We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Installment of 'Today OnEarth' to Freak Out About Snor'eastercane Sandy
Today OnEarth Global Headquarters in New York City is shut down today, like much of the Northeast, so this will be a rather limited update. Plus, with apologies to folks elsewhere in the world, it's pretty hard for us here in the danger zone to pay attention to anything else right now as Hurricane Sandy bears down. (And if you think we in the New York area are freaking out a bit, check out our neighbors down in Delaware, where every single road is closed this morning!) Here's a quick rundown of what's catching our attention as we wait for our power and Internet connections to disappear:
- OnEarth contributing editor Bill McKibben explains why the name "Frankenstorm" is an apt discription for this and other extreme weather events in the age of climate change, stitched together as they are from "some spooky combination of the natural and the unnatural."
- Climate Central introduces us to the Fujiwhara Effect and explains how it is dragging Hurricane Sandy onshore. (Could the Fujiwedontwanna Effect do the opposite and get rid of this thing? Because that's one effect we would be totally on board with right now.)
- The Wall Street Journal compares Sandy with last year's Hurricane Irene, which struck roughly the same area, and finds that not only is Sandy potentially much worse, it's also the largest storm in recorded Atlantic basin history, with gale force winds covering a diameter of more than 1,000 miles. Yikes!
- The National Weather Service is not exactly pulling punches when it comes to urging people in evacuation zones to take the warnings seriously and get the heck out: "IF YOU ARE RELUCTANT, THINK ABOUT YOUR LOVED ONES, THINK ABOUT THE EMERGENCY RESPONDERS WHO WILL BE UNABLE TO REACH YOU WHEN YOU MAKE THE PANICKED PHONE CALL TO BE RESCUED, THINK ABOUT THE RESCUE/RECOVERY TEAMS WHO WILL RESCUE YOU IF YOU ARE INJURED OR RECOVER YOUR REMAINS IF YOU DO NOT SURVIVE." Double yikes!
- How do Brooklynites know they're facing a true state of emergency? When the kale is gone.
- Speaking of Brooklyn shitstorms, we would not like to be near the overflowing Gowanus Canal (one of the most polluted waterways in the nation) right now, no siree.
- You know all those great storm-tracking satellites we've got up in space that provide us with incredible data so that forecasters can predict the path of powerful storms days in advance and hopefully minimize destruction and the loss of human life? Yeah, we don't want to pay for those anymore, so we're at risk of losing them -- just as the need for them is growing due to climate change.
- Here's what the Times Square subway station, usually one of the busiest in the world, looks like when shut down and completely empty. Eerie.
- And here's a brief history of total New York City subway shutdowns (hint: there are only two entries). And here's what will happen if the subway tunnels flood.
- If you've still got access to Spotify, try out the New Yorker's playlist of Sandy-themed songs.
- That deluded dad who wrote here on Friday hoping his son's second Halloween in a row wouldn't be ruined by extreme weather? Yeah, so much for that. Poor sap. (On the other hand, if you're looking for a distraction from Sandy, here are cool eco-themed costume ideas!)
Good luck and stay safe, dear readers.
Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)
Image: Supermarket shelves in Astoria, Queens, via squirrel83/Flickr