Sunday, October 28, 2012
Massive and dangerous Hurricane Sandy has grown to record size as it barrels northeastwards along the North Carolina coast at 10 mph. At 8 am EDT, Sandy's tropical storm-force winds extended northeastwards 520 miles from the center, and twelve-foot high seas covered a diameter of ocean 1,030 miles across. Since records of storm size began in 1988, only one tropical storm or hurricane has been larger--Tropical Storm Olga of 2001, which had a 690 mile radius of tropical storm-force winds when it was near Bermuda (note: I earlier reported this was a subtropical storm, as per the original NHC advisory, but it was later re-analyzed as a tropical storm.) Sandy has put an colossal volume of ocean water in motion with its widespread and powerful winds, and the hurricane's massive storm surge is already impacting the coast. A 2' storm surge has been recorded at numerous locations this morning from Virginia to Connecticut, including a 3' surge at Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and Sewells Point at 9 am EDT. Huge, 10 - 15 foot-high battering waves on top of the storm surge have washed over Highway 12 connecting North Carolina's Outer Banks to the mainland at South Nags Head this morning. The highway is now impassable, and has been closed. The coast guard station on Cape Hatteras, NC, recorded sustained winds of 50 mph, gusting to 61 mph, at 5:53 am EDT this morning. In Delaware, the coastal highway Route 1 between Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach has been closed due to high water. Even though Sandy is a minimal Category 1 hurricane, its storm surge is extremely dangerous, and if you are in a low-lying area that is asked to evacuate, I strongly recommend that you leave.Sandy was a brutal storm for the Caribbean, the storm's death toll now stands at 65. The death toll is highest in Haiti, with 51 deaths. Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told the Associated Press that "This is a disaster of major proportions. The whole south is under water." Approximately 8 - 10" of rain (200 - 250 mm) fell in the capital of Port-au-Prince. Eleven people were killed in Cuba, where 35,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Sandy is also being blamed for 1 death in Jamaica, 1 in Puerto Rico, and 1 in the Bahamas. Sandy has a rather unusual structure, with the strongest winds on the southwest side of the center, but a larger area of tropical storm-force winds to the northeast of the center. Most of the storm's heavy thunderstorm activity is on the storm's west side, in a thick band several hundred miles removed from the center, giving Sandy more the appearance of a subtropical storm rather than a hurricane. Satellite loops show that the low-level center of Sandy is no longer exposed to view, and heavy thunderstorms are increasing in areal extent near the center, due to a reduction in wind shear from 35 - 40 knots last night to 25 - 30 knots this morning. Wind shear is expected to drop another 5 knots today, which may allow the storm to build an increased amount of heavy thunderstorms near its center and intensify by 5 - 10 mph over the next 24 hours. The NOAA Hurricane Hunters noted this morning that Sandy had a partial eyewall on the west through SE sides of the center, and the storm may be able to build a nearly complete eyewall by Monday morning. By Monday afternoon, though, Sandy will be moving over cool 25°C waters, which should slow down this intensification process. However, the trough of low pressure that will be pulling Sandy to the northwest towards landfall on Monday will strengthen the storm by injecting "baroclinic" energy--the energy one can derive from the atmosphere when warm and cold air masses lie in close proximity to each other. Sandy should have sustained winds at hurricane force, 75 - 80 mph, at landfall. Sandy's central pressure is expected to drop from its current 951 mb to 945 - 950 mb at landfall Monday night. A pressure this low is extremely rare; according to wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt, the lowest pressure ever measured anywhere in the U.S. north of Cape Hatteras, NC, is 946 mb (27.94") measured at the Bellport Coast Guard Station on Long Island, NY on September 21, 1938 during the great "Long Island Express" hurricane. The latest set of 00Z (8 pm EDT) and 06Z (2 am EDT) computer model runs are in agreement that Sandy will make landfall between 10 pm Monday night and 4 am Tuesday morning in New Jersey.
