October 19, 2010

Hurricane Track has noted repeatedly this year that the United States has dodged a hurricane bullet. The same, fortunately, has been mostly true (thus far) for Haiti, where over a million people left homeless by the earthquake still live in tarp villages and suspected cholera has now broken out. The people of Haiti do not need to add a hurricane to their current suffering.

But it has not been true for other parts of the world.

Super typhoon Megi, the eighth most intense western Pacific typhoon ever recorded, became one of the strongest typhoons ever to make landfall anywhere in the world when it hit the Philippines: with sustained winds of 225 kilometres per hour. It barely lost strength over Isabella, Cagayan, and Luzon, and is already strengthening again prior to a second landfall onto Vietnam and mainland China.

Dozens of people have already been killed and 60,000 people are homeless despite government action to try to minimise injury and damage. If damage estimates to the rice and corn crops are accurate, the Philippines will have to import rice this year. The resulting global rice shortages and higher prices will in turn rebound onto countless other hungry people around the world.

On the other end of the world, most hurricane analyses dismiss Igor, the other record-setting hurricane this year, as a footnote which managed to spill a great deal of heat energy out of the tropics and do little more. Despite its strength and size, Igor managed entirely to avoid landfall until it became an extratropical system and dissipated in Greenland.

The people of Newfoundland are still cleaning up after this "non-event".

When gale winds and heavy rain strike poor, rocky soil, shallow-rooted trees, and steep hills, bridge and road infrastructure is going to be washed out. For the first week after Igor struck, the east half of the island was completely cut off from the west half. (In typical Newfoundland fashion, life went on after the winds died down, by boat.) Communities came together and repairs began immediately, but even with the military's help, the last washed-out road was only re-connected just a few days ago. Other repairs are continuing between bouts of frost, snow, and heavy cold rain which has further weakened dams and more than once destroyed roads which had just been repaired. Winter comes early in Newfoundland.

A month after Igor hit, Newfoundland's musicians came together to raise money for the Canadian Red Cross Newfoundland relief fund. It is a logical extrapolation of the way Newfoundland communities opened their cupboards and made warm, home-cooked meals for the soldiers bringing in needed supplies and helping them to re-build. As Newfoundland's premier Danny Williams said, "Leave it to Newfoundlanders to turn disaster relief into a kitchen party."

Since when has having a new record-setting hurricane or typhoon every other year become the norm?

what an exciting experience!/Hilorious! Delightful! True!
High Pressure Cleaning
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