September 01, 2008

ACTIVISM: Contribute to help the Gulf region, Hurricane Gustav victims

The Houma Nation and other tribes in the Gulf region will be in need of help again as the sixth major storm to hit the area is bearing down on them...and another one is developing in the Atlantic which may follow a track targeting the same part of the Gulf coast ... few of our brothers and sisters have been able to recover from the past their need will be great...

CNN Student News One-Sheet: Hurricanes

(CNN Student News) -- Use this explainer to help your students understand hurricanes, a topic relevant to current news.

Introduction: Hurricanes are the most powerful weather systems on Earth, though they are known by different names in different regions. In the Western Pacific, for example, you will hear hurricanes referred to as "cyclones." Hurricane season in the Atlantic, the time when hurricanes are most apt to form, runs from June 1 until November 30.

Formation: Most hurricanes that eventually make it to the southern United States get their start as tropical waves off the west coast of Africa. The warm waters there give rise to clusters of thunderstorms that move over miles of warm ocean currents. As the winds in these storms move in colliding directions, they form a circulation over an area of low pressure. The condensation of water vapor "feeds" the storm, which continues to grow in strength as long as it is over warm water or warm, moist air.

Stages of development: These vertical systems that develop over the ocean are categorized by their wind speeds. Once its winds reach a maximum of 38 miles per hour (mph), a system is labeled a tropical disturbance or tropical depression. In any given hurricane season, only about 10 percent of these depressions make it to the next stage, tropical storm. When its winds reach 39 mph, the system becomes a tropical storm and is given a name.

Tropical storms are capable of property damage and flooding. In June 2001, Tropical Storm Allison hit the city of Houston, Texas, dropping 37 inches of rain in five days.

If a tropical storm's winds reach or exceed 74 mph, the system officially becomes a hurricane. The hurricane is a well-organized storm with a well-defined eye, capable of mild to extensive damage.

Intensity: Hurricanes are categorized primarily by their wind speeds. Storm surge and minimum surface pressure are also contributing factors. Meteorologists use the Saffir-Simpson Scale, a 1 to 5 rating system, to estimate the potential damage of a hurricane, with a Category 5 being the strongest and deadliest storm.

Who's at risk? The Eastern United States is most vulnerable to hurricanes, along the coast from Maine to Texas. Of the 10 tropical storms on average that develop in the North Atlantic each year, two are likely to have an impact on the U.S. Hawaii is also at risk from tropical storms that develop in the Pacific Ocean. If you live in an area that is at risk, you should have a plan in place if evacuation becomes necessary, and you should know your evacuation routes. Hurricanes are serious, dangerous storms, but there's usually enough advance warning to take action to protect yourself, your family, and your property.

(Sources: and FEMA)

Hurricanes and Political Conventions Don’t Mix

Thursday, August 28, 2008
By Susan Jones, Senior Editor

NOAA satellite image of Gustav.

( - The White House and the Republican National Committee are discussing the possibility of schedule changes at the upcoming Republican National Convention, if Hurricane Gustav slams ashore in the New Orleans area, as forecasters say it might do.

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are currently scheduled to address the convention in St. Paul on Monday night. The hurricane (now a tropical storm) could make landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast on Monday or Tuesday.

Fox News reported Thursday morning that conversations are under way about the convention schedule behind closed doors. The question is whether Bush and Cheney will speak on Monday, if the hurricane comes ashore around then.

White House spokesman Dana Perino told reporters on Thursday it’s too early to tell how the hurricane might affect the convention schedule.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a rising star in the Republican Party, may not be able to attend the convention. He already has declared a state of emergency in Louisiana. According to the Associated Press, officials may evacuate New Orleans as Gustav nears.

FEMA Director David Paulison is already in Louisiana, reports said, and Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff is heading to the area as well.

With memories of Hurricane Katrina -- and criticism of the local, state and federal response -- still fresh three years later, it’s presumed that Republicans would be unwilling to party in Minnesota when another hurricane roars ashore.

The third anniversary of Katrina is tomorrow (Aug. 29).

Tropical Storm Gustav is now in the Caribbean. The National Hurricane Center said Gustav could become a "powerful hurricane" as it moves into the southern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday. The current path shows it landing anywhere from the Florida Panhandle to the Gulf Coast of Texas.

And tropical storm Hanna is following on Gustav’s heels, although it’s too soon to say where it might go.

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