October 29, 2017
We have shared some storm chasing videos and photos by the talented and Emmy Award winning Mike Olbinski over the years in our enews and on social media.
Olbinski’s storm time-lapse and fine art work has been published nationally and internationally, seen in Arizona Highways magazines, weather calendars, movies, documentaries, commercials and television shows.
Mike is based out of Arizona (our old stomping grounds for almost 20 years) so we truly appreciate his ability to capture the annual monsoon.
For those of you who have never been in the southwestern U.S. desert, monsoon runs from June 15th through September 30th and it produces some awesome cloud formations, spectacular lightning shows, massive dust storms (a.k.a. haboobs), flash floods and more.
Mr. Olbinski explains his latest video masterpiece, Monsoon IV, was compiled from footage taken during his 13,000 miles of chasing across Arizona during this summer’s 2017 monsoon, as well as a few places in bordering California and New Mexico. Mike shot over 110,000 frames of time-lapse and says likely only half of it ended up in the final cut. He also says the music in this video is all custom, thanks to the amazing work of Peter Nanasi.
Watch Mike’s incredible Monsoon IV video below and see more of Olbinski’s videos on Vimeo and follow him on his Storm blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Monsoon IV (4K) from Mike Olbinski on Vimeo.
October 24, 2017
Google’s parent Alphabet has deployed Project Loon and its LTE balloons to Puerto Rico bringing Internet service to the island.
In a 20-Oct-2017 blog penned by Project Loon head Alastair Westgarth, the company says it’s working with the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Aviation Authority, FEMA, and other cellular spectrum and aviation authorities to bring connectivity to parts of the island still suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Loon’s official LTE partner for the initiative is AT&T, which is helping Loon use its fleet of stratospheric helium balloons to bring functions like text messaging and minor web browsing access to Puerto Rico residents who have LTE-equipped smartphones.
Mr. Westgarth writes … “Since our first sizable tests in New Zealand in 2013, Loon balloons have flown more than 26 million kms around the world. Thanks to improvements in balloon design and durability, many balloons stay airborne for more than 100 days, with our record breaking balloon staying aloft for 190 days. This is the second time that Project Loon has been used to connect people after a disaster. In early 2017, Project Loon delivered basic internet connectivity to tens of thousands of people in flood-affected zones in Peru in partnership with the Peruvian government and Telefonica.”
Below is a short Project Loon video…
Learn more about Project Loon at https://x.company/loon/
Sources: Project Loon blog, The Verge and TechTimes
Photo and video: Project Loon
October 14, 2017
As government agencies and charitable groups continue to provide disaster assistance, con artists, identity thieves and other criminals may attempt to prey on vulnerable survivors.
The most common post-disaster fraud practices include phony housing inspectors, fraudulent building contractors, bogus pleas for disaster donations, fake offers of state or federal aid and charging for free services.
Scam attempts can be made over the phone, by mail, by email, through the internet, or in person. Con artists are creative and resourceful. It is important to remain alert, ask questions and require identification when someone claims to represent a government agency. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it should be questioned.
Here are some tips from FEMA to safeguard against fraud:
- Ask to see ID badges. All Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives always carry an identification badge with a photograph. A FEMA shirt or jacket is not proof of identity. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with anyone you encounter, contact local law enforcement.
- Keep your FEMA registration number safe. It is your key to your application information. Do not share it with others.
- Safeguard personal information. No state or federal government disaster assistance agency will call you to ask for your financial account information. Unless you place a call to an agency yourself, you should not provide personal information over the phone. It can lead to identity theft. FEMA will only request an applicant’s bank account numbers during the initial registration process. FEMA inspectors will require verification of identity but will already have your registration number.
- Beware of people going door to door. People knocking on doors at damaged homes or phoning homeowners claiming to be building contractors could be con artists, especially if they ask for personal information or solicit money.
- Know that federal workers do not solicit or accept money. FEMA and Small Business Administration staff never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections, or to help fill out applications. FEMA inspectors verify damages, but do not involve themselves in any aspect of the repair nor recommend any contractor.
Those who suspect fraud may call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 (toll free). Complaints may also be made to local law enforcement agencies.
The quickest way to apply for federal assistance is online at www.disasterassistance.gov. Survivors may also apply by phone at 800-621-3362 (Voice, 711 or VS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY). Due to high demand, lines may be busy. Please be patient, and try calling in the morning or evening when call volume may be lower. The FEMA helpline numbers 800-621-3362 (Voice, 711 or VS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY) are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (ET), seven days a week until further notice.
If you believe you might be the victim of a home repair scam or price gouging, call your state’s Attorney General office.
Photo by J.T. Blatty / FEMA
October 13, 2017
Check out this cool video by NASA explaining Transient Luminous Events or basically flashes and glows called blue jets, red sprites and other TLEs that appear above storms.
Blue jets pulse from the tops of intense thunderstorms and reach up toward the edge of space. Red sprites are glows in the upper atmosphere, tied to the presence of large lightning flashes but not attached to the clouds themselves.
The ISS has afforded astronauts the opportunity to photograph a number of natural light shows produced at the tops of thunderstorms as seen in below video…
For more science from above the clouds visit www.nasa.gov/station and see more cool lightning posts here
October 5, 2017
Did you know fire kills more Americans every year than all natural disasters combined? Fire spreads quickly so there is NO time to grab valuables or make a phone call.
That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan.
Some key FPW messages from the National Fire Protection Association include:
- Draw a map of your home by using NFPA’s grid in English (PDF) or Spanish (PDF) with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
- Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
- Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
Find more Home Fire Prevention and Safety Tips … and learn more about FPW at www.firepreventionweek.org