Case Study Summary _ Fulkerson

My case study is on Hurricane Andrew. I chose this event because I have heard all about it growing up with two meteorologist parents. At the time of its occurrence in August 1992, it was the most destructive hurricane in United States history. It caused major damage in the Bahamas and Louisiana, but the greatest impact was in South Florida, where it made landfall at Category 5 hurricane intensity on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale, with wind speeds up to 165 mph (270 km/h). Passing directly through the town of Homestead, Florida, a city south of Miami, Andrew obliterated entire blocks of homes, in many cases leaving only the concrete foundations. Over 25,000 houses were destroyed in Miami-Dade County alone, and nearly 100,000 more were severely damaged. 65 people were killed and the damage total across the affected regions exceeded $26 billion (1992 USD).

Though Andrew was a small tropical cyclone for most of its lifespan, it caused extreme damage, especially in the Bahamas, Florida, and Louisiana. The vast majority of the damage was as a result of extremely high winds, although a few tornadoes spawned by Andrew caused considerable damage in Louisiana. Throughout the areas affected, almost 177,000 people were left homeless. Outside of the Bahamas, Florida, and Louisiana, effects were widespread, although damage was minimal. As a result of damage in Florida and Louisiana, Andrew was listed as the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, but is now fourth following Hurricanes Katrina (2005), Sandy (2012), and Ike (2008).

The death toll could have been significantly higher if it wasn’t for such good forecasting and careful monitoring of the storm. Our forecasting abilities have only gotten better since this disaster. After the storm passed, President Bush assessed damage in the Miami-Dade area with then-Governor of Florida Lawton Chiles. Shortly thereafter, Bush declared the region a disaster area, which provided public assistance to victims of the storm. In September 1992, President Bush initially proposed a $7.1 billion aid package to provide disaster benefits, small-business loans, agricultural recovery, food stamps, and public housing for victims of Hurricane Andrew. The cost was later increased to $11.1 billion. The bill, which was the most costly disaster aid package at the time, was passed by Congress as House Resolution 5620 on September 18, and signed into law by President Bush on September 23.

It took nearly 10 years for the region to fully recover from Hurricane Andrew, but as a Homestead resident said in 2012, “We are now much better prepared for hurricanes. After Andrew, the construction standards changed tremendously. We now have one of the most stringent building codes in the country.”

Progression of Hurricane Andrew through the Atlantic and into the U.S.

Damage from Hurricane Andrew


Coastal flood advisories along the South Jersey shore

Coastal flood advisories have been issued along the New Jersey coast and also for Delaware Bay from 6 p.m. through midnight Tuesday for widespread minor tidal flooding. Easterly winds blowing off the ocean with what the article says new moon, together make a flooding situation. The Tuesday high tide is looking to be problematic for the flooding. Rain on Tuesday with the easterly winds of more than 30 mph also threaten to cause m ore severe flooding.

Coastal flood advisory for minor tidal flooding Tuesday evening

Cyclone Debbie: Tragedy Strikes on the Coast of Australia

Cyclone Debbie, a level four cyclone, caused tragedy and destruction in Queensland, Australia. The residents of Queensland were told to get out as fast as they can, as it was said to be the biggest flood to hit Rockhampton in over sixty years. Debbie was not the most damaging cyclone that has ever hit the Australian coast, but it was one of the largest.

Those who had decided to stay, lost power and running water for three whole days. Debbie created disaster zones across an 870-mile stretch of eastern Australia to the south and there were gusts of wind that were at 163 mph.

Bowen, Proserpine and the Whitsundays were the parts of Queensland that were hit the hardest. Roads we’re flooded, the weather was absolutely terrible and  power and phone networks were damaged. There were no immediate deaths but there have been two victims that were found dead in flood water.

The storm also damaged a multitude of properties, making about 270 uninhabitable.

Declared a catastrophe, the total cost of Debbie has been estimated to be more than one billion, as well as the sugar cane industry to receive a huge financial blow.

By destroying buildings and homes,  inlander Kerry Cowan said: “Everyone is in such desperate need for fuel and water. They’re all getting so low on everything now.”


