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Special report:


[taken from a secular report by Michael H. Brown in 2000 that later was adapted into Sent To Earth]:

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The hurricane going up the East Coast can be either a major, historic event (like 'Floyd' in 1999 for the mid-Atlantic, one that occurred in 1938 for New York, and before that, in 1893) or fizzle into a heavy rainstorm.

Flip the coin. Worst case: that it's a category-two or above and its "eye" goes up the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey.

That would cause the much-feared and lashing right side to pile water up in the Bay of New York and inundate Lower Manhattan (while swaying bridges to the point that it could thwart evacuation).

It may not happen just that way, but prayers are an excellent idea for our many friends in this corridor; the 1893 hurricane was so intense that it caused Hog Island off Brooklyn (a favorite playground for Tammany Hall politicians) to literally disappear; when we visited with the emergency management director of New York (at the headquarters just across from the Trade Towers) back in 1999, he explained the worst-case storm scenario and explained that the door to those headquarters was on the third floor in the event of just such a piling-up of water (the building sliced into a small hill).

We're now in the active phase, what one forecaster calls "a new hurricane era," and that brings us to the future.

Hurricanes will be involved in the coming convergence.

While storms are not events that individually affect the entire earth, they are major players, and the range of weather, the droughts, the dance of fire, will all join to cause disruption after disruption, cloud after cloud, and super-hurricanes.

Without prayer and conversion -- so far desperately lacking, despite warnings -- one day our televisions will fill with images of destruction and in all likelihood this run of storms will begin before other huge events; they are precursors. Call them forerunners. It will throw us into preliminary upheaval. It may not reach the magnitude of some disasters -- events that also lurk -- but it's now time to anticipate the storm that is coming.

In addition to the spiritual factors are the simple meteorological and climatologic ones. The last intense episode of hurricanes is generally said to have spanned from 1930 to 1969. That's 39 years. An argument could be made that it actually started with the Great Miami Hurricane in 1926, which would mean the cycle was more like 43 years, but even at 39 it means the current upswing may last into the 2030s. The New York area gets hit with a major hurricane every seventy to eighty years. The last was arguably that one in 1938 (73 years ago).

Now let's consider frequency.

While even an active period can have slow years, we're obviously heading for a time when the oceans will be busy. It's plain from history.

Active cycles are just that: full of storms.

From 1940 to 1949 there were 23 strikes by hurricanes, versus only 12 in the quiet 1970s.

During 1969, the year a category-five, Hurricane Camille hit, there were 17 tropical storms, versus four in years like 1983. When the active phase returned in 1995 it started with a run of tropical storms more than twice comparable periods in the 1970s -- and at one point that year there were four tropical storms in the Atlantic at the same time, positioning themselves like planes landing at an airport.

"We have turned the corner out of a period of less hurricane activity into a time of more hurricanes," is the straightforward way Jerry Jarrell, at the time director of the Hurricane Center, put it to me.

With each degree of warmth the number of hurricanes that make landfall -- that hit the U.S. instead of simply roaming the seas -- increases by a third, and this was immediately apparent in the four that landed in 1999, where, normally, one or two would have been expected.

We go now to size. While hurricanes like the infamous Andrew in 1992 can be small (more like a mega-tornado than a classic cyclone), storms like Floyd (1999) ballooned across a span of ocean that was the size of Texas.

Another called Mitch was also large, and when we look at historical storms, there have been typhoons that have sent gale-force winds for a radius of 600 miles.

When Floyd came, it caused flooding from Florida to Upstate New York.

And while Atlantic storms have never quite reached the proportion of super-typhoons, they come very close; in 1979 one called Gilbert covered half the Caribbean. (As it moved into the Gulf it cast a radius that stretched from the Yucatan to Louisiana.)   

There is even the possibility of storms combining forces.

While the melding of hurricanes often weakens the system -- while they often cause each other to fizzle out -- there have been instances when it has caused the opposite and formed a stronger storm.

That's certainly the case with storms that stray beyond the tropics, as seen when a northbound hurricane named Grace interacted with the "perfect" Halloween storm in 1991, and also back in 1954  with Hurricane Hazel, which first struck the Carolinas as a category-four hurricane and then merged with a low-pressure center to become a monstrous extra-tropical system that devastated Toronto.

As NOAA puts it, the combination of two systems "sometimes leads to a dramatic energizing of the larger storm, often with disastrous consequences."

And that brings us to the key and unnerving issue of intensity:

Although powerful hurricanes can come during "quiet" times (as with Gilbert in 1979 and Andrew in 1992) they are more likely in an active cycle.

The more storms, the greater the chance one will intensify.

The only category-fives to reach the U.S. came in the period of 1930 to 1969 (unless you classify Andrew as a "five," as do some), and during 1999 an unprecedented five category-fours developed in the Atlantic. Three of them had top winds of 150 miles per hour or greater, in keeping with projections that atmospheric warming will enhance wind speed. In England scientists expect a 25 percent increase in top winds during this century while in the U.S. projections at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton call for the five to 12 percent increase.

