It’s the quick intensification of the hurricanes for me

New things to keep you up at night.

It’s a nightmare scenario that keeps forecasters up at night: A tropical cyclone strengthens quickly over a 24-hour period.

It happened last year close to home with Hurricane Laura, which evolved from Category 1 to a more devastating Category 4 before striking near Lake Charles, La., sweeping buildings from foundations and killing seven people with surf and falling trees.

Researchers in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agree it’s likely that the tropical cyclones that formed over the past four decades increasingly went through such a period of rapid intensification. They also say a greater proportion of future hurricanes will very likely be Category 4 and 5.

Coastal communities need to prepare, experts say.

The trend toward a greater frequency of storms getting stronger fast may continue, according to Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon. Unexpected high winds and storm surges can cause disaster. Strong winds leave communities powerless and storm surges kill.

But evacuating vulnerable areas requires time; doing so too hastily can be dangerous.

“That’s really the nightmare scenario for forecasters and emergency managers,” said Robert Rogers, a research meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who studies storm intensity changes. “Imagine a tropical storm that’s approaching landfall, maybe a 55 mph tropical storm, and it undergoes rapid intensification to become a 130 mph monster at landfall. That’s really what keeps the forecasters up at night. That’s really what a lot of our effort is going toward trying to better understand.”


Area residents may not have five or six days to prepare for and evacuate from a storm, said Jeff Lindner, meteorologist for the Harris County Flood Control district.

Three-quarters of storms that struck Texas developed and hit within 60 hours, he said. Rapid intensification can add pressure to that timeline. Hurricane Humberto in 2007 famously went from tropical depression to tropical storm to hurricane in 19 hours, hitting east of High Island.

Other memorable storms intensified rapidly too: Ike’s winds in 2008 went from tropical storm-level to Category 4 in a 24-hour period when it formed, according to satellite estimates, but weakened before hitting Galveston with deadly surge. Harvey in 2017 rapidly strengthened to a Category 4 before striking near Rockport and later drenching the Houston area, unleashing catastrophic flooding.

What terrifies environmental attorney and longtime climate advocate Jim Blackburn is the scenario where people feel equipped to handle what they think is coming and are caught off guard when it becomes something else. He worries about coastal residents dying because they prepare to ride out a small storm — and a much stronger one hits.

“People have assumed or have fallen into routines based on the past,” Blackburn said, “and that’s the whole point of climate change. You cannot depend on the past to predict the future.”

I don’t really have much to add to that. Have your emergency kit stocked and ready, know what your plan will be, and hope like heck forecasting ability continues to improve. And yeah, build the Ike Dike.

Actually, I do have one more thing, as I had drafted this a few days ago: Be ready to donate to Hurricane Ida relief funds. Louisiana will need all the help it can get.

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12 Responses to It’s the quick intensification of the hurricanes for me

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    If the Democrats believe in Planet Change, why don’t they live the Green New Life? I swear that I saw my city councilman, the Righteous Mrs. Kamin, a living, breathing virtue signal, driving to Memorial Park last Sunday in a giant, gas UV, running on gasoline, White Privilege, and Rage. In addition to living and breathing a virtue signal you should be a walking or bicycling signal. Mrs. Kamin should publicly apologize for causing this intensification, and she should give all of her wealth to the victims in Louisiana. The virtue signalers should stop with the signals and start living the life.

  2. J says:

    Typical Jason Hochmann post, crazy ca-ca sprinkled with pernicious lies.

  3. Jason Hochman says:

    J., I will put my Green New Life style against any of the Climate Change Karens. Even you, if need be. I challenge you to a Green Off. What pernicious lies did I post?

  4. policywonqueria says:


    A humble question on the matter of H20 in excess:

    How will the (imaginary) Ike Dike protect H-Towners from an Addicks or Barker Dam break?

    Storm surge goes upward and inland okay (so Galveston is still at risk despite the centenarian Sea Wall), but the precipitation goes with the gravity, and there is much more destruction and drowning to be had alongside Buffalo Bayou long before the massive maelstrom of water and mud would even reach the Ship Channel, not to mention being disgorged into the bay and dissipated.