http://www.rte.iePresident Barack Obama has warned that Hurricane Sandy is a "serious and big storm" and called on East Coast residents to heed the orders of state and local officials to protect themselves from its onslaught. President Barack Obama has warned that Hurricane Sandy is a "serious and big storm" and called on East Coast residents to heed the orders of state and local officials to protect themselves from its onslaught. Mr Obama was speaking after a briefing at the federal government's storm response centre in Washington. He said officials had assured him that they had all the resources they needed in place, and he stressed that "it is important for us to respond big and to respond fast" to the hurricane's onslaught. "We're going to cut through red tape and we're not going to get bogged down in a lot of rules," said President Obama, who was having to juggle both is re-election bid and his efforts to stay on top of the storm's impact just nine days before Election Day. Earlier today, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered city schools to be closed on Monday and the evacuation of 375,000 residents who live in at risk areas ahead of Hurricane Sandy. The city's subway, bus and train services will be suspended from 7pm this evening. Mr Bloomberg said that areas of the city from City Island to Coney Island to Battery Park City were under mandatory evacuation because of approaching Hurricane Sandy. He said during a press conference that the mandatory evacuation applies to people in Zone A, which covers coastal areas. Weather forecasters have warned that Hurricane Sandy will affect a large area of the US east coast. However, forecasters said it was too early to pinpoint where the storm, which has the potential to be the biggest to hit the mainland, would make landfall. Residents have scrambled to buy supplies before the storm arrives on Monday night. On its current projected track, Sandy is most likely to make US landfall between Delaware and the New York/New Jersey area, forecasters said. However, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said it could not yet predict the precise point. "It is still too soon to focus on the exact track ... both because of forecast uncertainty and because the impacts are going to cover such a large area," the NHC said. While Sandy's winds are not overwhelming for a hurricane, its width is what has made it exceptional. Hurricane force winds extend 165km from its centre, while its lesser tropical storm-force winds reach across 1,125km. Sandy could have a brutal impact on major cities in the target zone, including Boston, New York, Baltimore, Washington DC and Philadelphia. The storm could cause the worst flooding Connecticut has seen in more than 70 years, said the state's governor, Dannel P Malloy. Sandy was located about 420km south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with top sustained winds of 120km/h early this morning. Forecasters said Sandy is a rare, hybrid "super storm" created by an Arctic jet stream wrapping itself around a tropical storm, possibly causing up to 30cm of rain in some areas, as well as heavy snowfall inland. Sandy killed at least 66 people as it made its way through the Caribbean, including 51 in Haiti, mostly from flash flooding and mudslides. The White House said US President Barack Obama took part in a call with US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate to discuss preparations for Sandy. The approaching storm forced a change of plans for both presidential candidates ahead of the election on Tuesday 6 November. Mr Obama has cancelled a campaign appearance in Virginia tomorrow and another stop in Colorado on Tuesday, and will instead monitor the storm from Washington. Republican challenger Mitt Romney cancelled a trip to Virginia set for today, when the state is expected to begin feeling Sandy's impact, and will go instead to Ohio. Some flights to US from Ireland cancelled The Dublin Airport Authority has said a number of transatlantic flights have been cancelled on Monday and Tuesday. Passengers with plans to travel stateside in the next two days are advised to contact their airline or airline's website before travelling to Dublin Airport. Aer Lingus has cancelled its flights to and from New York on Monday due to the severe weather anticipated. The following flights have been cancelled: EI-105 Dublin to New York and EI-104 New York to Dublin EI-111 Shannon to New York and EI-110 New York to Shannon EI-109 Dublin to New York and EI-108 New York to Dublin The airline has apologised for the disruption and has asked those scheduled to travel to visit its website.
President Barack Obama has spent months trying to balance his re-election bid with running the government.
ReutersA British woman, held in Pakistan on charges of drug smuggling, has been sent back to prison with her newborn daughter after giving birth in a hospital, a British legal group said Sunday. Khadija Shah, 25, is being held on charges of trying to smuggle heroin worth nearly $5 million onto a flight to Britain. She gave birth to her baby girl Malaika a few weeks ago but was returned from hospital to Adiala prison near the capital Islamabad. The birth was not reported until Sunday. The baby has had no immunizations and has already had to be hospitalized when she developed severe diarrhoea in the unsanitary prison, said British legal group Reprieve. "To keep a baby behind bars is truly barbaric. Baby Malaika is weak and suffering from terrible health problems while Khadija faces execution. No mother would wish this scenario on their worst enemy," Reprieve investigator Sultana Noon said in a statement. Shah has two other young children. After a period of incarceration when their mother was arrested in May this year, they were freed into the care of a relative. Mothers are frequently imprisoned with their children while their cases are heard in Pakistan's congested legal system. Criminal cases can take years to complete.
Aseefa Bhutto Zardari spent Eid with Malala’s family here on Friday.Accompanied by Pakistan High Commissioner for UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Aseefa travelled from Oxford Brooks University, where she is currently studying, to Birmingham to meet Malala’s parents and inquire after their daughter’s health.She spent about two hours with the family and hoped that Malala would soon recover.While strongly condemning the attack she said that this kind of brutal act could not be done by Muslims and those who had done it were not Muslims.On this occasion, Aseefa said that the whole of Pakistan was standing with Malala, who had become a symbol of peace, enlightenment and women empowerment. She also conveyed the full support of President Asif Ali Zardari to the family.During the meeting the senior officials of Queen Elizabeth Hospital were present while Medical Director Dr Dave Rosser briefed Aseefa about Malala’s health status.Malala’s father thanked Aseefa and the High Commissioner for being with his family on Eid Day.
