Harvey’s Flooding Already Catastrophic and Another 2-3 Feet of Rainfall is on the Way

For Houston, a city that hosts a massive oil industry, it’s the climate change related flood version of the Fort McMurray fire. And we may well be witnessing, at this time, a tragedy that we could have at least in part prevented, but didn’t.


Last week at this time, meteorologists were tracking a tropical cyclone moving across the Caribbean. 5-7 day models indicated that the system would enter the Gulf of Mexico by late week. This Gulf was hotter than normal. And for the past three months it had been dumping an over-abundance of moisture into an unusually deep summer trough over the Eastern U.S. This interaction between two features related to human-forced climate change was already producing very severe thunderstorms that generated record rainfall over places like Kansas City, Missouri.

Harvey was very moisture rich. It issued from a tropical convergence zone and monsoon cycle that had hit unusually high intensity — due, at least in part, to abnormally warm ocean surface waters injecting much higher than normal moisture loads into the tropical atmosphere. And early last week there was some serious concern that intense tropical moisture in the form of Harvey could combine with a Gulf and Eastern U.S. weather and climate pattern that had already produced unprecedented rains to generate ultimately catastrophic results.

These fears have now been realized.

As of this afternoon,  parts of Houston and Southeast Texas had received more than 30 inches of rainfall — with up to 26 inches falling in just one 24-hour-period. Hourly rainfall rates at times have hit an equally unprecedented rate of up to six inches per hour. For context, one inch per hour rainfall rates in the past have been considered extreme. Six inches per hour is just off the charts. In many places, the most rain ever to fall over a one day time-frame was breached.

As we have seen so often around the world from globally increasing instances of record rainfall, roads flooded, cars were abandoned, and people were forced to climb onto their rooftops to flee the rising waters. In a Houston that is increasingly looking like post-Katrina New Orleans, more than 1,000 emergency calls for water rescues had been received by this morning. And with rivers hitting never-before-seen heights in a flood-prone city that is also facing the effect of rising sea levels, the rains were showing little sign of abating.

(Pivotal weather shows up to 32 inches of additional rainfall for the Houston region through Tuesday. The storm, however, may last through Thursday or later. Image source: Pivotal Weather.)

As much as 1-3 feet of additional rain is still expected from the storm. In the worst case, this would bring ultimate rainfall totals to 50-60+ inches. In a litany that we are hearing practically everywhere now — this would be the worst rainfall event Texas has ever seen in our records. It might, ultimately, be the worst flood from rainfall the U.S. has ever seen.

Moreover, weather models now indicate that Harvey may slowly track back toward the Gulf of Mexico. If this happens, a storm that is already pulling severe volumes of moisture in from the Gulf could be somewhat re-invigorated. Such a result would bring a second pulse of intense rains to parts of Southeast Texas and possibly Louisiana.

(September 1 GFS model shows remnants of Harvey interacting with a tropical cyclone south of Baja to continue to pull rains over Texas and Louisiana. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

An additional concern is the fact that later this week Harvey shows a possible interaction with another stationary tropical cyclone forming near the southern tip of Baja in the Pacific. The two storms appear to interact to draw still more moisture from the abnormally warm Gulf over Southeast Texas later this week. Of course, this GFS-based forecast is still longer range — and therefore less certain. But the models do seem to continue to indicate a persistent heavy rainfall potential for an already catastrophically flooded region over an unprecedented long time frame.

This is exactly the kind of extreme rainfall event that some of us have feared coming from a warmer, more moisture-rich atmosphere in which weather systems have tended, more and more often, to persist and produce long-lasting effects. For the sake of all involved, we are now reduced to prayers and hopes that the worst case does not continue to be realized.




The National Weather Service

The National Hurricane Center

Harvey has Unloaded 9 Trillion Gallons of Water

Catastrophic Flooding Beyond Anything Experienced in Houston

Global Number of Record-Breaking Daily Rainfall Events

Harvey’s Approach Brings Potential Severe 5-Day Rainfall Event for Texas and Louisiana

Pivotal Weather

Earth Nullschool

Hat tip to Greg

Hat tip to eleggua

Leave a comment


  1. coloradobob

     /  August 27, 2017

    TRACKING HARVEY Weather Channel Live Coverage Tropical Storm Harvey * Live Coverage

    • eleggua

       /  August 28, 2017

      That one is dropping off.

      Here’s Hurricane Harvey Coverage LIVE on CBSN:

  2. Shheri

     /  August 27, 2017

    Wow, this is really terrible. I will take a month of 120 degree days over this anytime. Guess the evil you know is better than the one you don’t.
    Been gone because of a critically ill brother who isn’t really improving and is in California. I am going back over there this week. Harvey makes it look pretty manageable though.

    I have found food tucked away for an emergency to be very useful to take with me when I go to San Diego when I drive.

    Prayers and thoughts for you all and in Texas.


  3. Syd Bridges

     /  August 27, 2017

    Thank you for the update, Robert.

    This has all the elements of Greek tragedy. Man’s hubris finally provokes a response from Nemesis, the Goddess of Divine Retribution, after repeated warnings have been ignored. When sufficiently angered, Nemesis was ruthless and thorough. Now millions of lives will be disrupted, many probably for years to come. Others will be lost. Sadly, I doubt that the majority of Trump supporters will shift their position one iota and we’ll see more of the moronic bull quoted in a previous thread earlier today. This will be followed by scapegoating from the (ir)religious Right.

    However, I expect that the insurance industry will now begin to flex more muscle and many coastal dwellers may find that they can no longer obtain flood insurance at any affordable price (those who were prudent enough to have it).

    I can only hope that the cost in human lives will be much, much lower than it was for Katrina, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the economic cost to the country is much higher than for Katrina. I wouldn’t like to even hazard a guess on the cost of this in economic terms.

    Like with Katrina, this disaster had been well telegraphed, but little preparation was made. I recall seeing Katrina before it reached Florida and wondering whether it would restrengthen in the Gulf after crossing Florida and strike again. When I saw that Harvey was reforming and the temperatures in the Gulf, it was a very uncomfortable feeling of deja vu.

    • Responding to hubris

      • Syd Bridges

         /  August 27, 2017

        Last year, I was prising a 12 foot plank off a wooden platform, when the plank suddenly yielded and the plank fell onto my foot. It drove a 3 inch nail through the top of my boot and between the first and second metatarsals-fortunately missing both. While immobilized in an orthopedic shoe, I thought it was exactly the time to research and buy a pair of metaguard boots, so that it wouldn’t happen again. I ordered a pair within 24 hours of the accident. I now wear them for all such jobs. I thanked the person who told me that you could buy such boots, and I considered it helpful rather than rubbing in the fact that I could have avoided the injury.

        If we don’t point out during and after such events that worse is to come unless we act swiftly, when is the message ever gong to get through to most people?

        I also suspect that some of the virulence against such pointing out the obvious is driven by guilt. Deep down some of these people know that they have either been dishonest or complacent, but cannot admit it to themselves or others. I was taught that it takes a much stronger person to say “I’m sorry, I was wrong” than a person who blusters and blames others instead.

        • Thanks for the analogy, Syd. Spot on.

        • Eric Thurston

           /  August 28, 2017

          I highly recommend the book “Being Wrong” by Kathryn Schulz
          It is a detailed analysis of how often humans get it wrong and why being wrong is so pervasive and persistent.

      • eleggua

         /  August 28, 2017

        “unwittingly contributed”

        Excellent choice of adjective, Robert. No blame. Good job.
        Did Brian Ford respond?

        • He doubled down. So I just took his comments down.

          There’s this larger meme with Harvey as there was with the Ft McMurray Fires as there was with Sandy. Supposedly knowledgeable people are saying we shouldn’t talk about climate change in association with the storm. But if we don’t, we’re not talking about causes. In other words, if we talk about the weather causes of Harvey and not the climate causes of Harvey, then we’re misinforming the public by omission. This is a terrible disservice. It is also a form of climate change denial.

        • eleggua

           /  August 28, 2017

          “It is also a form of climate change denial. ”

          Yep. Cognitive dissonance going on with some of those supposedly knowledgeables, too.

