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Endangered Killer Whales

NOAA’s Fisheries Service is proposing new rules on vessel traffic aimed at further protecting Southern Resident killer whales in Washington’s Puget Sound. These large marine mammals, the subject of intense curiosity from kayakers to tourists crowding the decks of commercial whale-watching vessels, were added to the Endangered Species list in late 2005.

The proposed rules would prohibit vessels from approaching any killer whale closer than 200 yards and forbid vessels from intercepting or parking in the path of a whale. In addition, the proposed regulations would set up a half-mile-wide no-go zone along the west side of San Juan Island from May 1 through the end of September where generally no vessels would be allowed.

“The idea here is to give these remarkable animals even more real, meaningful protection,” said Barry Thom, acting head of the agency’s Northwest regional office. “Without it, we would undercut the hard work we are all doing to recover the species by improving the sound’s water quality and recovering salmon, the killer whale’s primary food.”

The fisheries agency said there would be exemptions to the rules for some vessels, including those actively fishing commercially, cargo vessels travelling in established shipping lanes, and government and research vessels. The no-go zone would also have limited exceptions for land owners accessing private property adjacent to it.

While Southern Resident whales are also threatened by degraded water quality in the sound and lack of prey, primarily salmon, biologists have known for years that vessel traffic may be tied to their low numbers.

The whales, which depend on their highly sophisticated sonar to navigate and find food, can be affected by underwater noise from boats and disturbed by vessels that approach too close or block their paths. The population peaked at 97 animals in the 1990s and then declined to 79 in 2001. It currently stands at 85 whales. The agency’s recovery plan, released in early 2008, calls for actions to reduce disturbance from vessels.

If adopted, the earliest the rule would take effect would be May 2010. The agency said it will hold public meetings Sept. 30 in Seattle and Oct. 5 in Friday Harbor for people to learn more about the proposed rules. The public comment period on them closes Oct. 27.


NOAA Weather-

Maryland, Virginia coastal flood watch warning issued








Midwest temperatures to plunge, frost and possiible snow, flooding possible in the Gulf States

4-15-2014 According to, frost, snow and freeze alerts in the mid central states. Locally heavy rainfall and severe storms are possible through Tuesday across much the Gulf and East Coast. Possible snow later Tuesday night.

Numerous showers and thunderstorms across the Deep South will continue throughout the remainder of today into Tuesday morning as moisture from the Gulf of Mexico continues to advance into the region ahead of a strong cold front. Temperatures and moisture are more typical of May ahead of this boundary, and will support the threat for locally heavy rain across most of the southern and eastern U.S. as the cold front advances through Wednesday morning. Severe storms will be possible closer to the Gulf coast where higher instability will be present.

A bitterly cold air mass, at least by April standards, has settled into the central U.S. behind the strong cold front referenced above. Temperatures are running about 20 to 30 degrees below normal for this time of year, and light snow continues this afternoon behind the front across parts of the Midwest. As an area of low pressure strengthens along the front tonight in response to an upper level trough approaching from the west, snow coverage and intensity will pick up across the Ohio Valley and southeastern Michigan where a couple of inches of accumulation can be expected by Tuesday afternoon. Rain will changeover to snow Tuesday night across the Northeast where minor accumulations are possible, mostly across higher elevations where temperatures will be a bit colder. Flooding across northern New York and New England from remaining snow melt and the addition of rain will be possible on Tuesday as well.

Below average temperatures will be in place across most locations on Wednesday except along the West Coast. As the next storm system passes over the central and northern Rocky Mountains into the central U.S. for Wednesday, light to moderate snow is expected from central Minnesota, eastward into the U.P. of Michigan while high temperatures remain in the 30s, which is roughly 20 degrees below norma.

Across the Pacific Northwest, conditions will remain somewhat unsettled with onshore flow resulting in rain and higher elevation snow, but no major systems are on tap here through Wednesday night. Temperatures along the entire West Coast will remain close to normal for Tuesday and Wednesday.


