Hurricanes

7 Jul

— What does the Sahara Desert in Africa have to do with hurricanes in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Eastern Pacific Ocean? You might think this sounds a little crazy because hurricanes are very wet and deserts are very dry, but if it weren’t for this huge, hot, dry region in North Africa, we would see far fewer hurricanes in the United States. The Sahara Desert is massive, covering 10 percent of the continent of Africa. It would be the largest desert on Earth, but based strictly on rainfall amounts, the continent of Antarctica qualifies as a desert and is even larger. Still, rainfall in the Sahara is very infrequent; some areas may not get rain for years and the average total rainfall is less than three inches per year. While not the largest or driest of the deserts, the Sahara has a major influence on weather across the Western Hemisphere.

How a Tropical Storm Starts A-Brewin’

The role the Sahara Desert plays in hurricane development is related to the easterly winds (coming from the east) generated from the differences between the hot, dry desert in north Africa and the cooler, wetter, and forested coastal environment directly south and surrounding the Gulf of Guinea in west Africa. The result is a strong area of high altitude winds commonly called the African Easterly Jet. If these winds were constant, we would also experience fewer hurricanes. However, the African Easterly Jet is unstable, resulting in undulations in a north-south direction, often forming a corresponding north to south trough, or wave, that moves westward off the West African Coast. When these waves of air have enough moisture, lift, and instability, they readily form clusters of thunderstorms, sometimes becoming correlated with a center of air circulation. When this happens, a tropical cyclone may form as the areas of disturbed weather move westward across the Atlantic. Throughout most of the year, these waves typically form every two to three days in a region near Cape Verde (due west of Africa), but it is the summer to early fall when conditions can become favorable for tropical cyclone development. Not all hurricanes that form in the Atlantic originate near Cape Verde, but this has been the case for most of the major hurricanes that have impacted the continental United States.

Map of North America with historical tracks of hurricanes in North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific Oceans.

All North Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific hurricanes
(at least Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale). Note how many originate at the edge of Africa’s West Coast, where the desert meets the green forests to the south. (NOAA)
Wave of the Future (Weather)

In fact, just such a tropical wave formed off Cape Verde in mid-August of 1992. Up to that point, there had not been any significant tropical cyclone development in the Atlantic that year. However, the wave did intensify into a hurricane, and on August 24 Andrew came ashore in south Florida as a Category 5 hurricane, becoming one of the most costly and destructive natural disasters in U.S. history … until Sandy. Hurricane Sandy, which eventually struck the U.S. east coast as a post-tropical cyclone, also began as a similar tropical wave that formed off the coast of west Africa in October of 2012. Some of these “waves” drift all the way to the Pacific Ocean by crossing Mexico and Central America. Many of the Eastern Pacific tropical cyclones originate, at least in part, from tropical waves coming off Cape Verde in Africa. Many of these waves traverse the entire Atlantic Ocean without generating storm development until after crossing Central America and entering the warm Eastern Pacific waters. Then, if the conditions are right, tropical cyclone formation is possible there. Hurricane Iselle, which hit the Big Island of Hawaii on August 8, 2014, was likely part of a wave that formed more than 8,000 miles away off of the West Coast of Africa and an example of the far-reaching influence the Sahara Desert has on our planet’s weather. While these waves with origins in the Sahara Desert might generate numerous thunderstorms and a pattern with the potential for developing into a tropical cyclone, often the conditions are not quite right. Hurricane Cristobal formed from a classic Cape Verde wave last week and currently is churning Atlantic waters, but is not expected to be a threat to the United States. The formation of these disturbances off the West Coast of Africa will remain a potential source of tropical storms through the end of Atlantic hurricane season in late November. Each wave is investigated by the NOAA National Hurricane Center and you can view these active disturbances on their website.

The Sahara Desert and You

When it comes to hurricanes and hurricane preparedness, it’s interesting to know how a desert half a world away can influence the formation of severe weather on our coasts—and even parts of the Pacific Ocean. And no matter where you live, the old rule of planning for the worst and hoping for the best remains the surest way to stay safe.

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Heat Index

30 Jun

Just what is heat index?

