American Elephants


The Eagle Creek Fire: 3,000 Acres Around This Beautiful Spot by The Elephant's Child

Please read this post by Alex Berezow, about the Eagle Creek fire in Oregon.This beautiful spot is Punch Bowl Falls. Just down the road, right along Interstate 84 is Multonomah Falls, a 620-foot waterfall, utterly beautiful. I’ve been there.

Both are in danger because of acts of pure stupidity and recklessness. The fire is about 7 percent contained and has burned over 3,000 acres because some teenagers shot off some fireworks. Six or more communities have been evacuated, some of the territory includes the watershed that is one of the main sources of water for the city of Portland.

Lots of evacuations, bad air quality for those with respiratory problems, closure of locks and Columbia river, many communities. Nice going teenagers. I hope they’re prosecuted. It will take years to recover.

UPDATE:  11% contained, burning 35,000 acres. Interstate 84 is closed in the Columbia River Gorge. The west lanes will be opened when it is safe. ODOT have already removed 1,500 trees that were posing a hazard to the Interstate highway, but nearly another 1,000 trees still need to be felled. A beautiful drive won’t be beautiful again for many, many years.

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9/11 Hurricane Update by The Elephant's Child

Hurricane Irma is weakening and headed north and west through Alabama, and mopping up has started in Florida. About half of Florida has been reported to be without power, and may be for even weeks — an interesting development for those who depend on electric cars. Closed gas stations will be resupplied soon, but they did say the power may be out for weeks.

Puerto Rico was dealt only a glancing blow by Irma, and relieved Puerto Ricans are donating water, clothing, first aid and other supplies as they head off to St. Thomas where they weren’t so lucky. Government-led missions have also been evacuating people from the islands to Puerto Rico in six C130 aircraft. Some 1,200 American citizens have been carried from St. Martin and St. Thomas, and more than 50 patients have been airlifted to Puerto Rican hospitals. The civilian effort has been local, spontaneous and a volunteer affair. Hundreds of volunteers have packed shipping containers full of supplies. Power and phone service have left islanders disconnected from the rest of the world.

José seems to be still spinning around in circles.Vast warnings about the coast and possible landfall as far north as New York or New England, but it has weakened and isn’t going anywhere at the moment. I remain interested because it is all so foreign to me and I know so little about hurricanes.

Governors seem to have been very good at urging evacuation and safety. Human nature assures us that there will still be idiots out there wind surfing in the hurricane, or wandering out to look at the way the sea has withdrawn so far. There is some talk from officials about prosecuting those who abandoned their pets. Seattle Humane is receiving many dogs and cats from Florida.

 



Historic. Remarkable. Devastating. Destructive. World Ending. by The Elephant's Child

(Chicago, 1871. A city destroyed. Very low CO2.)

We are indeed watching historic hurricanes, but not in size or — destructiveness. Irma comes in only 7th in the list of hurricanes that have made landfall on the U.S. We had quite a respite from serious hurricanes, but now they’re back, but not because of global warming.

This year we have not only have almost instant coverage and constant updates, but we have film from the intrepid pilots who fly over the hurricanes. We have pictures from the Space Station and satellite pictures delivered instantly to your computer or cell phone. 

But hurricanes are unpredictable. Irma was a Category 5, degraded to a 4, then a 2.  Was supposed to go up the east coast of Florida, made a turn and is heading up the west coast, expected to hit Georgia and the Carolinas, then last I saw is turning west towards the more central states. Unpredictable.

Will more information make us brighter? Probably not. Irma pulled the waters out of Tampa bay, and some residents promptly went down to the shoreline to see the water pull so far back. STORM SURGE! A storm surge can be 12 or 15 feet above normal. All at once. One of the brighter souls suggested shooting this #*”! storm, and many thought that was an excellent idea, while officials shrieked no! no! the bullets can be blown right back at you. Looters are busy and busy being taken in. Some wag remarked — At least bookstores are safe!

For more serious and informed information, and a bracing dose of common sense, visit Climate Depot or Watts Up With That  where you will find the silliness debunked and links to the comments of climate scientists who are experts in this stuff. Read the comments too:

The WashPost ist buyed by Al Gore and his co-operates. That`s the real fight Pres. Trump has to fight against the fake news media. But Trump is a scotch fighter with german blood, he will stand this media storm. Scotchs have been fighting over hundreds of years against the normans, saxons and vikings on the british islands and Scotland is still standing until today. It is, in line with Ireland ( which is an island) and Wales the last bastion af the once great celtic nation.

With a period of low hurricane activity, people have forgotten how bad it can be, and they are scared that it’s all falling apart: Here’s Peter Brannen from the Guardian: “This is how Your World Could End.” And as a rebuttal, here’s the always sensible Christopher Booker: “Hurricane Irma’s numbers simply do not add up  although the global warming brigade would like them to.”



Language, Talking Points, and the Vanishing Profession of Journalism by The Elephant's Child

Selected language and preferred narratives seem to be going off into all directions. Some of it is quite deliberate, as Democrats in mass speak in focus-tested talking points. This is proven by the vast numbers of Democrats who emerge on a given day—all saying the exact same thing in the exact same words. The goal seems to be controlling the narrative of the day, and thus commanding the news cycle and, hopefully, the thoughts in the heads of Americans. Orwell would understand.

The ordinary news cycle seems to be all fouled-up as well. Hurricane Irma is the strongest hurricane ever in the history of the west, no, there have been regularly very damaging hurricanes and many of them. Irma has been downgraded to a Category 4.  José has been upgraded to a Category 4. The plots they are expected to follow change regularly. There are official websites with official numbers, but everybody seems to be using some alternates.

I may exaggerate a little, but it suffices as a description of the ordinary news. There’s Republican news and Democrat news with variances,and nuances, lots of nuances.  Many people have remarked that they don’t believe any major news sources and simply depend on a few individuals they trust. This is a remarkable situation, and I cannot remember any time when the media was so mistrusted, and held in so much contempt. It’s a very uncomfortable circumstance. Traditionally, the media was supposed to be the watchdog of the three branches of government, so that when the politics became too apparent, the truth would prevail. “Draining the swamp” as it were.

The visual media has made reporting a glamorous profession, and the pretty or handsome ones  become celebrities of a sort, like movie people — their names and faces are known. I’m not sure of the diagnosis — are there too many reporters chasing the same stories, is this a failure of the journalism schools, poorly educated reporters, or has everyone just become far too political? Journalism has always been political going back as far as  “Remember the Maine” and the Spanish American War, but the present case seems different.

Time will tell, and there are a great many curious cases to be fully explained. I did read that CNN has finally given up on the Russia connection.



Trying to Understand Hurricanes by The Elephant's Child

Hurricane Harvey is, I guess, in the mopping-up stage, which will be long and difficult. Someone mentioned that homeowners should not haul stuff out to the curb to be picked up until the insurance adjusters have seen and valued it. I hadn’t thought of that, I imagine one’s first impulses would be to get rid of all the ruined, broken and waterlogged and rotting stuff as quickly as possible.

Irma, following closely on the heels of Harvey has progressed fully into a Category 5 hurricane, prossibly the worst ever seen in the Atlantic,  if not the worst, or that may be an exxageration.  Barbuda is literally just rubble. Britain’s Telegraph has particularly good coverage of Irma in the Caribbean, for islands like Barbuda and Antigua are still British possessions. That’s Irma in the satellite image.

American coverage is more apt to focus on Florida, Georgia and South Carolina that are currently in the path. Winds of 185 mph will do a lot of damage. France also has islands in the Carribean. I’ve been there once on a cruise, but I don’t remember all the islands nor which one belongs to which country. Don’t like cruises, would never do it again.

Here’s an article about “5 Hurricane Charts Climate Alarmists Don’t Want You to See as They Rush to Politicize Harvey.” Surely no one would politicize so much damage and ruin and death, would they? Hurricane Katia is heading for the coast of Mexico, but so far doesn’t involve destroying winds. Irma looks to be heading up the Florida coast, but we won’t know till Friday. José is sitting out in the Atlantic at present. Go to the NOAA Hurricane Center for the official word.



Wildfire, Bad Air Quality, Imported From Canada by Mother Nature by The Elephant's Child

The air in the Seattle area is really bad today. The sun looks to be bright red, and the smoke is very visible. Most of it is coming from British Columbia, as seen in today’s satellite photo. The red dots represent heat detected by the satellite. This was just posted. There are 110 active wildfires in British Columbia, four of them larger than 123,000 acres. (The Canadians speak in metric hectares) There’s also a good sized fire close to the border, if you look carefully. Across the mountains, there are 37,915 acres burning in the Okanagan National Forest, but that isn’t contributing to our bad air quality. And no, the fires are not caused by global warming, no matter how much the cultists try to use them to raise money. Click on the link for lots more information.

The U.S. Forest Service was a big part of my childhood. We could tell by the smoke in the air, about where the fire was. Lots of family friends worked for the Forest Service, and the Smoke Jumpers operated from  a nearby town. I spent some great time in the summer at Price Valley Ranger Station, where a friend’s father was in command. Fun for a kid, but wildfire is dangerous hard work for firefighters, smoke jumpers, hotshot crews, and all the folks trying to save lives and forests.  Remember them when you’re complaining about bad air and poor visibility.

 



“Struggle Down In Houston” by The Elephant's Child

Donations for the Houston flooding are pouring in, and Houston people face a massive clean up, and massive grief and expense.  The situation is becoming clearer as people begin to sum up the damages. Hurricane Harvey was a big one. It had nothing to do with “global warming”, though the global warming enthusiasts are just sure that it does. It came after a long respite of nine years. Houston has a long, long record of hurricane and flooding damage. Here are pictures from past disasters.

Engineers have been warning for years that the city is a flood disaster in the making,. A University of Texas at Austin civil engineer, Robert Gilbert, said “Houston is very flat. There’s is no way for the water to drain out.” Texas Governor Greg Abbot suggested that Houston residents who had somewhere to go should think about evacuating, but Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged them not to evacuate. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina that hit Louisiana so hard, another hurricane followed and Houston residents were urged to evacuate and caused the traffic jam of the century.

The city’s flood system is supposed to protect the public from a 100-year storm, but that is based on a rainfall total of 13 inches in 24 hours. In an average year, Houston gets 50 inches of rain — as much as Harvey would deliver in some parts of the city. The muddy rivers—the San Jacinto and Buffalo Bayou have dams, but they were built mostly for storage, not flood control. Lake Conroe, a reservoir 43 miles north of the city has a capacity of 430,000 acre feet. The river authority which manages water supplies knew Harvey was coming, but chose not to release water in advance, because it could have caused flooding even before the storm hit, but by Monday they had no choice but to open the flood gates to send another 79.141  cubic feet of water to flooded Houston every second. There have been eight deaths, and the rescue efforts of men with boats have surely prevented many more.

Media coverage has been interesting. Melania Trump was criticized for wearing stiletto heels when she boarded the plane to go to Texas. She changed to trousers and sneakers when they arrived. President Trump was criticized for going to Houston, and even for donating a million dollars of his own money to Houston relief. Some days you just can’t win. The media no longer seems to be quite sane.

After they have drained the city and mopped up, hopefully they will have learned from this disaster and will start to plan seriously for the next one, but there will probably be new people in charge, and funding will be so exhausted that no one will want to think about spending on preparation.

 




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