This week's featured articles come from Discovery News on YouTube, Our Amazing Planet via MSNBC, and the L.A. Times.
First, the weird news.
A hurricane, an earthquake -- it's been a wild week here on the East Coast. And it's happened twice before in history -- but never before in the same place.Now, the good news.
Why Hurricane Irene not worst-case for NYC
By Brett Israel
updated 8/27/2011 3:12:26 PM ET
Irene is predicted to be the latest in 2011's string of billion-dollar weather disasters. But for New York City, Irene is not shaping up to be the worst-case scenario it could be.Interactive infographic showing location and windspeed of Irene at the link.
Forecasts show Irene hitting central Long Island, N.Y., sometime Sunday (Aug. 28), leaving New York City with the "clean side" of the hurricane and without the major storm surge. The city will mostly see "blustery rains and strong winds," said Eugene McCaul, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has forecast around 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain for New York City from Irene.
Finally, the bad news.
Hurricane Irene churns its way north; 8 dead
August 27, 2011
Hurricane Irene, a ferocious and slow-moving storm, smashed into North Carolina on Saturday morning, then slowly swirled its way up the Eastern Seaboard, flooding low-lying areas, knocking out power to as many as 1 million customers and forcing the densely populated regions of Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City to take unprecedented steps as they braced for impact.More over the jump.
At least eight people are known to have died as a result of the storm in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida.
Irene is expected to continue its northward path through New England before weakening early Sunday morning. The youngest victim, an 11-year-old boy, was killed when a tree crashed through his apartment building in Newport News, Va.
Daily Kos: Hurricane Irene Makes Landfall -- Hurricane Force Winds Spreading Across E. NC
Daily Kos: Look out for Hurricane: "Can't-Afford-it"
Daily Kos: Books about hurricanes
Daily Kos: 11PM Hurricane Irene Video
Daily Kos also has non-science diaries on Hurricane Irene
Space.com: Satellite Photo Shows Hurricane Irene Battering US East Coast
by Tariq Malik, SPACE.com Managing Editor
Date: 27 August 2011 Time: 04:13 PM ET
A new view of Hurricane Irene from a satellite orbiting Earth shows the powerful storm just after it made landfall on the U.S. East Coast today (Aug. 27).
The new hurricane photo, taken by NOAA's GOES 13 weather satellite 22,300 miles (nearly 36,000 km) above Earth, shows Irene as it appeared at 10:10 a.m. EDT (1410 GMT).
"At that time Irene's outer bands had already extended into New England," Rob Gutro of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., wrote in a hurricane update.
MSNBC: Irene as seen from space
Space.com: Extraterrestrial Hurricanes: Other Planets Have Huge Storms, Too
by Mike Wall, SPACE.com Senior Writer
Date: 26 August 2011 Time: 03:37 PM ET
By Earth standards, Hurricane Irene is a monster storm. But it's just a baby compared to the massive cyclones of Jupiter and Saturn.
Our planet is not the only one in the solar system that boasts huge, hurricane-like storms. The gas giants Jupiter and Saturn, for example, churn out spinning squalls that can be bigger than the entire Earth. While these storms aren't fed by warm ocean water the way terrestrial hurricanes are, they're similar in a lot of ways, scientists say.
"There certainly are storms that have thunder and lightning and rain that are bigger than terrestrial hurricanes," said atmospheric scientist Andrew Ingersoll of the California Institute of Technology, a researcher with NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn. "And more violent — the winds on those planets are stronger, too."
Space.com via MSNBC: Hurricane Irene puts NASA space centers on alert
As storm approaches, the space administration battens down the hatches
By Tariq Malik
NASA, like much of the U.S. East Coast, is battening down the hatches against the arrival of Hurricane Irene. NASA centers and facilities from New York City to Florida took measures to prepare for the storm's onslaught this weekend.
Hurricane Irene is a Category 2 storm currently, and it's expected to batter the East Coast with rain and a storm surge that could cause flooding in many low-lying areas. NASA has several potentially vulnerable space centers in the region, and employees at each of them are making their own preparations to weather Irene.
"There are contingencies for these types of things," NASA spokesperson Doc Mirelson told SPACE.com from the space agency's headquarters in Washington today (Aug. 26), where employees were leaving early and taking tools to allow off-site work if required. "With our 10 field centers [across the country], we have the ability to shift operations around as needed."
LiveScience via MSNBC: How barrier islands survive fury of hurricanes
They have a way of changing and rebuilding — if humans stay out of picture
By Stephanie Pappas
updated 8/26/2011 12:14:19 PM ET
The incoming fury of Hurricane Irene has prompted mandatory evacuations along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. These narrow strips of sand are barrier islands, shaped by thousands of years of waves and tides. Low-lying barrier islands are particularly vulnerable to pounding by storms. Left to their own devices, however, these sandy outposts are surprisingly resilient, geologists say.
"They have ways of protecting themselves," said George Voulgaris, a professor of marine and geological sciences at the University of South Carolina. "Yes, a hurricane will make lots of changes, but the barrier island will recover over time."
Humans can disrupt this process by building on barrier islands, disrupting the natural movement of sand, Voulgaris told LiveScience.
Mineral, Virginia Earthquake
MSNBC: Small quake has big reach
By John Roach
A magnitude-5.8 earthquake in Virginia Tuesday afternoon was felt across the U.S. East Coast, shaking offices and nerves from Washington D.C. to New York City and as far south as Chapel Hill, North Carolina. There are even reports of shaking as far west as Columbus, Ohio, and out on Martha's Vineyard.There are three videos embedded in the article.
That's a whole lot of shaking for what amounts to a medium-sized quake. The reason for its reach, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, is geology of the East Coast.
"The reason an earthquake in the high 5s is felt so far away is that it occurred in an area … where the bedrock is solid, it's not really fractured or broken up by faults the way it would be, say, in California," Peter Powers, a geophysicist with the survey, told me today.
That's it for tonight's update. Stay tuned for more later this weekend.