          Good to see this comment from Johanna Stoneking‏ at the end of that thread.

          Johanna Stoneking‏ @JohannaStonekin 3h3 hours ago
          “Now is exactly the time to talk about #ClimateChange.The effects are covering your houses,flooding the roads,threatening your families.When?”


          Robert Fanney
          “”Talking about #ClimateChange now in relation to #Harvey is an appeal to prevent worse disasters yet to come.””


        • Will try to find that tweet from Johanna… Thanks for this.

        • Retweeted.

        • eleggua

           /  August 28, 2017

          You’re welcome. And thank you so much for what you do.

      • eleggua

         /  August 28, 2017

        ‘Messenger: When water recedes in Houston, debate over climate change and flooding must rise ‘
        By Tony Messenger St. Louis Post-Dispatch 4 hrs ago 8.27.2017

        “Two weeks before the water started rising in Houston, President Donald Trump made the sort of shortsighted decision that is all too common in cities that flood in the age of climate change.

        As part of the president’s alleged plan to jump-start a massive infrastructure building boom in the U.S. — think highways, bridges, trains, dams, airports — Trump erased a 2015 executive order signed by President Barack Obama that had a simple goal:

        When building such projects, particularly federal ones, officials were directed to take climate change into consideration.

        Already, scientists are pointing to climate change as a culprit to explain the expected record 50 inches of rain that might fall in Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey, and the rising tide of water that is swamping and isolating America’s fourth-most-populous city.

        There will be some who will say now is not the time.

        Now is a time for humanitarian rescue. Now is a time for prayer.

        But as I write from 777 miles away in St. Louis — where many people are still recovering from two major flood events in the past 16 months — the president himself is tweeting about policy.

        Sure, it’s the wrong policy, his ever-changing plan for a wall between America’s southern border and Mexico, and even a bit about the tax reform speech he plans to give in Springfield, Mo., on Wednesday.

        Trump won’t tweet about climate change because he believes — or says he believes, anyway — that it’s a Chinese conspiracy.

        So as people drown and die in Houston and Galveston and Corpus Christi, I’ll write about climate change and America’s love affair with bad flooding policy, because if not now, when?

        Perhaps Harvey, hitting hard in the conservative Gulf Coast of Texas, in the nation’s center of the oil business — which has funded climate change denial to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in the past decade — will turn the tide.

        In 2011, as a wall of water slowly made its way to St. Louis during one of the last massive Missouri River flood events, I sat in a downtown Army Corps of Engineers office with one of the engineers whose job it is to predict what is going to happen to the river and when. When it comes to getting people interested in making policy changes regarding flood policies, the engineer told me, timing is everything.

        “From my perspective, you’ve got a two- to four-year window,” Matt Hunn said. “People forget.”

        In two to four years, Houston will still be recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

        The president — or our next one — will still be talking about the need to improve America’s infrastructure.

        St. Louis will still be talking about building in flood plains, whether it’s a city project on the banks of the Mississippi River, or a massive entertainment complex in the levy-protected flood plains of the Chesterfield Valley or Maryland Heights, or even still, the current debate over building an ice arena in federally protected Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park, by raising land so it is allegedly out of the 100-year flood plain.

        We will throw out those phrases — 100-year-flood and 500-year-flood — as though in the era of climate change they still have meaning.

        And we will spend billions upon billions of tax dollars repeating the same old mistakes because we continue to believe the fallacy that it’s easier and cheaper to rebuild in the flood plain than it is to plan for — and around — the next flood.

        There is another way, of course.

        Responding to massive flooding and the threat of climate change in the 1990s, leaders in the Netherlands, where much of the country is under sea level, have been waging a battle that would look foreign in St. Louis or Houston. They don’t build more levees, they give the water room to roam. They don’t curse climate change, they embrace it.

        In 2013, a group of Dutch scientists came to St. Louis to meet with colleagues at Washington University to discuss a path forward for the city to better deal with rising flood dangers in the era of climate change.

        The ideas could have caused a region to think differently about how it approaches development. Instead, St. Louis breathed a collective sigh and put another study on the shelf.

        When the water recedes, the debate will rise again in Houston.

        It will begin at the same time Congress has an impending September deadline to renew the nation’s National Flood Insurance Program, which is currently about $25 billion in debt.

        Failing to plan for floods in the age of climate change, you see, is really expensive.

        It’s also deadly. That’s the story of the day in Houston.

        Today, we mourn the dead.

        Tomorrow, let’s honor their memories by pulling our nation’s collective heads out of the murky and dangerous waters of climate-change denial.”

        • Thank you, messenger. Thank you.

        • wpNSAlito

           /  August 28, 2017

          If China’s conspiring about anything, it’s about getting the jump on everyone else in terms of renewable energy power plants and EVs.

      • Well said, Robert.

      • Spike

         /  August 28, 2017

        They want to stop us pointing out the impacts of climate change by sanctimoniously saying it’s insensitive. They know of course that in a week or a month the media will have moved on to the latest Trump screw up or the sport or some other trivia and the message will then be lost and ignored. What’s unfortunate is that folk on the right side of the argument go along with it.

        Imagine a tanker hitting the rocks and spilling oil all over Alaska, or a multiple pile up on a freeway, or a terrible fire like we had in the UK at Grenfell Tower. No way would we obey any fool telling us we couldn’t talk about the causes and learn from it.

    • Andy_in_SD

       /  August 27, 2017

      “However, I expect that the insurance industry will now begin to flex more muscle and many coastal dwellers may find that they can no longer obtain flood insurance at any affordable price (those who were prudent enough to have it). ”

      I can not agree with that more than I already do.

      People may deny what is occurring globally, but the insurance companies depend on knowing the truth and the trends. Unless they know where it is safe (premiums are paid in, thus revenue) and where it is suspect (claims are paid out, thus expenses), they are out of business. They also operate in the terms of years and decades (reinsurance, mortgage insurances, long term insurance, fixed assets and contracts).

      They will (or are being) joined by lenders. Who will extend/underwrite a 30 year mortgage on property which may not exist in under 30 years? Who will lend to a business for fixed assets which will be subject to economic forces caused by populate shifts or degradation of infrastructure and wealth.

  4. X miller

     /  August 27, 2017

    Many,many people (for example, everyone reading this) knew exactly what was going to happen, but all of us have had the experience of just being tuned out by damn near everyone we know in real life, especially in places like here in the Midwest where ignorance of climate change is carefully nurtured by every local news outlet: wouldn’t want to offend he local chamber of commerce, and every weather person who would like to keep their job knows to never,never talk about climate change or the insane ratios of record high temperatures to record low temperatures. I see now that Trump is going to Texas on Tuesday. So what are the chances of the words “climate change” coming out of his mouth during his time in Texas? Or ever? It’s move likely he’ll talk about his enemies and how they are somehow at fault. If Harvey comes back around for another go at the Gulf states he’ll just see it as the perfect time to fire Mueller to stop the inquest into his Russian ties, and nothing more.

  5. wili

     /  August 27, 2017

    Great work, once again.

    Here are a couple images that give a good idea of how much water has been hitting Houston:

    • eleggua

       /  August 28, 2017

      Oh, wow. The overpass in the foreground of the earlier shot is entirely underwater in the second. Deep.

  6. James Gibbons

     /  August 27, 2017

    I can see the headlines now: “Trump builds Wall. Turns Texas into swimming pool”.

  7. coloradobob

     /  August 27, 2017

    The perpetual state of disaster.

  8. Mark

     /  August 27, 2017

    Can anyone say what storms would look like in a 4-6 degree warmed world (amount of rain, storm category, sea surges, etc) ? Surely soon in the future Houston and other cities will just be totally wiped out. Because we are at around 1.5 degrees of warming. So really, this is nothing compared to what is coming. And what about those who say 10 degrees of warming by 2026? How much rain would fall in a storm in a 10 degree warmed world?

    • This is nothing compared to what we lock in if we keep burning fossil fuels, Mark. We can avoid 6 C. If we had a full mobilization we might even miss 2 C. That’s why we need to take this very seriously.

      • wpNSAlito

         /  August 28, 2017

        Isn’t the issue–rather than humans reaching a fixed-number temperature–about what the tipping point is for permafrost GHG release?

        • The issue is, at first, getting the present rate of human greenhouse gas release down. At present, we are emitting ten times faster than the Permian. It’s questionable if the Earth System carbon stores could ever match this rate of emission.

          As you warm, there are probably some tipping points in which carbon stores do release. But these will tend to be slower and over longer time scales. At the present level of warming, comparable to the Eemian, we’re looking at a rather moderate Earth System feedback. Probably in the range of 20-30 ppm CO2e this Century. At 2-4 C the feedback is rather stronger and you want to avoid that range if at all possible (40-80 ppm CO2e a likely range in one Century). In any case, when you’re looking at a potential for + 600 to +850 ppm CO2e from human fossil fuel burning, these feedback numbers look small by comparison. But you don’t want to get to a point where you’re not able to draw down that excess feedback due to it being too large to manage and getting into a longer term multi-century but slower warming situation.

          We should be very clear that the most immediate problem is the human emission. And it’s unlikely that the Earth has ever matched an emission of the present pace that is coming from humans.

          As for the absolute worst case in which carbon stores are very sensitive, well, that’s just one more reason to stop fossil fuel burning ASAP.

        • eleggua

           /  August 28, 2017

          A crazy metaphor for this time:

          Sitting outside in a street-side park right next to a lane of traffic. Combustion engine car pulls up, rear end adjacent, idling, spewing noticeable emissions: Uber knucklehead. I rap on the side of the car: “Yo, you’re poisoning us here!”

          Cop walking past yells at me, “Don’t hit the car!”

          I tell him, “Do you job, protect public safety. Chase off that illegally double-parked car and protect our health here! The car’s fine; we’re being directly poisoned.”

          Dirty look accompanied by some nonsense about it not being double-parked. I refute and repeat: “do your job”.
          Another dirty look, goes over and smiling, asks – not tells – the driver to move.

          We need to change the power structure on every level ASAP.

    • Andy_in_SD

       /  August 27, 2017

      We tend to look locally as our media is focused inward. We pay attention to hurricanes hitting the US and assume the world ends at our borders. We don’t even notice what occurred in Macau just last week.

      If you check one of Roberts recent posts about global rain bombs, you quickly realize we’ve simply been lucky is all. Cyclones elsewhere have been exhibiting this type of increase in power for some time now. Rain bombs (sudden dumps measured in inches up to feet) are now occurring globally. Weather pattern shifts causing other areas to just go dry.

      Add another 1C and it may be a tough situation for many folks worldwide. Conflict will increase as well, we will compete for food / pottable water / resources.

      I see the human element as potentially the worst destabilizing byproduct of this. We have a tendency to slaughter one.

    • Spike

       /  August 28, 2017

      Remember Mark we’re safe until we get to 2C

  9. wili

     /  August 27, 2017

    I forgot that ants do that in floods!

    • eleggua

       /  August 28, 2017

      Some species do it under ‘normal’ weather conditions in order to ford streams, etc.

    • eleggua

       /  August 28, 2017

      “If detergent is sprayed on and around the mass of ants, the surface tension of the water is weakened to the point that the entire mass sinks and drowns.”

      Not sure if that’s a good idea; depends on what’s in the detergent that’s being introduced into the water at-large.

      • miles h

         /  August 28, 2017

        ants are an essential part of the ecosystem; theyve been around for hundreds of millions of years.
        and, did you know the average ant lives for between 8-15 years!! (some queens live for 30 years)… many ant colonies are irreplaceable – the population takes a very long time to recover. please dont drown ants. theyre beautiful creatures! … alternative would be to float some wood next to the colony and push it away.

        • Paul

           /  August 28, 2017

          But that’s what we do. We destroy anything and everything that gets in our way, or even simply annoys us slightly, with little or no comprehension of the long term consequences of those actions.
          It’s easier than learning how to get along with every other living thing on this planet.
          We are special after all.

        • eleggua

           /  August 28, 2017

          Highly recommend E.O. Wilson and Bert Holldbobler’s jumbo book on ‘Ants’.
          Along with most of Wilson’s other work.

          “Edward Osborne Wilson (born June 10, 1929), usually cited as E. O. Wilson, is an American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, the study of ants, on which he is the world’s leading expert.”

          “The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.
          Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the hypothesis in his book, Biophilia (1984).[
          He defines biophilia as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”.”

        • eleggua

           /  August 28, 2017

          “easier than learning how to get along with every other living thing on this planet.”

          We’ve just been misguided throughout history by a few “them” that didn’t give a shit about us or anything else. We’ve “unwittingly contributed”.

          I agree with Wilson: our innate tendency is “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”.”

          “Innate: existing naturally or by heredity rather than being learned through experience.”

          The solution to resolution is literally within us, not them.

  10. wili

     /  August 27, 2017

    What’s the probability that Addick Reservoir (that empties into the Buffalo Bayou pictured above that flows right through the middle of Houston) and the much bigger Conroe Reservoir (that flows into the Jacinto River north of Houston) will have to release water into those rivers or risk uncontrolled discharge and possible (even more) catastrophic destruction of their capacity to retain any water?

  11. coloradobob

     /  August 28, 2017

    The price of drywall tomorrow will be something to watch .

  12. Damage is so much worse that the obvious. Of the thousands of inundated homes, many if not most will be dried out and lived in again, even though those houses will ever after be rife with mold. Who ever drillls a hole in their wall and looks? Many, particularly women, whose immune system differs from men, will develop chronic medical problems from the chronic mold toxin exposure.
    An example given me by a friend who had a trailer at the beach, not a flood but similar mechanism – Whenever he and his family went for the weekend, they noticed they began to feel sick with sniffles and various non-specific symptoms. Then a bad storm came through and knocked a limb through the wall of the trailer, which was two layers of metal with a tiny space in-between. That space was covered in mold. They modified their living arrangements at the beach.

  13. cushngtree

     /  August 28, 2017

    On a WU blog I’ve been glued to for hours…

    The Ultimate Tacoman Cam Pine (Camerooski) • 22 minutes ago
    Some political conversation is ok I guess for right now but please not a climate change debate you guys can do that later.

    •Reply•Share ›
    coloradobob1 Cam Pine (Camerooski) • 25 minutes ago
    There’s yer problem, climate change isn’t politics, it’s physics. The only ones calling it politics , are the one’s who haven’t read the physics. And the physics of all this doesn’t give a rat’s fuzzy bottom about the politics.

    Way to go, CB!

    • Yep. The key words used here were ‘debate’ and ‘political.’ Trying to shift focus away from the notion that it’s a fact, Jack.

  14. cushngtree

     /  August 28, 2017

    “climate change isn’t politics, it’s physics” my new buzz phrase

    • It’s a good one.

      • eleggua

         /  August 28, 2017

        A great one! Yay, Bob!

        • eleggua

           /  August 28, 2017

          “If I mention this — climate change — to some neighbors of mine, they will dismiss it as “just politics.”
          Climate change is not politics, it’s physics. ”
          Katharine Preston, Essex, NY; May 6, 2017


          ‘Accepting that we cannot go back with climate change’

          To the Editor:

          The blue birds never really left this winter.

          I will miss the thrilling moment that used to happen each spring when they came back. “Look! There’s the first bluebird, checking out the birdhouse near the garden!” Having them around all winter indicates a quiet reality: the winters are just not as tough as they used to be.

          This makes me sad. We can’t go back.

          Scientists tell us there is already too much carbon dioxide in the air, trapping the heat of the sun like a blanket around the earth, changing seasonable temperatures so that certain species, like blue birds, will have changed their habits.

          If I mention this — climate change — to some neighbors of mine, they will dismiss it as “just politics.”

          Climate change is not politics, it’s physics.

          Physics is science. Unfortunately, there are many misunderstandings about science whirling around. Science and the math supporting it are rooted in questions and theories and correlations and predictions, but not in certitude. That misunderstanding, leading some to the accusation that science is therefore unreliable and even false, is perhaps the saddest part of this blue bird story.

