Google preps for hurricane season, offers enhanced storm tracking to users

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

4 killed in Dominica as Tropical Storm Erika hits island.

ROSEAU, Dominica — Tropical Storm Erika pounded the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica on Thursday, unleashing flooding and mudslides that killed at least four people and knocked out power and water supplies. FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – As South Florida keeps an eye on Tropical Storm Erika’s progress, one agency is preparing to move a lot of rain water fast if it comes our way. The storm, which was forecast to reach Florida as a hurricane by Monday, dumped 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain on Dominica late Wednesday, followed by another 6 inches (15 centimeters) early Thursday, according to the weather service in the nearby island of Antigua.

Google is also working with FEMA and ready.gov to provide instructions for preparing and staying safe, customized for the estimated intensity of the storm and its arrival time relative to your location. He urged everyone to “please stay inside.” While the forecasters can be reasonably certain of Erika’s path using computer models, give or take a couple of hundred miles, its intensity is harder to predict and it could fall apart as it passes over land and battles hostile winds.

Erika, the fifth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, was about 125 miles west of Guadalupe with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour as of midday on Thursday. And if you search when the storm is nearby, you’ll get the most urgent information, like how to avoid injury from fast-moving water or flying debris.” Google said that when hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast of the U.S. in 2005, some of its employees worked with third-party organizations to display satellite imagery of affected areas in Google Earth and helped build searchable databases so people could check on the safety of friends and loved ones. “These early efforts later became some of the standard actions taken today by the Google Crisis Response Team following natural disasters, from hurricanes to earthquakes to tsunamis,” it added. It was expected to reach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by Thursday evening, before passing over the Dominican Republic on Friday and continuing in a northwesterly direction over the Bahamas. Even though the eye had passed, heavy wind and rain were still buffeting the island known for its lush forests and steep terrain, and authorities had yet to do a full damage assessment. The main airport was closed due to flooding, with water rushing over cars and at least one small plane, and the scaffolding of some buildings collapsed.

The main river that cuts through the capital overflowed its banks and surging water crashed into the principal bridge that leads into Roseau, whose roads were littered with fallen trees and light poles. This year’s weaker hurricane season is partly attributed to the El Niño weather phenomenon, the warming of Pacific waters that affects wind patterns and makes hurricanes less likely in the Atlantic-Caribbean basin.

And even if Erika is a weak system, that could be very bad there.” Officials shuttered schools, government offices and businesses across the region and warned of flash flooding because of dry conditions caused by the worst drought to hit the Caribbean in recent years. Hurricane Ignacio was centered about 1,135 miles (1,825 kilometers) east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii, and was moving west-northwest near 13 mph (20 kph).

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