Powerful Hurricane Irma could be next weather disaster

While much of the United States' focus is still on Texas and the destruction left behind by Hurricane Harvey and it's historic rainfall, powerful Hurricane Irma is rapidly intensifying in the open Atlantic and poses a major threat to the Caribbean and potentially the United States next week.

Irma was named as a tropical storm on Wednesday morning and by Thursday afternoon it had strengthened into a large Category 3 hurricane, with winds of 115 mph.

Such explosive strengthening is known as "rapid intensification," defined by the National Hurricane Center as having its wind speed increase at least 30 knots (35 mph) in 24 hours.

"Irma has become an impressive hurricane," the National Hurricane Center said on Thursday, noting the rapid intensification, and saying "this is a remarkable 50 knot [58 mph] increase from yesterday at this time."

Hurricane Harvey underwent rapid intensification last week, just before landfall, which brought it from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane when it moved onshore near Corpus Christi.

Irma is a classic "Cape Verde hurricane," a type of hurricane that forms in the far eastern Atlantic, near the Cape Verde Islands (now known as the Cabo Verde Islands) and tracks all the way across the Atlantic. Cape Verde storms frequently are some of the largest and most intense hurricanes. Examples are Hurricane Hugo, Hurricane Floyd, and Hurricane Ivan.

Hurricane Irma is forecast to continue to strengthen as it moves westward over the next five days and the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center puts a dangerous Category 4 Hurricane Irma on the doorstep of the Caribbean by the end of the five-day forecast on Tuesday afternoon.

A strong high-pressure ridge to the north of Irma, over the Atlantic, is steering the storm to the west and limiting the wind shear in the upper levels of the atmosphere, which has allowed the storm to grow so quickly. Wind shear is like hurricane kryptonite, and prevents storms from forming or gaining strength.

Unfortunately, Irma will remain in a low-shear environment for the next several days, so there isn't much hope that Irma will weaken any time soon.

There is considerable confidence that Hurricane Irma will track to the west through the weekend and then take a slight jog to the southwest early next week in response "to a building ridge [of high pressure] over the central Atlantic."

From there the forecast becomes a lot less clear, with some major differences among some of the key models meteorologists use to forecast hurricanes, differences so drastic that in one instance Irma slides harmlessly back out to sea and in another it makes multiple disastrous landfalls in the Caribbean and likely the United States after that.

The European model, or ECMWF, and the American GFS model have had some notable showdowns before, most notably with Hurricane Sandy.

With Sandy, the ECMWF correctly predicted a landfall in the northeast nearly a week ahead, while the GFS continually kept the storm offshore in what became a major black eye for the US weather modeling industry. There have been other examples where the GFS model has performed better than the European model, such as with a few major snowstorms in the northeast.

Right now, the GFS has Irma taking a more northerly track that curves to the north before it reaches the Caribbean, thus making a US landfall much less likely.

The European model keeps the storm tracking further west and into the Caribbean by the middle of next week.

Ryan Maue, a meteorologist with WeatherBell Analytics, said, "The ECMWF sees a much stronger ridge or Bermuda High [than the GFS] which forces Irma west, whereas the GFS has a weaker ridge and a more rightward, parabolic track."

"The prospects for major impacts anywhere from Cuba to Carolinas is concerning for this very reliable model," Maue said.

Irma is still more than 1,700 miles east of the Leeward Islands and any impacts from the storm shouldn't be felt until Tuesday or Wednesday for the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico.

The forecast picture should become clearer after the weekend as we see which model correctly predicts Irma's path.

Bottom line: Hurricane Irma is already a powerful hurricane and looks to only become more so. Those with interests in the Caribbean and southeast US coast should pay close attention to the forecast.

Source: feed 4

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke resigns

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke — a loyal supporter of President Donald Trump who is reviled by civil rights advocates — resigned from his post Thursday, according to County Clerk George Christenson.

Known for his often jaw-dropping rhetoric and incendiary conservative commentary, Clarke had served as one of the country's more well-known sheriffs since 2002, but he raised his national profile as a regular surrogate for the Trump campaign.

Clarke did not provide any reasons for his departure in a resignation letter obtained by CNN and did not respond to requests for comment.

Thursday afternoon Clarke posted a picture of himself on Twitter "(i)n Nashville for National Fraternal Order of Police convention," leaving no hint of his imminent resignation.

Over the weekend the President — seemingly out of no where and in the midst of Hurricane Harvey — endorsed Clarke's recent book, tweeting, "A great book by a great guy, highly recommended!"