          Personally, I love considering the possible reasons behind things: how evolution must have sculpted the wings of birds from their dinosaur ancestors; how short grassy meadows are probably the preferred habitat for bluebirds because they can more easily see tasty bugs; and how biliverdin, the pigment that makes the bluebird’s eggs blue is apparently the same substance we see as green or yellow in the early stages of a bruise on our own human skin. I mean, who knew?

          Scientific research and thought has offered these explanations.

          It’s interesting. Most people trust science when it comes to setting pollution limits for the water we drink or the air we breathe, and most people trust the science behind the setting of appropriate drug doses. So why not the science setting carbon limits?

          Is it because by accepting it, we acknowledge that we cannot go back? And worse, that we will have to change some of our habits?

          Like the bluebirds?

          Katharine Preston

        • I think it’s more about an industry that has been able to politicize the conversation by appealing to some of the darker angels within us. My experience is that people will change if they understand they have to. Climate change has been a point of underhanded ridicule. And this was mostly manufactured. In the end, it’s also not a question of permanent changes. It’s a question of how bad the permanent changes become.

        • eleggua

           /  August 28, 2017

          “I think it’s more about an industry that has been able to politicize the conversation by appealing to some of the darker angels within us.
          My experience is that people will change if they understand they have to. ”

          Indeed. Well put; well said.

          The solution to resolution is literally within us, not them.

          ‘The Hidden Persuaders’ by Vance Packard
          In The Hidden Persuaders, first published in 1957, Packard explores the use of consumer motivational research and other psychological techniques, including depth psychology and subliminal tactics, by advertisers to manipulate expectations and induce desire for products, particularly in the American postwar era.
          He identified eight “compelling needs” that advertisers promise products will fulfill.
          According to Packard, these needs are so strong that people are compelled to buy products merely to satisfy them.
          The book also explores the manipulative techniques of promoting politicians to the electorate. Additionally, the book questions the morality of using these techniques.”

  15. coloradobob

     /  August 28, 2017

    • Nearly five days from now. Still raining in E Texas due to Harvey + plus moisture assist coming from the Pacific as well. Plus the continuous moisture and instability assist coming from that eastern trough and you’ve got a pretty unprecedented affair.

  16. coloradobob

     /  August 28, 2017

    RS –
    I have reposted your “this is not the time” comments. So, we are “climate trolls” once again.
    And I ask myself, if this is not the time ? Exactly when is the time ?

    But the one thing I have been dreading is our Karma. Silly me, I was waiting for the dumpster fire in Fla. to get smacked. But what is happening to the “Energy Capital of the World” makes perfect sense, as far as Karma goes. We all know Nature bat’s last . We are all watching her hit them right in the face.

    • It may be Karma. But it’s the kind that takes innocent lives and livelihoods along with it. Why can’t we just avoid the whole bloody mess by working together, already?

      • eleggua

         /  August 28, 2017

        Karma is overrated, misunderstood and not easily judged.

        “Why can’t we just avoid the whole bloody mess by working together, already?”

        Yes, indeed. Do the right thing.

        ‘Far be it from you to do such a thing – to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you!
        Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?’

        • utoutback

           /  August 28, 2017

          Karma is simply the law of cause & effect writ cosmic.
          Heat up a closed system – Earth – and we see the result.
          Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
          I remember several (10 – 15) years ago the statement for Global Heating (the acceptable term then) was by adding more energy into the global climate system events would become more erratic and severe.
          Welcome to the future.

        • eleggua

           /  August 28, 2017

    • eleggua

       /  August 28, 2017

      We are nature, too.

  17. coloradobob

     /  August 28, 2017

    Never mind Karma , the bill for our Beach Boys songs are being delivered. Tonight.

    She’s Real Fine My 409 .
    When guzzling as much gas as one could was a sign of wealth.
    That this endless party could go on forever.

    I remember gas at Salida , Colorado for 23 cents in the mid 70’s .

    This drove our country. .

    Then that giant balloon Popped .

  18. coloradobob

     /  August 28, 2017

    The entire US Flood insurance program is about to crash.

  19. eleggua

     /  August 28, 2017

    Great graphics and Dep. of Transportation cam shot of Houston here.

    ‘Devastating flooding after Harvey will get worse before it gets better ‘
    Updated Aug. 27, 2017

    “Catastrophic flooding in the Houston metropolitan area is expected to worsen,” the National Weather Service said Sunday. It added: “This event is unprecedented and all impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced.””

    “Three key elements combine to create a rain-laden storm like Harvey: the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, quick hurricane winds and a weak late-summer jetstream. “

  20. eleggua

     /  August 28, 2017

    ‘FEMA director says Harvey is probably the worst disaster in Texas history’
    August 27 2017 at 8:30 PM

    “…people had to take matters into their own hands. They connected on social media, asking for or offering help. They launched private boats and kayaks. They carried people to higher ground.

    “You’re seeing rescues from very expensive, high-end to very low-rent apartments,” said West Houston business owner Jody Goldstein, 51. “It’s hitting people equally.”

    ““This will be a devastating disaster, probably the worst disaster the state’s seen,” William “Brock” Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told The Washington Post on Sunday. “The recovery to this event is going to last many years to be able to help Texas and the people impacted by this event achieve a new normal.

    In an interview a few weeks ago, Long shared the one thing that worried him most when it comes to natural disasters: “You know what’s keeping me up at night? This country has not been hit by a major hurricane since 2005.””

    • Very Dunkirk esque.

    • eleggua

       /  August 28, 2017

      • eleggua

         /  August 28, 2017

        ‘Photo shows Texas nursing home residents submerged in Harvey floodwaters’
        Sunday, August 27th 2017

        As many as 25 nursing home residents were rescued from rising waters caused by Tropical Storm Harvey at La Vita Bella nursing home Sunday in Dickinson, Texas, CNN reported.

        “They were up to their waist,” Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark told CNN.“If they were in a wheelchair they could have been up to their neck.”

        Kim McIntosh, daughter of the home’s owner, said her mother sent her a photo of residents sitting in a submerged room; an image which quickly went viral.

        Most of these people are in wheelchairs and oxygen,” McIntosh said. “They [were] waiting for helicopters or the National Guard.”

  21. eleggua

     /  August 28, 2017

    ‘Full extent of Harvey’s aftermath starts to come into chilling focus’
    August 27 2017 at 9:33 PM

    “…Across the nation’s fourth-largest city and suburbs many miles away, families scrambled to get out of their fast-flooding homes. Rescuers — in many cases neighbors helping neighbors — in fishing boats, huge dump trucks and even front-end loaders battled driving rains to move people to shelter. Some used inflatable toys to ferry their families out of inundated neighborhoods, wading through chest-deep water on foot while the ­region was under near-constant tornado watches….

    Thousands of rescue missions have been launched across a large swath of Texas, and Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Sunday that more than 3,000 national and state guard troops had been deployed to assist with relief efforts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said federal agencies have more than 5,000 employees working in Texas…

    As the extent of the disaster became clear at daylight Sunday, some criticized Houston officials for not calling for an evacuation of the city. Turner defended the decision not to evacuate, noting that it would be a “nightmare” to empty out the population of his city and the county all at once.

    “You literally cannot put 6.5 million people on the road,” Turner said at a news conference….

    The Weather Service said Sunday that at least five people had been reported dead because of Harvey. Local officials have confirmed that at least three people have died as a result of the storm, and officials in the hardest-hit counties expect that as the waters recede the number of fatalities will rise.

    The first reported death came Saturday in Rockport. Officials said one person was killed after becoming stuck inside a house that caught fire during the storm.

    About 9:15 p.m. on Saturday, rescuers in southwest Houston recovered the body of a woman thought to have driven her car into floodwaters before attempting to escape on foot. Just two minutes earlier, police about 40 miles southeast in La Marque found the body of a 52-year-old homeless man in a Walmart parking lot where there had been high water….

    Southwest Airlines flight attendant Allison Brown said at least 50 flight attendants, a number of pilots, airport staff and hundreds of passengers have been stranded at William P. Hobby Airport since at least 1 a.m. Sunday.

    Brown said the airport flooded so quickly that shuttles were unable to get them out. They were told by police it would be unsafe to attempt to leave.

