Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hurricane would put salt in Gulf's wound

Michael Bradford in Business Insurance: Folks in the communities along the U.S. Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida are getting ready for their yearly dose of dread. Hurricane season arrives June 1, and residents of coastal areas will switch on the evening news each night wondering if there will be a small swirl off the coast of Africa that could grow a few weeks later into their worst nightmare.

This year, Gulf Coast residents may want to skip the weather report and pray instead. If a hurricane batters the region in 2010, it could rip into some communities already hanging by a thread. The massive oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig catastrophe is threatening the livelihood of shrimpers, fishermen and businesses along the hurricane-exposed coast in Louisiana and Alabama.

Many Gulf Coast communities have struggled to get back on their feet since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. A big storm in the oily Gulf would be a very cruel blow. A hurricane this year would pile misery upon misery. If it hits in the midst of the oil spill cleanup, who would blame the people in towns like Venice, La., from throwing up their hands and walking away? How many times can you get knocked down before conceding that enough is enough?...

From NASA: This image is oblique, meaning that it was taken from a sideways viewing angle from the International Space Station (ISS), rather than from a “straight down” (or nadir) view, which is typical of automated satellite sensors. The view in this image is towards the west; the ISS was located over the eastern edge of the Gulf of Mexico when the image was taken. The Mississippi River Delta and nearby Louisiana coast (image top) appear dark in the sun-glint that illuminates most of the image. Sun-glint is caused by sunlight reflecting off the water surface—much like a mirror—directly back towards the astronaut observer on the Space Station.

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