Australia Prepares for Cyclone Debbie

Category 4 storm Cyclone Debbie is currently heading towards Australia’s northeastern Queensland coast. Residents of low-lying coastal areas in the storm’s path were urged to evacuate before it became too late, and an estimated 3,500 people have already left. The storm was expected to escalate to Category 5 status by its projected landfall Tuesday morning. Already, one death has been tied to the storm. Officials report that Debbie is the largest of its kind since 2011 Cyclone Yasi. Officials fear widespread flooding and extremely high winds powerful enough to blow cars away.

Read the NY Times story here.

Guam Hit By 5.5 Magnitude Earthquake

“United States Geological Survey recorded a 5.5 magnitude earthquake 11 miles north of Rota and at a depth of 104.5 kilometers at 6:49 p.m. Chamorro Standard Time.

No reports of injuries or damages from this earthquake have been recorded, according to Jenna Gaminde, public information officer for Guam Homeland Security.

Residents are advised to conduct the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” procedure when an earthquake happens, she added.

According to Guam Power Authority Spokesman Art Perez, no circuits were lost after the earthquake.”

Maui Faces Flash Flood Watch

On Tuesday the island of Maui was faced with heavy pouring downfalls resulting in flash floods that stranded locals and completely submerged residences. Motorists were trapped inside their cars on the roads during the torrential rain, while other were washed away. Seven people had to be rescued from South Kihei Road. Initially the state was under a Flash Flood Warning, but this has since expired and been reclassified as a Flash Flood Watch through late Wednesday. Witnesses say that the storm came suddenly and with force. Resident Vernon Kalanikau and his wife were able to get to safety in time where they were able to observe the damage the flash flood brought with it. He described watching what started out as a small trickle by the Kulanihakoi Bridge in five minutes turn into a swift stream and then a full out river as it carried away debris and cars.

Cars and homes submerged by the Flash Floods. Photo: Kevin Olson.

Taiwan Hit By Earthquake

Early Saturday morning four people were injured by a minor earthquake that hit Taiwan. This was a great victory for the country, as they have been working on improving their safety conditions. One year ago a magnitude 6.4 earthquake destroyed a 16-story apartment and killed 115 people. This incident contributed to to stricter safety and building regulations.

The Saturday morning earthquake was a magnitude 5.6 and hit near the coast of Tainan city around 1:12 a.m. News sources reported over 50,000 homes were affected by a brief power outage. Fortunately there were no deaths reported as a result of this incident.

High Winds Investigated As Cause of Crash

The Chesapeake Bay  Bridge Tunnel has seen its share of accidents, but Thursday, February 9, 2017 saw a tractor-trailer plunge into the Bay.  Despite a quick rescue by the U.S. Navy, the driver died in transit to the hospital.  The crash is under investigation following travel restrictions on the Bridge Tunnel due to winds in excess of 60mph in the area.

Find the full article here

Violent Storms in France and Spain

A series of violent storms are currently battering the coasts of France and Spain. This has resulted in loss of power in areas and damage to infrastructure. As of yesterday, 250,000 homes have been left without electricity in southwest France, while the Atlantic coastline in Portugal, northern Spain and France have been experiencing storm-driven waves and high winds of around 150 km/hr. Damage to a stadium’s roof in Spain caused the postponement of a futbol match. The pictures in the article show high waves hitting the shoreline and the damaging effects of high winds. Read the Al Jazeera story here.

NSW wild weather: Residents warned of flood threat in Hunter, parts of Sydney after storms kill three people in Dungog


New South Wales authorities say they are dealing with the largest storm operation in a decade after three people were killed in “cyclonic” conditions that have battered parts of the state for hours.

Residents in the Hunter region were told to brace for more flash flooding overnight, while authorities door-knocked some Sydney residents to warn they may need to evacuate. Conditions described as “cyclonic” have wrought havoc on the Hunter, Sydney, Central Coast and Illawarra regions, with rescue crews called to more than 1,000 storm-related incidents and more than 200,000 properties losing power.

In the Sydney suburbs of Manly and North Manly, the State Emergency Service (SES) visited homes and sent text messages to warn homes could be flooded if the Manly Dam continued to rise. “The worst-case scenario, if the houses in our flood planning get affected, would be 660 residences,” Samantha Colwell from the SES said. “In saying that, a lot of them are apartments so obviously the people on the higher levels are not going to get inundated. “At the moment, people can stay in their homes, but we do actually encourage them to prepare because the last thing people want to do is find out about it in the middle of the night.” An evacuation centre has been set up at the Hardbord Diggers club.

