The remnants of a roller coast sits in the surf three days after Hurricane Sandy came ashore in Seaside Heights, New Jersey November 1, 2012.
[Credit : Steve Nesius/Reuters]
“Hurricane Sandy hit the coast of New Jersey on a Monday. The next day I saw this roller coaster in the ocean at Seaside Heights from a helicopter. It was an odd scene, but only one small moment during the miles of damage I photographed from the air.
I met reporter Joey Ax Wednesday morning at a marina in Brick, NJ, with hopes to rent a boat and gain access out to the beaches. We were forced to change plans and drove to the Highway 37 Bridge in Toms River. Police road blocks at the bridge denied all access to the barrier islands, except for law enforcement and emergency vehicles. A small media contingent was gathering at the roadblock. Soon the Seaside Heights police chief agreed to bring us over for a 30-minute excursion.
Reporters and photographers crammed into a mini-bus and we were driven to two locations on the beach. We had limited access and were not allowed to wander off into the neighborhood. I photographed piles of debris and destruction, as well as police officers still looking in disbelief at their storm-damaged town.
It was cold and quiet - a gray day with brief moments of sunshine, gentle waves and an offshore breeze. Most of the noise came from the media as we scurried about trying to document as much as possible in the short time we had.
I moved down the boardwalk to isolate the roller coaster from the damaged pier, shooting tight frames of it standing in the ocean, but I also composed the frame to include the beach in the foreground. I timed a few shots for a set of breaking waves. There were a couple of seagulls, the glisten of newly uncovered seashells and the roller coaster standing upright in the surf. An unusual scene, on what might have appeared to be a typical autumn day on the beach.
It’s a very surreal image to me, and not one I’ll soon forget.”
- STEVE NESIUS, United States (Reuters’ Best Photos of the Year 2012)
On Aug. 2, 1985, a Delta airlines jet on approach to Dallas-Fort Worth airport flew through what was thought to be a typical summertime thunderstorm.
Minutes later, a microburst caused the jet to crash, killing 135 people.
The tragedy was one of several that aviation safety experts said was caused by microbursts, which at the time were not well known, and the tools to detect them were not in widespread use.
In 1988 the network of NEXRAD radars (NEXt generation RADars) was complete, but it did not have the precision needed to detect microbursts close to airports, where jets flying low on approach or takeoff could be vulnerable.
By 1994, a network of high resolution doppler radars were installed near some of the nation’s busiest airports. Called TDWR, for Terminal Doppler Weather Radar, the images were clearer than the NEXRAD units used by the National Weather Service and provided refreshes every minute, as opposed to every six-minutes from NEXRAD.
In 2007 access to those TDWR radar images was released to the public, allowing storms within 50 miles of the radar dome to be scrutinized for everything from tornado vortex signatures (TVS) to the type of wind shear that crashed the Delta flight in Dallas.
Amateur weather enthusiasts and professionals alike can now use TDWR radar data to get higher resolution peeks inside severe thunderstorms. Hook echoes can be examined at resolutions not seen outside of portable units like the Doppler On Wheels (see right). And with some product updates generated every minute, better loops can help derive storm motion, possibly spotting a right-turning mesocyclone before the WSR-88D (Weather Service Radar 1988 Doppler) can pick up on it. (Although the National Weather Service has not provided those rapid updates to the public, yet, and available TDWR data refreshes at six-minute intervals, just like NEXRAD.)
There are caveats to following storms via TDWR sites. Range folding often obscures large chunks of data, leaving gust fronts and even tornado vortex signatures invisible in some conditions. Heavy precipitation over the radar dome itself can also cause attenuation, which can make some storm activity seem to weaken further out from the radar until the storm leaves the immediate TDWR area.
My blog just turned 3!
Summer’s coming. All this picture needs is a tire swing. (via papertissue)
The greatest forces in the universe are always found when you look up. This spiraling galaxy reminds me of a hurricane, only about a gazillion times more energetic.
There’s no view on the weather quite like the one from a jet, streaming along at 25,000 feet or so.
It’s sometimes hard for me to grasp the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. It damned near covers one side of the globe.