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September Banter 2021


George BM
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23 minutes ago, Mrs.J said:

Well FCPS made a good call this morning. After starting with a 2 hr late start and a re-assess at 7am and due to ongoing flooding and power outages, school was closed today. 

I have a friend who is a teacher at my daughter's former ES who said that she was there till 6pm last night. Waiting on kids to be picked up when the busses were directed off the roads. She said counselors were swapping car seats to get some kids home. My Barr instructor this morning told me of a friend of hers who's daughter attends Frederick HS, downtown, that to get home she walked through hip high water outside the school. FCPS seems to think only busses were an issue when in fact walkers, car riders, new student drivers and busses were an issue. I have not yet but am planning on sending an email off. The Superintendent sent an "apology" email last night. It did not go far enough. 

Sue em

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11 minutes ago, MN Transplant said:

I do think that it is a bit of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation for the administration.  We all generally had the same forecast.  If they had shut down school in Fairfax County and then we got less than an inch of rain and no wind during the day (which is what happened), parents would be pissed that they canceled school for a bit of rain.  

Yea but you can deal with those parents. This came down to safety. 10 kids and a bus driver had to be rescued from the roof of a bus up in Thurmont. Just a few years back a bad decision about a early dismissal ended in a bus going off the road in snow up in Thurmont. 

Frederick Co has so many different terrains. The area I live in is mostly rolling and flat farm land. With up and down windy roads. Then we have the mountain areas. Several roads have very low dips that are subject to flooding in a normal rain event. And this is known. 

I usually give the benefit of the doubt and understand that while my area in the SW part of the county may be absolutely fine. But that a decision is made based on the safety in a different part of the county. Have had times where there was no snow down here, but up near Emmitsburg snow on the ground will shut down the entire county. Yes I know you are not going to make 100% of the parents happy at any one time. But this situation they really dropped the ball. It had been raining in the Northern part of the county almost all day. And rain was streaming in from the SW back filling. And every single county around, with the exception of Washington which is a flatter county, had call out early. Even MoCo.

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I am surprised Frederick County (and Carroll too) doesn't split school decisions like Baltimore County does. 

LWX even went as far to split the counties up years ago for forecasting purposes, because you're right @Mrs.J the northern part of Frederick is different than the southern part. Elevation differences, etc. 

Either way, they should have let out early. The western counties were always under the flooding rain threat, and it was days of forecasting for it. It shouldn't have come as a surprise. ESPECIALLY coming off the wet weeks we've had prior to this week.

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13 minutes ago, Eskimo Joe said:

The "there was no warning" is just a false narrative that's been beat to death by bureaucrats who can't make a decision so they push the blame onto the meteorologists. You saw the same thing with Tulane University the other day.

Yes.

But, the discussion the last day has been a good one, especially from an EM side (which I am sure you appreciate). The forecasts were spot on. All the areas hit hard were highlighted as the biggest risk areas, whether from flooding or severe. 

Communication seems to be an issue. Local news can highlight the risks until they are blue in the face, but if people aren't watching the news they won't hear it. It can be shared on twitter, but if they don't follow those people, they miss it. Too many check a weather app that provides no details other than the alert about a watch/warning (which I imagine many don't click to open and read). 

Something else needs to be done to get the word out about these events. There is a generational change going on, TikTok/Instagram are bigger platforms than they use to be, and I think Mets need to start considering making videos/reels to share on those platforms to help get the word out better about hazards coming. 

Also -- it is incredibly difficult to wrap your head around 6-10 inches of rain coming in only a matter of hours. We get it as weather nerds, but most people just cannot comprehend what kind of damage that kind of rainfall can do. 

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43 minutes ago, mappy said:

Yes.

But, the discussion the last day has been a good one, especially from an EM side (which I am sure you appreciate). The forecasts were spot on. All the areas hit hard were highlighted as the biggest risk areas, whether from flooding or severe. 

Communication seems to be an issue. Local news can highlight the risks until they are blue in the face, but if people aren't watching the news they won't hear it. It can be shared on twitter, but if they don't follow those people, they miss it. Too many check a weather app that provides no details other than the alert about a watch/warning (which I imagine many don't click to open and read). 

Something else needs to be done to get the word out about these events. There is a generational change going on, TikTok/Instagram are bigger platforms than they use to be, and I think Mets need to start considering making videos/reels to share on those platforms to help get the word out better about hazards coming. 

Also -- it is incredibly difficult to wrap your head around 6-10 inches of rain coming in only a matter of hours. We get it as weather nerds, but most people just cannot comprehend what kind of damage that kind of rainfall can do. 

Yes it has. I'll say this...one observation that I've noticed over my now 10+ years in the public safety field, and this is a personal observation and not reflective on any one county/district, is that public school superintendents tend to make decisions in a vacuum independent of consultation on local EM / NWS. I don't know why that is, but they seem to be a black hole.

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Quote

Also -- it is incredibly difficult to wrap your head around 6-10 inches of rain coming in only a matter of hours. We get it as weather nerds, but most people just cannot comprehend what kind of damage that kind of rainfall can do. 