Further north, authorities warned some low-lying parts of Narrabeen and North Narrabeen, near Narrabeen Lagoon, could also be at risk, with an evacuation centre opened at Pittwater RSL and Mona Vale. On Tuesday morning, three elderly residents were found dead in the town of Dungog, north of Newcastle, where more than 300 millimetres of rain fell in less than 24 hours. Authorities said the circumstances around the deaths were still still being investigated. Locals said several homes were washed away, and a woman and two children were rescued from a house as it was washed down a street in nearby Greta. SES deputy commissioner Steve Pearce said the storm was like nothing he had seen before. “I haven’t seen a storm of this magnitude in my time here at the SES and, indeed, this would be the largest storm operation in the last 10 years,” he said. “We’ve never seen these cyclonic winds last for 24 hours straight. That’s what’s caused the majority of the damage. “We’ve had over 6,500 requests for assistance and on top of that, with the enormous amount of rainfall – up to 320 millimetres in over 24 hours – we’ve seen about 80 flood rescues. We’ve seen homes washed away, whole streets decimated.” He said thousands of emergency services were on the ground and more were coming in from around the state to help on Wednesday.


The SES sent emergency alerts to more than 100,000 mobile phones in the Hunter as it was battered by relentless wind and rain on Tuesday afternoon. The text messages warned of “rapid rises and high velocity flash flood water in local creeks, watercourses and urban areas” in Newcastle and surrounding areas. Newcastle Mayor Nuatali Nelmes told 7.30 the city looked like it had been in a disaster movie. She said roads were under water, trees had been blown down and roofs had been ripped from buildings. “We’re actually bracing for worse to come,” she said. “Overnight, we are bracing for potentially more flooding in Newcastle and the Hunter … so people are being urged to stay at home and to stay on high ground where it’s safe.”

In the eight hours to 5:00pm Tuesday, Maitland received 274 millimetres of rain, Seaham received 152 millimetres and Tocal received 137 millimetres. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issued a severe weather warning for damaging winds and surf and heavy rain along the coast from the Illawarra region to the Hunter. It said an intense low pressure system was centred just off the Hunter coast, near Newcastle. “This low is expected to remain slow-moving overnight, maintaining vigorous winds, large seas, and periods of heavy rain and thunderstorms,” BoM said in a warning issued just after 11:00pm. “Conditions are expected to slowly ease during Wednesday as the low weakens.” An evacuation centre was set up at Dungog High School following reports at least 20 homes had been inundated, but it has since been closed. However, evacuation centres have been opened at the Senior Citizens Centre in East Maitland and the Shamrock Multipurpose Centre at Ashton Field.

NSW Police said residents who evacuated their homes should take important documents and photos, spare clothing and medication. Those using the evacuation centres were asked to bring blankets or sleeping bags, pillows and sleeping mats. Local police commander Jeff Loy said the three deaths occurred in different locations in Dungog. “Two males and one female all perished in different circumstances,” he said. “The police are investigating the cause of those deaths.

One talkback caller, David, told 1233 ABC Newcastle he was in the town visiting family but got out before it was cut off on Tuesday afternoon. “I expect there is 50 to 60 people whose houses have flooded,” he said. “There were people sitting on their roofs. “[Some people] have nothing left – they don’t have a wallet, they don’t have anything. They got out within minutes, these people. “Water’s up to their ceilings, people were swimming to try and get up on their roof. “There are animals floating around all over the place.” He said the local timber mill had been “smashed”, which would have lasting repercussions for the local economy.



The weather caused major transport disruptions, including cancellations and delays to train, bus and ferry services. Transport authorities urged people to avoid all non-essential travel, both by car and public transport, and check timetables for updated information. More than 100 sets of traffic lights were blacked out and some major road networks were affected by flooding. Sydney Airport advised passengers to check with airlines for information about delayed and cancelled flights. Electricity distributor Ausgrid said there were more than 4,500 reports of hazards, such as fallen wires, across its network. Crews were responding to thousands of urgent incidents and restoring power to more than 200,000 properties would take several days, he said.