I Follow Quakes

There was an earthquake just north of Puerto Rico twenty minutes ago. It’s likely any damage will be minimal with no tsunami. Just like weather and other sci/tech pursuits, I follow quakes.

EarthquakesOur government, the USGS specifically, does an excellent job analyzing the data and quickly posting the results. It’s mostly an automated process, so even on a Sunday evening there’s no wait.

On the left is their front page link to the Puerto Rico quake. There are two entries because the original report was revised.

Each quake gets its own series of webpages. The first page contains a map pinpointing where the quake happened, plus an academic description of local seismology. This one got, “Seismotectonics of the Caribbean Region and Vicinity.” Riveting prose.

More useful on an immediate basis are the DFYI and PAGER pages.

usc000m1w9_ciimDFYI (Did You Feel It) is an Internet derived ‘shake report.’ Regular folks try to quantify their experience. It’s very insightful when plotted on a map.

Most felt the shaking was light.

PAGER estimates the damage based on all the available data. Computer modeling at work. An educated guess. Tonight, it’s overdone. San Juan felt light shaking. PAGER says strong.

PAGER also predicts up to 10 deaths. Hopefully that’s overdone too.

Hurricane Dean – Living Up To Its Billing

At work, we’ve got new graphics computers and software. With Dean in the Atlantic, I’ve been giving them a workout… or at least better learning how to use them. These storms can be tracked, predicted and shown in a variety of ways.

Right now, the Hurricane Center says Dean has sustained winds of 135 mph. I’m more likely to agree with NHC tonight than last night. Dean has become a classic hurricane with a well defined eye.

I popped over to the San Juan, PR radar and watched the outer bands spin as the storm passed to the south. Later, the huricane will be visible from a radar at Guantanamo and a few (if they’re working) on Cuba.

It will not be a good weekend in Jamaica. The official call brings Hurricane Dean right over the spine of that mountainous island Sunday. In that scenario you get devastating wind and rain, storm driven tides and huge mudslides. The Caymans aren’t much better off.

It’s possible tonight’s 135 mph is near Dean’s peak. Even if he does strengthen (as forecast), there is a limit. It’s tough for a storm to maintain 150+ mph winds for long before internal forces begin to break down the storm.

There’s lots of watching to come. Dean will be ‘on the books’ until midweek next week.

Amazing View

I have been looking at Hurricane Frances as it continues its journey north of Puerto Rico. The Weather Service radar out of San Juan has some very impressive images.

These are near realtime, so if you’re reading this in the archives, you’ve missed it.

As close as the storm seems, San Juan only has winds of 16 knots or about 19 mph.