My face is my existenceMy face is my human identity, the proof of my very existence. Wake up, women of the Arab Peninsula, rebel against being non-existent,” Tweeted activist Lama al-Zahrani in support for the recent decision in Saudi Arabia making it compulsory for women to carry state IDs on them. “Unfortunately,” she told NOW, “when the Shura Council issued the ruling, some judges and other sheikhs who are well-known in media circles were opposed to it.” This is because an official ID would bear an actual photo of its female holder. However, Zahrani believes that the sheikhs’ objection to the photo IDs is merely a pretext, the main problem being fear that women will break free of their male dominance.
Member of Bahrain's Islamic Action Society Rashid al-Rashid said the critical conditions in his country would continue as long as the al-Khalifa rulers remain in power, noting the siege of the al-Akr town as an instance of aggravating conditions in Bahrain. Speaking to FNA on Sunday, al-Rashid said the siege of al-Akr and the brutal collective punishment of Bahrain's people by the al-Khalifa regime have made it impossible to settle the current crisis as long as the regime is in power. He described the siege of the town as a milestone in Bahrain Revolution and a dangerous development in the country. The Bahraini political activist also said that the current situation sends the signal that "talks between the nation and the al-Khalifa regime is impossible". The Al-Khalifa regime sponsored by the US and Persian Gulf neighboring states is struggling to force people to accept its legitimacy and has refused to take any step for a political solution, he added. Al-Akr, South of Manama, has been under siege for 10 days as the government is adopting collective punishment against the residents of the town and using bombs and poisonous gas against citizens passing along the streets. Bahrain's police and security forces have surrounded al-Akr and cut the roads and transfer of food supplies to the town after a bomb attack on October 18 allegedly killed one policeman and injured another one following clashes between protesters and the Saudi-backed security services. Bahrain's al-Vafa al-Islami stream has condemned the al-Akr siege, and underlined, "The Bahraini regime's story about the killing of a policeman in al-Akr village is an excuse to assume the extensive deracination of people as permitted." Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for an end to the al-Khalifa dynasty. Violence against the defenseless people escalated after a Saudi-led conglomerate of police, security and military forces from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member states - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar - were dispatched to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom on March 13, 2011, to help Manama crack down on peaceful protestors. Tens of protesters have been killed by the al-Khalifa's security forces, hundreds have gone missing and thousands of others have been injured since the start of the Islamic Awakening in the tiny Persian Gulf country.
Human Right Watch (HRW) has urged Saudi Arabia to stop prosecuting protesters, saying the Saudi government has punished the peaceful demonstrators instead of addressing their concerns.
EDITORIALMonday's presidential debate, the third and last between President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney, featured a forceful and articulate defense of Obama's foreign policy. That was no surprise. What was surprising was that it came from Romney.
The Express TribuneHuman Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Secretary General IA Rehman has said that the writers and artists will have to play their role in efforts to end the human rights violations and to promote the philosophy of non-violence in the country. Addressing a seminar organised by the HRCP on Wednesday, Rehman said HRCP will host meetings on developing opinions on policies for safeguarding human rights, adding that the commission will engage writers and journalists in policy discussions on human rights situation in the country. He said that the planned conventions will see writers and media persons of divergent views engaged in dialogue on the parameters of human rights, as difference of opinion helps grow positive thinking.
ABC OTUS NewsThe White House has announced President Obama is cancelling some of his campaign travel Monday as Hurricane Sandy is expected to veer on to the East Coast. The president is getting out of Washington, D.C., Sunday, earlier than planned, to beat the disruptions expected in air travel. He is scheduled to speak at rallies in Orlando, Florida, and Youngstown, Ohio, two places outside the region braced for the impact. The White House says a Monday evening rally in Northern Virginia near Dulles airport is being cancelled. That area is expecting high winds and heavy rains. The President has also dropped Tuesday morning travel to Colorado Springs. Spokesmen for the White House and for the Obama campaign say campaigning is appropriate despite the approaching storm, but they said his roles as president and as commander in chief come first. President Obama has instructed federal emergency planners to offer assistance to states and local governments, but the White House emphasizes that during natural disasters, all decisions about preparedness and evacuations are made by local officials, not by the federal government.