    More importantly, Galveston and bay-adjoining areas can be evacuated prior to a storm (which is primarily a human logistics problem). Houston not as easily. A damn failure in the Energy Corridor would unleash a gusher that would bi-sect the county and city into North and South segments, leaving only interstate overpasses such  as Beltway, Loop, and perhaps I 45 and 69 in the Downtown area to go from one side to the other, if we are lucky. The North-South roads would likely be impassable in the Buffalo Bayou flood corridor long after the water level recedes to normal thanks to massive amounts of debris, structural damage to bridges, erosion, and road surface damage. So even if folks from the affected neighborhoods could be evacuated in time and lives thus saved, the wider impact on the transportation infrastructure and the economic life of the entire region would be horrendous. And that would be in addition to the massive destruction of residential housing stock and other property damage directly caused by the inundation, if not the kinetic force of the mass of water suddenly pouring out of the reservoirs on the way to the bay.

    BOTTOM LINE:  Shouldn’t priority be placed on the perils that lurk upstream? — The mud ramparts in West Houston and their impending failure?

    None of this, of course, addresses wind component of the storm damage and physical destruction of electric grid, traffic control devices, and other utilities. But the same can be said of the Ike Dike Fata Morgana.


    Meanwhile — to add a dispatch from the whatabout (or rather the WTF) department — the Alamoist leadership of the Loone Star State wants to throw away 2 billion dollars on an iron curtain to more definitively divorce the Mex from the Tex.


    James Barragan, Texas House gives initial OK to adding $2 billion for border security as state moves to build border wall. The bill would nearly triple border security funding from the last biennium. The legislation needs one more vote of approval from the House before moving to the Senate. TEXAS TRIBUNE (August 27, 2021) (James Barragán is a politics reporter for The Texas Tribune with a focus on accountability reporting.)

    An old-style Republican once said: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

    Forget Reagan. Gotta get everybody to remember what really matters: the Alamo.

    Forget Houston. 

    And if disaster should strike, we know who to blame: Mayor Sylvester Turner. County Judge Lina Hidgalgo. All them damn local government Democrats who didn’t do their job and didn’t do whatever needed to be done. Like the ones that went AWOL to D.C. instead of voting for special session priorities like they supposed to.

    If everything else fails: Act of God. Divine Justice. 

  5. J says:

    Jason, you don’t know that the person you saw was Ms. Kamin, you just imply that it was. So lie #1. Then you say Ms. Kamin was driving a giant gas-guzzling UV, whatever that is. Name the brand, prove she owns it, or it is Lie#2. (The most popular SUVs like the RAV4 and CR-V get good gas mileage). Then nonsense about White privilege, Rage, and virtue signalling are Lies #3, 4 and 5.

    Then we have policywanker weirdly implying that Dems delaying the vote on bullshit Abbott election issues somehow relates to flood control, which is not part of Abbott’s special session and never will be.

  6. J says:

    Addicks and Barker Dam Safety Program information, from the US Army Corps of Engineers.

  7. Jason Hochman says:

    J, hi, yeah I was able to confirm that my city council Mrs Kamin, did indeed come to an event at Memorial Park on Sunday evening. I can certainly spot a giant gas UV. It doesn’t matter how “good” your gas mileage is. You are still killing the planet.

    I mean, not to be all semantic on you, but if I “imply” something, that is not a lie. You see, a lie is a fabricated falsehood. Suggesting the possibility of something but acknowledging the uncertainty is not a lie.

    For other details, I am not some kind of stalker or maniacal searcher, I don’t know the brand and the proof of ownership of the vehicle. I mean, what am I going to do, demand to see papers? I would be as bad as the vaccine paper checkers. I just know that White Privilege is real, Maxine Waters said so, and she said we should go off on them, and take their stuff.

    Anytime you want to have a Green Off, let me know. I hang my laundry outside on a wire. It is dried by wind and solar. I have bought about 14 gallons of gasoline in this calendar year. I shop at local farmer’s markets. I have a garden in my yard. I will out Green you and Mrs Kamin. Just being honest here. You are a Planet Hater. Why do you want people to get killed by hurricanes?

  8. policywonqueria says:

    Hey, Jay:

    The policywonqueria has concluded that there is no longer any point to reason with Lone Star Republicans and has therefore added polemics to the repertoire.

