Tag Archives: Hurricane Sandy

Space Shuttle Enterprise Damaged by Superstorm Sandy


Superstorm Sandy, the storm that continues to wreck havoc across the American northeast on Tuesday, caused intense flooding and wind damage across the tri-state area, leaving several people dead. Among its apparent victims: The Space Shuttle Enterprise.

The Enterprise has been housed under a protective structure at New York’s Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum since July. That structure appears to have gone completely missing in the storm’s aftermath, leaving the Enterprise exposed to the elements.

Image Credit: John de Guzman

Image Credit: Denise Chow

Oddly, the Intrepid Museum’s own “live webcam” shows the structure still intact. Most likely, the camera stopped updating as the storm was rolling in.

Despite the loss of the protective structure, the Enterprise looks to be mostly fine, save some possible damage to the vertical stabilizer. Mashable has several messages out to the museum about the status of the Enterprise, and we’ll update this post with any response.

For reference, here’s what the Enterprise looked like under the protective shell:

Sandy Prompts FCC Hearings on Communications Outages


The Federal Communications Commission announced on Wednesday it will hold field hearings examining ways to keep communications systems up and running during natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy.

Lawmakers called for probes into communications outages after Sandy left as much as 25% of cell sites in its path inoperable when it hit the East Coast in October.

“This unprecedented storm has revealed new challenges that will require a national dialogue around ideas and actions to ensure the resilience of communications networks,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.

The hearings will start in 2013, with the first round in New York and continuing in other disaster-prone areas of the country.

In the wake of Sandy, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for the FCC to determine where system weaknesses exist and develop plans to make communications networks more resilient.

“Field hearings will increase our understanding of the problems encountered during Superstorm Sandy and harvest the best ideas to ensure that mobile phone service doesn’t fail after future storms,” he said in a statement after the FCC announced the hearings. “Mobile communication has become an essential part of our lives, and increasing its reliability must be a top priority.”

Several House Democrats have also called for a congressional hearing on the issue.

Harold Feld, senior vice president at the consumer group Public Knowledge, said he hopes the outages will lead to federal standards for communications networks.

“Hopefully, the experience with Sandy underscores how dependent we as a nation have become on these networks, and that the federal government does indeed have a role in setting minimum standards for preparedness and response,” he said.

Image courtesy of Flickr, edenpictures

This article originally published at National Journal

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/21/sandy-fcc-outages/

FCC: Communications Outages Could Get Worse


Communications outages caused by Sandy could get worse before they get better, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski warned on Tuesday.

Flooding, snow and other dangerous conditions could slow efforts to restore electricity and communications networks, he told reporters. Wireless communications are especially vulnerable to sustained outages, Genachowski said.

Sandy, which ravaged the East Coast, has had a “substantial and serious” impact on the country’s communications infrastructure, he said. “The storm is not over. Our posture is to expect the unexpected.”

Because of power outages as well as physical damage, as much as 25% of cellphone sites in the storm’s path were not operating as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to an FCC monitoring system. Roughly a quarter of broadband, home phone or cable services also experienced widespread outages, FCC officials said. The agency’s system monitors 158 counties in 10 states.

Genachowski also said that a “very small number” of 911 call centers were down, while some centers were rerouting emergency calls to other centers.

FCC officials are in contact with telecommunications companies, which say they are working to restore service.

Image courtesy of Flickr, TalAtlas

This article originally published at National Journal

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/30/fcc-sandy-outages/

Internet, Phone Companies Brace For Hurricane Sandy


Communications providers and federal officials were bracing for widespread problems on Monday as Hurricane Sandy bore down on the East Coast.
The high winds, rain, and possible power outages have the potential to play havoc with phone and Internet networks and companies spent the weekend prepping emergency reaction teams.

Washington-area communications networks faced similar strains last year. When an earthquake rattled the East Coast in August 2011, some wireless networks were quickly overwhelmed with traffic.

When Hurricane Irene moved up the East Coast a week later, thousands of customers lost cable, phone and other services, but companies said the damage was not as extensive as feared.

Telecommunications companies are hoping that their preparations will limit outages during Hurricane Sandy as well.

“Verizon wireline and wireless business units have activated national and regional command and control centers, enabling Verizon operations teams to monitor the storm’s progress and company operations, including network performance,” Verizon said in a statement.

AT&T said it has an “arsenal of disaster response equipment and personnel” on standby. Other carriers also reported that they had been investing to make their networks more reliable.

“T-Mobile has made significant investments throughout the year in supplemental cell site backup generators, microwave technology equipment, and cell-on-wheels (COWs), along with other tools and equipment to enhance the stability and, when necessary, the recovery of our network operations,” the company said in a statement.

The Federal Communications Commission urged wireless customers to use text messages, rather than telephone calls during emergencies. Text messages don’t burden telecom networks as much as telephone calls or mobile data usage.

Federal officials could use a mass message alert system that was deployed earlier this year. With the Commercial Mobile Alert System, federal emergency officials could send geographically targeted messages (separate from regular text messages) to telephones that are compatible.

“Alerts are geographically targeted, so a customer living in New York would not receive a threat if they happen to be in Chicago when the alert is sent,” the FCC says. “Similarly, someone visiting New York from Chicago on that same day would receive the alert.”

The system is designed to complement the more-traditional emergency-alert system used by broadcasters.

The National Association of Broadcasters, for example, used promoted tweets on Twitter over the weekend to highlight broadcasters’ role in emergency communications. NAB, which is locked in a fight with wireless companies for valuable spectrum, is quick to tout the emergency benefits of broadcasting stations.

“Broadcasters are a trusted resource for millions of Americans who rely upon local radio and television stations for accurate information during times of emergency,” NAB President Gordon Smith said in a statement at the beginning of the 2012 hurricane season. “Indeed, no technology can replicate broadcasting’s reliability in reaching mass audiences and providing a lifeline support in emergency and disaster situations.”

Image courtesy of Flickr, MTAPhotos

This article originally published at National Journal

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/29/internet-phone-sandy/

Scientist Says Used Car Tires Could Prevent Future Hurricanes


As natural disasters like hurricane Sandy become more frequent due to climate change, scientists have started working on solutions to prevent them, some of them very original.

Stephen Salter, an emeritus professor of engineering design at Edinburgh University, wants to use a cluster of used car tires that support giant tubes that extend as deep as 100 meters into the ocean. Salter has patented this idea with the help of Intellectual Ventures, a company that holds a large number of patents, founded by Nathan Myhrvold and backed by Bill Gates.

Through this device, dubbed “Salter Sink,” waves would force warm surface water down the plastic tubes to the deep ocean and valves would make sure the warmer water couldn’t come back up. This way, warm and colder waters would mix, cooling the temperature of the surface below 26.5 degrees Celsius, the critical temperature at which hurricanes start to form.

“If you can cool the sea surface, you would calm the hurricanes. I estimate you would need about 150-450 of these structures,” said Salter. “They would drift around and send out radar signals so that no one would collide with them.”

To find out more about this innovative solution to prevent hurricanes, watch the video above.

Thumbnail photo courtesy of NASA.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/07/used-tires-prevent-sandy/

Google’s Eric Schmidt Saves the Day in New Hurricane Sandy Film


Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt “comes off looking like a rockstar” in 12-12-12, a documentary showcasing intimate backstage footage of the Hurricane Sandy benefit concert that raised $50 million, film studio executive Harvey Weinstein told Mashable.

The film aims to rake in even more money for victims of last year’s natural disaster, as all ticket sales will go toward the Robin Hood Foundation’s relief funds.

12-12-12 arrived in New York City and Los Angeles theaters on Friday, more than a year after Sandy ravaged the northeastern United States, killing over 200 people, destroying thousands of homes and leaving millions without power.

The Madison Square Garden concert telecast and live stream attracted so many donors that the donation website crashed. Luckily, Schmidt was on site to offer assistance.

