Isaac may cost insurers $2 Billion; Storm could cause massive Louisiana sinkhole to become more unstable
(Aug 30) The Web was abuzz with expressions of disbelief that a mere “Cat 1″ storm could be the culprit for the catastrophe unfolding before people’s eyes – Isaac may cost insurers as much as $2 billion in the U.S. The estimates are a fraction of the $41.1 billion cost for Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and $4.3 billion cost for Hurricane Irene, which lashed the U.S. East Coast last year. Nonetheless, Isaac’s destructive power took many by surprise. It will certainly be a slow recovery for affected areas.
Isaac’s effects show that Category 1 is just the description of the winds - Isaac possessed some of the most menacing qualities of a destructive storm. Even as Isaac weakens to a tropic storm, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that Life-threatening hazards from storm surge and inland flooding are still occurring. In the face of continued shock at the power of relatively low-ranked storms, some say that the labels themselves can promote a false sense of security.
Many kept saying that it’s a wimpy storm. Well, Isaac was destructive enough for the National Hurricane Center to push for a different way to quantify hurricanes, by accounting for its overall wind energy, and looking at its sheer size, both of which affect its destructive potential.
Causes of destruction
First, Isaac is simply a big storm, ever since it formed. Bigger storms have a wider reach, affecting more people, and they’re also tied to more severe storm surge, or “the ocean being pushed ashore” – Isaac’s storm surge is extended all the way to the Florida panhandle.
Second, Isaac is also moving slowly. A snail’s pace means it’s hammering the same areas with heavy downpours for hours, even days, at a time. Even relatively small storms can cause terrible damage if they stay parked in place. Isaac has reportedly dropped some 23 inches (58 centimeters) of rain near Gretna, La.
Third, Isaac hit the Gulf Coast, allowing the storm to push even more ocean water toward land. The direction of a storm’s approach also plays a role in its destructive power — certain angles promote greater storm surge.
Was this storm under intelligent guidance? Why did it hover over certain areas? Why did it make a second landfall? Isaac aka Michael the Destroyer Angel and the 1st LOZ Command did what they planned out and executed a well defined plan of action.
(Aug 31) Hurricane Isaac dumped a lot of rain on Assumption Parish, trees are down and power is out (but being restored), and the sinkhole looks the same size it was before the storm. But is it too early to tell? Greg Hancock, a professor of geology at the College of William and Mary, said it’s hard to predict how the hurricane could affect the sinkhole. It was possible that getting additional water into the sidewalls of this sinkhole could lead to a collapse in the sidewalls. Hancock likened the situation to building a sandcastle on the beach- the more water gets added to the sand, the less stable it is.
The 400-foot deep hole measures about 526 feet from northeast to southwest and 640 feet from northwest to southeast. It is in Assumption Parish, about 50 miles south of Baton Rouge. On Aug. 16, the sinkhole swallowed the boat of two cleanup workers, who had to be rescued from the hole. The sinkhole is near areas where there has been exploration for oil and gas in the past.
Officials said they’re confident residents aren’t at risk for exposure of harmful radiation. The Examiner reported that Louisiana environmental officials are “in denial” over hazards posed by elevated radium levels that are actually fifteen times higher than the state limit. Energy News posted radiological (NORM) results for 1 water sample collected near the sinkhole, also showing elevated radium levels.
Apart from the radiation, fears of explosions have been prompted by bubbling, the release of butane, in the water. The amount of butane in the well is now reported to be 940,000 barrels and earlier was reported to be 1.2 million barrels. Officials differ in opinion on sinkhole butane worst-case scenario but all of them agree no one can say that it can’t happen. (Source)