The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😉
Main Topic: Watching Hurricane Ida Day Five…Assessing The Aftermath
Dear Diary. As forecast, Hurricane Ida made landfall in Southeast Louisiana as a CAT4 system during Sunday afternoon. Kudos go to the National Hurricane Center for a great forecast more than 72 hours out and meteorological scientists for improving models year after year. This year’s American GFS was particularly impressive with timing and location of Ida at landfall. I’m sure that in the coming few years modelers will improve strength forecasts, tackling the problem of rapid intensification that was a distinct characteristic of Ida, Michael, and most other systems that have gotten up to CAT4/5 levels.
Today we will be focusing on ground truth, or damage to access how well the central Gulf Coast has changed or adapted in the years post Katrina, which made landfall in 2005. It’s ironic that Ida slammed into New Orleans on the 16th anniversary of Katrina’s landfall. As I wrote well before Ida made landfall, we could have a game changing event. I kept thinking over the weekend that perhaps I wrote this too soon, but knowing how well models had advanced I didn’t stick my neck out so much that my head got chopped off:
New Orleans lucked out again, seeing wind gusts no higher than 90 mph, and as of this writing major levees held. Back in 2005 winds were similar with Katrina in New Orleans, but the levees did not hold, which made all the difference in the world. The city has sustained a lot of damage from Ida, and power is out citywide, but New Orleans will recover in the next few weeks and months. It hasn’t been wiped off the map. Further southwest coastal places like Grand Isle didn’t fair so well. One coastal location, Port Fourchon, briefly did see sustained winds of 149 mph with gusts to 172 mph, so it is quite likely we will learn of utter destruction of a few communities.
As of 2021 it would be extremely tough for a CAT5 hurricane with sustained winds close to 200 mph to thread the needle, such that its eyewall strafed a major metropolitan area like New Orleans or Houston for a prolonged period of more than a few hours. That’s probably what it would take to eviscerate major coastal cities to the point that large sections would be absolutely destroyed. Even then people would try to build back. As this century unfolds, however, the chances for such threaded needles will be going up due to climate change. The retreat from our coasts given climate crisis sea level rise will be long, stubborn, and hard.
So again I need to ask the question, will one particular hurricane named Ida convince enough people to strongly push for Biden’s Build Back Better Plan? As I wrote last Thursday, could there be a silver lining out of all of this mess, or will we continue to muddle along in the grey zone of any adaptation efforts, much like has happened so far in the 21st century?
Hurricane striking Louisiana last year barely moved the needle on climate, So, how will Ida fare. We won’t know for several weeks. Today, though, we can start assessing major damage.
Here are more notes on the Ida. (As usual, the most important latest articles and notes will be at the top of this list):
Here is more climate and weather news from Monday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.)
Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”