“Sure enough, we had 20,000 operators working for us; George Clooney warned me there would be a problem, and sure enough it all conked out,” Weinstein said. “Eric Schmidt fixed the problem in half an hour, and he comes off looking like a rockstar.”

Weinstein chose filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev to document the concert, which featured performances from The Rolling Stones, The Who, Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Eddie Vedder, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Billy Joel, Chris Martin, Roger Waters, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Organizers described the concert as the “most widely distributed music event in history.”

“It’s really emotional, and it’s beyond any concert movie you’ve ever seen. It’s so beautiful, and I think it’s award worthy,” said Weinstein, who grew up in Queens, a borough of New York City. “The more attention the movie gets, it’s for a good cause. Nobody is making any money because the money goes to Robin Hood.”

NASA Satellite Photos Compare Before and After Sandy


Thousands still remain without power after Hurricane Sandy blew through the east coast on Monday.

NASA’s Earth Observatory released satellite images that compare power usage in the tri-state area before and after the storm.

The first image was taken at 2:14 a.m. ET Aug. 31. The second, with clouds still present from Sandy, was taken at 2:52 a.m. ET, Nov. 1.

“Both images were captured by the VIIRS ‘day-night band,’ which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe signals such as gas flares, city lights, and reflected moonlight,” writes the Earth Observatory.

The site also notes that the bright spot along New Jersey “could be fires fueled by severed natural gas lines.”

More Coverage of Hurricane Sandy

Best Twitter Feeds for Nor’easter News


As a nor’easter makes its way along the U.S. East Coast, many in the storm’s path will be turning to Twitter for updates, as they did during the recent superstorm, Sandy. Twitter often reports events faster than mainstream media, plus it’s a fun way to get the news.

As many saw during Sandy, however, social media can quickly spread false rumors and images. To help you get a solid start, we’ve collected some of the best Twitter accounts to follow for quick, reliable, basic information on the upcoming nor’easter, which is expected to bring strong winds and a mixture of snow and rain to the East Coast today (Nov. 7) and tomorrow.

Capital Weather Gang, @capitalweather

Who they are: Weather bloggers for the Washington Post

Why they’re worth following: Timely updates on both what’s happening and what’s expected to come. The Weather Gang mostly covers Washington, D.C., but will answer questions about other East Coast areas as well.

Dan Satterfield, @wildweatherdan

Who he is: Chief meteorologist for a CBS affiliate in Maryland

Why he’s worth following: Forecasts, warnings, plus a pleasing Twitter handle

Brian McNoldy, @BMcNoldy

Who he is: A tropical cyclone researcher at the University of Miami

Why he’s worth following: McNoldy tweets mostly about hurricanes and tropical storms, but he does write about other major storm forecasts. He also links to explanations of the science behind storms.

Weather Channel staff Mike Bettes (@TWCMikeBettes), Jim Cantore (@JimCantore), @weatherchannel and @TWCBreaking

Why they’re worth following: We won’t take sides in this morning’s scuffle between the Weather Channel and the National Weather Service, which told its staff to ignore the news station’s attempt to give today’s nor’easter a name. The Weather Channel tweeters provide frequent forecasts, weather advisories and weather-related news from around the world.

NWS, @usNWSgov

Who they are: The National Weather Service

Why they’re worth following: Forecasts straight from the source. The Weather Channel and other news stations use National Weather Service-provided data in their reporting. In addition, the National Weather Service has Twitter accounts for specific U.S. cities and regions, such as New York (@NWSNewYorkNY). Find a list among NWS’s followed accounts.

Andrea Thompson, @AndreaTOAP

Who she is: Managing editor of OurAmazingPlanet, a sister site of TechNewsDaily

Why she’s worth following: Thompson tweets forecasts, stories about the science of storms and weather-related news for New York City, where OurAmazingPlanet and TechNewsDaily are based.

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This article originally published at TechNewsDaily

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/08/twitter-noreaster-news/