    “Luckily, we have the restaurant staff, or else we would’ve been stuck with no food,” Brown said. “Waters in the road are around four feet — minimum — surrounding the airport.”…

    All roads in the area were underwater, and a park across the bayou was completely flooded. A car nearby had been abandoned, its doors left open. City traffic lights were still blinking red and green over the empty and flooded bridge, but most buildings visible in the area seemed to be dark and without power….

    Water covered about eight blocks on the edge of Houston’s downtown, entering the ground floors of the Wortham Center, a downtown theater, and the historic Lancaster Hotel, where staff members were still posted to ward off looters. A Chase bank branch was submerged in flowing water that reached almost to its roof….

    In Katy, Michele and Joel Antonini were in line at a cavernous HEB supermarket with 20 sacks of groceries. They had come out in the rain to buy food for neighbors they would probably be taking in from Grand Lakes, where they used to live.

    They bought a sheet cake, a roast, chips, hot dogs and hamburgers.

    “We just want to be ready if they are hungry and can get out,” Michele said. “We just want to be ready to help.” “

    • Another 28 inches. Don’t really know whether to laugh or cry. This is the highest peak total on the NOAA map — after two days of already very heavy inundation.

    • wili

       /  August 28, 2017

      ‘“You literally cannot put 6.5 million people on the road,” Turner said at a news ‘

      So much easier to just put them all in the water!!

      Really, what a terrible false equivalence. Obviously, at first clear sign of the threat of this thing, people in the lowest areas with the poorest structures, and people who were most likely to sustain the greatest harm from this thing should have been moved while there were still roads to move them on.

      That would be no where near 6.5 million people. Then go up to the people in the second most vulnerable locations and situations, etc.

      This is not rocket science. But it does require hard decisions.

      By simply refusing to make any of these hard decisions, the leaders in Texas in essence did ‘decide’ to leave their most vulnerable populations in the worst possible situations, situations that could have mostly relatively easily been avoided.

      But then, Texas and many other states in the South and elsewhere have been doing essentially that for years. This time it just hit a far wider swath of the population in a far more sudden, dramatic and (starting to be more) visible way.

      • The South is particularly egregious in this respect, but it happens everywhere. Particularly offiensive in Texas and the South is the propensity to blame it on God, thus abdicating responsibility.

        The people in those vulnerable areas are all poor and underclass. They don’t count.

  22. eleggua

     /  August 28, 2017

    ‘The Rush to Exploit the Arctic’

  23. eleggua

     /  August 28, 2017

    Excellent, lengthy, detailed, graphics-laden piece from the Washington Post.

    ‘Tampa Bay’s coming storm
    he area is due for a major hurricane, and it is not prepared. If a big one scores a direct hit, the damage would likely surpass Katrina.’
    July 28, 2017

    “…A Boston firm that analyzes potential catastrophic damage reported that the region would lose $175 billion in a storm the size of Hurricane Katrina. A World Bank study called Tampa Bay one of the 10 most at-risk areas on the globe.

    Yet the bay area — greater Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater — has barely begun to assess the rate of sea-level rise and address its effects. Its slow response to a major threat is a case study in how American cities reluctantly prepare for the worst, even though signs of impacts from climate change abound all around….”

  24. wharf rat

     /  August 28, 2017

    Capital Weather Gang
    Catastrophic flooding ‘beyond anything experienced’ in Houston and ‘expected to worsen’

    Rainfall from Harvey in Harris County, the third most populous in the country and home to Houston, had exceeded the amount from Tropical Storm Allison, in half the amount of time (two to three days, rather than five, the Weather Service said Sunday afternoon. Prior to Harvey, Tropical Storm Allison was considered the worst flood on record in the Houston region

    Lots of tweets with photos.

  25. coloradobob

     /  August 28, 2017

    So the 1000 year flood last year in was , “bad timing” ? And the 9 inch rain in KC was a myth. . And the one foot rain in New Orleans was ” Fake news”
    That is our denier friends , they never see the larger pattern , that is eating us to pieces.

  26. wharf rat

     /  August 28, 2017

    Should Houston hsve been evacuated? Prolly not.

    How Hurricane Rita anxiety led to the worst gridlock in Houston history …

    Matt Levin

    Updated 6:05 pm, Friday, August 25, 2017

    In the Houston area, the muddled flight from the city killed almost as many people as Rita did. an estimated 2.5 million people hit the road ahead of the storm’s arrival, creating some of the most insane gridlock in U.S. history. More than 100 evacuees died in the exodus. Drivers waited in traffic for 20-plus hours, and heat stroke impaired or killed dozens. Fights broke out on the highway. A bus carrying nursing home evacuees caught fire, and 24 died.

    • wili

       /  August 28, 2017

      That just means it should not have been evacuated stupidly. Targeting most vulnerable populations to evacuate first would prevent lots of unnecessary suffering.

  27. wili

     /  August 28, 2017

    Hurricane Center now says #Harvey may drift back over Gulf, restrengthen slightly, & make 2nd landfall near Houston

  28. eleggua

     /  August 28, 2017

    August 16th:
    “I, for one, am not willing to wait around for the super-hurricane or the mass killing terrorist event to realize that not only is the president* unfit for the office he holds, but he has no intention of ever becoming fit for the office he holds.”

    Say His Name When You Denounce His Bigotry
    It’s the only way.’
    By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire Magazine, Aug 16, 2017

    “He can’t fire them. He quits. Or something.

    Donald J. Trump
    Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!
    10:14 AM – Aug 16, 2017

    He has managed to become so reprehensible, and he has made the presidency* so utterly toxic, that the real leaders of American business, and the real owners of the country, are running away from him as though he’s a leprous beggar. He’s been president* for less than 200 days. In a purely academic sense, or as seen from the perspective of a person from Mars, this is quite a remarkable achievement. The ship, to borrow a legendary Irish newspaper headline, is deserting the sinking rats.

    He has had his crisis. He has failed in every sense there is in which to fail. I, for one, am not willing to wait around for the super-hurricane or the mass killing terrorist event to realize that not only is the president* unfit for the office he holds, but he has no intention of ever becoming fit for the office he holds. He wouldn’t know how to do it even if he wanted to, and he’s shown no indication that he wants to. The only available avenue within the institutions of government is to minimize the damage he can do, defang his presidency in the 2018 midterms, and render him unelectable as far in advance of the 2020 primaries as possible. All of this would return us for a time to the relatively powerless presidents immediately prior to the Civil War which, since we’re re-litigating all the important arguments of the 1850s anyway, at least would be consistent.

    (Obviously, this scenario leaves out whatever Robert Mueller comes up with, and what the consequences of his findings are. Things are proceeding apace there, too.)

    The problem is that the only way all that works is if Republican officeholders en masse run away from the man as fast as these CEOs have. So far, we haven’t seen anywhere near enough of them doing that. There is a lot of bold talk deploring white supremacy, and the Klan, and white supremacy. That and six bucks will get you a latte. The tweet by Speaker Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, is a good example of this approach.

    Paul Ryan
    We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.
    3:01 PM – Aug 15, 2017

    Say his goddamn name. Don’t tell me how much you deplore racism in the abstract. That does not make me feel good as a citizen. Tell me you deplore racism in the specific human being who’s now president* of the United States. For anyone whose moral compass still points true north, that’s the proper response. Otherwise, shut up.

    Then, once you’ve named his name, distance yourself and your party from the polite policy manifestations of the racism that the GOP has tolerated for far too long, and that played such a big role in putting this small fractal of an American into the White House.

    On Tuesday, as the shock waves of the president*’s public “episode” were resounding around the country, a federal court in Texas threw out a couple of that state’s ridiculously gerrymandered congressional districts, a part of the general effort to shine up Jim Crow tactics for the new millennium, a project that has had the enthusiastic support of local and national Republicans for more than a decade. From the Texas Tribune:

    he judges found that Hispanic voters in Congressional District 27, represented by U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, were “intentionally deprived of their opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice.” Congressional District 35— a Central Texas district represented by Democrat Lloyd Doggett of Austin — was deemed “an impermissible racial gerrymander” because lawmakers illegally used race as the predominant factor in drawing it, the judges wrote.

    Here would be a good time to wonder how Chief Justice John Roberts thinks the Day Of Jubilee he declared in Shelby County is working out.

    The racial gunpowder that the Republicans have been storing up since Harry Dent wrote a memo to Richard Nixon has finally found a bright orange fuse. It’s not enough to deplore white supremacy from within the safety of your gerrymandered districts. It’s time to distance yourselves from the president* who refuses to distance his presidency* from it, and from the policies that made that president* not merely possible, but inevitable. My god, at least have the moral courage demonstrated by the guy who runs Walmart. Grab your bibles and consult your St. James, folks. You know, that part about faith without works?

    UPDATE (3:35 p.m.) —Y ou see, this is just not the way you want to go here. From the NYT:

    The former aides are starting a group called Look Ahead America to identify “disaffected” rural and working-class Americans who either do not vote or are not on the voter rolls, in order to register and mobilize them ahead of future elections, according to a prospectus being distributed to possible donors. Look Ahead America also seeks to discourage or invalidate “fraudulent” votes by deploying poll watchers with cameras, and through what it called a forensic voter fraud investigation to identify “votes cast in the names of the deceased, by illegal immigrants or non-citizens,” according to the prospectus, which was shared with The New York Times.

    Let us move along to the customary fig-leaves, shall we?

    Their new group is registered under a section of the tax code — 501(c)(3) — that allows it to raise unlimited funds from donors without publicly disclosing their identities, but also bars it from engaging in partisan politics. The prospectus declares that “our targeting is not based on political party affiliation or to benefit any particular candidate,” though Mr. Braynard conceded that the people his group hoped to engage were not dissimilar from those who mobilized by Mr. Trump’s campaign. Mr. Braynard stressed that the effort to clamp down on alleged illegal voting is secondary.

    I do so despair of the rebranding.”

    • The question is how much more damage are we going to let Trump cause? Isn’t it already bad enough?

      • eleggua

         /  August 28, 2017

        ‘It’s Time: Congress Needs to Open a Formal Impeachment Inquiry’
        By Jane Chong, Benjamin Wittes
        Monday, August 28, 2017, 8:36 AM

        “…The evidence of criminality on Trump’s part is little clearer today than it was a day, a week, or a month ago. But no conscientious member of the House of Representatives can at this stage fail to share McConnell’s doubts about Trump’s fundamental fitness for office. As the Trump presidency enters its eighth month, those members of Congress who are serious about their oaths to “support and defend the Constitution” must confront a question. It’s not, in the first instance, whether the President should be removed from office, or even whether he should be impeached. It is merely this: whether given everything Trump has done, said, tweeted and indeed been since his inauguration, the House has a duty, as a body, to think about its obligations under the impeachment clauses of the Constitution—that is, whether the House needs to authorize the Judiciary Committee to open a formal inquiry into possible impeachment.

        It’s not a hard question. Indeed, merely to ask it plainly is also to answer it….

        The problem in applying this rubric to Trump’s conduct is not that the President’s behavior raises no serious issues to discuss under the impeachment clauses. It’s the range and diversity of behavior the House Judiciary Committee properly should be considering that overwhelm. This is true even after you exclude the merely unpleasant or in any case constrainable aspects of his behavior from the truly unacceptable ones. For instance, we are inclined to dismiss from impeachment consideration Trump’s plain tendency towards personal enrichment, which Congress has chosen not to check. If Congress wants to do something about Trump’s obvious conflicts of interest, it has remedies well short of impeachment at its disposal. We think an impeachment inquiry is appropriate only for those blatant misuses of executive authority that no other branch of government—and apparently none of the president’s advisers—is in a position to prevent. Yet even narrowed as such, the House—when it is finally willing to do its job—has what the military would call a target-rich environment.

        In our view, Congress should be evaluating at least three baskets of possible impeachable offenses. There is a good deal of overlap between these classes of misconduct, but they are sufficiently distinct to warrant individual attention:

        his abuses of power, most obviously exemplified by his conduct with respect to the investigations into his campaign’s collusion with Russia;

        his failures of moral leadership; and

        his abandonment of the basic duties of his office.

        …In sum, Trump has embarrassed the presidential office in innumerable ways, and members of the House and Senate are obliged to organize these incidents in their heads and get a handle on their constitutional significance. There is a wrong way and a right way to go about this task. The wrong way is to treat the launch of an impeachment inquiry as a matter of political popularity or opportunism. On this view, the relevant vectors might include polls on Trump’s approval ratings, the results of next year’s midterm elections, and worldwide Google searches for “impeachment” (which soared when Trump fired Director Comey in May and has otherwise ebbed and flowed with the news tide). The right approach is to commit to a clear-eyed and ongoing assessment of Trump’s words and actions against the obligations of the office and to trace out the effects of his misconduct on the security and welfare of the United States.

        In 1833, Justice Joseph Story explained that impeachment is not limited to “crimes of a strictly legal character” but also “has a more enlarged operation, and reaches, what are aptly termed political offenses, growing out of personal misconduct or gross neglect, or usurpation, or habitual disregard of the public interests, various in their character, and so indefinable in their actual involutions, that it is almost impossible to provide systematically for them by positive law.” This is a near-perfect description of Trump’s wide-ranging abuses and the challenge that now lies with Congress: the order that the positive law is unable to provide is now its to impose.”

        • Self enrichment, abuse of power, gross immorality, pandering to the conflicting interests of a foreign power to the direct harm of US interests, gross and flagrant nepotism, gross dereliction of duty to the office, and conduct resulting in an extreme heightened risk of catastrophic global conflict or a related severe loss of U.S. standing in the global community.

    • eleggua

       /  August 28, 2017

      ‘Trump’s business sought deal on a Trump Tower in Moscow while he ran for president’
      August 27 at 10:47 PM

      While Donald Trump was running for president in late 2015 and early 2016, his company was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow, according to several people familiar with the proposal and new records reviewed by Trump Organization lawyers.

      As part of the discussions, a Russian-born real estate developer urged Trump to come to Moscow to tout the proposal and suggested that he could get President Vladimir Putin to say “great things” about Trump, according to several people who have been briefed on his correspondence….

      Trump never went to Moscow as Sater proposed. And although investors and Trump’s company signed a letter of intent, they lacked the land and permits to proceed and the project was abandoned at the end of January 2016, just before the presidential primaries began, several people familiar with the proposal said….

      Nevertheless, the details of the deal, which have not previously been disclosed, provide evidence that Trump’s business was actively pursuing significant commercial interests in Russia at the same time he was campaigning to be president — and in a position to determine U.S.-Russia relations. The new details from the emails, which are scheduled to be turned over to congressional investigators soon, also point to the likelihood of additional contacts between Russia-connected individuals and Trump associates during his presidential bid…..”

  29. eleggua

     /  August 28, 2017

    Obscene, unabashed excitement.

    Donald J. Trump ‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump
    Going to a Cabinet Meeting (tele-conference) at 11:00 “A.M. on #Harvey.
    Even experts have said they’ve never seen one like this!”
    7:31 AM – 27 Aug 2017


    Toon Army Dallas‏ @toonarmydallas 20h20 hours ago
    Replying to @realDonaldTrump

    Mark Slatem‏ @trentster 20h20 hours ago
    STOP Focusing on Trump hatred while your fellow Americans are in an emergency situation.
    Can’t today be about then and not blind hatred?

    Toon Army Dallas‏ @toonarmydallas 20h20 hours ago
    He’s tweeted about NAFTA, the wall, his election win and promoting a bigot’s book this morning. But WE should focus?

    Mark Slatem‏ @trentster 20h20 hours ago
    Yes, good people are dying out there, put a sock in your pie hole and think about them for once!!
    You’re lucky a great man is leading today

    Toon Army Dallas‏ @toonarmydallas 20h20 hours ago
    Many great men are leading today. This guy is in bed tweeting about random shit he sees on tv.

    Mary Ann Fusco‏ @topgyalnyc 19h19 hours ago

    Dave Perks‏ @writegud 19h19 hours ago
    Closer look at @trentster account – 9,746 tweets since June 6. Same day as another fake account I found yesterday. Mark, #YoureFaked

    CW‏ @cw_jd 18h18 hours ago
    Have you reported a #TrumpRussian #RussianBot today? I just did!

    • We should never forget that Trump used a national disaster as a smoke screen to pardon a man who set up a concentration camp for Mexicans on the U.S. border. Just two days later that same country, Mexico offered to help its neighbor — Texas — at the same time that the President was threatening another debt crisis unless Congress funds his stupid and jingoistic/racist border wall.

  30. eleggua

     /  August 28, 2017

    ‘Bot armies of fake followers are the footsoldiers of fake news’
    16 Aug 2017

    “…now comes a team of researchers from Indiana University who say they have the data to confirm it. In a paper titled “The Spread of Fake News by Social Bots,” they reported that an analysis of 14m social media messages regarding 400,000 claims on Twitter during and following the 2016 US presidential campaign and election provided, “evidence that social bots play a key role in the spread of fake news. Accounts that actively spread misinformation are significantly more likely to be bots”.

    Propaganda is nothing new, of course. It has always been a reality of human societies, especially when it comes to politics. What makes things different now is scale and distribution – it is disseminated not as much by word of mouth, speeches and traditional media outlets but by an army of bots that can amplify fraudulent stories in seconds, pushing out millions of tweets or posts on other social media platforms before the fact-checkers even get in gear.

    The researchers said several fact-check sites list 122 websites that “routinely” publish fake news, which then gets picked up and amplified by the bots.

    The bot accounts are, of course, designed to trick other users into thinking they are real people expressing opinions or promoting agendas. The scale and reach of bots has also been growing – no surprise, since it doesn’t take much time or money to unleash them. They’ve been around for several election cycles….

    Trump himself claims to have 100m social media followers, including about 32.4m on Twitter alone. But most estimates have concluded that about a third of his Twitter audience – 11.6m – are bots.

    Twitter itself is a participant in the inflation game. Naked Security reported in March that the company’s own estimate that up to 8.5% of its accounts are managed by bots was low – seriously low. It cited a UK Sunday Times report that, “up to 48m – or 15% – of the social media giant’s 319m users were in fact bots”.

    Perhaps the only thing reality has going for it is that when it comes to fake news, bots are less and less under the mainstream radar. They are now very big news, which has to be good for public awareness and good timing for the paper’s authors: Chengcheng Shao, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Onur Varol, Alessandro Flammini and Filippo Menczer.

    Last week, on the day that the MIT Technology Review published a review of their work, the Washington Post also carried a story about a Nicole Mincey, a “super fan” of President Donald Trump, is likely a fake. Twitter suspended the account after other users complained.

    The Post cited experts who said the account “bears a lot of signs of a Russia-backed disinformation campaign”. They included Clint Watts, a former FBI agent and fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute who is the creator of Hamilton 68, a dashboard tracking Russian propaganda on Twitter.

    This, of course, was after the president had tweeted his praise of “her” to his 32.4m (minus 11.6m) followers.

    Shortly after, the syndicated National Public Radio political talk show “On Point” did an hour on the topic.

    According to the researchers, some small comfort may be that the use of bots is bipartisan. “Successful sources of fake news in the US, including those on both ends of the political spectrum, are heavily supported by social bots,” they wrote. They also listed “manipulation strategies” that the bots use to be more effective in influencing public opinion:

    First, bots are particularly active in amplifying fake news in the very early spreading moments, before a claim goes viral.

    Second, bots target influential users through replies and mentions.

    Finally, bots may disguise their geographic locations. People are vulnerable to these kinds of manipulation, retweeting bots who post false news just as much as other humans.”

    • eleggua

       /  August 28, 2017

      August 18, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      These types of (can I call this an attack?) use a dodgy “news” or blog site which has no native traffic, and drive traffic to it by tweeting links alongside a hashtag that gets pushed into viral status by the bot networks.

      People then see the viral tag alongside a retweeted link in their feed to a headline that isn’t far from their native opinion, and click, taking them to a poorly sourced, usually fake, article that pushes their opinion slightly in the intended direction. Rinse, repeat, throw in some good articles that might support your cause (e.g. Daesh claimed attacks in Spain) and the output is a large number of radicalised people.

      It’s only modern or new in that we can do it so fast with social media and bots. Our good friends in the news media have been doing the same thing in a larger but slower scale for a very long time now, but they’re subtle and still have the reach to dismiss it all as conspiracy and carry the argument.

      No idea how to fight either effectively, although the BBC’s Reality Check series of articles is doing some effective work, its also sabotaging trust in the political class in general (not, you may say, unfairly). And therein lies the problem with any democracy. Still beats dictatorships in the long term, I think.

    • I delete at least 50 of these a day. I’m very tight on moderation for pretty much everyone. But these things are absolutely ridiculous.

  31. eleggua

     /  August 28, 2017

    “John Nelson mapped out every tropical storm documented by NOAA and NASA since 1851, and the results are absolutely amazing – the storms converge to form a larger entity that looks like a hurricane, as if hurricanes are just fractals for larger hurricanes. Nelson shows us the earth from the South Pole, looking up, for more information here is the original post from John Nelson.’ – designforlife dot bydelight dot com

    ‘Hurricanes Since 1851 ‘
    John Nelson – Data visualization at IDV Solutions.
    August 20, 2012

    What Is It?
    Ok, here’s a bottoms-up view of known tropical storms and hurricanes dating back to 1851. The fine folks at NOAA keep an archive of storm paths with wind speed, storm name, date, among other attributes, and are always updating and refining information for past events based on historical evidence and educated hunches. The data are awesome and they make it available in several formats. Here’s what it looks like slapped onto a polar projection (looking up at Antarctica) with point color tied to intensity…

    A couple of things stood out to me about this data…

    1) Structure.
    Hurricanes clearly abhor the equator and fling themselves away from the warm waters of their birth as quickly as they can. Paging Dr. Freud.
    The void circling the image is the equator. Hurricanes can never ever cross it. Check out the oddball to hit South America, though.

    2) Detection.
    Detection has skyrocketed since satellite technology but mostly since we started logging storms in the eastern hemisphere. Also the proportionality of storm severity looks to be getting more consistent year to year with the benefit of more data.

    Anyways have at it, and you can find a superultramega-sized version here or check out poster print options here. And check out the slightly animated version of hurricane seasons since 1978 here.

    The best part about this process was finding a map projection that would be both cool looking and show the circuitous structure of the data. I still prefer the South Pole Stereographic but here are some of the also-rans. Maybe you’ll find one of them more orienting…

    Cool Mistake
    Also when first registering the data, I accidentally assigned time as one of the location coordinates and, after the initial disappointment of what I though was mucked up data, realized that what I was actually seeing was a timeline visualization of where we’ve historically paid mind to collecting storm data. Check out this bit of happenstance that showed me we only really started logging the East and South hemisphere versions of these things around 1978 (which is also the year that I ultimately started keeping track of things)…

    • eleggua

       /  August 28, 2017

      “…the results are absolutely amazing – the storms converge to form a larger entity that looks like a hurricane…”


  32. Greg

     /  August 28, 2017

    Brian Brettschneider @Climatologist49
    Through 8 p.m. CDT, storm total precip for Harris County averages 18″. That more than all areas in red have received so far in 2017.
    10:17 PM – Aug 27, 2017

  33. Spike

     /  August 28, 2017

  34. Loni

     /  August 28, 2017

    Any word on how that nuke plant south of Houston is fairing in all of this?

    • eleggua

       /  August 28, 2017

      Nothing since before the storm hit.

      South Texas nuclear plant ready to weather Hurricane Harvey
      By Ryan Maye Handy Published 5:33 pm, Friday, August 25, 2017

      The plant is in Matagorda County, which is in under a mandatory evacuation order, and is prepared for the hurricane, which is expected to hit the coast north of Corpus Christi as a category 3 storm. A team of 175 people will work the plant through the storm, said South Texas Project spokesman Buddy Eller.

      The plant and its 2,700 megawatts of power — one megawatt is enough to power 200 homes on a hot Texas day — is expected to remain operational until winds reach a sustained 73 mph. But once winds reach those speeds, the plant will have to shut down, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations. Currently, the forecast shows sustained wind of 40 mph around the plant.

      The plant also has steel-reinforced concrete containment with four-foot thick walls. The plant’s reactors are inside buildings with walls four to seven feet thick and are built to withstand hurricanes and tornadoes.

      The plant, owned jointly by Houston’s NRG Energy, Austin Energy and San Antonio’s CPS Energy, is 10 miles inland and 29 feet above sea level, typically out of reach of a category 5 storm surge.

    • eleggua

       /  August 28, 2017

      ‘US nuclear watchdog keeping eye on South Texas plant’
      Written by Alan Shields – 28/08/2017 4:13 pm

      “The US regulatory body was in close communication with officials from the STP Nuclear Operating Co. prior to the storm making landfall Friday night.

      The NRC dispatched two additional staff from Arlington, Texas, to the site to relieve the two resident inspectors who were sent home to ensure the safety of their families.

      A statement from the government body said: “The two NRC responders have remained onsite all weekend, along with about 175 plant workers, and are monitoring the licensee’s response to the challenging weather conditions in the area.

      “They can also provide technical assistance if needed. Both #reactors have been operating at full power, and all of their safety systems are available to support a safe plant shut down if conditions warrant.

      “Like all of the nuclear power plants licensed to operate in the United States, they have robust concrete containment structures which have been built to withstand major hurricanes, tornadoes and torrential rain.

      “Harvey is expected to produce additional rain accumulations of 15 to 25 inches over the middle and upper Texas coast through Thursday.

      “Current weather projections for Harvey do not pose a threat to the #Waterford nuclear power plant in New Orleans and the #RiverBend nuclear plant near Baton Rouge, but the NRC is monitoring for any changes to those projections.

      “The agency is closely monitoring the path of the storm and its Region IV office in Arlington, Texas, is prepared to activate its Incident Response Center if and when conditions warrant

    • Vernon Hamilton

       /  August 28, 2017
  35. Mark

     /  August 28, 2017

    Cost of the Calgary flood a few years ago was in the area of six billion dollars. I wonder what the cost of floods in North America has been since (and including) Hurricane Katrina. Must be close to one hundred billion dollars.Not counting the human/animal misery.

  36. Mark

     /  August 28, 2017 much financial information.

  37. Shawn Redmond

     /  August 28, 2017
    Editor’s Note
    Exxon has been at the head of the fossil fuel industry’s propaganda war regarding global warming and climate chaos. While the rest of the world accepted the global scientific agreement on the problem and its sources, the United States continues to be mired in a false argument. It is maddening that even after the machinations of Exxon in corrupting the discussion are known that it (and the rest of the industry with it) continue to (effectively) beat the same tattered drum. As we look at the biblical level rain and flooding in southern Texas, strengthen by Gulf waters the temperature of a bath (87o), and by a persistent heat high pressure ridge in the Pacific Northwest, I ask “How much proof do you need?” Well, Naomi Oreskes and Geoffrey Supran lay down more proof to highlight Exxon’s campaign.

  38. bostonblorp

     /  August 28, 2017
  39. eleggua

     /  August 28, 2017

    ‘Typhoon Pakhar Weakens After Making Landfall in Southern China’
    August 26, 2017

    Cyclone Pakhar alert downgraded to Signal 3 from Signal 8
    Region still recovering from Signal 10 storm on Wednesday

    Tropical Cyclone Pakhar weakened after making landfall with strong wind and heavy rain lashing southern China on Sunday as the second typhoon in a week hit the region.

    Hong Kong lowered its storm alert to Signal 3 from 8 after Pakhar passed the city and made land near Taishan City in southern Guangdong Province, the city’s weather observatory said in a statement. Earlier, winds reached storm force in the southwestern part of Hong Kong and hurricane force on high ground of Lantau Island, it said. The gales are expected to moderate progressively.

    The storm is forecast to track a path similar to that of Hato, the Signal 10 tropical cyclone — the highest on the observatory scale — that battered the region on Wednesday.

  40. eleggua

     /  August 28, 2017

    ‘Hurricane Harvey vs. Hurricane Matthew: 5 ways the two storms compare to one another’
    August 27, 2017 4:23 PM

    With ubiquitous imagery of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation of Texas splashing across television, internet and print, it is impossible not to think of Hurricane Matthew, which brought destruction to Beaufort County not even one year ago.

    Both storms were powerful and damaging, but how do they stack up against one another?

  41. eleggua

     /  August 28, 2017

    Rainfall from Harvey Could Reach 50 Inches in Spots, Highest Ever Recorded in Texas; Catastrophic Flooding to Continue for Days
    By Jon Erdman and Chris Dolce
    Aug 28 2017 09:00 AM EDT

    Story Highlights

    Harvey will move off the coast, then back over southeast Texas Wednesday….

    This may end up being one of the worst flood disasters in U.S. history.

    Water levels on Cypress Creek near Interstate 45 will possibly top the levee by Monday morning, according to the National Weather Service. Residents in this area are encouraged to seek higher ground. The creek has already topped a record crest from 1949 near Westfield and from 1994 near Cypress.

    Spring Creek near Spring along the Harris/Montgomery County line, was expected to rise to the level that would top the Northgate Levee at Interstate 45 by over a foot Monday, also shattering a record from October 1994.

    Record flooding in Harris County has been observed at Brays Bayou, Upper Buffalo Bayou, Horsepen Creek, Little Cedar Bayou, Willow Spring Bayou, Armand Bayou, Turkey Creek, Beamer Ditch, Berry Bayou.

    Buffalo Bayou at Piney Point Village has already crushed a previous record from 1992 by over 6 feet and may crest over 12 feet above the record by Tuesday or Wednesday. The bayou has also topped a previous record from 1983 at West Belt Drive, expected to rise another 3 feet, there.

    Little Vince Bayou in the Houston suburb of Pasadena had reportedly equaled the level it reached during Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 early Sunday morning.

    The level of Clear Creek in Friendswood, Texas, exceeded what was experienced there during Allison by three feet Sunday afternoon.

    Devastating flooding was occurring on the middle and lower Clear Creek.

    Thousands of water rescues have occurred due to flooding in Harris County.

    Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport crushed its record wettest calendar day, Sunday, by over 5 inches, picking up 16.07 inches of rain. Houston’s Hobby Airport also crushed a two-day rainfall record by almost 8 inches, picking up 23.06 inches of rain August 26-27.

    Elsewhere, the Brazos River is expected to crest over 4 feet above the previous record set just last June at Richmond, Texas. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in Fort Bend County.

    Major flooding from up to nearly 22 inches of rain has also occurred to the east of Austin in Bastrop and Caldwell counties where water rescues have been reported. Record crests are expected on the San Bernard River near Boling and on Sandies Creek near Westhoff.

    Still a named storm over 48 hours after landfall, Harvey is the longest a Texas landfalling hurricane has remained a named storm after landfall since Fern in 1971, according to Colorado State University tropical scientist Dr. Phil Klotzbach.

    Long-Lived Flooding

    In addition to the reports mentioned earlier in this article, here are other locations that are forecast to experience river flooding this week.

    Homes may be flooded along stretches of the Brazos, Colorado, Guadalupe, Navidad and San Bernard rivers.

    Flooding along the Brazos River in Richmond, Texas, could exceed the previous record crest set just one summer ago, on June 2, 2016.

    Much of the west and southwest sides of Wharton, Texas, could be under water from the Colorado River. The river may overtop levees by several feet in Bay City.

    The Guadalupe River may flood parts of the city of Victoria. Upstream, the west side of the town of Cuero may experience disastrous flooding, potentially forcing all roads to be shut down into town except Highway 87. Near Thomaston, hundreds of homes may be flooded to over 10 feet, according to National Weather Service accounts of previous floods.

    Given the longevity of the rainfall and floodwater draining from smaller tributaries, it’s likely mainstem rivers such as the Brazos, Colorado and Guadalupe rivers will remain above flood stage into the Labor Day weekend, possibly beyond.

  42. eleggua

     /  August 28, 2017


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: