Archive for August, 2010

Most Hurricanes In Atlantic At Same Time
August 30, 2010

Four hurricanes occurred simultaneously on two occasions. The first occasion was Aug. 22, 1893. Storms were not named in the late 1800s. The second occurrence was Sept. 25, 1998, when Georges, Ivan, Jeanne and Karl persisted into Sept. 27. In 1971 there were five tropical systems in the Atlantic, but no more than two hurricanes and three tropical storms at the same time.

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Will Your Home Flood?
August 27, 2010

This is an excellent graph that shows the risk of flooding at your home.  Most of you live in a 50-year floodplain, but, as you can see, you still have a 6 percent chance of your home flooding in the span of 30 years.  We see it happen all the time on the news: a homeowner doesn’t think their home would ever flood, but they are standing in front of their flooded home.  I can’t stress enough how important it is for all of you to have flood insurance.  If you live in a 500-year floodplain, the insurance is fairly inexpensive.

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Hurricane Ike in Florida
August 25, 2010

Ike’s storm surge in Galveston was 10 to 14 feet and would have been about half that if it hit Florida.  Before the 2008 hurricane season storm surge was classified by the category of the storm. The problem was storm surge is dependent upon several factors:






The biggest reason Ike would have had a much lower storm surge is because the ocean is very deep in front of the Florida shoreline. The Gulf is very shallow before the shoreline. Because of these factors, the storm surge forecast is now kept separate from the category of the storm.

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Too Big A Goal?
August 24, 2010


This is an excellent goal, but the problem is there has been no progress with intensity forecasting for the last 15 to 20 years.  As the below graph shows, in the one to two day forecast, the intensity can be off one category stronger or weaker. Five to 10 percent of the time it can be off by two categories.  The key for intensity forecasting is the data and physics has to get better, and, until that happens, intensity forecasting will show no gains. 

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Better Hurricane Forecasting
August 23, 2010


This is great news! In fact, the NHC is now as accurate two days out as it was 24 hours out just 10 years ago.

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School Is Back
August 23, 2010

Okay, we know it’s hot and humid, but to mix things up, the station posted school photos of most of the anchors and reporters here at Local 2.  This is my senior class picture.  To check everyone else out, click the photo or go here:

Hurricane Katrina & Rita
August 18, 2010


Both of these hurricanes caused severe damage to 320 million trees, more than any other recorded disaster in modern American history.  The satellite images from NOAA show the green vegetation before the storm (left image) and post-storm (right image) detailing the dead vegetation, wood and surface litter.  Two-thirds of the trees died soon after the storm.  The damage was caused initially by the extreme winds but it was exacerbated by standing salt water that in some cases lasted for weeks. 

Courtesy: NOAA                                                                                                                        East of New Orleans between Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne

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Mars As Big As the Moon
August 16, 2010

I watch you guys in the morning all the time and have heard you comment on things like the planets before. Could you tell me if Mars will really big as big as the moon August 27th?

There is an e-mail that goes around every year at this time claiming that the planet Mars will be as big as the moon on the 27th.  This is a hoax, but as most untruths go, it is based on some facts.

Mars did make a close approach on Aug. 27, 2003 when it came within 35 million miles of Earth.  It was the closest approach in 60,000 years.  On that date, Mars was 85 times brighter in the sky and appeared 6 times larger, but it only looked as big as the moon when VIEWED THROUGH A TELESCOPE.

To read the e-mail and a full explanation of this falsehood click the image, or click here:

Mars as big as the Moon

New Hail Record
August 13, 2010


It was in Vivian, South Dakota, that Leslie “Les” Scott heard what sounded like “big bricks” being thrown at his house.  Little did Scott realize that one of those hailstones was the largest to ever fall in the United States, in terms of both diameter and weight.  The hailstone was 8 inches wide and weighed 1 pound, 15 ounces, just a little smaller than a soccer ball.  It was much larger when Scott put it in his freezer, but his home lost power for six hours and that caused some melting.  The smallest hailstone he found was the size of a tennis ball.  There was a lot of roof damage, but no one was hurt.   


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Track the Heat on
August 10, 2010

Rising temperatures can take a toll on our bodies. Usually, your body cools as perspiration evaporates off your skin. But, on extremely hot days, evaporation slows and your body has to work harder to maintain a normal body temperature. The American Meteorological Society estimates that up to 1,000 people die each year from from heat-related illnesses; many others become ill from heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

  • Stay inside if possible. If you do not have air conditioning at home, go to a the home of a friend or relative, shopping mall, public library or another public place. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help prevent heat-related illnesses.
  • While electric fans do have a cooling effect, they do not prevent heat-related illnesses when temperatures reach the 90s. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to a place that is air-conditioned are better choices.
  • Everyone feels the heat, but some people are more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses.  Check regularly on friends and relatives who are 65 or older, have a mental illness, or have physical illnesses like heart disease or high blood pressure. Always keep a close watch on infants and children.

These helpful ideas come from  Earth Gauge.

This image is from our temperature page.  It was captured at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Notice how Bay City and Victoria are already recording 107 degree feels-like temperatures.

Click image or go to: to get your current “feels like temperatures.”

Heat Aware
August 5, 2010


Heat Aware is a local company that helps businesses deal with heat related illness.  Many industries have employees that work outdoors for hours upon hours in our relentless Houston heat.  Workers keep it in a pocket away from the sun and monitor the temperature.

If you are out at the beach or playing in the hot afternoon sun the card shows how hot it is and lists ideas to keep you and your family safe.

You can get more info by clicking the card.

A Few Of My Favorite Things
August 4, 2010

For the past two weeks the station has shown anchor profiles of what we like to do outside of work.  Today was my day.  Click the image to see what you may not know about me.

On a hot summer day, my kids and the neighbors find a way to stay cool.

Ozone – What It Means To You
August 2, 2010

The last two days we’ve had ozone problems in the afternoon, but many of us don’t know what that means.  Ozone (O3) is a highly reactive gas composed of three oxygen atoms.  When the weather is expected to be sunny and hot/warm with light winds, we get ozone watches issued for Houston, Galveston and Brazoria counties.  Typically, we’ll have air pollution problems because elevated concentrations of ozone act as a lung irritant. Individuals with chronic lung disease, such as asthma and emphysema, as well as the elderly and young children, are particularly sensitive to ozone and should attempt to avoid exposure by minimizing time outside during the midday to early evening hours, or stay indoors in an air-conditioned room.

Keep in mind that most ozone problems are for sensitive groups, not the general public. This is the orange area on the air quality index. The city of Houston will issue air quality warnings when the air quality deteriorates. Here is what those warnings look like:

Notice on this particular day last year there were two red warnings for Pasadena and La Porte and the air quality is unhealthy for all of us.  If you want to be added to the air quality e-mail list when watches and warnings are issued, click here: