Tag Archives: hurricane

Slowest Start To A Hurricane Season On Record

Reblogged from Real Science stevengoddard.wordpress.com

Obama says that hurricanes are getting worse, based on some research done at the Choom Climatological Institute.

As we approach the end of August, there have been no Atlantic hurricanes. By this date in the year 1886, there had already been seven hurricanes – including three major hurricanes, one of which wiped the city of Indianola, Texas off the map.

ScreenHunter_357 Aug. 24 09.14

1886 Atlantic hurricane season – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A kinder, gentler natural hurricane from 1886

ScreenHunter_359 Aug. 24 09.46

Obama’s presidency has also seen the fewest US hurricane landfalls of any president. Three hurricanes have hit the US while he was in office, compared to twenty-six while Grover Cleveland was in office.

ScreenHunter_19 May. 08 06.04

How A Hurricane Started Stand Your Ground Laws

Stand Your Ground laws started because of a hurricane. Or actually because of what happened after a hurricane. You see, after a hurricane, human emotions, rationale, or analytic skills don’t always gel. Confusion, miscommunication, and lack of basic needs can sometimes cause an environment of anxiety, fear, and apprehension for even veteran hurricane survivors and can blur a clear comprehension of complex situations.

After any hurricane, scores of recovery workers arrive, but also looters and itinerants, who sometimes take shelter in damaged houses.

What happened after one hurricane started a movement to enact stand your ground laws. What happened after this hurricane was that 77 year-old James Workman and his wife Kathryn encountered a perhaps disoriented, 35 year-old temporary FEMA contract worker from North Carolina named Rodney Cox, who had wandered onto their waterfront property in Pensacola, Florida. It was about 2AM on November 3, 2004.

Hurricane Ivan had damaged the couple’s house so they left for a few weeks, and had just returned, sleeping inside a FEMA trailer in their driveway.

waterfront home of James & Kathryn Workman in Pensacola Fla. (photo credit: Google Maps/referenced at Escanbia County Assessor's Office)

Workman house, Pensacola, Fla

Kathryn awoke to the sound of a stranger at the door of their vacant home, and woke James up. In a news interview, Mr. Workman said they hollered through a window at the stranger, then James went outside to confront him. During the confrontation, Workman reportedly fired a warning shot. He said Cox appeared to leave, but instead headed for their trailer as Kathryn was inside calling 911.

A few hours before he made it about the mile and a half to the Workmans’ place, Rodney Cox had called police, reporting some type of “domestic” incident on private property he had settled into, after arriving that day. An autopsy later discovered Cox had a skull fracture, and it’s unclear if he had been injured at that time, which could possibly have caused him to appear disoriented to the Workmans.

“After I saw him enter that trailer, then I naturally went in there behind him. And so he was between Kathy and me. And we got into a scuffle, and I could tell it wasn’t going to be easy. And so I just had to shoot him”, Workman is quoted as saying.

During the scuffle, Cox had wrapped Workman in a bear hug. In fear for his safety, Workman pulled the trigger of his .38 caliber on the father of two, setting off a firestorm of controversy.

photo: Rodney Cox of North Carolina

Rodney Cox

The FEMA contractor was dead on arrival. A shot to Cox’s abdomen traveled through his left kidney and intestine, lodging in his pelvis; another shot went through an artery and lodged in his right thigh. Workman said he fired in self-defense.

But to the police and the state attorney, the circumstances were unclear. It took almost three months for the state to decide whether Workman would face charges. In the end, he didn’t. Yet, the waiting period was unacceptable to some Florida lawmakers.

Just weeks after that decision, Dennis Baxley & Durell Peaden co-sponsored the Stand Your Ground bill in the Florida House of Representatives.

By the time Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast months later, with evacuees from other Gulf Coast states rolling in, Florida was all set to handle anyone who had thoughts of looting or breaking the law on other people’s property.

The Workmans reportedly were keeping up with their case status through the media, and were never called to testify in the legislature considering the stand your ground law, which was signed into effect about a month after Katrina, on October 1, 2005 by then-Governor Jeb Bush.

It initiated a wave of legislation in other states, spearheaded by the National Rifle Association (NRA), relieving the duty to retreat inherent in the Castle Doctrine. And stand your ground laws were born.

TAKE A QUICK 2-MINUTE SURVEY: “How do you feel about Stand Your Ground laws”

2013 Hurricane Season Still Likely To Be Above Normal

NOAA inage of Hurricane IkeIf you thought, because it’s been sort of quiet in the Gulf of Mexico, that we could be lucky enough to get through this hurricane season without a major hurricane, think again. With four storms (Andrea, Barry, Chantal, and Dorian) behind us, we’re getting close to the peak of the season (mid-August-October).

NOAA’s updated outlook predicts a 70 percent chance the season will be above normal. The May outlook was for 13-20 named storms, 7-11 hurricanes and 3-6 major hurricanes. Now, it’s 13-19 named storms (winds 39 mph or higher), 6-9 hurricanes (winds 74 mph or higher), and 3-5 major hurricanes (Cat. 3, 4 or 5) with winds at least 111 mph. Don’t see much difference?

Predictions are still high because “the predicted atmospheric and oceanic conditions that are favorable for storm development have materialized,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Also, two of the four named storms to-date formed in the deep tropical Atlantic, which historically is an indicator of an active season.”

Motivating this change is a decreased likelihood that La Niña will develop and bring reduced wind shear that further strengthens the hurricane season.

Conditions now are like those that have produced many active Atlantic hurricane seasons since 1995, and include above-average Atlantic sea surface temperatures and a stronger rainy season in West Africa, which produces wind patterns that help turn storm systems there into tropical storms and hurricanes.

New Orleans Levee Break In Progress

New Orleans Floodwall Breach After KatrinaThis is what happens, and what can be created with no experience, time on your hands, and don’t want your mind to be a devil’s workshop. Some folks like to put themselves out there. I’d rather put out a creation that speaks for itself as I work from behind the levee.

For those who don’t know, almost six years ago, I started this website, intended to show the struggles, strength, determination, & resiliency of people affected by Gulf Coast hurricanes. But soon, the site was lonely. I decided to start building a network. So this blog was born.

Just like any aging old institution (me), I looked and saw this network needed to be remodeled, renovated, renewed, resuscitated, rejuvenated, and rebuilt.

The old theme was starting to look outdated and causing too many technical issues. With a fresh, bold new look and a brand new name – The Levee Break - the new KC blog is in progress, using the latest in themes and technology, aiming to be more relevant, contemporary, and socially engaging. So I made this blog better.

Some websites and blogs don’t last 5 years. A website is never really “finished”. It’s in progress. The tweaking is all to make it better. I’ve put countless (and sleepless) hours & hundreds of my own dollars since 2007 keeping this thing online, I expect (nor receive) nothing in return, I publish this site simply because of an inner passion – a love for helping others that embodied me after August 28, 2005. I’m not about to give up on it now. I’ll be doing more posting (took me two weeks to write this one) and looking for your comments. So we can make this blog mo’ better.

I need your support to polish it; to find the niche to make this a relevant resource for storm & storm survivor information, networking, and post-Hurricane Katrina news anywhere. If you didn’t already, register for this blog now, so we can start some meaningful conversations. Let’s talk about issues like flooding, FEMA, housing, blight, crime, schools, employment, or whatever’s on your mind – go ahead & vent. This is a good place for it. It’s about more than just a hurricane. Together, we can make this blog one of the best!

Wayne Filmore, Publisher/Editor

KatrinaConnection.com, Inc

Coastal Areas Threatened By Flood Insurance Cost

Next year, flood insurance rates are set to go through the roof for many local homeowners. Some will have to pay more than $25,000 a year. A Senate sub-committee chaired by Sen. Mary Landrieu voted to delay the rate increases for homes that are “grandfathered” into existing flood insurance.

New Orleans Streamlines Permit, License Process

New Orleans One Stop Shop
The city of New Orleans is catching up with technology since Hurricane Katrina, and is now offering residents and businesses a single source to apply for city permits or licenses to build or repair a house, start a business, renew a business license, host or sell at a special event, pay taxes, read ordinances or publications concerning permits, and more.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, “When we took office, we said that we wanted to modernize and improve city government. The One Stop Shop is evidence of our commitment to streamline the permitting process”.

Along with a new online presence www.nola.gov/onestop, a new physical location on the seventh floor of City Hall (Room 7W03) brings together the Revenue Department, Safety & Permits, City Planning Commission, Historic District Landmarks Commission, and Vieux Carré Commission.

First Deputy Mayor and CAO Andy Kopplin said, “With collaboration and agency alignment we will be able to provide better service to our customers and offer a comprehensive system that will be model for other cities.”

The One Stop Shop at City Hall will be open during regular business hours Monday-Friday from 8-5pm. For more information call (504) 658 -7100.

New Orleans Schools Show Big Changes Since Katrina

New Orleans area public schools have seen dramatic changes sincce hurricane Katrina, spurred on by an influx of teachers, a charter school district, a Recovery School District, and an emphasis on improving the quality of education.

Before Katrina, the graduation rate was less than 50 percent. Now it’s more than 75 percent. In some schools test scores are up 33 percent.

CBS News anchorman Scott Pelley reports on the transformation of New Orleans schools. Watch the video here http://katrinaconnection.com/Schools.html

In New Orleans, Who Cares About The Super Bowl?


New streetcar lines are rolling, parades are marching. and the weather is appealing. The food and music are awesome. The “Super Gras” city with the 2013 Super Bowl & Mardi Gras combined is a gleaming package of adrenaline, seemingly ready to burst at the seams with excitement. And there are lots of local Ravens and 49ers fans here. They care about the Super Bowl. Some national media reports claim New Orleans is back.

Seven years, like those caused by the presumtiously superstitious broken mirror, sometimes seem to only reflect the light of crime, corruption, broken promises, and lost dreams. Looking through the smoke screens to find the pieces means driving around the lower ninth ward, St. Bernard Parish, and other pockets of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast still struggling to regain and maintain population and stature. They care about the Super Bowl.

Seven years ago, it seemed like an insurmoutable task to repair the devastation caused by levees which collapsed after hurricane Katrina. Many Katrina survivors felt it would take many decades for the city and surrounding areas to return to their former glory.

Most major, national events disenfranchise many local vendors, businesses, homeowners, and other citizens who are left out of the loop. That’s why the NFL has put so much focus on local business. And, the city of New Orleans recently raised property tax assessments, making taxes higher for some non-exempt property owners. The cost of rent is sometimes out of reach for many of the city’s hospitality industry and other blue collar workers. Budgets are out of whack. The city’s murder rate remains among the highest in the nation, along with it’s sales taxes.

Critics blame Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Police Chief Renal Serpas, or any other elected official – who in turn blame each other – for problems and failures. As squabbling and corrruption continues, businesses leave or avoid the city. Locals navigate the city with a sense of insecurity, uneasiness. or urgency. They care about the Super Bowl, even though the Saints didn’t make it this time.

As the world looks upon the Super Bowl city like it’s a promising, inspiring comeback story, thousands of it’s former residents are still scattered throughout the world with an equal number of Katrina stories. Some choose not to come back. Others want to. They care about the Super Bowl.

Is an unstable New Orleans ready for the next power failure? Until the city of New Orleans wakes up and finds a way to once again come together outside of the Superdome, it’s doomed to fall again. As a host for major national events, as a tourist mecca, as a food junkie paradise, and a party destination, the concensus may be that the city is back. The city cares about the Super Bowl. Yet, as a home, it still has some welcoming to do. It must care about its people.