The heat index tells you how hot it feels at a given humidity. Moist air feels hotter than dry air because it makes sweating less efficient. On a hot, dry day, your sweat will evaporate quickly and cool your skin; under humid conditions, sweat evaporates more slowly and doesn’t do as much. Just as the wind chill attempts to measure how cold it feels under certain wind conditions, the heat index tries to measure how hot it feels given the humidity.

The formula for heat index is based on work completed in the late 1970s. R. G. Steadman wrote a paper called “The assessment of sultriness,” in which he used a list of 20 factors to compute how hot you might feel on a given day. These factors included the rate at which you sweat, the type of clothes you’re wearing, the surface area of your body, and what you happen to be doing.

To isolate the effects of temperature and humidity on the perception of heat, Steadman invented a typical situation: A person who’s 5 feet 7 inches and weighs 147 pounds walks at about 3.1 miles per hour in a light breeze, wearing long pants and a short-sleeved shirt. Then Steadman filled out his 20 variables with information from this scenario and figured out how hot his fictional person would feel at different outside temperatures and levels of humidity. He put the results in a table: Higher humidity would make his exemplar feel hotter, while drier conditions would make him feel cooler than it really is. For any given temperature, there is a percent humidity at which the weather “feels” exactly as hot as the thermometer indicates.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service used Steadman’s table to derive a simpler formula for heat index by creating a function that approximates its values (to within 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit) using only two variables—temperature and percent humidity. Since the formula incorporates all of Steadman’s assumptions, how hot you feel may differ from the heat index reported on the evening news. For example, weather reports say that today’s heat index in Shreveport is 106, and that the wind is blowing at 11 miles per hour. But the formula for heat index assumes that the wind is blowing at only 5.8 miles per hour—so the added breeze might make it feel cooler than what’s been reported. (Unless it were really hot out—when it gets up into the high 90s, the wind actually makes you hotter.) Likewise, the further your dimensions are from 5 feet 7 inches and 147 pounds, the less likely you are to feel like it’s 106 degrees.

Needless to say summer is here, so lets be smart! Stay hydrated and take cool off breaks.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

These Old Bones

17 Jun

Being a bit under the weather this past week and a half has reminded me of the fragility of the human body as well as its uncanny ability to heal itself.

These old bones have seen a world of turmoil and stress over the years as well as many good joy filled times. This week has had my mind wandering over all that I have learned throughout my life and the lessons I have yet to learn and share. I can’t begin to count the times God reminded me that He is not through with me and there are many more eyes that need to be opened.

Throughout my life, from Shaman to healer showing others life can be fun and serious all at the same time. From the horrors of combat in Vietnam to the struggles we all face in life, God has always been there to guide my way through the pereloious paths.

I remember Grandfather telling me that one day I would look back over all my achievements and reflect on what lessons I have passed on. I believe I have led a good life, but often wonder if there is a lesson out there or a gift I have failed to see and pass on.

When I was ten my mother enrolled me in Menses because my IQ was so high she thought I was becoming bored with everyday living. Although it did offer me a challenge, it also showed me how blessed I was to be able to remember almost everything I laided my eyes on but also how this could sometimes be a curse. As you can imagine, I never had a hard time in school and did manage to pass with flying colors all my classes. I probably spent more time tutoring others than I did on the lessons.

But, life has not always been a bed of roses, as most of you learned growing up and I have had some very hard times also. Vietnam left it’s mark on me and pretty much has followed me for the past 47 or so years. But this too has been a lesson I have been able to share and grow with.

There is no doubt in my mind that God has always been there to protect and watch over me. I have had a very blessed life and as much as possible have shared that love with all that I meet.

I’m sure there are many more lessons to share from these old bones and I am looking forward to blessing others as well being blessed by sharing.

Well Grandfather how are them bones?

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

What Love is…

22 May

What started out white that man has turned black? It is an interesting question if you take the time to dig deeper into it. The answer is Origin.

When God created us we were pure love. Over the years our training, education or whatever you want to call it started shading our perspective and our vision has turned away from love and compassion.

