Tag Archives: Hazard Mitigation

Dangerous Hurricane IRMA is heading toward our neck-of-the-woods!

Infrared GOES satellite view of 27 August 2017 showing Harvey over Texas, and a few tropical waves and other potential future tropical cyclones over the northern Atlantic basin. One of these tropical waves in particular, the one just emerging over the east Atlantic in this image, was the actual ‘seed’ that generated Hurricane IRMA.

Eight days ago, on 27 August 2017,  just as we watched the catastrophe of Hurricane HARVEY unfolding in Texas, a strong tropical wave originally formed near the head of the Nile River in eastern Africa fed by moisture from the Indian Ocean, emerged over the waters of the East Atlantic south of the Cape Verde Islands already exhibiting cyclonic tendencies. At the time I submitted this particular system warranted our attention and close monitoring by all hurricane-vulnerable interests around the Atlantic basin.

Infrared GOES EAST satellite image (NOAA) of Monday 4 September 2017 showing a strengthening Hurricane IRMA over the central Atlantic, as well as tropical waves chasing it for the east , and another potentially cyclonic disturbance in the Bay of Campeche in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.

As of today Monday 4 September 2017, LABOR DAY!, after having traveled more than 9,000 km this system is major Hurricane IRMA over the Central Atlantic moving toward the Lesser Antilles and possibly the USA coastal region.

Visible light satellite image (Courtesy of NASA) of 4 September 2017 showing major Hurricane IRMA, as a well organized, symmetrical, compact tropical cyclone, with a clearly defined eye as it moves toward the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico.

Major Hurricane IRMA looks quiet organized this morning of Monday 4 September 2017, LABOR DAY!, with a distinct central eye, a round and symmetric shape, and dense bands of rain and thunderstorms.

Projected five-day track for Hurricane IRMA issues by the National Hurricane Center during its 0500 advisory on Monday 4 September 2017

The forecast track by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has shifted somewhat southward for the next 3 – 5 days bringing it closer to the Antilles. Florida remains within the ‘cone of uncertainty’ this far out, so this is the time to review your emergency plans. Regarding IRMA’s projected track over coming days it is important to note that there are other tracks developed by various agencies, which vary from that posted by the NHC. For example, the track projected by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory shows a more northerly route than that of the NHC, which shifts the cone of uncertainty more toward mainland Florida and our neck-of-the-woods here in southeastern Florida. This discrepancies between projected tracks illustrate the difficulty in predicting where a hurricane may actually go, and the fact that  the longer the forecast goes into the future in term of how many days it covers the larger the uncertainty is.

Projected five-day track for Hurricane IRMA developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory as of 4 September 2017. Notice the slight differences with the track from the NHC posted above.

The important thing is to be aware that hurricane forecasting is not an exact science, and despite all the satellite tools, hurricane hunter data provided by airplanes flying into and around the storm, and the years of experience and expertise of forecasters at the NHC,  it is just not possible to exactly predict where a hurricane will make landfall. Consequently the best approach for those residing in vulnerable communities is to monitor the advisories regularly and closely, and to pay attention to instructions from local emergency management officials.

So, get ready. Be prepared. MITIGATE! Also, keep an eye on the strong tropical waves chasing after IRMA over the Eastern Atlantic off the coast of Africa and inland over Equatorial Africa. The entire system is loaded with ‘seeds’ for potential cyclonic activity.

A MUST-READ: Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment


If you live in a hurricane vulnerable region this book ‘Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment’ is a must-read. Get it NOW at 20% off the publisher’s price shipping and handling included! Read on for more information about this book and how to order it!

Over the past few days millions of people have been monitoring the progress of monster hurricane MATTHEW, which reached category 5 intensity for a few hours on 1 October,  worrying  about the damage and other adverse consequences that will be caused by the impact of this storm on buildings, houses, infrastructure and the beaches and local environment.  Residents of the Windward Islands, northern Venezuela and Colombia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Central America, Belize, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Florida, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the USA Atlantic coastal regions beyond, have been and are worried about devastation and human suffering that will be wrought by MATTHEW’s passage.

Against the possibility of damaging impact from Hurricane Matthew or any other future hurricane, in this one of the most hurricane vulnerable regions anywhere, it would be fair to ask if you, as a homeowner, or building manager, or hospital administrator, or public official  sworn to guard the welfare of the people, or just as a resident or visitor to hurricane vulnerable communities, have confidence in how your building or house will perform under hurricane impact? Do you know what design criteria was used to build your building? Do you consider your building to be hurricane-resistant? Is your building protected against the impact of storm surge and breaking waves, in addition to wind?  How is sea-level rise affecting the structural integrity of your building?

Are you confident you have specific answers to these and many other similar questions regarding the performance of your building or house under expected impacts from hurricanes? Or how such expected impacts are being exacerbated by sea level rise and global warming?

Do you know what to do to improve the design of a new building or an existing one, to improve performance and reduce the potential for damage under expected hurricane impacts?

This book ‘Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment’  based on actual field work, years of experience assessing building damage caused by hurricanes, and practicing hurricane mitigation, by Ricardo A. Alvarez, will help you answer these questions and clearly understand the issues involved.

Following is a comment by someone who has read the book:

“I just finished reading Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment and realize I need to immediately run to our roof to see what shape it is in and how our equipment is anchored. Alvarez writes with such great clarity that the book is an easy read. I just ordered a second copy to share with our condominium’s board of directors and maintenance staff!”
—Bernard Horowitz, Ph.D., Co-Founder, V.I. Technologies, Inc.; Board Member, The Cleo Institute

Key features of the book include the following:

  • Focuses on the impact of hurricanes in coastal regions
  • Demonstrates the capabilities of reducing potential damages through hazard mitigation
  • Includes detailed figures, photos, and charts that give concrete examples of hazard mitigation and its purpose
  • Uses plain language to make technical issues easy to understand
  • Emphasizes the protection of life and property through the design and construction of hurricane- and climate-resistant buildings
  • Addresses long-term issues such as beach erosion and struggling tourism economies caused by hurricanes

You can now get this invaluable resource at 20% off the publisher’s price including shipping and handling. To order online please visit http://www.crcpress.com.  Use the search box on the upper right of the page and search for K25318. This will bring-up the book and you can put it in your shopping cart. Use the code LFO20 to get your 20% discount!