News for the week of 2023-10-23

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  • Comments (8)

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      CAT 5 hurricane Otis rapidly intensified from tropical storm to CAT 5 shortly before hitting Acapulco Mexico. Last minute, unexpected intensification like this probably caused many people to underestimate this storm until it was too late for evacuation.

      “Imagine starting your day expecting a stiff breeze and some rain, and overnight you get catastrophic 165 mph winds,” Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric and Earth Science, wrote on X. “Just 24 hours prior, it was a tropical storm and was forecast to make landfall as a tropical storm.”


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        Any ideas on how to prepare for such a lack of prediction?  It will be interesting to see how weather predictions change or if there is some sort of localized alert when winds or rainfall rates get above a certain threshold.  

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        I have similar concerns and challenges with wild fires.  No warning or rapid changes in weather patterns can alter the path of a known existing fire.  

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        “Any ideas on how to prepare for such a lack of prediction?”

        I already had a rule of thumb to assume the worst case for hurricane category, then add 1. But even that would not be enough in this case. Hopefully the storm modelers can find what caused this and improve models for next year. We can’t just evacuate every time a tropical storm approaches – that gets rather expensive due to hotel fees and work disruption.

        One thought I have is to treat it more like wildfire evac and just accept that it will need to be rushed on the last day when the forecast changes. But there are substantial problems with evacuating within a day of landfall. Road congestion and getting caught on the road can be more dangerous than staying home.

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        Humanitarian crisis in Acapulco. This short video very clearly explains how bad this situation is. Monster storm with no warning hits city of a million people.

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        Found an explanation for why the prediction was so inaccurate. I’m accustomed to very accurate predictions for hurricanes around Florida where I live. This storm was headed for Mexico, and Mexico devoted a lot less resources to data collection. With less data collected, the forecasting is less reliable.

        I suspect there are parallels in wildfire surveillance. Some types of wildfire data collection depend on satellites that can only collect data for an area 2-4 times per day, which is not enough for realtime alerting.

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      Too often, natural disasters lead to homelessness. This article is pushing for improvements to disaster response in USA so that people get the help needed to recover. As preppers we can look at this issue from a different angle: what does the path from disaster to homelessness look like and how can I prepare to keep my family off that path.

      For example, the article mentions that insurance claims have tight deadlines, and someone who misses the deadline doesn’t get the insurance payout they need to recover. So make sure you have all the information needed to file insurance claims quickly, and start that process ASAP when an emergency happens.