    The original mission here was (and remains) to apply academic intelligence and knowledge/expertise (from a variety of sources) to problems of public policy, and to contribute ideas to the discussion of remedies and solutions. And to pursue such noble intentions, or at least pretensions as detractors might sneer, in a forum open to a general audience. Hail to fellow humans who live by the motto that “Knowledge is Good”, the indefatigable Mr. Kuff in particular.

    Sadly, the university-affiliated policywonks mostly circulate their wisdom within their own bubbles (or professional discourse communities, to put it more – well – academically), and eschew forums such as this one, where they are in for verbal abuse and ad-personam attacks.  


    Regrettably, Republicans at the helm of the ship sailing under the Lone Star have taken leave of their senses, and have thrown overboard reason as much as moral compass. No amount of good-faith argument, nor evidence or expertise, is going to sway them to veer from the course they have fixated upon. They have immunized themselves against the environment and the ecology, and all the metrics and scientific models that represent reality, its past, its present, and its not yet completely predetermined future, which is therefore amenable to be shaped by wise purpose-driven action. In theory; political power constellations permitting. 

    But no. 

    Just wait for the reality-detached Republican Supreme Court to declare that the matter of mask requirements is a pure question of law, rather than a means to combat virus spread, and that therefore any testimony by doctors, local health authorities, and hospitals about illness, death, and hospital capacity is irrelevant to their decision. To be rendered as a matter of law. Never mind the human toll.

    They have already declared that Abbott’s rule by decree is the long-enduring status quo since the first disaster declaration last year, and that his decisions cannot be disturbed with restraining orders and temporary injunctions because — well —  that would disturb the status quo. We can’t have that. 

    So there you have it: Let them chew on status quo, and swallow. 

    It’s not even a lofty version of: Let them eat oysters if they care not for red meat.

    The Houston Chronicle still credits Abbott with being “bright”, pointing to his continued possession of a professional degree.

    We, at policywonqueria (an underground thinkery to eschew the militarized term thinktank) don’t see no scintilla of brightness at the end of the dark tunnel. We would much rather conclude that the state’s now supreme leader shows signs not of psychosis, but of psychopathy — loss of empathy, disregard for human life and suffering — and that his latest emergency order (EO-GA-38) represents a contradictio in termine, i.e., that it is – in plain Anglo – wacky on its face.


    On the premise that EO-GA-38 is properly attributed to a unitary human policymaker (rather than a dysfunctional loony bin bureaucracy), the content of the order furnishes evidence of a breakdown in cognitive functioning.

    In it, Abbott reiterates and re-acknowledges that a public health disaster presently exists, only to go on to tell local officials that they may not require the wearing of face coverings to curtail the transmission and spread of the virus. This is not only a nonsequitur, it is even worse: an inversion of logic. And an inversion of purpose concomitantly.

    Unsuprisingly, the stated purpose of the Disaster Act is to cope with and mitigate the ill effects of a disaster, not to promote it and enhance — nay, maximize — its ability to cause morbidity and mortality.  

    Abbott’s GA-38 is facially contra-logical because the means chosen by him to respond to the crisis have the predictable effect of making it worse.

    This is madman’s stuff.

    But, assuming arguendo that we are mistaken, that the mask-mandate proscription is not attributable to cognitive breakdown (i.e., an inability to relate means with ends and devise a purposeful response to obtain an improvement), and assuming instead that it constitutes a willful and deliberate choice, how would it not be morally decrepit to invoke emergency powers only to prevent others from fighting disease spread the best way we know how in the absence of immunity?

    On the assumption that it is ever excusable for a disaster manager in chief to abandon the mission, which here would call for containing the spread of an epidemic with statewide control measures, why would he proactively take action to prevent others from meeting the threats to health and wellbeing of the people of this state? As other have put it more bluntly: Do something about it or get out of the way!  


    As Prof. Beal forcefully argues in his most recent friend-of-the court submission, the Governor’s mask-mandate proscription is antithetical to the very purpose of Texas Disaster Act; — the Act upon which Abbot expressly relies as statutory authority to rule by executive fiat. His mask mandate ban in GA-38 thwarts its essential purpose. 

    As you can see in this excerpt below, Prof. Beal is getting increasingly exasperated with the Supremes’ failure to come to the rescue of the people of Texas when the need to so is plainly imperative and time of the essence.

    [Governor Abbott] has totally abdicated his authority under Chapter 418 up to and including this day. He has only attempted to use Chapter 418 [the Texas Disaster Act] in a manner that is the antithesis of its goals: to protect citizens from bodily injury and death and to facilitate the restoration of the people. GA-38 will deliberately infect more people than if all have masks on, and so many more will sustain serious bodily harm and death. Just what more law and/or fact does this Court need to know to render? How many more kids and adults need to be personally injured or die due to the lack of masks for this Court to act?

    See the full letter here:


    Contradiction in terminis (Latin) = a contradiction within the boundaries of the thing; a thing or idea that embodies a contradiction or irreconcilable elements, for example, payment for a gift, or a circle with corners; the fallacy of proposing or positing such a thing or concept.

    Also see –> oxymoron = a self-contradicting word or group of words 

  9. J says:

    Jason I am glad to hear that you take measures to reduce your impact on the planet, like I do. I had to dig out the papers, I have gone 157 miles in the car this year, so I have used less gas than you. I live in the city, walk and use my cargo bike for errands, but have no yard to grow food sadly. I have LED lights in the house, set the thermostat to 82 degrees in the summer, always have a renewable electricity plan. I installed radiant barrier in the attic myself, and for July I used only 327 kWh of renewable electricity. I love beef but I know it is bad so I only have it once a week. I produce trash about the size of a volleyball per week, mostly food packaging. How does this make me a planet hater?? You are nuts, of course.

    As far as your lies it seems you can’t help it. You may have seen the lady, but then you go off on her for something without saying that perhaps it wasn’t her, or you may have been mistaken about the vehicle. That is a deliberate misrepresentation, otherwise known as a lie. If you cannot identify the vehicle you have no case, Toyota Highlander Hybrids and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs are both big SUVs that have very good gas mileage, and cannot be represented as ‘giant gas guzzlers.’

    But I am arguing with a nut. Maxine Waters said what? Take their stuff? Another crazy lie. For some reason you can’t help it, you just go off the rails out of nowhere.

  10. Manny says:

    Not sure if it is a nut you are arguing with, J? It may be a Russian bot? It could be a paid troll that is instructed to misinform? But whatever it is, it does post a lot of misinformation, often called lies by many.

  11. Jason Hochman says:

    J-you have won the green off! I turned my thermostat to 80 over the weekend and didn’t turn it back up! Although I haven’t eaten beef in ages. And your kWh are very low, I must have used 800 for July. Although, I don’t have the radiant in the attic.

    Cargo bikes are great. I got one at the beginning of this year. Do you have the Xtracycle? I don’t really use my cargo bike much, though, because a regular bike is enough for commuting and most errands. It’s also lighter and faster.

    I guess that you agree with my main point. Which is that we all are accusing people, just on the basis of political bias. For example, we deliberately paint people as not caring about the environment, wanting to kill grandma, etc. even though the truth is much more nuanced.

  12. J says:

    The current hyper-polarization of American politics is due mostly to the greedy Australian businessman Rupert Murdoch and all of his right wing media empire including Fox News. He has made a fortune peddling outrageous lies to American conservatives which they treat as gospel, which is destroying American society. Various unscrupulous politicians like the golf loser and Ted Cruz have egged on the now-aggrieved right wing base for their own selfish purposes.

    I paint right wingers with a broad brush because they vote for these awful people, who support polluters and encourage disdain for environmental stewardship. Walking and riding a bike means breathing a lot of bad air due to pollution from gasoline cars and all our refineries and chemical industries, and it *doesn’t have to be that way*. We could have much better air right now if policies supported by environmentalists and Democrats had not been shot down by Republicans who are being supported by the big polluters, Republicans who were put in office by right wing voters.

    I give money to groups including Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment America, Earthjustice, Audubon, The Wilderness Society, The Nature Conservancy and more. I also support Democrats because they are our only hope of having a better world to live and breathe in.

    As far as killing Grandma, Greg Abbott is all in on that one. Are you going to vote for him? (Assuming you are not a disinformation bot. The jury is still out.)

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