Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bladensburg Microburst

I managed a Red Cross shelter yesterday for people in Bladensburg, MD whose homes were destroyed in a microburst Friday. A microburst is a very localized but very intense downdraft, with winds that can be as powerful as a tornado.

Dozens of apartment buildings were severely damaged, and hundreds of people were displaced. Miraculously, there were only 2 minor injuries.

We had less than 20 people who needed to stay in the shelter overnight -- but we fed 150 for lunch! We also had Red Cross Client Services and county Social Services interviewing people all day to find out what aid they needed.

Click here for damage pictures.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dancing up a Storm

Article in Emergency Management magazine:

Dancing for Preparedness? Flash Mob Spreads the Message
Spreading the emergency preparedness message to the whole community can seem like a daunting task, but Austin, Texas, is getting creative to get the word out. Last week about 50 people gathered as part of a flash mob that danced at City Hall Plaza to encourage people to prepare for the worst.

While dancing isn’t usually linked to emergency management agencies and their public awareness activities, the song’s lyrics — which include “This is my plan, and I’m ready to take action. I’m prepared.” — helped spread an important message while making it fun for residents to think about personal preparedness.
Um... 'Kay.

Music video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U96m1devjjw

Thursday, June 14, 2012

They're transporting a UFO! Everyone panic!

"A saucer-shaped object on a very wide flatbed truck had some people wondering if the government was moving a UFO in or near Washington, D.C., Wednesday night...

"When motorists snapped photos of the strange object and posted them on Twitter, some people became concerned enough to call local police."

It was actually a military drone.

[Pet peeve: UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object. It's not (necessarily) an alien spacecraft. Even if this was one, it couldn't be a UFO because it wasn't flying!]

Hurricane Agnes Anniversary

The picture at right looks like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, but it was Elkridge, Maryland 40 years ago, after Hurricane Agnes.

Agnes did tremendous damage to the Mid-Atlantic, even though it had weakened to a tropical storm by then. At the time, it was the most costly storm ever, doing over $11 billion in damage (in 2011 dollars). It also killed 128 people.

In Florida, Agnes spawned 28 tornadoes. In DC, it flooded the National Zoo, and the Potomac River rose 15½ feet next to Georgetown. It also caused the greatest flooding ever recorded in Maryland, with bridges washed out in Laurel, and Ellicott City under as much as 14½ feet of water. The entire state of Pennsylvania was declared a disaster area.

A slideshow is after the jump.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti

I love the zombie genre, but there's been such a flood of zombie-themed things recently that I'm afraid it's getting beaten to death. (Or undeath.)

Except now it's real life. Well, maybe not zombies, but cannibalism at least -- so much of it that Gawker asked, "Could People Stop Eating Other People's Body Parts?"

It's not just the "Miami Zombie," who ate another man's face.

[Update, 6/6: There's been another face-eating attack!]