The Character Assassination of Dr. Bob Bea

It’s a shame that those who choose to defend the truth are usually the victims of sharacter assassination. Levees.org founder Sandy Rosenthal speaks out on Huffpost about a New Orleans ‘hero’.

Sandy Rosenthal: The Character Assassination of Dr. Bob Bea.

Are Seniors At Risk In Hurricane Season?

Are seniors at risk in hurricane season?.

We Want Our Lives Back Too

BP Chairman Tony Hayward

In the recent movie “Brooklyn’s Finest”, actor Don Cheadle, as an undercover cop, tells his superiors that he “wants his life back”. When I first watched this scene, I couldn’t help but be distracted from the storyline and think of someone named Tony Hayward. This post is long overdue.

Did the BP CEO watch this movie before the oil spill, and had it leave a profound effect on his persona? Or is it just a eerily ironic, stupid statement made by someone who had and still HAS a lush albeit complicated life?

That life he never lost will continue on in all its pompous, plush glory, even if he is replaced and no longer running BP, while those who so much depended on nature destroyed by Mr Want My Life Back’s business must continue a struggle to recover their lives. And in the midst of hurricane season, worry about complications from more than just a possible hurricane. We want our lives back, too, and many are still rebuilding from the devastation of hurricanes Katrina & Rita.

A fitting life for Mr Want My Life Back would be a US government imposed life on the waters of the Gulf Coast, where as much as he claims to care about the people, he can work side by side with the cleanup workers, and eventually the fishermen, shrimpers, and others in the seafood industry, to EARN his life back.[

Stumbling Blocks

These last few weeks have been painful. Besides a “computer arm” (a cousin of tennis elbow, I guess) not being able to write about all the Katrina-related news that’s been popping up, and watching our economy suffer has been painful, too. And then to watch our government try to bail out Wall Street was enough to cause more pain.

To get back on track, some things are better NOT left alone, and hurricane recovery is never far from the mind of anyone who’s rebuilding. Just because Hurricane Katrina is not at the top of the media food chain doesn’t mean the issues are not just as important now as they were three years ago.

As recently as Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, issues known to exist in the aftermath of Katrina are apparently still stumbling blocks for hurricane survivors.

Things like unfit Red Cross shelters, hotel room shortages, re-entry problems, housing, FEMA problems, and the expense of evacuating are among the issues that still haunt hurricane survivors.

As another hurricane season winds to a close, let’s not let our guard down. Because the pain (or the karma) could come back to haunt us, also.

Galveston Greed

Certain guests at Daniel Yeh’s hotel in Galveston after Hurricane Katrina had rooms paid for by FEMA, and Yeh probably thought he’d latched onto an easy way to guaranteed guests and payments. Problem was, the guests weren’t really guests or Katrina evacuees, or the rooms were unoccupied, or were even occupied with paying guests.

Flagship Hotel in Galveston Texas

Yeh, 55, of Sugarland, Texas, an owner of the Flagship Hotel (a Galveston landmark which sits on piers over Gulf of Mexico waters and suffered damages from Hurricane Ike) was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $30,000 in fines on September 26 because of his scheme.

Yeh has already repaid about $232,000 to the government in restitution, not long after search warrants were served on him in December, 2005. He had faced a maximum of five years in prison without parole and fines of up to $250,000. His sentencing originally had been set for Feb. 1, 2008.

His attorneys had filed a defense motion for a lower sentence because of a claim that diminished mental capacity due to a brain tumor caused him to hatch the scheme. The federal judge rightfully called the medical testimony comparable to “Alice in Wonderland”.

A 39-count 2006 indictment alleged that between October 1, 2005, and December 15, 2005, Yeh knowingly devised a scheme to defraud the federal disaster relief programs of at least $232,000.

