Disasters

  • Katrina Effect helped bolster flood defenses

    Californians responded to Hurricane Katrina by approving, on 7 November 2006, a $4.1 billion bond measure for flood control; Proposition 1E was the largest single investment Californians had ever approved for upgrading the state’s flood defenses, and it was remarkable for several reasons

  • Digital Sandbox launches risk analysis initiative for Hampton Roads, central Virginia

    Infrastructure catalog is essential first step in risk management strategy; Digital Sandbox will identify and catalog potential natural hazards and terrorist threats as well as critical infrastructure and key resources throughout the area.

  • Scientists seek homes in the Seattle area in which to install quake monitors

    Scientists want to install seismic monitors in homes in the Seattle area to measure ground-shaking; with detailed information on the way the ground shakes in a particular spot, it may be possible to design buildings tailored to their exact locations; the instruments also will help construct “shake-maps” to pinpoint areas of heaviest damage after major earthquakes

  • Regional biodefense stockpiles could aid Europe in event of bioattack

    A plan for European preparation for a terrorist bioattacks calls for a regional stockpiling system within Europe; a Baltic stockpile, Nordic stockpile, and so on would be of great import and would aid in covering countries that have not expressed a desire to form their own stockpiles.

  • Vertical evacuation:: Fleeing tsunamis by moving up, not out

    Stanford researchers who have studied the city have concluded that fleeing residents of a city hit by a tsunami would have a better chance of surviving the tsunami if instead of all attempting an evacuation, some could run to the nearest tall building to ride out the wave; this “vertical evacuation” could save thousands of lives, but only if the city’s buildings are reinforced to withstand both earthquakes and tsunamis.

  • Corps speeds testing of tubes for blocking breaches in levees

    Lightweight Universal Gasket, called a PLUG, is a fabric tube that can be floated into place and filled 80 percent with water using an attached pump; the tube is pulled into the breach in the levee by the current, blocking more water from going through the breach; the tube is dropped by helicopter near the breach.

  • Rise in sea levels forces drastic changes on Florida

    If sea levels rise by only two feet, Florida stands to lose almost 10 percent of its land area and the homes of 1.5 million people; the zone which is vulnerable to 27-inch rise in sea level includes residential real estate worth $130 billion, half of Florida’s beaches, two nuclear reactors, three prisons, 37 nursing homes, and much more; the Florida government is considering changes to building codes and other precautionary measures.

  • Rise in sea levels threatens California ports, infrastructure

    Scientists expect ocean levels to rise by at least 16 inches over the next 40 years, causing flooding and endangering facilities throughout the state of California; the California Climate Change Center has estimated that nearly half a million people, thousands of miles of roads and railways, and major ports, airports, power plants, and wastewater treatment plants are at risk; in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region, sea level rise could expose $96.5 billion of infrastructure to damage.

  • Visualizing climate change in the Bay Area

    Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveils the CalAdapt Web site — a Web site developed by the California Energy Commission in conjunction with Google and the Stockholm Environment Institute; the site contains a Google Earth tour, narrated by Governor Schwarzenegger, of projected impacts of climate change on California, including snow pack loss, increased risk of fire, and sea level rises; CalAdapt’s unveiling coincided with the release of the “California Climate Adaptation Strategy,” which outlines recommendations for coping with climate change in urban planning, agriculture, water conservation, and other sectors.

  • New Orleans $1-billion flood defense revised

    To head off a possible $150-million to $300-million cost overrun on the $1-billion Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex in New Orleans, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has redesigned the waterway; trading off some “nice to haves” for necessities.

  • Space Time Insight releases upgrade to Crisis Composite for extreme weather

    The new Crisis Composite software for electric utilities correlates the effects of ice storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, and man made events; the solution allows operators of critical infrastructure facilities access to rich geospatial analytics that enable fast, informed action

  • Appeals court rules dredging contractors not liable for Katrina flooding damage

    Private contractors involved in dredging the Mississippi River and outlet canals in and around New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina cannot be held liable for the storm’s damage; court rules that the dredging contractors qualify for government-contractor immunity

  • NICE acquires Orsus

    NICE, a leading provider of security solutions, acquires Orsus, a pioneer in situational awareness, for an all-cash $22 million; critical incidents have led organizations to make massive investments in a wide range of security technologies and in corresponding manpower; trouble is, these security tools often exist in different silos, which lead to information overload, making it difficult to get the complete picture and manage critical incidents effectively; the combined NICE-Orsus solution addresses this problem

  • Aussie telco says it is ready for the next Black Saturday

    The bushfires in Victoria, Australia on 7 February took 173 lives, ravaged thousands of hectares of land, and burned down hundreds of houses; providers Telstra and Optus were both hit hard by the fires too, with communications outages across fixed-line and mobile networks, Internet exchanges and power stations; Telstra says its systems are now more robust

  • Computer scientists report progress on world-simulation tool

    Computer scientists say that advances in different fields now make modeling of world events more realistic as an aid in high-level decision making