Virginia Bound

Leslie and I are still stuck in New Orleans. As I noted yesterday, we have been stranded by US Airways which cancelled flights to Washington yesterday despite the relatively mild weather in the city. It appears that the airline simply did not want aircraft in Washington when the storm hit. My complaint has not been that decision but the lack of consumer support after trying for hours to reach anyone at the airline. We have little choice but to try to drive back to Virginia since we have four kids who are being watched over by our sitter (I also have classes to teach on Tuesday and Wednesday). We intend to be highly cautious and stop if it gets to dicey. However, we cannot leave the kids any longer in this storm.

We have been told that we might be able to get on a flight for Tuesday but it does not look promising. Indeed, it was not even raining last night in D.C. with low winds. Tuesday looks like it will be pouring with strong winds. We love New Orleans (where I used to live) but we are increasingly anxious to be with the kids.

There may be an interruption in my posting on Tuesday in light of our effort to drive back. I will try to tweet on our status.

I hope everyone is safe during the storm. I would not travel if we were not separated from our kids. I strongly recommend that people stay indoors and of course continually on this blog.

197 thoughts on “Virginia Bound”

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  2. Hurricane Sandy’s U.S. death toll, economic losses rise
    By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Brian Bennett and Scott Gold
    November 1, 2012, 6:07 p.m.,0,7573411.story

    WANTAGH, N.Y. — Sandy’s U.S. death toll reached 88 on Thursday after the bodies of two young boys were found in a Staten Island marsh, and the economic loss rose to an estimated $50 billion. That would make the storm the second-costliest in American history, after Hurricane Katrina.

  3. Sandy death toll in US rises to nearly 100; ‘could be more,’ NYC mayor says
    By Miguel Llanos, NBC News

    The death toll in the U.S. from Superstorm Sandy neared 100 victims on Friday, as New York City reported another death and Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned: “There could be more fatalities.”

    The toll in the nation’s largest city is now 41 deaths, Bloomberg said at a press conference at which he also defended the decision to run the New York Marathon this Sunday and tried to defuse concerns about gasoline shortages.

    Half of the city’s deaths were on Staten Island. Bloomberg noted the deaths of two brothers swept from their mother’s arms in the storm surge there.

  4. You can’t control the weather, all you can do is get people out of the way and plan for the allocation of resources for the clean-up. Maybe it’s time to reassess the NASA/NOAA budget?

    “Flying Blind: America’s Aging Weather Satellites”

    “Things got dicey in the command centers of the GOES-East weather satellite on September 23. Mission controllers with NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in southern Maryland, watched in alarm as the images being beamed down from 22,000 mi. (35,000 km) up grew spotty and the stream of temperature and moisture readings became sputtery. GOES-East (for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite), and its companion ship, GOES-West, hover over the two halves of the U.S. in orbits that match the rotation of the planet, keeping a fixed eye on events below. But GOES-East was now winking out — in the final month of a hurricane season that would give birth to an infant storm later to be known as Sandy. ….

    On any given day, from 20 to 30 American weather satellites — depending how you count those dedicated solely to forecasting and those that also engage in basic environmental research — peer down on the planet. Plenty of other countries — China, India, Brazil, Japan, the members of the European Union — have similar assets aloft. For the U.S., however, it is the GOES ships, plus a north-south polar-orbiting satellite, that do the overwhelming share of the work. Now, thanks to budget cuts, short-sighted federal planning and the natural life-and-death cycle of satellites, they’re all at risk — and so are we. That’s the message both from the government’s National Research Council — which, in May, released a comprehensive study on the precarious state of America weather fleet — and from the scientists and commentators who make it their business to understand this stuff. ….

    It’s the money component — no surprise — that’s at the root of the current problem. Satellites are cheap by spacecraft standards — but that standard means at least a few hundred millions dollars apiece. Over the course of any one satellite’s lifespan, the overall price tag can rise to $1 billion. NASA’s entire annual budget for Earth sciences was $2 billion in 2002, but has fallen to less than $1.5 billion in the decade since. And while there are a collective 90 Earth-sensing instruments carried aboard the entirety of NASA’s weather-forecasting fleet, that number could fall to as few as 20 by 2020….”

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