Last Week, a Ginormous Storm Hit Western Alaska

It remained but a blip on our the national news radar because our coastal elites don’t care about Alaska. Still, I think SABR Matt would definitely agree that this “snowicane” was massive:

Alaskans weather epic Bering Sea storm
@ the Anchorage Daily News

A giant Bering Sea storm with hurricane-force winds roared up the western Alaska coastline Wednesday, sending waves over storm barriers, knocking out electricity, flooding parts of some villages and leading to evacuations.

An article I saw elsewhere noted that the barometric pressure at the center of the storm dipped as low as 943 mb. Holy crap, that is epic!

Rare Major Earthquake Strikes US Eastern Coastal Plain

If you felt the Earth move today, you weren’t imagining things. Felt from the Carolinas to Southern New England, a magnitude 5.8 (Richtor scale) quake occurred in Northern Virginia at 1:51 PM EDT today. Magnitude 4+ equivalent seismic waves were felt in NY City and Raleigh…the primary wave from the quake traveled hundreds of miles in a matter of minutes and surprised the hell out of East Coast residents.

Fortunately, the worst of the quake happened in very rural Northern VA, so structural damage is likely to be minor. Nonetheless…that was a startling experience!

Edited @ 7:51 PM EDT by Stephanie S.:

The Washington Post has coverage of the quake here.

“I moved to Washington from L.A. three years ago and am used to tremors,” said Nick Peters, who works in the District. “This one was a real one. Our office building in downtown D.C. shook steadily for a good 45 seconds, and the intensity kept building until it stopped. I was hanging on to my desk waiting for something to fall, but nothing did. Still, this was no little bump.”

That’s what we felt here in Woodbridge. It was totally bizarre. I mean, I know earthquakes do happen on the East Coast occasionally, but still…

Edited Again @ 8:11 EDT:

They were taping over at AccuWeather when the quake hit:


EDITED @ 8:17 PM by SABR Matt:

My own experience with the quake was similar to the description from DC except much lower in magnitude. I’ve felt 4.0 quakes on the east coast…but they’re usually short, sharp bumps…like what you get when you stand next to the road while a heavy tanker hits a pot hole. They usually only last a few seconds. This was a very low-frequency vibration that felt like I was on a boat. I thought I was having a stroke for a second – like I was very dizzy for no reason. But once my office mate turned and said “do you feel that?” I realized it was an earthquake. It made no sound in New York…but it did cause a pressure wave in the atmosphere as the ground rolled just enough to change the air pressure above it. Fascinating feeling the waves in my ears.

This far-reaching impact came from the “primary” wave of the tremor…the first set of vibrations…and had a distinctly transverse pattern (side to side, not just up and down). All classic signs of a settling quake…as is the extremely shallow position of the quake (estimated at less than a kilometer below ground level) and the long duration of the event.

Edited @ 8:57 by Stephanie S.:

I just laughed my ass off at this:

DC Earthquake Devastation

Horrors! How will we ever recover?


Asteroid To Buzz Earth Monday, June 27th

Asteroid 2011 MD, a chunk of rock estimated to be 25 to 55 feet (8 to 18 m) across, is expected to pass less than 8,000 miles above Earth’s surface around 1 p.m. EDT (17:00 UT) on Monday, June 27th. The actual event will be observable only from South Africa and parts of Antarctica, but the approach will be visible across Australia, New Zealand, southern and eastern Asia, and the western Pacific.

The asteroid was spotted on June 22nd by LINEAR, the Lincoln Near-Earth Research project. Its discovery was announced on Thursday morning by the Minor Planet Center.

Granted, this object is not really a threat, but it does make you wonder about the NEO’s we haven’t discovered yet.

So — Last Night Was Pretty Exciting

Why? Well, just before midnight, a severe thunderstorm roared through eastern Prince William County, bringing with it quarter-sized hail and near-continuous cloud-to-ground lightning. SABR Matt can certainly correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Woodbridge (VA) has ever seen quarter-sized hail before. It sure made a tremendous racket!

Linky, Linky – Boudreaux, Whittle, and Iowahawk

Stuff I’ve found ’round the interwebs:

More Weather Deaths? Wanna Bet?
by Donald Boudreaux @ WSJ

Writing recently in the Washington Post, environmental guru Bill McKibben asserted that the number and severity of recent weather events, such as the tornado in Joplin, Mo., are too great not to be the result of fossil-fuel induced climate change. He suggested that government’s failure to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases will result in more violent weather and weather-related deaths in the future.

And pointing to the tragedy in Joplin, Mr. McKibben summarily dismissed the idea that, if climate change really is occurring, human beings can successfully adapt to it.

There’s one problem with this global-warming chicken little-ism. It has little to do with reality. National Weather Service data on weather-related fatalities since 1940 show that the risks of Americans being killed by violent weather have fallen significantly over the past 70 years.

The longer lead times are probably the biggest help as far as survival rates go. The other night, the NWS issued a tornado warning for Dale City/Woodbridge for a storm that was speeding up the I-95 corridor, and sure enough, that warning preceeded any actual bad weather by about twenty minutes. Hooray for technology!

(By the way, there was no confirmed tornado, though conditions did get rather hairy for a bit.)


Meanwhile, while I was away, Bill Whittle put out another vid, this time on Obama’s foreign policy:


And lastly, in case you missed it, here is Iowahawk on our higher education bubble:

So You Have a College Diploma

He is, of course, responding to reports that recent college graduates have had a lot of trouble finding jobs lately despite Obama’s glorious economic “recovery.”

Luckily, my teenaged students are smart. All of them are entering pre-professional programs and minoring in any passion that won’t guarantee them a job.