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Windsor Detroit tunnel photo

Photo by Diane Knaus 2005-2011© Some Carbon Dioxide Gets Caught in Tunnels

8-8-2011 Carbon dioxide remains the undisputed king of recent climate change, but other greenhouse gases measurably contribute to the problem. A new study, conducted by NOAA scientists and published online today in Nature, shows that cutting emissions of those other gases could slow changes in climate that are expected in the future.

Discussions with colleagues around the time of the 2009 United Nations’ climate conference in Copenhagen inspired three NOAA scientists – Stephen Montzka, Ed Dlugokencky and James Butler of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. – to review the sources of non-carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gases and explore the potential climate benefits of cutting their emissions.

Like CO2, other greenhouse gases trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere. Some of these chemicals have shorter lifetimes than CO2 in the atmosphere. Therefore cutting emissions would quickly reduce their direct radiative forcing — a measure of warming influence.

“We know that recent climate change is primarily driven by carbon dioxide emitted during fossil-fuel combustion, and we know that this problem is going to be with us a long-time because carbon dioxide is so persistent in the atmosphere,” Montzka said. “But lowering emissions of greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide could lead to some rapid changes for the better.”

The direct radiative forcing (warming effect) of greenhouse gases under various scenarios. a) Red: constant 2008 emissions of both CO2 and non-CO2 greenhouse gases. b) An 80% cut in non-CO2 emissions. c) An 80% cut in CO2 emissions. d) An 80% cut in all greenhouse gas emissions. In all scenarios, emissions cuts are phased in between 2009 and 2050.

Like CO2, other greenhouse gases trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere. Some of these chemicals have shorter lifetimes than CO2 in the atmosphere. Therefore cutting emissions would quickly reduce their direct radiative forcing — a measure of warming influence.

The direct radiative forcing (warming effect) of greenhouse gases under various scenarios. a) Red: constant 2008 emissions of both CO2 and non-CO2 greenhouse gases. b) An 80% cut in non-CO2 emissions. c) An 80% cut in CO2 emissions. d) An 80% cut in all greenhouse gas emissions. In all scenarios, emissions cuts are phased in between 2009 and 2050.

Scientists know that stabilizing the warming effect of CO2 in the atmosphere would require a decrease of about 80 percent in human-caused CO2 emissions — in part because some of the carbon dioxide emitted today will remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. In contrast, cutting all long-lived non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent could diminish their climate warming effect substantially within a couple of decades. Cutting both CO2 and non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions to this extent could result in a decrease in the total warming effect from these greenhouse gases this century, the new paper shows.

For the new analysis, the researchers considered methane; nitrous oxide; a group of chemicals regulated by an international treaty to protect Earth’s ozone layer; and a few other extremely long-lived greenhouse gases currently present at very low concentrations.

The new review paper describes the major human activities responsible for these emissions, and notes that steep cuts (such as 80 percent) would be difficult. Without substantial changes to human behavior, emissions of the non-CO2 greenhouse gases are expected to continue to increase.

The climate-related benefits of reductions in non-CO2 greenhouse gases have limits, Montzka and his colleagues showed. Even if all human-related, non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions could be eliminated today, it would not be enough to stabilize the warming influence from all greenhouse gases over the next 40 years – unless CO2 emissions were also cut significantly.

The scientists also noted in the paper the complicated connections between climate and greenhouse gases, some of which are not yet fully understood. The non-CO2 gases studied have natural sources as well as human emissions, and climate change could amplify or dampen some of those natural processes, Dlugokencky said. Increasingly warm and dry conditions in the Arctic, for example, could thaw permafrost and increase the frequency of wildfires, both of which would send more methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

“The long-term necessity of cutting carbon dioxide emissions shouldn’t diminish the effectiveness of short-term action. This paper shows there are other opportunities to influence the trajectory of climate change,” Butler said. “Managing emissions of non-carbon dioxide gases is clearly an opportunity to make additional contributions.


Tips to Save Wild Animals in the Oil Spill Area

7-9-2010 NOAA has received calls from concerned citizens to help coastal populations of bottlenose dolphins. NOAA is working closely with its state and local partners to assess and respond to distressed dolphins or dolphins found in areas affected by oil from the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill event.

While this event presents an enormous challenge to many aquatic animals across the region, there are steps the public can do to help.

NOAA and its partners ask concerned citizens to follow these rules:

Report any dead, stranded, or distressed dolphins or other marine mammals to the wildlife hotline at 866-557-1401.

Do not push the animal back out to sea – this delays examination and treatment, and often results in the animal re-stranding itself in worse condition.

Do not approach, feed, or swim with the animal.

Stay with the animal until rescuers arrive, but use caution. Keep a safe distance from the head and tail.

Minimize contact with the animal (use gloves if necessary) and avoid inhaling air the animal has breathed out.

Keep crowds away and noise levels down to avoid causing further stress to the animal.

Keep dogs and other pets away from live or dead marine mammals.

Do not collect any parts from dead marine mammals. This is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

NOAA Ship Delaware

8-1-2010 NOAA ship Delaware II departs Key West, Fla., today to collect tunas, swordfish and sharks, to gather data about the conditions these highly migratory species are experiencing in waters around the Gulf of Mexico spill site.

photo of ship Delaware

NOAA ship Delaware II,Photo Courtesy of NOAA

During the two-week mission, the research vessel will use longline fishing gear to capture the fish, and assess their environment using sophisticated water chemistry monitoring instruments. Researchers will only retain the fish needed to get enough samples for the study. Every effort is made to release any animals caught but not needed for sampling. Some may also be fitted with satellite tags to help determine how much time these highly migratory animals spend in oiled and unoiled waters.

These fish, and other prized Gulf seafood species, are the focus of NOAA’s response mission to help assess the safety of seafood for consumers, and to lay the groundwork for measuring the long-term effects of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill on commercially important fish and shellfish.

Two other NOAA ships, Pisces, one of NOAA’s newest research vessels, and the ship Oregon II, are in the midst of surveys of reef fish, bottom-dwelling fish, and shrimp in the eastern and western Gulf of Mexico to sample for seafood and water quality and species abundance as part of the oil spill response.

“These vessels are providing a variety of seafood and water samples from locations throughout the Gulf—nearshore and offshore, shallow water and deep, oiled and unoiled,” said Dr. Steven Murawski, who is leading NOAA’s science response to the spill. “This is baseline information we need to measure any effects on seafood attributable to the spilled oil and to make sure our fishery closures are effective and in place for as long as they need to be, but no longer.”

The seafood samples will be analyzed by scientists in NOAA labs in Pascagoula, Miss., and Seattle for levels of oil and dispersants and to document the movements of fish from oiled to unoiled waters, to compare against guidelines for re-opening fishery closure areas, and to provide baseline information so that changes in the ecosystem owing to spilled oil can be measured.

A fourth NOAA ship, the Gordon Gunter, is also in the Gulf, surveying marine mammals through August 5. Researchers are taking biopsy and water samples for analysis, and placing satellite tags on some animals to learn more about how they move between oiled and unoiled waters. The ship is also placing underwater listening devices on the ocean floor in the survey area. These will be left for up to four months, recording the vocalizations of marine mammals so researchers can better understand which species are present.

These missions build upon research conducted in the vicinity of the spill by NOAA ship Thomas Jefferson, and a previous mission by NOAA ship Gordon Gunter from May 27 through June 4. Teams from NOAA, universities, marine science institutions, and other federal agencies collected water samples and employed advanced methods for detecting submerged oil while gathering oceanographic data in the area.

A sixth NOAA survey vessel, Nancy Foster, departs Miami next week for a mission to better understand the loop current and how it may change over time, as well as to sample planktonic animals potentially affected by the spill.

Also, specialized NOAA aircraft operating out of Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana continue to support the Deepwater Horizon response.

NOAA Open Fishing Fields

This area was initially closed on June 5 as a precaution because oil was projected to be within the area over the next 48 hours. However, the review of satellite imagery, radar and aerial data indicated that oil had not moved into the area.

The federal closed area does not apply to any state waters. Closing fishing in these areas is a precautionary measure to ensure that seafood from the Gulf will remain safe for consumers.

The closed area now represents 78,264 square miles, which is approximately 32 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters. This leaves approximately 68 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. The closure will be effective today at 6 p.m. EDT. Details can be found at The last closed area modification was June 5, when 78,603 square miles were closed to fishing, or roughly 33 percent of federal waters of the Gulf.