We’ve all got both light and dark inside of us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are and that’s the real person other people see. The key word is choose! We decide if we shine our light of Love or that we push the darkness and gloom. We program ourselves to be the person we are. That also means we can reprogram our self to shine the light God has given us.

That then offers another riddle or question: What is known but cannot be named? I’ll let you ponder on that a while.

God says before you were in the womb I knew you. Which means He created you in his image to reflect His love and grace. He knows who you are and has selected you to fulfill His love to all. Somewhere along the way we seem to have lost this message. So the answer to the above riddle is Life.

The bible teaches us the lessons of Jesus through the apostles and the gosples to care for the children, widows and the less fortunate. It commands us to love each other as He has loved us and to live our life to lift His glory. It teaches us not to fear for there is no fear in love. It teaches us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. So through faith we should have no fear because of what we can’t see, but are assured that He will guide us through our path.

What is lost that can never be lost? Our journey. We lose our way when we fail to have faith in His promise and allow darkness to overcome us. Seeing the light in the darkness is my journey. I seek the light so I can shine my light brighter.

Let me add one more fact for you to ponder: As Christians we know Christ is all and Christ resides in our hearts. We also know that He is the light, therefore since He resides in our heart, we also become the light.

Light is Love and the more of our light we shine the more love we share. The more love we share the brighter our light shines. Seek the light!

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

Love Is Stronger

17 May

I’ve oftened wondered why there is so much divide and discontent in our country. We are so divided that friends are fighting each other over the littlest things.

I don’t care if you are someone who leans right or left or stays in the middle, one thing for certain is you are an individual just like everyone else in this country. Also each and everyone of us has the same God given rights and in our case they are guaranteed by our Constitution.

God given rights! God also gave us commandments to love each other as ourselves, not just love those who agree with your thinking. Our country was founded on the understanding that all are created equal, regardless of race, color, sexual orientation, left handed or right handed so where does the right come to talk down or bad about those who don’t follow your individual standards. The funny thing is you probably don’t follow theirs either. Neither makes one right or wrong.

It is time we, as a country, wake up and realize what God has been teaching us throughout our entire life… that is to love one another and use that love to build bridges not walls. In the end everyone will, sooner at or later, realize that love is stronger than all this hate.

Walk daily with God at you side!

Love always,

Ed

Soft Whispers In The Wind

2 May

As I sit here is quiet solitude having my afternoon conversation with Father, I hear these soft whispers in the wind and feel a gentle tug on my heart. His guidance is so gentle, yet I can feel His strength as He moves me in the direction of the chosen path.

Living in continuous conversation with God has made my life full and blessed. My every need is met and I am blessed to be able to share His love with all I meet. His hands have sheltered me throughout my life and He has taught me to love life and all His creatures. I would say this is why I am at home with nature.

I wonder if Bob Dylan saw this when he wrote the song “Blowing in the wind” back in 1963. God answers our prayers and questions all the time, it’s just that most times we just don’t take the time to listen. When I feel that little tug on my heart and hear those soft whispers in my ear, I know He is talking to me.

Life is full of little miracles, if you don’t feel that look up, He will show you. Listen to His wisdom and follow the path He has set out for you.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

Answers…

29 Apr

I have written many times about prayer and His answers, yet I still find many who don’t believe their prayers are being answered. Life for them seems to be one conflict after another, either on the home front or away from home.

When God gave us two eyes to see what is happening around us, two ears the listen to what He was telling us and one mouth to sing His praises, He had a very good reason for doing it. When He said to turn your problems over to Him and let Him handle them, He meant let them go so He can fix them. For some reason we have a problem with doing just that and keep interfering with His work.

God works on His time table not ours and the reason your problem is not instantly solved just may be because He is also teaching you a lesson so that the next time you choose a better direction. Too many times we are blind to what is going on before our eyes and deaf to what He is whispering in our ears.

Trust and faith is the answer. We need to have faith in Him to follow through on His promise and trust Him to do what is best for us. I have found in my life He has never failed me and was always there to give me guidance.

I will close with this thought my Grandfather passed to me when I was a toddler, when all else fails and you still have not found the answer, look up. He is always there and always will be.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed