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Summer storms are really getting around this summer, as another oneTropical Storm Dannyforms just off of the Bahamas and primes to sweep up the eastern seaboard. Heidi and Spencer, who seem to be perpetually on vacation, unfortunately just missed being affected by the storm, as they splashed on the beach at The Atlantis Nassau around Heidi's lip-synching performance for the Miss Universe pageant.
Danny, which reminds us more of a booger-eating kindergartner than a furiously brewing storm (how about more named like 'Cristobal?'), might have laid off the Bahamas but he will spend this weekend wreaking havoc on the plans of beachgoers along the coast from South Carolina all the way up to Maine.
Here we go again. Just a couple weeks after another flight was stuck in Minnesota for hours, a Sun Country airplane was delayed on the tarmac at JFK for hours en route to the North Star State. Flight 252 was supposed to leave New York on Friday around 11 am, but after a late boarding and weather delays, passengers were forced to spend most of the day stuck aboard the plane. Total delay time just sitting on the runway was about six hours.
Instead of throwing the passengers a bone and distributing some complimentary snacks and beverages to keep people comfortable, the airline rolled out the cart and began to charge for service items. Apparently travelers were quick to open their wallets despite the inconvenience as the snacks soon ran out leaving many thirsty, hungry, and cranky.
After a punishing weekend of pummeling rain, landslides, flooding, and collapsing houses, Taiwan and The Philippines are licking their wounds and counting the dead resulting from being hit by Typhoon Morakot.
The collapsed six-story Taiwan hotel in the picture above, whose 300 guests were all successfully evacuated, ended up collapsing into the floor waters, and it's no wonder with some southern cities getting dumped on by over 80 inches of rain. Before Morakotwhich means "Emerald" in Thai made landfall on Taiwan, it first killed 21 people in The Philippines. Among the dead were two Belgian tourists and a French tourist.
Over the weekend about 50 passengers experienced airplane hell aboard a Continental Airlines regional jet stuck on the tarmac. Everybody was headed to Minnesota’s Twin Cities, but thunderstorms in the area forced the plane to take a pit stop in Rochester to wait out the storm and get some gas. However, the pit stop that started around midnight lasted until the next morning, and everyone was forced to snuggle tightly in the cabin of the plane.
Passengers obviously were less than thrilled, and one flyer let everyone know that the smells of the toilets and babies aboard the ExpressJet plane were getting pretty bad. Unfortunately, the situation sounds pretty typical. The crew couldn’t do much since they were over their legally allowed hours for the day, the security screeners at the Rochester airport had gone for the day, and all the passengers got to eat were a couple bags of pretzels.
And you thought hurricane season was over! Nope, it technically runs until the end of November, which is why we shouldn't be too surprised to see Paloma threatening Cuba. The island has already endured direct hits from Ike and Gustav this year, and Paloma may be just as strong when it makes landfall.
The storm is already drenching the Cayman Islands, and it's forecast to reach the Bahamas by Monday. Paloma is headed northeast, so it most likely won't be hitting the United States.
Airlines, which this hurricane season were admirably quick to make special arrangements when hurricanes threatened, are again on the ball. American has a special webpage up about the storm's impact. US Airways has a similar page, as does Continental.
It's been an active hurricane season so far in 2008, with storms like Cristobol, Dolly, Edouard, and Gustav causing untold damage in the Caribbean and the eastern and gulf coasts of North America. Ike, the latest menace, came ashore in Galveston, Texas overnight, dumping several inches of rain and causing surging tides throughout the mostly-abandoned community. Though slightly further inland, Houston suffered as well, with scores of windows blown out of downtown skyscrapers and debris littering the streets.
Since making landfall, Ike has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm, and the early word from officials in southeastern Texas is that as bad as it was, it could have been worse. The people of Haiti, for example, have suffered greatly this season, with one storm after another destroying homes and lives, washing out roads, and requiring massive shipments of aid to alleviate some of the misery.
With its greater resources, I'm sure coastal Texas will bounce back soon, drawing visitors to the sandy beaches and laid-back bars that dot the coastline between Galveston and South Padre. It's just Florida with cowboy hats, after all. But the list of hurricanes still has twelve names on it, and it might not be long before Kyle, Marco, Omar, or Paloma show up looking for a party.