This. This. 1000 times this. Mappy is spot on.

The general public simply does not process (cannot process?) what that kind of rainfall in a short time over a large area means. I don't know how you overcome that. I think adding to warnings when extreme rain events are imminent that if you live in a basement apartment or lowest level of a structure to be weather aware and have a plan to get higher might be worth considering. I think strengthening the "turn around don't drown" messaging to "do not leave your house and get in a vehicle" in such situations, maybe. 23 dead in cars in NJ  and that number is still climbing. I bet most of those didn't drive into flood water, they had flood water appear around their car in areas they likely have never seen flood water. 

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9 minutes ago, North Balti Zen said:

This. This. 1000 times this. Mappy is spot on.

The general public simply does not process (cannot process?) what that kind of rainfall in a short time over a large area means. I don't know how you overcome that. I think adding to warnings when extreme rain events are imminent that if you live in a basement apartment or lowest level of a structure to be weather aware and have a plan to get higher might be worth considering. I think strengthening the "turn around don't drown" messaging to "do not leave your house and get in a vehicle" in such situations, maybe. 23 dead in cars in NJ  and that number is still climbing. I bet most of those didn't drive into flood water, they had flood water appear around their car in areas they likely have never seen flood water. 

Yeah, sounds like between the basement apartment deaths in NY, and those in cars in flooding, everything happened VERY FAST. Not just a trickle of water slowing rising, but a surge of fresh water just flowing into homes and roads. 

In the moments it happens, I imagine you just freak out and panic and its hard to think straight when thats happening. I can't even imagine what those people went through during their last moments. 

You can scream until you're blue in the face about the threat, but if people are in cars not listening to a news station that would give them that information, how will they know? 

Push EAS alerts, send out mass texts, I honestly do not know how you communicate that threat to make sure everyone hears it. I imagine that is almost impossible to do. But I'm not an EM person, obviously, so I don't know the logistics of it all.

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Like, my own behavior is now changed. If I am in an area under that kind of heavy rain potential, I am going to treat that like a blizzard and do what I can to make sure me and my loved ones are not in cars as it unfolds. I think people hear "rain" and just go about their business. Need to find a way to make the difference apparent. "Turn around don't drown" pre-supposes people in cars. "Do NOT leave your homes and if you do be aware of possibility of rapidly rising water" maybe? Something like that? 

I would say it's moot as an infrequent occurrence but...these are not infrequent occurrences anymore...

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4 minutes ago, North Balti Zen said:

Hell, wasn't there a basement apartment death (or two?) in Rockville in our area?

at least one. 19 year old drowned in their apartment. not sure if the other person who was unaccounted for was found or not.

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29 minutes ago, mappy said:

Yeah, sounds like between the basement apartment deaths in NY, and those in cars in flooding, everything happened VERY FAST. Not just a trickle of water slowing rising, but a surge of fresh water just flowing into homes and roads. 

In the moments it happens, I imagine you just freak out and panic and its hard to think straight when thats happening. I can't even imagine what those people went through during their last moments. 

You can scream until you're blue in the face about the threat, but if people are in cars not listening to a news station that would give them that information, how will they know? 

Push EAS alerts, send out mass texts, I honestly do not know how you communicate that threat to make sure everyone hears it. I imagine that is almost impossible to do. But I'm not an EM person, obviously, so I don't know the logistics of it all.

I heard something about people being trapped in basements the other night and I just can’t wrap my head around that one. Can’t you just walk up the steps?

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5 minutes ago, WinterWxLuvr said:

I heard something about people being trapped in basements the other night and I just can’t wrap my head around that one. Can’t you just walk up the steps?

I read a story last night about a woman in NYC in a 1st floor apartment with water up to her thighs. She reported that a family of three below her all drowned, including a 2-year old. She suspects (based on other reports from those in basement apartments) that the water was coming in so fast that they couldn't open the door to their apartment to get out. 

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4 minutes ago, mappy said:

I read a story last night about a woman in NYC in a 1st floor apartment with water up to her thighs. She reported that a family of three below her all drowned, including a 2-year old. She suspects (based on other reports from those in basement apartments) that the water was coming in so fast that they couldn't open the door to their apartment to get out. 

Now that makes sense. And that is scary as hell 

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1 minute ago, WinterWxLuvr said:

Now that makes sense. And that is scary as hell 

the three that died was an 80 something yr old, the toddler and the toddler's parent (I believe)

So yeah, I think in that case you have only one able bodied person to deal with what was happening... so sad.

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2 minutes ago, WinterWxLuvr said:

Now that makes sense. And that is scary as hell 

The apartments that flooded in Rockville, the water was up to peoples chins in their apartments, and those weren't even underground. 

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3 hours ago, North Balti Zen said:

 I would say it's moot as an infrequent occurrence but...these are not infrequent occurrences anymore...

I assume every system can deliver at least 4" of rain per hour in the new climate- myself and my neighbors always prepare accordingly. I've had nine of these events IMBY in the last six years. Now that its unfortunately happening in other areas maybe we'll see people recognize that none of this is normal.

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