CNN's KFile reported in May that Clarke plagiarized portions of his 2013 master's thesis on US security, though he vigorously denies the allegations.

Critics of Clarke point to what they term a sordid history of his management of the county's jail, but the past few months have also been marked by questions over whether he would be tapped for a formal role in the Trump administration.

In May, Clarke announced on a local Wisconsin radio show that he was accepting an appointment as Assistant Secretary in the Office of Partnerships and Programs at Homeland Security — yet days turned into weeks without a word of confirmation from DHS.

Finally, DHS said in June that he was "no longer being considered" for a position within the agency, and a DHS official confirmed to CNN Thursday that he is still not up for a job there.

And while Clarke makes regular TV appearances on Fox News, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN that there have been no discussions, at least thus far, about hiring Clarke.

Source: feed 4

Uno Peak Fire August 31, 2017 (Uno Peak Fire Wildfire)

Firefighters responding to new 50 acre fire in Lake Chelan area Fire: Uno Peak Fire Containment: 0% Acres: 50 Start Date: August 30, 2017 Cause: Unknown Location: 15 miles NW of Manson, WA Fuels/Topography: Timber, grass, rugged terrain Today: Firefighters are responding to a new wildfire in the Uno Peak area located 15 miles northwest of Manson, WA. The Uno Peak Fire is estimated at approximately 50 acres. At this time, fire managers are utilizing ground based firefighters as well as air tankers and helicopters to respond. Three small and one large airtankers and three helicopters are assisting with aerial water delivery. Closures: Due to public safety concerns the area around the fire is now closed to entry including the Summer Blossom and Safety Harbor Trailheads and the South Navarre Campground. Forest Service personnel are contacting hikers and other forest visitors in the area regarding this closure. Fire Information: Text Message: text “follow UnoPeakFire” to…
Source: feed 1

Miami-Dade identifies veteran police officer who killed 27-year-old fugitive

Miami-Dade Police Department Director Juan J. Perez decided to relieve a veteran police officer of duty, and place him on an administrative assignment Thursday.

Miami-Dade Detective Argemis Colome said Sgt. Eduardo Pares, a 16-year veteran who is months away from his 17th year of service with the department, was involved in the death of Anthony "Tony" Antonio Ford Wednesday.

Colleagues said "Eddie" Pares is respected for his work with the Crime Suppression Unit, which proactively identifies suspects of property crimes. The suspects often involve recidivists in problem areas. Pares was assisting other police officers within a perimeter.  

"This action is not a determination of wrongdoing by any means," Colome said about Perez's decision to reassign Pares.  

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was investigating the fatal police shooting, but Colome said the initial findings indicated the veteran detective was forced to shoot at a resistant Ford during a confrontation in an alley. 

Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera said Pares fired his weapon because "he was in fear for his life" when Ford didn't follow any of his commands and "turned around and went for his waistband as if he was going for something and the officer instinctively felt his life was in danger."

Colome didn't identify Ford as being armed during the incident. Ford's girlfriend Casey Brooks doesn't deny he was troubled. Records show he was wanted for violating a five-year probationary term after a conviction and a 7-year prison sentence for armed robbery. 

"They searched him four times. He had no weapons. They got surveillance cameras at the store. He had no weapons," said Brooks, who was co-parenting two children with Ford. 

Police officers said Ford was trying to get away from them after a traffic stop at Northwest 15 Avenue and Northwest 68 Terrace in Miami's Liberty Square neighborhood. About a dozen people, including friends, family and neighbors took to protest Thursday afternoon. 

A woman held a up sign: "Who do you call when police murders?" A teenage girl held up a "Black Lives Matter" sign. Two boys and a girl joined the crowd of adults in chanting: "We want justice!" 

Ford, 27, was with Rodderick Ford in a red Nissan sedan Wednesday night. Police officers said they both had outstanding warrants. Records show Rodderick Ford, also 27, has a long history of marijuana and cocaine possession. 

"As detectives made their way back to the vehicle to place the subjects under arrest, one of the males fled on foot and the other male was immediately apprehended," Colome said. "A perimeter was established." 

Anthony Ford, who was on probation and was supposed to be on house arrest, took off running. Leondra Williams said she saw him runaway after police officers had searched him and placed him in handcuffs. 

After Pares reported shooting Anthony Ford, City of Miami Fire Rescue took Ford to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center, where doctors pronounced him dead. Colome said Pares wasn't injured during the incident. 

Local 10 News' Christian De La Rosa, Melissa Alonso and Robert Alpizar contributed to this report. 

Source: feed 4

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Terminated (Ibex Fire Wildfire)

The Salmon-Challis National Forest in Idaho will end Stage 1 fire restrictions, effective at one minute after midnight (12:01 AM) on August 31, 2017. All Forest Service lands (outside of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness) within the Salmon-Challis National Forest were previously in Stage 1 Fire Restrictions. A campfire can be one of the best parts of camping, or provide necessary warmth to hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts. Just don’t forget your responsibility to maintain and extinguish your campfire to prevent wildfires. Fires can start quickly and will burn in vegetation that seems green but is drying out. Remember, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave; pour water and add dirt to your campfire until it is cold. One spark is all it takes to start a wildfire. Never leave a campfire unattended. Although fire danger across east-central Idaho remains VERY HIGH, fire management officials opted to move out of restrictions because fire danger indices,…
Source: feed 1

Trail and Road Closures Effective August 31 (Diamond Creek Fire Wildfire)

TRAIL CLOSURES EFFECTIVE AUGUST 31: All wilderness trails east of Robinson Creek Trail #478 to Andrews Creek Trail #504. Also closed are Andrews Creek Trail #504, Chewuch River Trail #510 beyond the junction with Fire Creek Trail #561, Topaz Mt. Trail #360, and Boundary Trail #533 between Teapot Dome and the junction with Middle Fork Pasayten Trail #478.ROAD CLOSURES: Eightmile Road #5130 one mile past Honeymoon Campground, Falls Creek Road #5140, Cub Creek/Ortell Creek Road #5220 east of Cub Pass, and all spur roads east of Cub Pass, Sweetgrass Butte Road 5220-100, and all of its spur roads.
Source: feed 1

August 31 Update (Ibex Fire Wildfire)

Ibex Fire August 31, 2017 Challis, Idaho: Fire activity on the Ibex Fire moderated yesterday due to cooler temperatures and cloud cover over the area. Smoke impacting the town of Challis dissipated and clearer skies were experienced. The Ibex Fire started on July 24, eleven miles west of Twin Peaks Lookout in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness on the Middle Fork Ranger District. Fire size is estimated at 13,976 acres. The fire continues to burn in McKee, Rush, Cottonwood, Ibex, Trapper, Wickiup, and Cat Creeks. Recent activity pushed the fire in a southeast direction, where it is now burning in the head of Twelvemile Creek and in the northwest portions of Yankee Fork Meadows. Firefighters continue to implement a point protection strategy. Point protection is a wildfire response strategy, which protects specific assets or highly valued resources from wildfire, without directly halting the continued spread of the wildfire. Exposure of firefighters, values at risk,…
Source: feed 1

Voluntary Evacuation issued for the Clark Fork Road Area (Summit Complex Wildfire)

The US Forest Service in conjunction with the Tuolumne County Sherriff’s Department is issuing a voluntary evacuation for the following area of the Summit Complex – McCormick Fire: Clark Fork Road Clark Fork Campground and horse camp Sand Flat Campground Camp Liahona Camp Peaceful PinesAll trail systems in the area (Arnot Creek, Disaster Peak, Clark Fork) This is a VOLUNTARY evacuation only at this time for the safety of the firefighters and public in the area, due to increased fire behavior experienced today. In addition, the Fence Creek Road location was closed yesterday.
Source: feed 1

Liberty Fire Update Aug 31, 2017 (Liberty Fire Wildfire)

Liberty Fire Fact Sheet Update August 31, 2017 – 9:00 a.m. Inciweb address: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5437/ Start Date: July 15, 2017 Origin Location: 17 miles SE of Arlee, Montana Cause: Lightning Fuels: Timber, forest litter, grass & shrubs Acres: 14,710 acres Percent Contained: 20% Fire Information: (406)272-4354 (8:00 am to 8:00 pm) Yesterday: Humidities in the teens, temperatures in the high 80s, and Red Flag winds from the West and Northwest threatened to bring a day of active fire behavior. However, an inversion subdued fire activity into early afternoon. Cloud cover and smoke tamed the flames after the inversion lifted, enabling firefighters to keep fire in check near containment lines. On the Northwest corner of the fire, Suppression Repair crews chipped accumulated woody fuel along road W-2200. On the North side the BAER team continued its assessment of land rehabilitation needs. The containment line on the East side continued to be mopped up and secured,…
Source: feed 1