Landfall

By Phil Plait | August 27, 2011 12:45 pm

I’m on travel with a dodgy internet connection, so I can’t update the blog with news as much as I’d like. But as most of you must know — and some are experiencing — hurricane Irene made landfall, and is now thrashing the U.S. east coast. NASA has GOES 13 satellite video of the event from space:

You can find out more about this video and what it means at NASA’s page on Irene.

I grew up in Virginia and spent a summer in Houston, so I’ve seen my share of hurricanes. This one looks pretty nasty, so I’m hoping everyone stays safe. If authorities tell you to get out, get out. If you guess wrong and stay, it’s not just your life at stake, it’s those who have to rescue you as well.

Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project, Dennis Chesters

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Pretty pictures

Comments (28)

  1. Kyle Otto

    Phil, what’s the seeming “white sweep” from right to left every few seconds? Is it a higher layer of clouds forming and dissipating? What is it caused by? Thanks.

  2. Adam K

    @Kyle That is the transition between day and night. Hurricanes are pretty slow-moving, one reason why they’re so devastating.

  3. IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE

    If authorities tell you to get out, get out. If you guess wrong and stay, it’s not just your life at stake, it’s those who have to rescue you as well.

    It had been raining for days and days, and a terrible flood had come over the land. The waters rose so high that one man was forced to climb onto the roof of his house.

    As the waters rose higher and higher, a man in a rowboat appeared, and told him to get in. “No,” replied the man on the roof. “I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me.” So the man in the rowboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

    The waters rose higher and higher, and suddenly a speedboat appeared. “Climb in!” shouted the man in the boat. “No,” replied the man on the roof. “I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me.” So the man in the speedboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

    The waters continued to rise. A helicopter then appeared, and over the loudspeaker, the pilot announced that he would lower a rope to the man on the roof. “No,” replied the man on the roof. “I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me.” So the helicopter went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

    The waters rose higher and higher, and eventually they rose so high that the man on the roof was washed away, and alas, the poor man drowned.

    Upon arriving in heaven, the man marched straight over to God. “Heavenly Father,” he said, “I had faith in you, I prayed to you to save me, but you did nothing. Why?” God gave him a puzzled look, and replied: “Dude, I had sent to you two bloody boats and a friggin’ helicopter, WTF more did you expect?!”

  4. abadidea

    Ivan3man, you should know that story has been banned on many blogs for being repeated too much ;)

  5. Yawn. More hype, inaccurate predictions and nanny-state nonsense from scientists. This is precisely why you guys are losing so much credibility and support — you’ve become leading agents of bureaucratic overreach. If authorities tell me to get out, get out? F**k that. Google “freedom” buddy, it’s the founding principle of America, not mindless obedience to often-wrong authorities.

  6. First the earthquake and now this–it’s the end of the woooooorld!

  7. You’re right, conformity via evacuation during risky weather situations is inviting the government to come control our lives. It’s best to make a statement by dying for your beliefs!

  8. LindaCO

    Thanks for the video!

  9. Sean H.

    I made it through fine, walked around town (Wilmington, NC) a bit this afternoon, didn’t look like too much damage (fences, trees/tree limbs) where I ventured. But again, we weren’t hit directly and we didn’t get the NE of the storm. The predicted path and Saffir-Simpson rating were quite good, thanks to the National Hurricane Center, to the NOAA and their satellites. Also thanks to Progress Energy for getting my electricity back on real quick! Stay safe, Atlantic and New England states.

  10. Pepijn

    @Sith Master Sean: the worst thing is that I can’t tell whether you’re serious, or whether you’re joking…

  11. Paul C

    “If authorities tell you to get out, get out. If you guess wrong and stay, it’s not just your life at stake, it’s those who have to rescue you as well.”

    If the authorities tell you to get out and you don’t there should be no rescue. You have the freedom to die of your own stupidity but not to take anyone else with you. Who are we to interfere with the process of Natural Selection?