Federal and state governments have systems in place to test and monitor seafood safety, prohibit harvesting from affected areas and keep oiled products out of the marketplace. NOAA continues to work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the states to ensure seafood safety, by closing fishing areas where tainted seafood could potentially be caught, and assessing whether seafood is tainted or contaminated to levels that pose a risk to human health. NOAA and FDA are implementing a broad-scaled seafood sampling plan. The plan includes sampling seafood from inside and outside the closure area, as well as market-based sampling.

According to NOAA, there are approximately 5.7 million recreational fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico region who took 25 million fishing trips in 2008. Commercial fishermen in the Gulf harvested more than 1 billion pounds of fish and shellfish in 2008.

Fishermen who wish to contact BP about a claim should call 800-440-0858.

NOAA will continue to evaluate the need for fisheries closures based on the evolving nature of the spill and will re-open closed areas as appropriate. NOAA will also re-evaluate the closure areas as new information that would change the boundaries of these closed areas becomes available.

NOAA Sends Science Chef to the Gulf

NOAA is sending one of its top fisheries science directors to the Gulf this week to lead its effort to rapidly assess, test and report findings about risks posed to fish in the Gulf of Mexico by contaminants from the BP oil spill and clean-up activities.

Nancy Thompson, Ph.D, director of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), will head to Pascagoula, Miss., to lead NOAA’s response team. Thompson will work closely with Bonnie Ponwith, Ph.D., director at the agency’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center, who is leading an intensified effort to monitor and assess the spill’s effects on important species in the Gulf of Mexico.

“From her experience working on contaminant testing after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Nancy understands the science and knows the Gulf region,” said Eric Schwaab, NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “Her leadership in running our contaminant testing system is an important step in ensuring NOAA can continue efforts related to fisheries management priorities in the Gulf.”

Thompson’s arrival will allow Ponwith to focus on both her oil spill duties as well as high-priority regional issues in fisheries management, including leading stock assessments for red snapper stocks and working with the Gulf, Caribbean and South Atlantic fishery management councils. 

The rapid-response testing involves chemical analysis of water samples and chemical and sensory analysis of fish and shellfish. These will be compared with samples taken immediately following the spill and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Scientists will also compare actual or projected locations of contaminants with normal locations of fish in the Gulf. Scientists at the Pascagoula lab, led by director Lisa Desfosse, Ph.D., will support efforts by continuing aerial surveys to monitor the location of marine mammals and sea turtles and by collecting fish and shellfish samples for contaminant analysis.

Oil Officials Meet in West Coast Florida

5-6-2010 ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - In response to the possiblity of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill affecting the West Coast of Florida, representatives from BP, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are meeting to plan a multi-agency response.

Working together, the agencies have reviewed the area contingency plan and ensured all partners have access to, and are familiar with the plan.

In meetings over the last couple days, the Coast Guard and Florida DEP have spoken with trustees from various national and state wildlife refugee areas, along with every county emergency management office on the West Coast of Florida.

The agencies also met with over 30 members of non-governmental environmental organizations including Tampa Bay Watch, Save our Seabirds, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Sierra Club, etc.

The latest predictions from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), indicate no impact to the western coast of Florida, from Taylor County to Collier County within the next 72 hours.

"We are standing up a unified command, consisting of the U.S. Coast Guard, Florida Department of Environmental Protections and BP, to facilitate planning and identify resource requirements to ensure a robust multi-agency response," said Capt. Tim Close, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg. "We are planning for the worst case, but hopeful any impact will be substantially less than that, if at all," said Close.

Oil Rig Monumental Clean Up Begins

5-1-2010 NOAA is assisting the Unified Command in evaluating a new technique to apply dispersants to oil at the source - 5000’ below the surface, if successful this would keep plumes and sheens from forming. Work continues on a piping system designed to take oil from a collection dome at the sea floor to tankers on the surface; this technique has never been tried at 5000’. Drilling of a relief or cut-off well is still planned, but will not be complete for several months.

Dispersants are still being aggressively applied. Over 100,000 gallons have been applied. The test burn late yesterday was successful and approximately 100 barrels of oil were burned in about 45 minutes. Additional efforts are planned contingent on good weather.

With shore impacts looming, sensitive shorelines are being pre-boomed. Over 180,000 feet of boom have been deployed, and another 300,000 feet are forward staged. NOAA efforts have included: getting pre-impact samples surveys and baseline measurements, planning for open water and shoreline remediation, modeling the trajectory and extent of the oil, supporting the Unified Command as it analyzes new techniques for handling the spill. Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) activities are also underway.

Forecasts indicate persistent winds from the southeast through the weekend which will push surface oil towards shore. The State of Louisiana allowed shrimpers to start an early season today to get ahead of oil impacts NOAA’s Assessment and Restoration Division (ARD) is evaluating concerns about potential injuries of oil and dispersants to fishes, human use of fisheries, marine mammals, turtles, and sensitive resources ARD is coordinating with Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to evaluate plankton and trawl sampling efforts.

Baseline aerial surveys to assess marine life were conducted today with personnel from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), these will continue as needed.

Oil Rig Report

4-21-2010 While Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) continue to work on triggering the blowout preventer (a series of valves that sits at the well head) to contain the leak, other rigs are en route in case relief wells are needed. An underwater oil collection device that would trap escaping oil near the seafloor and funnel it for collection is being designed and fabricated. Collection devices have been used successfully in shallower water but never at this depth (approx. 5000ft). Efforts are now focused on: gathering more information about the spill (amount, fate and effects), plans for possible undersea containment, drilling relief wells, maximizing oil recovery and readying for shoreline assessments. Natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) activities are now underway. The plan for attacking the spill has the following elements:

Try to activate the blow-out preventer (BOP) using ROVs – could stop leaks in several days, if successful

Use an undersea dome to contain leaking oil, rigged by ROVs – has not been tried this deep before

Drill relief wells which could then be plugged - this process could take several months

Aggressive skimming and dispersing of oil on the surface – ongoing

Assessment and protection of coastal resources at risk - thousands of feet of oil containment and deflection boom are ready to deploy, experts are on-scene and en route.

Aerial observers did not see whales or dolphins today, but marine mammal issues are very much a concern for the Unified Command. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will provide data, plan surveys, and offer protocols. This year has seen a marked increase in natural strandings of marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico which will make oil impacts more difficult to assess.

Weather forecasts from NOAA’s National Weather service indicate winds from the north – which helps keep oil away from shoreline - until Wednesday with a shift to the southeast thereafter.

Aircraft applied more oil dispersant today, but 15-20 kt winds and 4-6’ seas made oil recovery on the surface more difficult.

The latest NOAA oil-spill trajectory analyses do not indicate oil coming to shore over the next 3 days; this assumes that the rate of oil release does not increase and that the weather remains as forecast.

Major Flood Warnings

3-17-2010 Major flooding has begun and is forecast to continue through spring in parts of the Midwest according to NOAA’s National Weather Service. The South and East are also more susceptible to flooding as an El Niño influenced winter left the area soggier than usual.Overall, more than a third of the contiguous United States has an above average flood risk –– with the highest threat in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa, including along the Red River Valley where crests could approach the record levels set just last year.

Supporting the forecast of imminent Midwest flooding is a snowpack more extensive than in 2009 and containing in excess of 10 inches of liquid water in some locations. Until early March, consistently cold temperatures limited snow melt and runoff. These conditions exist on top of: above normal streamflows; December precipitation that was up to four times above average; and the ground which is frozen to a depth as much as three feet below the surface.

“It’s a terrible case of déjà vu, but this time the flooding will likely be more widespread. As the spring thaw melts the snowpack, saturated and frozen ground in the Midwest will exacerbate the flooding of the flat terrain and feed rising rivers and streams,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “We will continue to refine forecasts to account for additional precipitation and rising temperatures, which affect the rate and severity of flooding.”

“In the South and East, where an El Niño-driven winter was very wet and white, spring flooding is more of a possibility than a certainty and will largely be dependent upon the severity and duration of additional precipitation and how fast existing snow cover melts,” said Jack Hayes, Ph.D., director of the National Weather Service. “Though El Niño is forecast to continue at least through spring, its influence on day-to-day weather should lessen considerably.”

Without a strong El Niño influence, climate forecasting for spring (April through June) is more challenging, but NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says odds currently favor wetter-than-average conditions in coastal sections of the Southeast; warmer-than-average temperatures across the western third of the nation and Alaska; and below-average temperatures in the extreme north-central and south-central U.S.

The Rockwell Aero Commander (AC-500S) is one of the aircrafts used by NOAA’s National Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center to collect snow data to develop accurate flood forecasts.

Meteorologists and hydrologists with the National Weather Service issue timely and accurate flood forecasts and warnings from local weather forecast offices and regional river forecast centers across the nation. They constantly monitor precipitation, temperature, snowpack and waterway levels using a network of gauges, some of which are operated by vital partners such as the U.S. Geological Survey, and using NOAA aerial surveys of snowpack and its water content.

The National Weather Service provides a suite of decision support services ranging from direct briefings with emergency management agencies at all levels to its graphical Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service available at

This is also national Flood Safety Awareness Week. Floods are the deadliest weather phenomena — claiming an average of 100 lives annually. Many of these deaths occur in automobiles and are preventable. If confronted with a water-covered road on foot or in an automobile, follow National Weather Service advice: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.

NOAA Gets $830 Million for Reinvestment 

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will receive $830 million in funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The agency will use the funds, equivalent to 20 percent of NOAA’s 2008 budget, for projects that protect life and property and conserve and protect natural resources.

The act provides $230 million for habitat restoration, navigation projects, vessel maintenance, and other activities. An additional $430 million will be dedicated for construction and repair of NOAA facilities, ships and equipment, improvements for weather forecasting and satellite development. A total of $170 million will also be directed for climate modeling activities, including supercomputing procurement and research into climate change.

"Whether providing grants for habitat restoration or issuing contracts for construction and repair of our facilities, these funds will create jobs while advancing our vital mission to the American people,” said Mary Glackin, deputy under secretary for oceans and atmosphere. "We will ensure that the Recovery Act funding is used as effectively as possible and in a manner that will allow for maximum transparency and accountability.”

Red Cross Says

If you are without power and heat, the Red Cross offers the following safety tips:

Do not use candles for lighting, use a flashlight.

Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.

Do not run a generator inside your home or garage. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect the generator to your home’s electrical system.

Don’t use your stove or oven to heat your home.

If using portable heaters or fireplaces, do not leave them unattended. Turn them off before going to bed or leaving home. Place space heaters on hard, level, nonflammable surfaces, not on rugs or carpets, or near bedding or drapes. Keep children and pets away. Use a space heater that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over.

Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly.

Practice your home fire escape plan so every member of your family, including young children and elderly, can get out quickly and safely. Your escape plan should include at least two routes out for every room in the home, and a meeting place outside your home.

In terms of records, we are currently the 13th snowiest season on record. The all time snowiest snowfall season was 1996-97, when a total of 101.6 inches of snow occurred. Even more interesting, if you consider the amount of snowfall that has fallen up to this point in this snowfall season (e.g. July through January) compared to other record seasons, you will find that we are currently on pace to be the snowiest season on record. Previously, the snowiest first half of the snowfall season was 1993-94, when a total of 58.9 inches was reported through January. Bismarck's grand total seasonal snowfall for 1993-1994 was 91.8 inches. Similarly, during our record season of 101.6 inches (1996-97), a total of 58.8 inches occurred through January.

If Bismarck only experiences average snowfall for the remainder of our current snowfall season, Bismarck will end up with around 80 inches of snowfall, which would rate in the top 5 or 6 snowiest seasons on record.

Check NOAA Weather Radio Frequencies

162.400 MHz   (WX2)
162.425 MHz   (WX4)
162.450 MHz   (WX5)
162.475 MHz   (WX3)
162.500 MHz   (WX6)
162.525 MHz   (WX7)
162.550 MHz   (WX1)

Channel numbers, e.g. (WX1, WX2) etc. have no special significance but are often designated this way in consumer equipment. Other channel numbering schemes are also prevalent.

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Groud Level Ozone Daily Forecasts

Ground-level ozone forecasts, for years a key predictor of air quality in major U.S. cities, are now available throughout the contiguous United States. NOAA’s National Weather Service, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has extended its operational ozone forecast guidance to 11 western states and expanded the service in six other states, ensuring that the most populous cities throughout the country will have access to the information on a daily basis.

"Poor air quality is a silent killer, responsible for tens of thousands of premature deaths each year in the continental United States," said Jack Hayes, Ph.D., director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "Weather and air quality are strongly linked. Temperature and lack of wind can create and trap harmful ozone where we work and play. Our ozone forecasts will enable city and state air quality managers to look ahead, see trouble brewing, and issue next-day alerts for poor air quality."
Hour-by-hour ozone forecasts, through midnight of the following day, are available online, providing information for the onset, severity and duration of poor air quality for more than 290 million people from coast to coast.


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All U.S. Travelors Call Ahead for Airlines Departures Time

Update: 10-30-2010 Sandy, The Storm of The Century Was 700 Miles Wide

Areas hit were bombarded with strong water, high tides and horrendous rain. Over 7 milion homes have been effected with power outages, flooding, evacuation notices, and untold repercusions yet to come. We were very fortunate not to have had more peple killed, but that is due to neighbors working together and early information provided by authorities and emergency personnel.

New York has had flooding in high rise buildings, subways,and transportation is allmost at a complete stop. A major craine has partially fallen on a high tower apartment construction project. Airporthas been closed, there is no transportation at all in New York

West Virginia has had major snow accumulations. New Jersey experienced major flooding and evacuations as expected. Maryland Eastern shore areas evacuated. No transportation there as yet either..

Costs of this one storm are uncalculable at the moment.

New Jersey, Deleware,D.C.,Virginia,Pa., N.Y.,Maine,Connecticut and Maryland Have Issued States of Emergency and Are Implementing Plans

According to Governor O'Malley of Maryland “This is serious, killer storm,” “This storm has already killed a number of people in the Caribbean and will likely take more lives as the storm hits the mid-Atlantic and the Eastern U.S.”!

10-29-2012 Update:The Governor continued “be vigilant and be prepared” as Hurricane Sandy begins to arrive and to evacuate low-lying or flood-prone areas. Take all emergency precautions, get your medications, water and extra food, emergency supplies immediately. Do not wait.Check on your elderly neighbors, and protect your children and pets from harms way no matter what state you live in along the East Coast. Take your boats out of the water, secure outside furniture. Do not leave pets outside during the storm. Check your homes heaters, batteries, and generators now. Buy extra sump pumps now, seal any cracks in foundations walls, doors, windows, get extra rolls of plastic now and secure your home and property, etc.

911 Governor Cuomo Announces New Actions to Expedite Sandy-Related Insurance Claims and Launches Online Report Card System for Insurance Companies

12-1-2012 According to governor Cuomo:DFS to publish online report cards detailing each insurance company’s performance. New rules will significantly cut time allowed to investigate claims, and put more adjusters in the field to help homeowners.

After meeting with top insurance company executives this week, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a series of measures to expedite the payment of claims for New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Sandy and launched a new online report card system,, to hold insurance companies accountable.

FEMA Declarations After Hurricane Sandy

According to FEMA records some declarations were just recently recorded for hurricane Sandy storms victims this week. Seems ludicrus that the process has taken so long and people are still without housing or heat and can't find a place to rent in many communities nearby. There are still hotels that haven't taken heart and helped the homeless people in and made them deals.

Connecticut Hurricane Sandy (DR-4087), Incident period: Saturday, October 27, 2012 to Thursday, November 8, 2012. Major Disaster Declaration declared on Tuesday, October 30, 2012. New Jersey Hurricane Sandy (DR-4086) Incident period: Friday, October 26, 2012 to Thursday, November 8, 2012, Major Disaster Declaration declared on Tuesday, October 30, 2012.

NOAA and Awards for Low oxygen Study

NOAA has awarded first-year funding of $284,000 to researchers at the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) as part of a three-year $781,000 project to develop a better understanding of how nutrient pollution from the Mississippi River affects the large area of low oxygen water called the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. The project will also look at how the dead zone affects commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish.

Funds were awarded through NOAA’s Northern Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia and Ecosystems Research Program.

“A better understanding of the underlying causes of the dead zone is essential for predicting its effect on the Gulf fisheries and the region,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The goal of this research is to help develop a range of options that coastal and upriver resource managers can use to prevent and reduce nutrient pollution that contributes to the dead zone.”

This project will provide data to verify water quality models and help resource managers determine the quantitative relationships between nutrient pollution and development, magnitude, longevity, and distribution of the dead zone. Findings will also support the development of more accurate predictive models of hypoxia development on the Louisiana continental shelf.

The dead zone is an area in the Gulf of Mexico where seasonal oxygen levels drop too low to support most life in bottom and near-bottom waters. It is caused by a seasonal change where algal growth, stimulated by input of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, settles and decays in the bottom waters. The decaying algae consume oxygen faster than it can be replenished from the surface, leading to decreased levels of dissolved oxygen.

This past summer off the coast of Louisiana and Texas, an area of deep water covering 7,900 square miles was declared hypoxic. It is the third largest Gulf of Mexico dead zone on record since measurements began in 1985, and represents an area approximately the size of the state of New Jersey. Also, it is more than one and a half times the average annual dead zone area measured since 1990, 4,800 square miles. The largest dead zone ever recorded covered 8,494 square miles in 2002.

The research program, managed by NOAA’s Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research, seeks to provide resource managers with new tools, techniques, and information to make informed decisions, and assess alternative management strategies regarding hypoxia. Supported projects are leading to the development of a fundamental understanding of the northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, with a focus on the causes and effects of the hypoxic zone, and the prediction of its future extent and impacts on ecologically and commercially important living resources.

In fiscal year 2007, the NOAA National Ocean Service, through the center, provided approximately $10 million in competitive grants to institutions of higher education, state, local and tribal governments, and other non-profit research institutions to assist NOAA in fulfilling its mission to study our coastal oceans. In 2007 NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation.


NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, in partnership with the University of New Hampshire’s Joint Hydrographic Center and the National Science Foundation, will embark on a four-week cruise to map a portion of the Arctic sea floor starting Aug. 17. This is the third expedition in a series of cruises aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY designed to map the sea floor on the northern Chukchi Cap.

Scientists will explore this poorly known region to better understand its morphology and the potential for including this area within the United States’ extended continental shelf under the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The data collected during this cruise will also provide valuable information for better understanding sea floor processes and fisheries habitat, as well as provide input into climate and circulation models that will help scientists predict future conditions in the Arctic.

Previous mapping cruises in this series were conducted in 2003 and 2004. The HEALY is equipped with more than 4,200 square feet of scientific laboratory space and a multibeam echo sounder, the primary tool that is used to map the sea floor. The research has been funded through a NOAA grant award to the University of New Hampshire and will be headed by cruise chief scientist Larry Mayer at UNH with NOAA's Andy Armstrong serving as co-chief scientist.

Flood Dangers

Be cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
Determining Flood Risk
and Flood Insurance

Q: What is flood insurance?
In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in response to the rising cost of taxpayer funded disaster relief for flood victims and the increasing amount of damage caused by floods.

Q: Why do I need flood insurance?
Flood losses aren't covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Local flooding can happen in all parts of the country at almost any time of the year. Flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other weather related event, an average of $4.6 billion a year in the past 20 years (1984-2003).

<Q: How do I obtain a flood insurance policy?
You can purchase National Flood Insurance from private insurance companies and agents. In fact, you may be able to purchase it with a credit card. Currently, there are over 100 insurance companies that sell National Flood Insurance coverage, in addition to some 60,000 independent insurance agents.
If the seller of the property has flood insurance coverage on the building, that policy can be assigned to the buyer at the time of closing. If the mortgage company requires flood insurance as a condition of the loan, the lender may escrow flood insurance premiums - making it easy to ensure that you will not get caught without flood insurance when a flood threatens your home.

Q: Who can purchase flood insurance?
Anyone in a community that participates in the NFIP can purchase building and/or contents coverage, with a few exceptions. Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) areas.



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