By Robert A. Vella
Hurricane Dorian is one of the most unusual tropical storms in recorded history that provides yet another example of worsening extreme weather events triggered by global warming. While Floridians breathed a sigh of relief for having been spared a devastating direct hit, the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, North Carolina, and now Nova Scotia weren’t so lucky. It tied with the catastrophic “Labor Day” hurricane of 1935, for the strongest sustained wind speed of 185 mph, that slammed into the Florida Keys and raked up the state’s west coast during the Great Depression killing over 400 people. What is also unusual about Dorian is the storm’s longevity and that it maintained hurricane force status so far north.
Speaking of climate change, “The Blob” of warm water that has formed in the northeast Pacific Ocean has brought disruptive weather conditions all along the U.S. west coast including a freak electrical storm in Washington State which delayed or cancelled a major college football game and other public events. In Mississippi, a toxic algae bloom is harming the local economy and frightening residents. In France, nearly 1500 people died from the extreme heat waves which hit in June and July.
In political news, a third Republican has announced his challenge to Donald Trump to become the GOP’s presidential nominee next year. Evidence has emerged which supports suspicions that Trump ordered the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to rebuke its National Weather Service (NWS) agency for telling the truth about the President’s contrived and false “weather forecast” regarding Hurricane Dorian. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taught a political lesson last week which shattered his plan to force a hard, no-deal Brexit by exacting party loyalty through intimidation tactics and other authoritarian maneuvers. Trump is escalating his economic war against nations having left-wing governments by making it illegal for Cuban Americans to send remittances back to their ancestral country. Negotiations with the Taliban to reduce U.S. military forces in Afghanistan have broken down. Finally, in another move against his perceived foreign enemies, Trump reportedly offered a bribe to the captain of an Iranian oil tanker looking for a safe port of entry.
TORONTO (AP) — The storm that has already walloped the Virgin Islands, Bahamas and North Carolina brought hurricane-force winds to far-eastern Canada on Sunday, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people.
Dorian hit near the city of Halifax Saturday afternoon, ripping roofs off apartment buildings, toppling a huge construction crane and uprooting trees. There were no reported deaths in Canada, though the storm was blamed for at least 49 elsewhere along its path.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the post-tropical cyclone was centered about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Whittle, Quebec, late Sunday morning. Top sustained winds had slipped to 75 mph (120 kph), just above the threshold of hurricane force. It was heading to the northeast, roughly up the St. Lawrence River, at 25 mph (41 kph).
MARSH HARBOUR, Bahamas — No schools. No banks. No gas stations. No supermarkets. No restaurants. No churches. No pharmacies. No hardware stores. No water, no electricity and no phone lines.
In this part of the Bahamas, nearly everything is gone.
Hurricane Dorian didn’t just upend life in Marsh Harbour, the biggest town in the Abaco Islands. Dorian crushed it, stripping all essentials, schedules and routines — everything residents and visitors had taken for granted.
About 1,250 lightning strikes were recorded in western Washington state during a storm that caused widespread power outages Saturday night, the National Weather Service said.
A strong line of thunderstorms developed over western Washington, bringing frequent lightning, heavy rains, flooding and hail to the Puget Sound region, according to the National Weather Service’s office in Seattle.
The storm caused a delay in the football game between University of Washington and UC Berkeley at Husky Stadium. It also caused an early closure of the Washington State Fair in Puyallup.
Ship Island Excursions has survived hurricanes, global recessions, a world war and a host of economic challenges since the ferry company began taking passengers to the barrier islands that dot coastal Mississippi in the 1920s. But this year, a new threat has emerged: an explosion of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria,that has shut down virtually all of Mississippi’s beaches since July 4.
No one knows when the algae will disappear, and many wonder how many businesses that operate in the region will survive the hit.
“Beach vendors have been wiped out,” said Louis Skrmetta, operations manager for Ship Island Excursions. “I’ve never seen something so dramatic. It’s very similar to the BP oil spill…people are frightened to just walk in the sand.”
PARIS (Reuters) – Heatwaves in June and July caused about 1,500 more deaths than usual in France over that period, though the figure was far lower than in the summer of 2003, the country’s health minister said on Sunday.
Former South Carolina governor and congressman Mark Sanford said on Sunday that he will challenge President Trump in 2020 as a Republican.
“I’m here to tell you now that I am going to get in,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I think we need to have a conversation on what it means to be a Republican,” Sanford added. “As a Republican Party, we have lost our way.”
Nearly a week before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration publicly backed President Trump over its own scientists, a top NOAA official warned its staff against contradicting the president.
In an agencywide directive sent Sept. 1 to National Weather Service personnel, hours after Trump asserted, with no evidence, that Alabama “would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated,” staff was told to “only stick with official National Hurricane Center forecasts if questions arise from some national level social media posts which hit the news this afternoon.”
They were also told not to “provide any opinion,” according to a copy of the email obtained by The Washington Post.
LONDON — Britain and the United States have often seemed lashed together amid the populist storms of the last few years — Brexit and the Trump White House echoing and amplifying each other across the Atlantic. But in one respect they have radically diverged.
In London, rebels in the Conservative Party staged a dramatic insurrection in the past week against Prime Minister Boris Johnson, blocking his plan to withdraw Britain from the European Union even without a deal. In Washington, scarcely a handful of Republicans have stood up to President Trump, even when he has flouted party orthodoxy on issues like trade, immigration and the deficit.
The Tory party’s revolt against Mr. Johnson, and his ruthless purging of the rebels, are reverberating through British politics, threatening his hold on power. For dispirited Republicans, though, this British revolution has become an object lesson in how a center-right party can stand up to a wayward leader.