Monday, October 8, 2007

Busy Pacific Storms

While its been extremely quiet in the Atlantic the Pacific is entirely another story.

To date there have been some 15 named storms and another three weather systems of interest harrassing the area. Unlike the Atlantic Hurricane season typhoons can run year round in the Pacific.

Tropical Cyclone Krosa now a tropical storm is now tracking toward China. At the last observation, on 2007/10/07 6:00 UTC, tropical cyclone KROSA is a Tropical Storm with maximum sustained wind speeds of 25 m/s (92 km/h, 50 knots) according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
Meanwhile, another system Typhoon Lekima, triggered floods and landslides which battered Vietnam's central coast earlier this week and killed up to 34 people and left 19 others missing. Thousands of homes were destroyed in two central provinces of Ha Tinh and Quang Binh, Vietnamees officials reported on Sunday. Lekima was the fifth typhoon to hit Vietnam this season. Tug boats were stabilizing the M/V Aladdin Dream which ran aground during the storm.

Freak Waves?

Here is a interesting story from New Zealand on a reported "freak wave" in one of New Zealand's worse maritime accidents.

Sinking just a 'freak accident'
5:00AM Sunday October 07, 2007
By Michelle Coursey
An official report into one of New Zealand's worst maritime tragedies, the sinking of the Kotuku fishing boat in Foveaux Strait last year, attempts to lay blame where it shouldn't, say family members of the victims.

The 17-metre trawler capsized on May 13 last year, reportedly after being hit by two large waves, on its way back to Bluff from the Titi Islands, near Stewart Island.

Six people died in the incident - including members of three generations of one family - while three others narrowly escaped with their lives by swimming to a nearby island.

On board were members of the Topi family, a well-known clan in Bluff - Leslie Topi (known as Peter), 78, his daughter Tania Topi, 41, and his two grandsons Shain Topi-Tairi and Sailor Trow-Topi, both aged nine, all died; while Paul Topi and Dylan Topi both survived the accident.

Skipper John Edminstin also survived, but his friend Ian "Shorty" Hayward, 52, and crew member Clinton Woods, 34, perished.

Last week, the first preliminary report was released on the tragedy by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission, but those close to the victims are unhappy about its contents, and plan to tell the TAIC what they have got wrong.

Those who have seen it have had it "drummed" into them that they are not allowed to discuss its findings until after a meeting to be held this Thursday. The closed hearing will be held in Invercargill, where the three-member Commission will hear submissions from those affected.

All of those who spoke to the Herald on Sunday yesterday intended to be at the hearing, or make submissions via email on the content of the report.

But at least one family member, who did not wish to be named, said the conclusion of the findings was the part they found most objectionable, as it tried to "find something wrong" with various factors, including people's actions and the boat, to explain the incident.

"They've tried to find something to blame but it was a freak accident. They can't seem to accept there were two waves, and that's what did it."

While previous reports have speculated the boat may have been overloaded - it was carrying around 60 buckets of muttonbird on deck when it left the Titi Islands - the TAIC findings apparently do not say that was the cause.

Neither do they apportion blame to alcohol being consumed; however, they do make suggestions as to what might have been done by those onboard to survive.

"That just seems pointless. I guess they have to do it, because they said this report is meant to tell other people what not to do, but it's a bit late now."

The report includes much technical detail, including stability testing on the boat, and a close analysis of its seaworthiness. Some of the information in it has come as a surprise to family members, but then "we weren't on the boat" they say. And neither were the writers of this report, they add.

Edminstin did not wish to speak at length to the Herald on Sunday yesterday, preferring to save his comments on the tragedy for after the government reports were finalised.

TAIC hopes to release its final findings by the end of the year, but that will "depend on the extent of further work required following next week's hearing", chief commissioner Bill Jeffries said in a press release.

However, after that, another report will be put together by Maritime New Zealand, and Southland coroner Trevor Savage is waiting for both before deciding if an inquest into the deaths would be held.

Judy Hayward, who lost her husband Ian in the sinking, and who has since relocated to Melbourne, said every time someone mentioned the name of the boat to her "it brings it all up again", and she was looking forward to when "all of it has finished".

After reading the report, she would make her submission to the commission via email, but agreed that it was simply an accident.

"At the end of the day you can't change the sea. No amount of preparation can change the strength of the sea and no amount of reporting will make it [the accident] go away."

Another widow, Joyce Topi, who lost husband Peter, said she had not read the report because she didn't believe it needed to be written in the first place. "It's nobody's fault, it was an accident."

The Kotuku itself continues to sit rusting in the backyard of an old timber mill outside of Invercargill.

Edminstin still plans to burn the boat when it is returned to him - he has no use for it now.

"It should never have been lifted up," said Judy Hayward. "It was already a graveyard."

My favorite subject, USCG Rescue Teams.
2006 AIRSTA SAV rescue clips to music.

Weather Note

Chicago Weather for October? 88 degrees? Unheard of ! And what did the heat do the Chicago Marathon?

One dead, 250 hospitalized after heat-shortened Chicago Marathon Associated Press - October 7, 2007 5:43 PM ET

CHICAGO (AP) - A Michigan man died while running the Chicago Marathon as stifling heat and humidity forced race organizers to shut down the course midway through the race. Authorities say the 35-year-old man collapsed while running on the city's South Side and was pronounced dead at a Veteran's Affairs hospital.Some 250 people were taken to hospitals because of heat-related ailments.

The decision to turn runners around effectively ended the race for many thousands midway through the course. Organizers closed the second half of the course just before noon, four hours after the annual race started with temperatures already touching 73 degrees with 86% humidity. By 10 a.m., temperatures had already reached a race-record of 88 degrees.

The men's race was won by Kenya's Patrick Ivuti (eh-VOO'-tee). Ethiopia's Berhane Adere (buhr-HAYN' ah-DAHR') rallied to successfully defend her women's title.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed