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2011 May 23 — Why Now?
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The Master of Disaster Is In

The former governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, has thrown his tin-foil toque into the race to be the Republicant nominee for President in 2012. As Rook notes, that he released his video announcement on a day when there was a disaster in Minnesota is emblematic of his term as governor.

Other than being blander than distilled water, Mr. Pawlenty’s term as governor is best remembered for the Interstate 35W bridge collapse that resulted in the death of 5 people. Then-Governor Pawlenty vetoed a gas tax increase two years in a row prior to the collapse. The purpose of the increase was to have more money to repair roads and bridges.

Maybe T-Paw can convince Michael Brown to be his running mate.

Update: Via Badtux, check out where T-Paw’s hometown newspaper, St. Paul Pioneer Press, put his announcement. Well, it saves time and space, as they don’t have to run an editorial on it. [That’s got to hurt.]

May 23, 2011   2 Comments

Missouri Tornado Kills At Least 89

The Kansas City Star that the Joplin tornado death toll jumps to 89

JOPLIN, Mo. — A massive tornado blasted its way across southwestern Missouri on Sunday, flattening several blocks of homes and businesses in Joplin and leaving residents frantically scrambling through the wreckage.

At least 89 have died in the massive tornado, authorities say.

City manager Mark Rohr announced the number at a pre-dawn news conference outside the wreckage of a hospital that took a direct hit from Sunday’s storm.

Rohr said the twister cut a path nearly six miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town.

Much of the city’s south side was leveled, with businesses, homes and restaurants reduced to ruins.

Dr Jeff Masters provides the technical details:

The incredibly violent tornado season of 2011 struck another sickening blow last night, when a violent tornado carved a ½ – ¾ mile-wide path of devastation through Joplin, Missouri. At least 89 people died, hundreds were injured, and huge sections of the town virtually obliterated. Damage from the tornado is so severe that pavement was ripped from the ground, which is characteristic of a top-end EF-5 tornado with winds in excess of 200 mph. This was almost certainly a least an EF-4 tornado with winds over 166 mph, and the level of damage is so extreme that this is likely to surpass last month’s Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado as the costliest tornado of all-time.

Dr Masters has the radar images of the event as well as a NASA satellite image – a tornado big enough to be seen from space. [The tornado isn’t obvious in the picture unless you know what to look for. It is to the left and just above the center of the picture, a small swirl in the break between two masses of cumulus clouds.]

May 23, 2011   Comments Off on Missouri Tornado Kills At Least 89

Tropical Storm Songda – Day 2

Tropical Storm SongdaPosition: 12.2N 130.6E [ 9PM CST 0300 UTC Noon JST].
Movement: West-Northwest [295°] near 8 mph [13 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 65 mph [100 kph].
Wind Gusts: 80 mph [130 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 110 miles [175 km].

Currently about 795 miles [1280 km] East-Southeast of Manila, Philippines.

No major changes to the forecast reasoning or tracking, which is bad news for Okinawa and the southern Japanese islands, but it has encountered some interference in the Northwest quadrant which is slowing development.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

May 23, 2011   Comments Off on Tropical Storm Songda – Day 2