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Steamboat on Wednesday

by Matt Zaffino

Bio | Email | Follow: @Zaffino

Posted on January 21, 2009 at 8:20 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:47 PM

We're having a demo now of some new technology that allows us to broadcast more easily over the web. So this is a good time to catch up on some other stuff we talked about earlier in the week. Monday was hurricane day. Dr Neil Frank, former Director of the National Hurricane Center and former Chief Meteorologist of KHOU TV, KGWs sister station in Houston, TX, spoke about Hurricane Ike and the devastation near Galveston, TX. He had amazing before and after pictures of coastal towns that were virtually wiped away by Ike's storm surge. The interesting thing about Ike was that it was a Category 2 storm 36 hours before landfall and forecast to go well south of Galveston at that time. Dr Frank believes that lead many people to decide to NOT to evacuate. He believes had it been a Category 3 at that time, lives would've been saved. The Bolivar Peninsula, on the east end of Galveston Bay, had about 5,000 homes before Ike. After Ike, there were 1,500. The thing to remember is the track can, and in Ike's case did, change.

Dr Frank was preceded by Dr Frank Marks, Director of NOAAs Hurricane Research Division. He's been flying into hurricanes for over 20 years and shared the latest research being done on hurricanes. Even now, with our sophisticated computer modeling, the average track error at 48 hours out is still 115 miles!

I'll blog again later today, we've got more climate change presentations scheduled for the afternoon sessions. But I hope to get to the Storm Peak Research Lab at the top of the ski area later today to do a story on one of their research projects. They're tracking mercury in the atmosphere as it comes across the Pacific from China. Did you know there's monitoring equipment at hte top of Oregon's Mt Bachelor? I didn't!

Stay tuned...

Matt Zaffino
KGW Chief Meteorologist