Predicting floods (5×8 – 3/28/11)

How accurate are flood predictions, the kill team that targeted kids in Afghanistan, sleepless for a cause, the hour of darkness, and the beer can chewer.


The Monday Morning Rouser…

1) PREDICTING FLOODS

A week ago at this time, it appeared all getout would be breaking loose on the Mississippi River in the St. Paul area at this hour. But the weather turned colder, last week’s expected rain turned to snow and while the river is running fast, it’s nothing — yet — we haven’t seen in the spring before — a little flooding of Harriet and Rasperry Islands, a few sidewalks flooded in Hastings, and some — at least so far — minor inconveniences for homeowners on the banks of the river in St. Paul.

It’s been a unique opportunity to watch the expertise of the hydrologists at the National Weather Service who had to figure out — more than a week ahead of time — how much of the snow last week would melt, how much would fall in the middle of the week, how much couldn’t melt because of the cold, and when it would end up at one particular spot on the 2,252-mile-long river.

Here’s how they adjusted things during the last week to figure the river level at 7 this morning…

MISSISSIPPI RIVER AT ST. PAUL

Date of Forecast
Forecast for 7am Monday
Highest projection overall
3/21
19.9
3/22
21.2
3/23
19.9
20.2
3/24
17.6
18.9
3/25
17.5
18.8
3/26
18.6
19.2
3/27
18.5
19.2

The actual river reading this morning? 18.35 feet. It’s expected to crest at less than a foot higher at mid-week.

Outside of St. Paul, there are plenty of problems, particularly for farmers. The Red River in Fargo Moorhead is still behaving, giving residents and the city time to snipe at each other over the placement of dikes on the wrong side of some homeowner’s houses.

2) THE KILL TEAM

Warning: Graphic photo alert! Rolling Stone has an expanded article and photos from the U.S. “kill team” of soldiers who executed innocent children in a war. It focuses not only on the out-of-control soldiers, but the “brass” who did nothing to stop them. The magazine says soldiers even considered tossing candy from a military vehicle, then killing the kids who came out of their homes to get it.

Tonight, meanwhile, President Obama will speak to the nation to explain why the U.S. is now engaged in a war in Libya.

3) SLEEPLESS FOR A CAUSE

If you visit the Web sites of some area non-profits today, you may notice they’ve been gussied up. Over the weekend, The Nerdery hosted the Overnight Web Challenge in which teams of Web pros gave up sleep to help build Web sites for deserving organizations. This one, for example, for the Clownfish Swim Club, which provides swimming opportunities for kids with disabilities.

And they apparently had fun doing it…


Crazy Blue Gorilla and Nasty Giant Banana
from The Nerdery on Vimeo.

More videos here. Good job, Nerdery and the 10 teams!

4) THE HOUR OF DARKNESS

Cities around the world doused the lights on their famous landmarks Saturday to call attention to the need for action on climate change. In the dark, the world’s famous landmarks all seem to look like one another.

A global celebration of Earth Hour 2011 from Nicky Loh on Vimeo.

5) THE BEER CAN CHEWER

A Mahnomen man has made a name for himself by chewing the top off a beer can. He was on Jay Leno’s show recently. Kern said he first saw somebody do the can opening trick at a party while he was at Vermilion Community College in Ely, according to the Wadena Journal.

TODAY’S QUESTION

Gadgets become obsolete more quickly than ever. And new technologies are changing our habits and routines. Thanks to new technologies, what do you find you no longer need?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Changes ahead for No Child Left Behind?

Second hour: Patty Larkin’s been called both a “contemplative songwriter” and a “whoop-ass guitarist.” To celebrate 25 years in the music business, she’s put out an album of 25 of her most requested songs, recorded with 25 of her favorite artists.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Measles and flu.

Second hour: The 1918 flu pandemic.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: A preview of President Obama’s speech.

Second hour: After the massive quake, a devastating wall of water and nuclear crisis, Sukeyasu Yamamoto summed up the response of his fellow Japanese in one word: Gaman — to endure and accept the pain, without complaint. Host Neal Conan examines the spirit of Japan,

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - We’ll get updates from all the major flooding locations.

  • Aaron

    I might tune in at ten just to hear Kerri utter the phrase “whoop ass”

  • http://www.greenlightdesigns.us Jordan

    I was up in Moorhead this weekend and drove down Rivershore drive. It is a little eerie with almost all of the houses on the river side of the road gone, just tree stumps sticking up out of the snow and a tall fence with no trespassing signs all over it. It will definitely make the flood fight a lot easier for Moorhead though as that area now will just need clay laid by heavy machinery and not a sandbag dike laid by volunteers.

  • Mary

    I have some serious emotional whiplash from your item #2. This is the first I’ve heard of this story, and to come across it in this way, stuck between the non-flooding in St. Paul and the Overnight Web Challenge, didn’t give me much of a chance to get my defenses up before reading it. Actually, I haven’t finished. I’m not sure if I can.

    Also having a hard time focusing on work now. Geez. It’s depressing to think there’s nothing I can do about this. Depressing to think I’m enabling it. This story makes me ashamed.

    I guess that’s why I haven’t seen it get much play elsewhere yet?

  • Jim Shapiro

    While I won’t read “The Kill Team” link, all I have to say is, “Support Our Psychopaths, er, Troops!”