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Climate Change & The Environment Discuss Irma's damage is said to be the most costly ever at the General Discussion; Still an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane... Weakened Irma Still 'Extremely Dangerous' September 08, 2017 - The National Hurricane Center ...

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Old 09-08-2017, 07:11 AM
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Exclamation Re: Irma's damage is said to be the most costly ever

Still an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane...

Weakened Irma Still 'Extremely Dangerous'
September 08, 2017 - The National Hurricane Center says Irma is "moving through the southeastern Bahamas as an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane."
Irma was downgraded from a category 5 hurricane early Friday. Weather forecasters say, "some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 hurricane during the next couple of days." Irma is moving with maximum sustained winds of 250 kilometers per hour. The Hurricane Center says hurricane conditions are expected in northwestern Bahamas Friday night and Saturday and in portions of southern Florida and the Florida Keys Saturday night or early Sunday. The U.S. National Hurricane Center has issued hurricane warnings for South Florida and the Florida Keys. On Thursday, more than half a million people were ordered to leave South Florida as Irma approaches.

Prepare to evacuate

Florida Governor Rick Scott said the biggest concern right now is gasoline shortages. Police will escort fuel trucks in Florida as they make deliveries to gas stations that have run dry. Scott said all 7,000 Florida National Guard members are being deployed Friday and thousands of power workers will be standing by, ready to go to work. Scott said Irma “is wider than our entire state and could cause major and life-threatening impacts from coast to coast.” The governor told Florida residents, “Regardless of which coast you live on, be prepared to evacuate.”

Storm for the history books

U.S. Air Force Reserve weather officer Major Jeremy DeHart flew through the eye of Irma earlier in the week. He said the storm’s intensity sets it apart from other storms. “Pictures don’t do it justice,” DeHart said. “Satellite images can’t do it justice.” Hurricane Irma is already a storm for the history books. Experts are calling it the most powerful Atlantic storm ever recorded. The storm tore up the island of Barbuda, leaving it “barely habitable,” according to Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne. “What I saw was heart-wrenching. I mean, absolutely devastating,” he said Thursday. About 95 percent of all the buildings on the island were either destroyed or damaged.

In this GOES-16 geocolor image satellite image taken Sept. 7, 2017, the eye of Hurricane Irma, left, is just north of the island of Hispaniola, with Hurricane Jose, right, in the Atlantic Ocean.

As if Irma has not brought enough agony to Antigua and Barbuda, the islands are under a hurricane watch for Category 3 Hurricane Jose, which could affect the already devastated region by Saturday. On the island of St. Martin, shared by France and the Netherlands, “lots of people are just wandering around aimlessly as they have no homes anymore and don’t know what to do,” a newspaper reporter told the local radio station. It could be up to six months before all power is restored on cash-strapped Puerto Rico. Witnesses say wires are either lying in the streets or dangling from the poles that managed to stay upright.

Storm damage from Hurricane Irma is seen in St. Martin, Sept. 7, 2017, in this photo provided by the Dutch Defense Ministry.

President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency on Puerto Rico. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will coordinate the cleanup and relief. French and Dutch relief flights are on the way to help their territories, and British Prime Minister Teresa May has sent a Royal Navy shipload of soldiers, Marines and emergency supplies to British territories in the Caribbean. At least 10 deaths have been reported so far in the Caribbean. Irma lashed Haiti and the Dominican Republic with fierce winds and heavy rain, but spared them a direct hit.

See also:

Mesh Networks Can Keep People Connected During Natural Disasters
September 02, 2017 — Natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey are a threat not only to human life but also to telecommunication systems. When they go down, entire cities and communities are cut off from each other. Mesh networks, however, can get people connected again, and during emergencies they can be a crucial link to information. "It really all boils down to the 'central point of failure' problem," said Daniela Perdomo. "If the central infrastructure goes down, everyone who plugs into it is also disconnected."
Perdomo would know. When Superstorm Sandy hit New York City in 2012, lower Manhattan was left in the dark, with no electricity or connectivity. Unable to use cellular networks, the New Yorker and her brother eventually decided to do something about it. The two co-founded goTenna, a line of products that use low-frequency radio waves to send SMS text messages and GPS information. Their latest product is the goTenna Mesh, a mesh networking device that works independently of traditional cellular networks. Originally developed for military use, mesh networks spread connectivity over multiple nodes, or connection points, that communicate with each other.

Strength in numbers

"Any individual Wi-Fi device doesn't reach very far, but if you can chain many of them together, then you can provide access over a wider area," said Joshua King, lead developer at Commotion Wireless, an open-source software initiative for mesh networks. If at least one node is connected to the internet, the signal can be shared and multiple users can connect as well. If there is no internet connection, a mesh network can still function as a hyperlocal server for emergency information and basic messaging, like texts. In emergency situations like Hurricane Harvey, this basic network can mean the difference between life and death.

King said the advantage of mesh networks is that they are dynamically routed — if one node goes down, others take its place. "A mesh network can potentially route around any kind of damage, if there is another path for the traffic to go," he said. "The idea is to make telecommunication systems more modular, more distributed. So that even if centralized points fail, you would still have working telecommunications in different areas," said Greta Byrum, director of the Resilient Communities program at research institution New America.

Centralized systems' flaws
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