The EL Faro disaster and lessons learned

In the April 2018 edition of Vanity Fair, there is an excellent article by William Langewiesche called “THE CLOCK IS TICKING”: INSIDE THE WORST U.S. MARITIME DISASTER IN DECADES.  It is the best article I have yet read about the loss of the SS El Faro on October 1, 2015, after the ship sailed into Hurricane Joaquin.  It was the worst American loss at sea since the 1983 sinking of the SS Marine Electric, which I wrote about here.  Thirty-three people died, including 8 crew members from New England and five Polish shipyard workers.

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An identifying video still from the US Navy showing the stern of the El Faro after the wreck was found some three miles underwater.

Continue reading “The EL Faro disaster and lessons learned”

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Two Northeasters in a row

I normally don’t mind a little snow, as it is New England and we expect to get some (mostly) between November and March.  But the two storms that we have had most recently have been a bit more problematic, mostly because of strong winds and heavy coastal flooding.

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Bitter cold in Boston this week

When I got up this morning, the temperature was 4 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind chill was -10 degrees Fahrenheit.  We may even get some snow tomorrow night and Thursday.  I will try to get some pictures and post them if we do.  And behind that storm will come more bitter cold, what our fave meteorologist Dave Epstein is calling “the worst of the winter”.  Predicted lows for Friday and Saturday are well below zero, not even including wind chill.

ETA: The National Weather Service is now saying that Thursday could bring a “significant winter storm” with predictions from 4 to 8 inches to as much as 12 inches of heavy wet snow (with numbers possibly changing depending on how far inland the storm tracks), plus high winds, which means downed trees and power outages are much more likely.   We may even have ourselves a blizzard.  Oh my.

~Geoff

 

The most famous boat in town

Ever since the big nor’easter we had earlier this month, there has been a new tourist attraction of sorts along the coastal road between Revere and Winthrop.  A sailboat washed ashore, dragging its mooring line with it.  The storm washed it almost all the way up onto the sea wall.  I can’t imagine that the boat was not damaged in the process.  What a shame.

I wonder when someone will finally come claim it.

Anyway, it seems as if at any given moment, someone has stopped to look at the erstwhile shipwreck and take pictures of it.  The first day after the storm, there was a whole row of cars.  And every single time I have driven along that coastal road, no matter what time of day, there was someone looking at the boat.  Seriously, every single time, including today, when I finally stopped and got a picture or two myself.

I hope it is not too badly damaged.

-Geoff

Our nor’easter made the national news, and so did Kelly’s video of it

Over the last couple of days, we had our first nor’easter since we moved to Winthrop.  The storm caused wind speeds here near the coast to pick up quite a bit, and as  result there was a pretty heavy surf along the beaches here too.

That is all seawater that came over the wall.
That is all seawater that came over the wall.

Continue reading “Our nor’easter made the national news, and so did Kelly’s video of it”

The science and history of rogue waves, part three

I found another good video on YouTube about rogue waves, and this one actually talks at length about the dangers to offshore platforms and people on shore from rogue waves, using actual recent historical examples.

Continue reading “The science and history of rogue waves, part three”

The science and history of rogue waves, part one

In what could prove to be a huge step forward in predicting how rogue waves are formed, and thus a tool for saving lives at sea, researchers at MIT have found a way to give 2 to 3 minutes warning of an incoming rogue wave.

I know it probably sounds stupid, but it’s hard for me to explain how excited I am about this research.  So much so that I am tempted to go speak with the researchers sometime (living in Cambridge does have its advantages).  But to understand why I am geeking out about this, it might help for me to go into some detail about what we know about rogue waves, and how they have affected ships at sea, as well as oil rigs, lighthouses, and coastlines.  This is one of those times that my love of history (especially maritime history) and my love of science come together.

Continue reading “The science and history of rogue waves, part one”