house.  That would be basically a biblical level Tsunami to get up the 40 odd foot cliff to my actual house.  I do anticipate my seawall getting another battering from this storm, which means I might need to rearrange the rocks (again) before the coming winter squalls. The rain is going to be a big pain in that the soil is already pretty wet in the area.  The super saturation along with the winds will likely result in a number of trees falling over in the forests just North of my property.  I just have to hope they don’t come to rest on my roof.  They are a shallow root trees and even a good thunderstorm takes out more than a few, dropping power lines in the process. For much of the other areas around me, I anticipate some pretty heavy flooding in Southern Maryland mixed with near hurricane force winds.  Tropical Storm winds that will hit the middle Bay will be annoying but many homes there are built with hurricanes in mind (we have hurricane struts in our roofing). Still, I’m plenty nervous.  This will be a very long weekend staring at computer screens and the weather.        ]]>

Now that you've stopped paying attention to the Japanese Tsunami

The second video is more of a good news story.  One town had tsunami barriers 15 feet higher than most due to the insistence of a former mayor.  It worked, and only 1 person in the town died and the entire village is still intact. This one is a bit hard to watch as you see and hear the panic of people running.  The camera turned away as the waves approached one old man.  One can only hope he was not taken in the waves.  ]]>

Hacking to help Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims

UPDATE: Wed. March 23. 8:00 PM. We’ll be meeting to put together the remaining kits at offices. Last night members of the Hong Kong Hackerspace, aka Hong Kong Hackjam, got together at the Boot.HK offices to undertake a quick project to help victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. With electricity out in many parts of Japan, the call went out from the Tokyo Hackerspace community asking for help in providing lighting, networking and other electronic supplies for victims of the disaster. Here in Hong Kong we settled on the quick and easy (somewhat) task of building “Minty Boosts“. These are battery powered USB chargers that can be used with any AA battery to charge a mobile phone or other electronic device. The entire hardware is soldered together and throw into a candy or mint box, thus the name “Minty Boost”. Over a dozen hackers and technology enthusiasts gathered last night to throw together some relief supplies that will be sent to Tokyo in the next day or two. Only a couple of the devices (mine included) ended up FUBAR, as is to be expected as some of us were not that experienced with a soldering iron. But many others were thrown together by are more hack-savvy members and were charging phones by the end of the night with great success. Here are some pics of the effort. If you want to donate other supplies or time, check out the requests from the Tokyo Hackerspace.     ]]>

Collection of Japanese tsunami videos and live news coverage

TBS News has a MASSIVE collection of videos online

Warning maps of the Tsunami throughout the Pacific Live Coverage NHK World Service has an NHK iPhone app. You can watch coverage there. BBC News is now streaming live video. MSNBC (USA) live coverage. Japan’s Meteorological Organization(?) is on Ustream now.
Video chat rooms at Ustream
Free live streaming by Ustream Recorded Videos Youtube has a “channel” for breaking news called Citizen Tube: ]]>

Christchurch Earthquake videos coming out

6.3 earthquake hit Christchurch New Zealand today, with some pretty heavy destruction. This was followed by a pair of 5.5 aftershocks. Thanks to the power of the Internet you can now “watch” the television coverage from New Zealand basically as it happens. This second video is raw footage. At minutes 2:53 and 5:42 you’ll see what happens when an aftershock rumbles the rubble. Pretty scary. ]]>