In October 2005, Yeh gave a desk clerk about 30 names to put into the hotel’s reservation system at the “FEMA rate” of $84.99 a night. He then picked up the room cards for the rooms and started billing FEMA. An investigation found a number of those people were Yeh’s employees, relatives and friends and were not hurricane evacuees

Yeh pled guilty in 2007 and admitted he submitted a false claim to FEMA for Room 701 at the Flagship from Oct. 28 through Nov. 11, 2005. Based on that claim, FEMA paid the hotel $1,189.

The investigation started when agents got a tip saying the hotel records showed it as full when, in fact, a significant number of rooms were unoccupied. Federal agents say they interviewed a man whose name was listed on Yeh’s claims as the guest, but the man (a contractor who submitted bids in 2004 and 2005 for remodeling jobs at the Flagship and another hotel Yeh is associated with) said he didn’t have a room at the Flagship then.

As part of the alleged scheme, Yeh took over the job of billing the federal lodging programs online after Hurricane Rita, filing false claims for reimbursement for rooms in the names of hotel employees who had stayed at the Flagship free as part of their employment arrangement; rooms in the name of supposed hurricane evacuees on dates when the rooms were occupied by paying hotel guests with different names; rooms occupied by friends, relatives, and employees of his wife’s business, who were recruited to stay at the hotel, but were not evacuees; rooms in the names of supposed hurricane evacuees who never had rooms; rooms in the name of supposed hurricane evacuees on dates when those rooms were unoccupied; and for multiple rooms in the names of a single guest when, in fact, the guest didn’t occupy as many rooms.

Yeh has been free on bond and a date hasn’t yet been set for him to report to prison.

You have to wonder how many other hotels took advantage of the system back then. And that corruption is shamefully greater than that done by any Katrina evacuee or undeserving individual.

Anyone suspecting criminal activity involving disaster assistance programs can make an anonymous report by calling the toll-free Hurricane Relief Fraud Hotline, 1-866-720-5721 or 1-800-CALL-FBI, 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice.

Information can also be emailed to the inspector general at dhso...@dhs.gov or sent by snail mail, with as many details as possible, to:
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC. 20528
Attn: Office of Inspector General, Hotline



Katrina and Rita survivors say “Thank You, Houston”

Katrina evacuees in Houston AstrodomeKatrina and Rita survivors in Houston had planned a special day on September 13, But Houston had a problem: Hurricane Ike arrived. And it wasn’t to be a hurricane party, but a show of thanks.

“Thank You, Houston” which had been planned for September 13 as a commemoration of the hospitality Houstonians showed Katrina and Rita survivors in 2005, is set to celebrate Gulf Coast traditions through music, food and survivors’ stories. Because of Hurricane Ike, the original program was changed to reflect Houstonians’ recent support for their neighbors.

The event takes place today from 6:30 – 9 pm at Discovery Green, just outside the George R. Brown Convention Center, where thousands of Katrina survivors were welcomed and housed in September 2005 and many first responders to Hurricane Ike worked throughout last week.

In the park’s Houston Public Library Express, a video version of a photo/audio exhibition, “Who we Are” , will be playing. In addition, you can check out headsets loaded with podcasts featuring recorded stories of thanks and gratitude from Katrina and Rita survivors.

KPFT 90.1 FM will be on hand to record Hurricane Ike narratives. Service organizations and computer access/support will be available. Members of the public are encouraged to bring non-perishable “ready-to-eat” food items for the Houston Food Bank, to assist with their hurricane relief efforts.

At 7pm, the music starts, featuring Al “Carnival Time” Johnson as well as the Voodoo Brass Band, comprised of N.O. and H-Town-bred members.

“Thank You, Houston” is sponsored by the Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston project, Houston Institute for Culture and Discovery Green, and funded in part with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, Discovery Green, Houston Arts Alliance and the Houston Endowment.

FEMA says NO to trailers in Houston

Government leaders from throughout the Gulf Coast were in D.C. today to ask Congress for money. FEMA said the agency would provide some temporary housing in Houston, but willl not allow its dreaded deathtrap trailers there, while New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin wants his city reimbursed for the recent hurricane evacuations.

Check out the full story here