Using Digital Maps to Study Digital Preparedness and History – WNYC


New Tech City: Using Digital Maps To Study Disaster Preparedness and History – WNYC.

Genius!!  Pure genius!  This is a major challenge with disaster preparedness today, and learning lessons from history and previous disasters are essential to minimizing impacts from future disasters.  Case and point NYC… With Hurricane Sandy, the storm surge was referenced as being a record surge.. even higher than the hurricane that occurred in 1821.  This still begs the question – “what if the hurricane of 1821 happened again today… what would the impact be?”  Additionally, as stated in http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/1821-hurricane-struck-new-york-at-low-tide/, the 1821 storm actually struck at LOW tide.. meaning the Category 3 storm then could have produced a tide level even higher than Sandy had it struck 12 hours earlier or later.  Again.. this means for preparedness… “THIS COULD HAPPEN…”   Again, great advances in technology, now we just have to put it together to answer the core questions… what if it happened again today, and how could we be more prepared…

Heroes of Isaac – Team Braithwaite Foundation – Facing and Overcoming The Storms


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You need to read this story because it embodies the challenges we face, and how we each can respond.  This is definitely a story that needs to be shared with as many people as possible, not because of the tragedy, but because of the American spirit embodied in this story – We help one another, we step up in times of trouble, and when we’re hit and knocked down, we get back up and keep going – just like the Shaffers in Braithwaite Louisiana.

After Hurricane Isaac, the Shaffer family set up the Team Braithwaite Foundation to help families impacted by Hurricane Isaac.  They’ve given clothes away, and received a number of donations from those who were not hit as hard by the storm.

But another storm hit this weekend when thieves stole nearly $15,000 worth of supplies meant for victims of the storm. Continue reading

Hurricane Storm Surge Scales – What Does the National Hurricane Center Think?


Link: NHC Views on Storm Surge Scales
Released September 10, 2010

There are scales for tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural hazards.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, there were numerous calls for the National Hurricane Center to add back in a storm surge scale into the hurricane scale.  In an August 31st article from the New York Times, “Climatologists like Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have said that any classification should include both wind speed and surge. Otherwise, he argues, coastal residents can be easily misled.”

In 2010, the National Hurricane Center removed verbage in the Saffir-Simpson Scale that referred to storm surge in hurricanes.  In a one-page document posted on the National Hurricane Center (NHC) website earlier this week, the NHC Public Affairs staff shared the reason why storm surge was removed from that scale.  Additionally, they elaborated on why: Continue reading

Your Response to Disasters… Does It Really Make A Difference?


Over the past year, we’ve been inundated with story after story of Billion Dollar Natural Disasters.  We have come to hear about these events on our smartphones, tablets, laptops, Twitter, Facebook, and broadcast news reports.  But when it comes down to it, when it happens in another community, it sounds bad, but it’s really just hard to understand how significant of an impact it really is.  On the flip side of the coin, when it happens to you and your town, or even more locally – to your family, most people would end up being overwhelmed with the situation, not knowing how to respond.  Let’s look at other areas in life – what about the loss of a family member – a parent, a sibling, a child?  How many people have lost jobs in the past year?  Have you been affected, or has this happened as well to your family or friends?  Do you know someone who seemed to have the world in front of them and then in an instant, it was all turned upside down? Continue reading

Innovative Ways to Teach the 3 M’s – Math, Maps & Measurements


Across the country, K-12 educators are teaching students about maps, math, units of measurement and trying to find new ways to present these lessons to their students.  Likewise, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Professionals, Meteorologists & Emergency Managers are using these same themes on a daily basis to protect their communities from weather related events.  Many schools have explored adding weather stations to their schools, but sometimes this equipment can start to get expensive as the costs add up.  How can we use some innovative real-world methods and examples to teach our K-12 students these critical skills while we’re continually losing funds due to budget cuts? Continue reading