Louisville weather: The front came through Monday night and brought a little more rain than anticipated. Instead of a quarter inch being an exception it was more of the rule with isolated instances of up to a half inch. Good, we needed it. A vort lobe rotating around the low will bring some clouds on Wednesday and hold down the temperatures to the low to mid 60’s. Maybe a couple of insignificant brief light showers but thats about it. We stay cool through Friday morning. Still won’t be surprised to see outlying areas around 40. But we warm up heading into the weekend and Saturday night a warm front comes through with increasing clouds and perhaps some shower activity. But that feature will not spoil weekend afternoon activities. In short, the cool down won’t last too long as we continue to warm up heading into early next week.
Tropical Storm Laura: Tropical Storm Laura was a “subtropical storm” for awhile but then the boys that the NHC discovered that its structure was looking very tropical like and the temperatures aloft in the center were not all that cold so, even though its way north, they decided to make it a tropical storm. I see a broad central core on the satellite but also a lot of stuff that looks more like a cold-core low. This guy is not going to be tropical for long. Remember how Bertha went to Iceland and, more recently, Kyle went to New Brunswick and Quebec? Well, Laura is heading to Ireland! It should go back to subtropical status or more likely become a extratropical storm pretty quickly but it will still lash the green island with about 50 or 60 mph winds, rough seas and heavy rain. As I’ve said before, this is not a sign of global warming. Its a sign of nature doing its thing. The role of tropical cyclones is to transport heat and moisture from tropical regions to higher latitudes and these storms are performing beautifully. Don’t be fooled by reports that are sure to come that will erroneously point to global warming as the culprit. There may be other evidence that support global warming, but these storms (as well as Katrina) ain’t it. The National Hurricane Center Tropical Storm Laura Forecast Discussion is at the bottom of the post.
On This Date In History: Financial problems are all in the news these days, but it’s nothing new. In recent years there was Enron but back in the 19th Century, there was the Credit Mobilier Construction Company. This is a pretty complex story but we’ll try to shorten it to the principal. (here’s a link to the details)
The US Government was keenly interested in building a transcontinental railroad. But, investors were not too enthused because the risks were enormous and investors don’t like a lot of risk. Two companies were formed to operate the railroads, the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific. The owners of the railroads both determined that the more likely road to profits were in construction rather than the actual operation. To ensure that they would make money, the two companies came up with a scheme in which they formed their own construction companies, which in turn charged the railroads to lay the track. That way, the railroads could get money from the government through subsidies and other incentives and then get paid again from the railroad. On top of that, they overcharged the railroads for the construction. On top of that, they bribed members of Congress with shares of stock and money. On this date in 1867, the contract between the Mobilier Contruction Company and the Union Pacific Railroad was completed which ended up paying $94 million for 1038 miles of track that probably should have cost about $50 million. Who got left holding the bag? The American taxpayer.
In the ensuing investigation brought to light by the New York Sun in an effort to unseat President US Grant, it was found that the owners of Credit Mobilier owned 367,000 shares of Union Pacific that had cost them virtually nothing. So, Congress investigated and couldn’t find much since there were dummies created to shield the identity of individuals and deals were done in such convoluted and secretive ways the investigators were flummoxed. Future president James A Garfield, House Speaker Schuyler Colfax and Massachusetts Congressman Oakes Ames were implicated. Ames received a censure from the Congress but, the government sued the Union Pacific for damages and the US Supreme Court ruled in 1878 that “more unmitigated frauds were never perpetrated on a helpless corporation by its managing directors.” Nevertheless, the court also ruled that since the government had received “all the advantages for which it has bargained” (I suppose the railroad got built) then there were no damages and therefore was not entitled to a thing.
So, there you have it….I’ve reported to you before about a financial panic with collapsing banks and a rescue plan in 1907…and now I’ve reported to you about how taxpayers got jobbed when the government got involved in private business enterprise. Politicians and tv foofs like to toss around the “great depression” at the drop of a hat and it concerns people, as it should. But, before you get too worked up about the current situation, be comforted that these things have happened before and it didn’t result in depression or huge long term disaster.
TROPICAL STORM LAURA DISCUSSION NUMBER 7
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
AL122008 500 PM EDT TUE SEP 30 2008 A 1653 UTC
CIMSS AMSU INTENSITY ESTIMATE CONFIRMS THAT LAURA STILL HAS MAXIMUM WINDS OF 50 KT. IN ADDITION…THE SATELLITE PRESENTATION OF THE STORM’S CENTRAL FEATURES HAS NOT CHANGED APPRECIABLY SINCE THIS MORNING SO THERE IS LITTLE REASON TO CHANGE THE INITIAL INTENSITY. ALTHOUGH LAURA IS CURRENTLY A TROPICAL CYCLONE…VISIBLE IMAGERY SUGGESTS THAT SOME THERMAL ADVECTION IS BEGINNING TO OCCUR AS COLD AIR STRATUS CLOUDS WRAP AROUND THE WEST SIDE OF THE CIRCULATION. GLOBAL MODEL FIELDS INDICATE THAT THE EXTRATROPICAL TRANSITION PROCESS WILL CONTINUE THROUGH TONIGHT… AND LAURA COULD BE FULLY NON-TROPICAL IN 18-24 HOURS. THE SYSTEM IS NOW OVER SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES NEAR 21C AND IS QUICKLY LOSING ITS TROPICAL ENERGY SOURCE…SO SOME WEAKENING IS SHOWN IN THE OFFICIAL FORECAST OVER THE NEXT 36 HOURS. THEREAFTER…BAROCLINIC FORCING WILL BECOME MORE PROMINENT AS THE EXTRATROPICAL LOW BECOMES EMBEDDED IN THE WESTERLIES…AND SOME RE-STRENGTHENING COULD OCCUR. LAURA IS NOW MOVING JUST EAST OF DUE NORTH AT 010/12. MOST OF THE TRACK GUIDANCE IS TIGHTLY CLUSTERED THROUGH 5 DAYS AND THE OFFICIAL FORECAST REMAINS VERY CLOSE TO THE MODEL CONSENSUS. THE NHC FORECAST TRACK SHOWS A SLIGHT WESTWARD BEND AT 36-48 HOURS DUE TO THE INFLUENCE OF A SHORTWAVE TROUGH OVER THE CANADIAN MARITIMES…BUT AFTER THAT LAURA IS ACCELERATED EASTWARD ACROSS THE NORTH ATLANTIC. A 120-HOUR POSITION IS NOT GIVEN IN THIS FORECAST SINCE IT WOULD BE LOCATED EAST OF THE PRIME MERIDIAN OVER THE NORTH SEA…AND THE LOW COULD BE ABSORBED BY A FRONTAL BOUNDARY BY THEN ANYWAY.
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS
INITIAL 30/2100Z 42.3N 48.6W 50 KT
12HR VT 01/0600Z 44.0N 48.0W 45 KT…BECOMING EXTRATROPICAL
24HR VT 01/1800Z 46.8N 46.8W 40 KT…EXTRATROPICAL
36HR VT 02/0600Z 50.0N 45.1W 40 KT…EXTRATROPICAL
48HR VT 02/1800Z 53.1N 42.4W 45 KT…EXTRATROPICAL
72HR VT 03/1800Z 56.5N 31.5W 45 KT…EXTRATROPICAL
96HR VT 04/1800Z 57.0N 17.0W 45 KT…EXTRATROPICAL
120HR VT 05/1800Z…ABSORBED
$$ FORECASTER BERG/PASCH