Photo of the Day

John Hornby’s cabin on the Thelon River as it appeared in 1978.

A Tragic Adventure

This is the story of a tragic expedition by three young Englishmen that went horribly wrong in the barren North West territory of Canada. Against the background of a tragic story of a trapping and a exploring expedition that ran foul of food shortage is the diary of written by one of the victims, a boy of 18 who started off with a boyish zest for adventure, hero worship for his older cousin, leader of the party, and who never flinched, no matter what fearful odds of death and starvation he faced. The diary was kept by the author until the day, he the last survivor died. The skeletons were found, three years later.

No trees. That is the Indian name for the great expanse of tundra…more than half a million square miles…spread across North-Western Canada. Samuel Hearne named it the Barren Ground. It is a wilderness rather than a desert…

Few white men had travelled through that country. One man… John (Jack) Hornby… was determined to learn how to live there. And he died there… of starvation… on April the 16th, 1927….

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Photo of the Day

House in Galveston on Avenue N, October 15, 1900

The Deadliest Disaster in American History

On September 8, 1900, the coastal city of Galveston, Texas was hit by a hurricane like none that the U.S. has ever experienced before or since. Winds of 120 mph slammed the city with flying debris that cut through homes like shrapnel. Waves crashed onto the streets, leaving the city 15 feet underwater at one point. And, worst of all, virtually nobody had the foresight to evacuate.

Galvestonians had experienced ocean flood waters from storms before but hadn’t ever done much more than board up windows and build beach houses up off the ground as prevention. This lack of preparation would cost them dearly.

The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 remains the deadliest natural disaster in modern U.S. history, leaving behind an estimated death toll of 8,000-12,000 people.

The actual death toll will never be known because the magnitude of the disaster far exceeded the ability to accurately count and identify bodies. It is very likely that many of the dead were washed out to sea. Nevertheless, it was the deadliest natural disaster in America?s history.

The trouble began on Friday, September 7, when Galveston was issued a storm warning by the central office of the Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service). A single-paragraph story with a headline that read “Storm in the Gulf” appeared in the following day’s newspaper but did little to cause the citizens much concern.

However, Isaac M. Cline, a Weather Bureau official, drove his horse-drawn buggy through Galveston’s neighbourhoods, urging people to seek shelter. Even Cline didn’t believe there was cause for serious concern, though, writing in 1891?that “it would be impossible for any cyclone to create a storm wave which could materially injure the city.” (It should be noted that Cline survived the storm, but of course, those words would haunt him dearly.)

But as the tides began to rise and the winds came, Galveston was punished with unmerciful hurricane winds that left sheer chaos in their wake.

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Photo of the Day

A row of homes completely swept away near the centre of town.

The 1925 Tri-State?Tornado

Deep in the Ozark Mountains, in places scarcely changed through nine decades, there are legends of a monster. Though few, if any, still live to tell the tale first-hand, the tradition persists, straddling the line between fact and myth. In the Shawnee Hills of Southern Illinois, too, old-timers pass on the legend. Indeed, across three states and more than 200 miles, people of a certain generation recall harrowing accounts by those who witnessed death drop from the sapphire sky one balmy pre-spring afternoon in 1925.

Over three and a half hours, the Great Tri-State Tornado?roared through the southern portions of Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, wiping town after town off the map as it ripped through forests and farmlands, over peaks and hollows, and across the mighty Mississippi River at speeds sometimes exceeding 70 mph. When the greatest tornado disaster in recorded history finally came to an end some 219 miles later, 695 people lay dead and more than a dozen towns and hundreds of farmsteads were left in splinters.

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I hope he is a better lawyer than he is a climate expert

Full-time blogger, part time local body politician and flea lawyer, Greg Presland thinks that the flooding in West Auckland wasn’t caused by rain.

Not weather either…he knows for certain what and who is to blame for all the flooding.

Can you guess? ?? Read more »


Rugged West Coast due to erosion, but people who live there want to stop it

Some people just have to whinge.

The king tide was beautiful yesterday morning as it lapped on the rocks outside my house. But on the West Coast, made rugged by erosion, storms, and tides, they are wanting to halt nature.

The king tide has passed uneventfully along Auckland’s coast this morning, but it’s bringing waves of anxiety to the West Coast.