Hurricane Ike has apparently claimed its first American victim, a 10-year-old boy struck by a falling branch as his parents prepared for the storm that's approaching Texas, promising a powerful sea surge, torrential rains and winds exceeding 100 mph.
Some airports in Texas have already shut down; there will be no service into or out of George Bush Intercontinental on Saturday either. A number of airlines, including Southwest, Continental and American have suspended service to certain destinations in the storm's path.
The Austin American-Statesman is using Twitter to provide updates on the storm. You can also find Ike updates by searching Twitter for #Ike.
The Onion couldn't have known how expertly it'd predict the future when it released this video about a storm heading for Texas that instead slammed into "this big landmass to the south of us."
Of course, Ike has already crushed Cuba, another country that most Americans don't know much about. At least four people died there as a result of the storm, even as the government ordered massive evacuations. (Amazingly, no one died when Gustav steamrolled the island.)
The storm is now headed for the Gulf Coast, and two Texas-based airlines are watching it closely. Southwest is still operating its full, normal schedule; American Airlines is doing the same, though it's waiving ticket change fees on certain routes.
· Ike Kills Four in Cuba, Takes Aim at US, Mexico [AP, via Google]
· Hurricane Ike [NHC]
· Southwest's Ike Updates [Official Site]
· American's Ike Updates [Official Site]
· Hurricanes coverage [Jaunted]
Whether we know who he is or not, Banksy is still out there making guerilla street art. And his latest paintings have shown up in New Orleans, on the eve the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall--and as Tropical Storm Gustav is taking aim at the gulf shore.
While some of the new stencils directly address The Storm, others make reference to an anti-graffiti crusader in town. Which is fitting, since at least one of Banksy's murals has already been painted over.
All of a sudden, another tropical storm is bearing down on the Caribbean. This time it's Hurricane Gustav, which made landfall in Haiti today and is already threatening Cuba and the rest of the Northern Caribbean.
Airlines are watching this one not just because of the potential damage it could wreak upon schedules but because of the carnage the storm is already creating in the global oil markets. With petroleum platforms in the Gulf of Mexico potentially in harm's way, airline stocks took a tumble today.
· Hurricane Gustav Public Advisory [NHC]
· Airline Stocks Take a Bruising over Gustav [MarketWatch]
· Hurricane Gustav Slams Haiti [AFP, via Google]
· Hurricane Gustav Gathers Strength [WSJ]
· Hurricanes coverage [Jaunted]
Tropical Storm Fay may be dealing out sub-hurricane-force winds, but she's pounding the hell out of Key West all the same. And forecasters say there's a good possibility that the storm will be even stronger by the time it hits Naples and the rest of Southwest Florida sometime soon.
Airports in the Keys are currently closed, and multiple airlines are waiving ticket change fees for passengers headed to the region. Meanwhile the National Hurricane Center suggests that:
Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
· Tropical Storm Fay Public Advisory [NHC]
· Tropical Storm Fay Soaking the Florida Keys [TWC]
· Tropical Storm Hits Key West [CNN]
· Airlines Eye Tropical Storm Fay's Path [WSJ]
· Tropical Storm Fay Eyes Hurricane Status, Hopes To Ruin Your Vacation [Jaunted]
[Photo of a bottled water aisle in Florida: ELNumeroJuan]
Though it was threatening Bermuda, it now looks like the first Atlantic hurricane of 2008, Bertha, will spin off into the open ocean without major incident. That's certainly good news for now, but some meteorologists think the formation and track of this storm are bad omens for the season as a whole.
Destinations that depend on visitors year-round are already offering up storm guarantees to keep the tourists coming despite the threat. Topping the list? You guessed it: Bermuda.
· Bermuda Department of Tourism Hurricane Guarantee [Official Site, via]
· Big Bertha: A Bad Omen? [WaPo]
· Hurricane Bertha's Burst of Strength Stumps Experts [NGN]
· Hurricane Bertha Public Advisory [NOAA]
· Hurricanes coverage [Jaunted]