In the News
Calendar
Resources
Newsletters
Green Jobs
Grants
About CEC
Member Groups
Join CEC
Email CEC
Past News Index>

CEC ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS UPDATE 09/23/05 - HOUSTON

NEWS

HURRICANE CENTER RUNNING OUT OF NAMES
By Ella Tyler

Even if the scientific community is split on the issue of whether global warming has caused more and stronger hurricanes, it is hard to disagree that there are more hurricanes than there used to be. As proof, the National Hurricane Center is running out of names. The Atlantic hurricane season does not end until Nov 30 and Hurricane Rita is the 17th named storm.

Only four names are left: Stan, Tammy, Vince, and Wilma. The letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z are skipped because not enough names start with those letters, according to Daniel Brown, a center meteorologist. After Wilma, storms would be named by the Greek alphabet - Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and so on. When a tropical depression becomes a tropical storm, it is named.

The World Meteorological Organization, a United Nations agency, maintains lists of names for storm-prone regions around the globe.

For Atlantic hurricanes, there is one list with 21 names for each of six years. Each list is repeated every seventh year. If a storm crosses into the Pacific, it is given a name from the Pacific list.

A name is retired when a storm causes extreme damage and loss of life. The country most affected by the storm may request that the storm's name be retired to avoid historical confusion of two storms with the same name. Sixty-two names had been retired by the end of 2004. Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne were retired in 2004 and, in 1995, Luis, Marilyn, Opal, and Roxanne were retired. Brown said Hurricane Katrina will "absolutely" be retired. When a name is retired, that region's members of the WMO select a new name for the list.

Texas has been hit by many hurricanes severe enough that their names were retired, including three that impacted the Houston area - 1983's Alicia, Tropical Storm Allison, which hit us four years ago, and Carla, which hit Houston in 1961. Celia, Beulah, Audrey, and Allen all caused severe damage in other parts of the state.

In the West Indies, hurricanes used to be named for the saint's day on which they occurred. If another hurricane hit on the same day in another year, "the second" was added to the name. "San Felipe" and "San Felipe the second" each hit Puerto Rico on Sept 13 in different years.

Later, latitude-longitude positions were used, but this system was unwieldy. Military weather forecasters began giving women's names to significant storms during WWII, ostensibly because ships are thought of as female. In 1950, the WMO adopted an alphabetical naming system, using the military's radio code. The first named Atlantic hurricane was Able in 1950.

In 1953, the organization adopted a rotating series of women's names, planning to retire names of significant storms. In 1979, following complaints by feminists, male names were included on the Atlantic list. Now male and female names alternate. For Atlantic storms, the name can be French, Spanish, or English, reflecting the language of potential victims.

According to the National Weather Service, short distinctive given names work best.

In case you blinked, the names that have been used so far in 2005 are Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Dennis, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katrina, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, and Rita. The ones you don't remember anything about will be back in 2011.

CEC NOTES

SPOTLIGHT ON SYNERGY AWARD WINNERS PIACENTINI AND JACOBS

Synergy Awards for Conservation are to be awarded to Mary Anne Piacentini, executive director of the Katy Prairie Conservancy, and John Jacob, PhD, of the Texas Sea Grant Program.

The Katy Prairie covers more than 1,000 square miles north of the Brazos River, south of the pine-hardwood forest, and west of the city of Houston. With the advent of rice farming more than 100 years ago, the Katy Prairie became critical habitat for migratory waterfowl; however, encroaching urbanization has reduced habitat. The mission of the Katy Prairie Conservancy is to preserve, protect, and enhance between 30,000 and 60,000 acres of critical and sustainable portions of the Katy Prairie. Under Piacentini's leadership, the conservancy has made substantial progress toward that goal, particularly in securing several important conservation easements. Piacentini has also increased public awareness of the Katy Prairie through area tours and other programs.

John Jacob is an environmental quality specialist who helped develop the Texas Coastal Watershed Program and has created successful programs on runoff education, including WaterSmart landscaping. He also helped with watershed management for Armand Bayou. His work has been instrumental in wetlands protection and preservation, particularly in the Clear Lake area. He is an expert in sustainable coastal development.

The Synergy Awards will be presented on Tues, Oct 11, at the downtown Crowne Plaza Hotel. Contact david@cechouston.org for ticket information.

 

COALITION NOTES

BUFFALO BAYOU BALL: ONCE IN A BLUE MOON

Buffalo Bayou Partnership's fundraising dinner, The Buffalo Bayou Ball: Once in a Blue Moon, will be held Thurs, Oct 6, at 7 pm, on the Sabine Street Bridge. Guests will be able to preview the $15-million Sabine-to-Bagby Promenade, a 23-acre park with hike and bike trails, a pedestrian bridge, art, landscaping, and a complex lighting system. The park features twelve access points from the street to the bayou. The event honors Jack Blanton Sr, Dick Weekley, Ed Wulfe, Houston mayor Bill White, Art Storey, Mike Talbott, and Gary Trietsch for their support of the project. For more information, contact Trudi Smith at (713) 752-0314, ext. 3, or at tsmith@buffalobayou.org.

 

 

GREEN GRANTS & JOBS

--

 

REPORTS/GUIDES

--

EDUCATION

--


THIS WEEK’S EVENTS


HEADLINES

LOCAL NEWS

NEW YORK SKYSCRAPERS DIM LIGHTS TO SAVE BIRDS
Reuters 9/21/05
NEW YORK - The city that never sleeps will darken the lights of the famed Manhattan skyline after midnight to help save migrating birds.

NEW BILL ON ENERGY TO PUSH REFINERIES
Houston Chronicle 9/21/05
WASHINGTON - A key House Republican busily crafting a new energy bill wants to encourage construction of oil refineries but opposes forcing automakers to churn out vehicles that get better gas mileage.

GM PROMOTES FUEL EFFICIENCY OF NEW FULL-SIZE SUV LINEUP
Houston Chronicle 9/20/05
WARREN, MICH. - General Motors, in the awkward position of introducing a new lineup of full-size sport utilities with oil prices near record highs, stressed the vehicles' fuel efficiency during a media preview Tuesday.

BILL WOULD LET EPA. RELAX RULES FOR CLEANUP
New York Times 9/16/05
WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency could suspend any law governing air, water, or land in responding to Hurricane Katrina under a measure introduced Thursday by the chair of the Senate environment committee.

STORM CYCLE NOT DONE YET, EXPERT SAYS
Houston Chronicle 9/21/05
WASHINGTON - Expect more hurricanes large and small in the next ten to twenty years, the director of the federal National Hurricane Center said Tuesday.

STUDY ATTRIBUTES STRONGER STORMS TO WARMER SEAS
New York Times 9/16/05
WASHINGTON - Storms with the power of Hurricane Katrina are becoming more common, in part because of global warming, according to a report from a team of researchers that will be published Friday.

E-MAIL SUGGESTS GOVERNMENT SEEKING TO BLAME GROUPS
Jackson Clarion Ledger 9/16/05
Federal officials appear to be seeking proof to blame the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups, documents show.

A SAFETY NET THAT HELD STRONG, BREAKING THE FALL OF 15,000
Houston Chronicle 9/18/05
Four days after levee breaches drowned hospitals and cut off medical care for thousands in New Orleans, a tidal wave of people in the midst of potentially fatal health crises began pouring into Houston.

HOUSTON'S HARD-WON LESSONS COMING INTO PLAY
Houston Chronicle 9/20/05
Houston's medical capabilities seem unlimited for the most part, but here's a sobering thought: Ambulances can't transport patients when storm winds reach 55 mph. Why? The vehicles will blow over.

US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS IS TAKING AIM AT WETLANDS, OPENING UP AT LEAST 11,000 ACRES IN 15 STATES
Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) 9/15/05
WASHINGTON - After decades of slowing down, the loss of United States wetlands that are home to migratory birds and endangered species may start climbing again, following decisions by the US Army Corps of Engineers to open up 11,000-15,000 acres of wetlands in 15 states since 2004 in the aftermath of a Supreme Court decision narrowing Clean Water Act protections, according to an analysis conducted by the nonprofit and nonpartisan Environmental Integrity Project (EIP).

GLO: STATE NEEDS TO PROTECT ITS BEACHES
Galveston Daily News 9/16/05
CLEAR LAKE - Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson says it's critical that the state begin to devote more resources to its beaches.

VOLUNTEERS TIDY COUNTY BEACHES
Brazosport Facts 9/18/05
When Garth Bailey goes fishing, he thinks about how messy the beach is at times.
NO EASY FIX FOR EROSION
PARKS BOARD WORKING TO KEEP SAND ON BEACHES

PLANNING WORKSHOPS WORRY ZONING OPPONENT
Houston Chronicle 9/18/05
On Saturday, more than 300 local residents took part in a big board game for grown-ups at the University of Houston. The players used military-size maps and chips representing residential neighborhoods, town centers, transportation, and various amenities to create visions of the area's future.

GOLF CARTS WINNING FANS IN SURFSIDE
Houston Chronicle 9/19/05
The word "outlaws" doesn't readily come to mind when one looks at Charles and Kimber Bollinger, who retired to Surfside Beach from Conroe in April.

VERNOR FAMILY CHECKS MAMMOTH PROGRESS
Brazosport Facts 9/18/05
COLLEGE STATION - Clute's prized archeological finds, including mammoth remains and other fossils, probably will spend four and a half semesters at Texas A&M University.



 


 

ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

CEC Environmental News Update is a weekly publication by the Citizens' Environmental Coalition, a 501(c)3 dedicated to fostering dialogue, education and collaboration about environmental issues in the Houston-Gulf Coast Region. Visit the CEC online at www.cechouston.org.

To subscribe or unsubscribe, or to suggest items for inclusion, send your request via e-mail to David Gresham at david@cechouston.org. Phone: 713-524-4232 Fax: 713-524-3311