Buller District Council’s beach camp at Punakaiki is taking a battering.

Manager Craig Findlay said there was erosion all along the foreshore, and it would be the end of the weekend before the extent of the damage was clear.

He said waves were undercutting big trees at the southern end of the camp, and he expected some established trees would be lying in the sand by the end of the weekend.Mr Findlay said it would be devastating to lose large trees to the tidal battering, as they were irreplaceable.

Wave upon wave continues to batter a West Coast campground as this weekend’s king tide pummels the foreshore. Read more »


Farming sector well prepared for El Nino droughts

The farming sector reckons they are well prepared for El Nino droughts.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has praised farmers? preparations for this summer?s El Nino climate pattern, as it shapes up to be one of the strongest on record.

“NIWA has released a report last week confirming that El Nino will definitely continue at least over the next three months, and is likely to intensify and peak over the summer,” says Mr Guy.

“This is likely to mean less rainfall in the north and east, which is tough for farmers in Canterbury, Otago and Marlborough who are already feeling the effects of an extended drought.

“The planning that farmers and growers have carried out in anticipation of this has been very worthwhile. ? Read more »


A newspaper doesn’t know its weather from its climate [UPDATED]

A new climate report has revealed just how extreme last month was in the weather books – not that the rain-soaked residents of Whanganui, Manawatu and Dunedin, or the owners of frozen South Island farms needed any reminding.

A report card issued today by the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere described June as being unsettled on the whole, with storm events affecting different parts of the country.

Along with devastating floods that forced a state of emergency to be declared, temperature gauges in parts of the South Island recorded three of the lowest temperatures ever experienced in New Zealand.

Rainfall was more than the double the June normal in Whanganui, Palmerston North, Central Otago, while Dunedin was drenched in more than three times its normal total for the month.

Instruments set up in the Dunedin suburb of Musselburgh recorded 194ml for the month – 335 per cent of normal – while Dunedin Airport, further out from the city, recorded 158ml. Read more »


Good climate news that won’t make the NZ Herald

Remember that we are supposedly in a ‘death spiral’ of ever increasing severity of storms and climate events, that will eventually lead to our doom unless we DO something.

Usually that something is paying increased taxes, because taxing something stops it, right?

Unfortunately the facts and reality aren’t fitting the narrative…the ‘death spiral’ isn’t and the ever increasing numbers of severe storms’ haven’t happened either.

The U.S. lucked out again this year, as large-scale weather catastrophes ? including devastating and deadly hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires ? were few and far between.

Not since Superstorm Sandy devastated the Northeast in 2012 has a single natural disaster cost the U.S. tens of billions in damage, according to a report released today by CoreLogic. Sandy cost the U.S. about $70 billion. ?? Read more »

God votes National. Ok, fine, centre-right

From our point of view, it’s a matter of hanging on to a win, any kind of win. ?For the left team, it’s a matter of “what do we have to do to get a break?”. ?After everything that’s gone wrong, from Dirty Politics not sticking to Key and Kim Dotcom’s big reveal becoming a big implode, what else can go wrong?

The weather.

Wild weather predicted for the weekend could discourage voters on election day, taking a toll on the centre-left vote, an expert says.

The MetService has warned of gale-force winds and driving rain for the North Island and snow for the South Island on Saturday.

If the forecast is correct, it would be the first election-day snow since 1984.

AUT social sciences lecturer Dr Kate Nicholls said the conventional wisdom, internationally and locally, was that bad weather dampened voter turnout.

And lower rates of voter participation would damage support for centre-left parties in particular.

“This could be especially damaging for Labour, given that voter turnout was at an all-time low in the 2011 election, continuing a long-term trend and Labour’s base of support is already substantially eroded,” Dr Nicholls said.

Even if the effect isn’t huge, if things are on a knife edge, as David Cunliffe claims and clings to, bad weather may just be enough to keep ten or twenty thousand lefty voters at home. ? Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Reuters/John Gress It's an incredible sight. A building covered in ice, with fire fighters working to extinguish an enormous blaze in a warehouse in below-freezing temperatures on January 23, 2013.

Photo: Reuters/John Gress
It’s an incredible sight. A building covered in ice, with fire fighters working to extinguish an enormous blaze in a warehouse in below-freezing temperatures on January 23, 2013.

Chicago‘s Freezing Fire

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