Applied to top sustained winds, an increase of five percent would have given the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 (which was the most intense on record) sustained winds of 195 to 210 miles an hour, and 12 percent would have jacked it up as high as 225 miles an hours (with gusts well over 250 miles an hour).

According to the Hurricane Center new technology is revealing that in the past wind speeds were understated by as much as twenty percent. If we apply that to the increase projected to result from warmth, actual sustained winds would blast at breath-taking levels.

Even at the low end of projections the strongest storms would have sustained winds of 230 to 250 miles an hour and gusts beyond.

While many believe that winds of 185 to 200 miles an hour are the limit and 870 millibars, a level reached by a storm called Typhoon Tip, is the ultimate that pressure can drop (the lower, the more powerful), storms back in the Bronze and Middle ages almost surely dropped more and whipped harder. It's possible, claims one emergency management expert in Miami, for a warming of four degrees to bring millibars to 820, far below the 922 of Andrew and the 909 of Camille.

That would lead to remarkable storm surges.

As it is, a category-five is expected to hurl more than 18 feet of water, but on record are cases of twice that height -- in 1899 a storm surge in Bathurst Bay, Australia, reached 42 feet -- and the Miami expert believes similar extremes have occurred in Florida.

"Gilbert was the most potent we've measured in the Atlantic, but I feel absolutely confident that it's not even close to the maximum that can be done," says the Dade County official, Erle Peterson. "From the  historical record there's evidence in the last global warming period, from A.D. 800 to 1400, of some extreme hurricanes that hit this state. There's a classic work where they found a Calusa Indian village on Marco Island in Collier County that was buried underneath a 20-foot sand dune.

The thing that was unusual is that everything was intact like a Pompeii event. And that sand was put there, as near as they can tell, all at one time, and the only thing that could put a twenty-foot sand dune there all at one time is a storm surge. It wasn't a burial mound. The sand didn't have layers in it.  Or was it?

There is debate. Peterson argues the Indians in that area never kept anything but the skulls of their dead. The other bones were disposed of. And they ritually smashed pottery that was unused.

But in this particular excavation they found complete skeletons and pots that weren't broken, and this is what triggered them to take a real close look at this whole thing and what they discovered was that it was an intact village that had been destroyed by a storm surge. All of the people died right there and the remains were in a way that's contrary to their culture. With the information currently at hand it's a reach, but there is a possibility that a storm did this around 1100 A.D., right in the middle of the last period when earth was warming (we prefer saying "gyrating," since there can also be swings toward extreme cold).

Such a storm would be classified as a hyper-hurricane with about a 40-foot storm surge.

Peterson claims there's evidence of an even higher surge at a spot on Florida's east coast and says it occurred around 1000 A.D.

As perhaps in ancient times, winds are now increasing and as they push waves, as they kick up spray, those droplets will become suspended and further increase the rate of evaporation so that storms begin to feed on themselves. A strong category four that narrowly missed Miami, Andrew was a small storm like Camille, its hurricane-force winds extending just thirty miles. But that was almost irrelevant. So powerful was Andrew in the areas it did reach that it destroyed 25,524 homes, damaged 101,241, and caused an incredible $30 billion in damage. A relatively "dry" storm that shed but five inches of rain, the ruin was done by its winds. It struck Homestead and Florida City with sustained blasts of over 140 miles an hour, razing neighborhoods southwest of Miami in such a way that officials at the National Weather Service had little idea what they were dealing with. That was followed by that incredible hurricane year of 2004 when one after another pummeled Florida, and then the following year Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. Records were set that year, 2005, in the Gulf for low millibars.

As air spirals up and condenses and releases heat it will cause the air to rise farther and faster and will result in yet more condensation and thus more rain and wind so that we're going to see storms like Gilbert and then we're going to see storms that surpass it.

The last issue is where the big ones will hit.

With each degree of warming the hurricane season is extended twenty days, and that could substantially increase range.

The longer the season, the more landfalls, the greater the chance that a major storm -- a category-three or higher -- will strike somewhere unexpected, perhaps New York.

A category-three making landfall midway up the New Jersey coast would cause a surge of up to thirty feet at New York Harbor and send its fiercest winds slashing directly at the skyscrapers, perhaps with tornadic wind streaks like Andrew.

The bridges -- George Washington, Verrazano -- may be closed long before the storm even got there, cutting off escape routes, and there would be major flooding.

Parts of lower Manhattan, including the financial district, are just ten feet above sea level.

Water would fill the subways. Waves would lap at the skyscrapers (perhaps one to two stories up).  The wind will be more intense the higher up one is in a building. Brooklyn -- the Rockaways -- are especially vulnerable. Ditto for Fire Island and the north shore of Long Island.

Water would wash across Canal Street and connect the Hudson to the East River, turning Manhattan for a time into two islands. With prayer, anything -- even such a storm -- can be mitigated.

[resources Sent To Earth]

[see also: Flashback: when an island in NY disappeared and Fran, Hugo, Floyd?]

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