  12. Liath

    #5 Sith Master

    It’s probably futile but I do applaud your attempt to improve the gene pool.

  13. JohnW

    Okay, an almost totally unrelated point as I sit here in southeast PA, waiting for the hurricane to hit us after the earthquake, neither of which ever happen here, but:

    What is with the water off of the Bahamas. It’s so pale! I guess it’s just shallower there.

  14. Wzrd1

    @John #11, yes, the waters off of the Bahamas is shallow, hence look pale.
    I’m in SE, PA too, Delaware County.
    Our eldest daughter went to work this afternoon, she’s an RN at a nursing home. She had asked if she’d be able to drive home at 7:00AM tomorrow, I told her flat out, NO! Predicted winds for that time tomorrow are in the 50 MPH range with higher gusts.

  15. Wzrd1

    The Schuylkill river in Philly is over its banks at the same level as hurricane Floyd left and the storm isn’t even HERE yet. :/
    Now starting to get water in the basement. Slow trickle right now, but as the rains continue, it’ll start acting like a fountain.

  16. VinceRN

    @ #3 – I think I have seen this story posted on this blog in it’s various version more than I have seen it from all other sources combined.

  17. Wzrd1

    @ #3, that story is older than I am. And I was on the first dirt delivery project for the planet Earth.
    So, I AM older than dirt! ;)

  18. VinceRN

    It’s amazing what air and water can do when properly motivated.

  19. Yoweigh

    On the behalf of all New Orleans residents, I mock your puny category 1 storm.

  20. Wzrd1

    On behalf of those who sent you aid, we’re sorry now that we did, thanks to you.
    Perhaps, next time, your city shall be erased from the planet and we’ll laugh, courtesy of you.
    Want to show the courage of your convictions? Send your REAL NAME. I will as well.
    Justice shall follow as is appropriate.

  21. IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE

    @ abadidea (#4), VinceRN (#14), and Wzrd1 (#15),

    The old ones are the best ones! ;-)

  22. Yoweigh

    @Wzrd1:
    I also mock your lack of a sense of humor and your internet toughguy attitude.

  23. Steve

    Lived most of my life on the Gulf coast. This is a weak hurricane by any standard. You have to spend more than one summer there, if you can stand it.

  24. Bramblyspam

    As far as hurricanes go… what’s so nasty about this one? Seriously, it’s a category 1. That’s as wimpy as it gets, by hurricane standards.

    The only noteworthy thing about this hurricane is that it’s hitting some major cities that aren’t terribly accustomed to having hurricanes blow through. Yes, there will be damage, and some very few unlucky/foolish schmucks will probably get killed, but things will generally be alright.

  25. Brian S

    @11 Paul C. Here in Connecticut anyone who refused to heed the mandatory evacuations was required to sign a no rescue waiver. The waiver stated not that they would be denied help if they did end up requiring it but that they could not be guaranteed that any help would even be available as the first responders were leaving the area as well for their own safety. So the state of CT agrees, if you want to risk your own life go ahead but don’t come crying to us when your up to your eyeballs in water.

  26. wally

    Of course, all this climate nonsense is due to the shift in our polar axis that SCIENTISTS who faked the moon landing are keeping secret…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HZ_Dvkxi-8

  27. Wzrd1

    @Yoweigh, I say nothing at all online that I won’t or haven’t said to someone’s face in person.
    So, is that an internet tough guy?
    Interestingly enough, the only fights I’ve been in were during military duty in the war and they most certainly don’t count.

  28. rebecca

    Three years ago Ike hit Houston/Galveston. We were without power almost everywhere for up to three weeks. Schools were out and remember Houston is naturally HOT. I have been watching those broadcasts with people in Conneticut and NJ unhappy because they have been without power for going on one week and they are waiting for help. Were you all here when Louisiana, Mississippi, and Galveston/Houston needed you? Suck it up. This may be the only time you in the NE are this inconvenienced. We bought generators. Guess they sell them in those areas too. Good Luck.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »