2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Fast Facts

It’s been a horrific year for storms coming out of the Atlantic / Caribbean. Below is the summary of tropical storms so far this year as reported on CNN’s 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Fast Facts.

Tropical Storm Arlene
April 20, 2017 – Tropical Storm Arlene forms in the central Atlantic Ocean. According to the National Hurricane Center, April tropical storms are rare, and this is only the second one (the first was 2003’s Tropical Storm Ana) since the use of satellite.
April 21, 2017 – Arlene moves southwest and south until it dissipates.
Tropical Storm Bret
June 19, 2017 – Tropical Storm Bret forms about 125 miles southeast of Trinidad.
June 20, 2017 – Weakens into a tropical wave.
Tropical Storm Cindy
June 20, 2017 – Tropical Storm Cindy forms in the Gulf of Mexico, about 265 miles south of Morgan City, Louisiana.
June 22, 2017 – Makes landfall just south of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Later weakens to a tropical depression.
Tropical Storm Don
July 17, 2017 – Tropical Storm Don forms about 485 miles east-southeast of Barbados. Weakens to an open wave the next day.
Tropical Storm Emily
July 31, 2017 – Tropical Storm Emily forms near the west coast of Florida and makes landfall on Anna Maria Island. Weakens to a tropical depression after making landfall.
Hurricane Franklin
August 6, 2017 – Tropical Storm Franklin forms over the northwestern Caribbean.
August 7, 2017 – Makes landfall on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.
August 9, 2017 – Franklin becomes a Category 1 hurricane about 105 miles northeast of Veracruz, Mexico.
August 10, 2017 – Makes landfall in Veracruz, Mexico. Later, Franklin weakens to a tropical storm and then dissipates.
Hurricane Gert
August 13, 2017 – Tropical Storm Gert forms in the Atlantic Ocean.
August 14, 2017 – Gert becomes a hurricane, the second of the season.
August 17, 2017 – Weakens to a post-tropical cyclone.
Hurricane Harvey
August 17, 2017 – Tropical Storm Harvey forms about 250 miles east of Barbados.
August 24, 2017 – Harvey strengthens into a hurricane.
August 25, 2017 – Harvey makes landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas, as a Category 4 storm with winds of 130 mph. Harvey is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Charley in 2004.
August 26-29, 2017 – Harvey is downgraded to a tropical storm, but stalls over land causing extreme flooding in Texas.
August 30, 2017 – After retreating from the Houston area back to the Gulf of Mexico, Harvey slowly moves northeast and makes a second landfall near Cameron, Louisiana.
— The death toll from Harvey is at least 57 deaths. Harvey dumped an estimated 27 trillion gallons of rain over Texas and Louisiana during a six-day period, according to WeatherBell, and also set a record for the most rainfall ever from a tropical cyclone in the continental US, at 51 inches of rain. Estimates put eventual total losses at as much as $75 billion.
Hurricane Irma
August 30, 2017 – Tropical Storm Irma forms 420 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands.
August 31, 2017 – Irma becomes a hurricane and intensifies into a Category 3 hurricane.
September 4, 2017 – Irma strengthens to a Category 4 hurricane about 490 miles east of the Leeward Islands.
September 5, 2017 – Intensifies into a “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 hurricane as it roars toward the northeastern Caribbean islands.
September 6, 2017 – Hits Antigua, Barbuda St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, causing major damage and devastation to many of the islands.
September 7-8, 2017 – Causes major damage to the Dominican Republic as it passes along the northern coast of Hispaniola. Blasts through Turks and Caicos overnight.
September 8-9, 2017 – Makes landfall in Cuba overnight as a Category 5 storm, with winds of 125 mph. The Bahamas are hit by hurricane-force winds. At least 24 people have died in the Caribbean.
September 10, 2017 – The Florida Keys take a direct hit from Irma as a Category 4 storm. Initial estimates are that 25% of houses on the island chain are destroyed, and 65% have major damage. Irma moves on to hit Marco Island as a Category 3 storm, then travels up the Gulf of Mexico to pummel Naples, Florida.
September 11, 2017 – Irma is downgraded to a tropical storm in north Florida, and to a tropical depression soon after its wind gusts hit Atlanta, causing power outages and downed trees.
Hurricane Jose
September 5, 2017 – Tropical Storm Jose forms about 1500 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.
September 6, 2017 – Jose strengthens into a hurricane.
September 8, 2017 – Becomes a Category 4 hurricane, east and southeast of the northern Leeward Islands.
September 14, 2017 – Weakens to a tropical storm.
September 15, 2017 – Becomes a hurricane again as it makes its way up the Atlantic, east of the US coast.
Hurricane Katia
September 6, 2017 – Tropical Storm Katia forms in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and strengthens into a hurricane the same day.
September 8, 2017 – Makes landfall in eastern Mexico, in the state of Veracruz, as a Category 1 hurricane.
September 9, 2017 – Weakens to a tropical storm as it moves inland in Mexico.
Tropical Storm Lee
September 16, 2017 – Tropical Storm Lee forms in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, west and southwest of Cabo Verde islands.
September 17, 2017 – Weakens to a tropical depression.
Hurricane Maria
September 16, 2017 Tropical Storm Maria forms about 620 miles east-southeast of lesser Antilles.
September 17-18, 2017Maria rapidly intensifies from a tropical storm into a Category 5 hurricane.
September 18, 2017 The storm hits the Caribbean island of Dominica as a Category 5 hurricane and devastates the area.
September 20, 2017Makes landfall near Yabucoa in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane. It is the strongest storm to hit Puerto Rico in 85 years. The energy grid is heavily damaged, with an island-wide power outage. Restoring electricity may take months, the governor of Puerto Rico says. The storm also hits the US Virgin Islands, where at least one person dies, likely from drowning.
September 22, 2017The National Weather Service orders the evacuation of about 70,000 people living near the Guajataca River in northwest Puerto Rico because a dam is in danger of failing. The storm continues to churn northward, making landfall in the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos as a Category 3 hurricane.
September 25, 2017Only a few medical centers on the island have working generators and at least three hospitals lack running water. Shortages of medical supplies are reported.
September 26, 2017Maria weakens to a tropical storm as it heads northeast out to sea.
— The death toll from Maria is at least 45 people in Puerto Rico and at least 15 in Dominica.
Hurricane Nate
October 5, 2017 – Tropical Storm Nate forms near the coast of Nicaragua. At least 28 people are killed after Nate passes over Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras. Hundreds are rescued from floodwaters and mudslides. Many lose power and running water.
October 6, 2017 – Nate strengthens into a hurricane about 95 miles west-northwest from the western tip of Cuba.
October 7, 2017 – Hurricane Nate makes US landfall as a Category 1 storm near the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeast Louisiana.
October 8, 2017 – Nate makes its second and final US landfall early in the morning as a Category 1 hurricane near Biloxi, Mississippi, and is later downgraded to a tropical depression.
Tropical Storm Ophelia
October 9, 2017 – Tropical Storm Ophelia forms in the Atlantic Ocean.
October 11, 2017 – Strengthens to a hurricane.
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Whitney

Esther “Elizabeth” Yardley Thurman Milner

Last month I found myself hunting down family history about my great great grandfather, John Brewitt Milner (1830-1912), and learned a great deal about his life and especially his life changing decision to join the newly formed Mormon religion — the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (though it wasn’t called that back then) — and come to America to be with other Mormons in Zion.

What occured to me this morning was that it’s a distinctly patriarchal way to think of my ancestery only in terms of grandfathers and so after some quick web searching, what I discovered is the life history of John Brewitt’s first wife, my great great grandmother, Esther “Elizabeth” Yardley Thurman Milner (1825-1911). Pasted here for posterity:

Life History of Esther Elizabeth Yardley Thurman Milner

Esther Elizabeth Yardley was born January 24, 1825 at Tanworth, Warwickshire County, England. Her parents were Thomas Yardley and Mary Rose of Tanworth. She was the oldest of 12 children. The youngest were twins. They lived and died the same day.

Tanworth stands high midway between the two main roads which run to Birmingham from Strutfar on Avon on the east, and Alcester on the west. The church is a conspicuous landmark seen for many miles by the traveler on either of these routes. Tanworth was originally a clearing in the Forest of Arden. There is still to be seen an old oak at Beaumonts in the parish, said to be one of the old oaks of the Forest.

The Yardley family is an old Tanworth family living there as far back as 1557 and many descendants are scattered all over the world. A number of the family of Yardley have become distinguished people, such as George Yardley, First Governor of Virginia in America.

Elizabeth Yardley was born and educated in Tanworth and had much the same girlhood experiences as other girls at that time. Most everyone in the community belonged to the same church. When a young woman she went to take charge of her bachelor uncle’s household and servants in Birmingham England. She became acquainted with and married Thomas Edward Thurman in 1848.

Soon after marriage she and her husband heard the Mormon Elders preach the gospel. They were converted and joined the new church. She was baptized in March, 1850. Her people were very much against this new religion and did everything they could to persuade her against joining the Mormon Chruch, but she was steadfast in her belief. When they found out they couldn’t change her viewpoint, they disinherited her and from then on had nothing to do with her. Later, I am told, a sister joined the church and came to Utah. (Mary Ann Yardley)

Esther’s husband, Thomas E. Thurman, was born December 21, 1821 and baptized in the church in May, 1849 by Elder Godsal. He had a confectionary store, and also worked as a sadler. Three years after their marriage he was stricken with smallpox. When he knew he couldn’t get better he called her to him and his dying request was to take their son, Thomas Edward Thurman and go to Zion. She was pregnant at the time of his death and a child named Victoria was born soon after.

She prepared for her journey to America. Her oldest uncle was sympathetic with her and assisted her in getting ready for the trip. She sold all her household articles and only took what necessities she had to have. This was a great trial for these noble pioneers to leave their families and friends and embark for a strange new country. She secured passage on one of the sailboats of that day. They sailed from Liverpool April 19, 1853. they were seven weeks on the water and while out to sea the baby, Victoria, died and was buried at sea.

I also found another version of her life events from this source by Jeff Von Ward. (Again copy/pasted for record keeping purposes):

ESTHER “ELIZABETH” YARDLEY THURMAN MILNER
24 Jan 1825 – 29 Sept 1911

Esther is my third great grandmother on my mother’s mother’s side. She was born in Tanworth-in-Arden, Warwick, England. She was the oldest of thirteen children born to Thomas and Mary Rose Yardley and learned early on how to help her mother with the duties of raising a large family, becoming a good cook and pitching in with the housekeeping. While still a teenager, Esther moved to Birmingham to run her uncle’s household.

In Birmingham, she met Thomas Edward Thurman. The young couple married on 6 Nov 1848. The two had heard of the Mormons through visiting missionaries and agreed to attend their services. Legend has it that when Esther heard the hymn “O My Father”, she immediately formed a testimony for the truthfulness of the Mormon church. Esther and Thomas were both baptized on 7 Mar 1849.

The couple had two children, a boy and a girl, but their daughter died just a few weeks after she was born. Shortly after, Thomas himself died of tuberculosis. Esther, forced to make her own way, opened a pastry shop and ran a boarding house. One of her customers was Charles Dickens, who was said to have later portrayed her as a pleasant and plump matron of an inn in one of his novels.

A few years later, on 5 Feb 1853, Esther and her son left England aboard The Jersey and, six weeks later, they arrived in New Orleans, before making their way north to Keokuk, Iowa, a staging ground for immigrant Mormon pioneers. Here, Esther outfitted herself with a riding horse and a cow for milking. It is said she walked the whole way across the plains so her son and others could ride the horse.

While on the journey toward the Utah Valley, she met John Brewitt Milner. The couple married the following spring and settled in Provo, Utah.

They had seven children, including one daughter who died in infancy. Their fourth daughter, Sarah Ann Milner, my second great grandmother, was born on 29 May 1862 in Provo, Utah.

I couldn’t find much anything about Esther Elizabeth’s later life. Many years ago my dad went to John Brewitt’s gravesite and was shocked to discover her grave was not beside our grandfathers, instead, it was explained by a cousin, “oh no she divorced John Brewitt Milner and is buried some other place”. The story about why they divorced was at least partially about her feelings on polygamy and not being too happy about/with the other wives.

The Kyoto Misconception

The feature image above shows me in front of the Kinkaku-ji, The Golden Temple in Kyoto Japan, 1993. Kyoto’s beauty and rich history stuck with me all these years since. I can easily see how visiting such a place dramatically changes your opinion.

On August 6 and 9, 1945 the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the most powerful weapon the world had ever seen. It turns out, Kyoto was almost sealed to the same fate but was saved (at least partially) by someone’s personal experience.

Kyoto was spared because of a personal intervention: the US Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, did not think it should be bombed. This story has been told many times, often as an example of how thin a line there is between life and death, mercy and destruction. But there’s an angle to this story that I think has gone overlooked: how the debate about targeting Kyoto led President Truman to a crucial misunderstanding about the nature of the atomic bomb.

Fascinating and thought-provoking read: The Kyoto Misconception.

Osama Bin Laden’s Hideout Compound Reviews

osama bin ladens hideout compound

Here are some reviews of Osama Bin Laden’s Hideout Compound from Google Maps.

Surprisingly large DVD collection, but overall just average. I was visiting my buddy at the Pakistan Military Academy and he recommended bin Laden’s after the compound I had booked on AirBnB fell through. It was only a few blocks away, which was great. Bed was only a twin, but watching Teen Wolf Too made up for it. Not good for more than three nights.
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Well, It is nicer than a cave.
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My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Abbottabad and stayed at ObLC. The fact that they honor Starwood Hotels points really swayed our decision, not to mention the only other hotel in town is a Holiday Inn Express and I wouldn’t bury a dead terrorist in one of their hotels. Booked online, quite simple thanks to their real-time reservation system. I don’t speak Urdu, so the English language translations were very helpful. Upon check-in the staff was very friendly. The hotel manager-I’ve forgotten his name-was kind, and spoke English well. My room was not available at check-in, evidently some billionaire’s son and his entourage were taking up a lot of space, but they graciously upgraded me to a suite. One downside was the loud construction noise at night. I don’t know what sort of demolition or jackhammering they’re doing there but why at night? Very strange, but the manager was apologetic and paid for our breakfast. And they make you sign a “non-disclosure agreement” upon check-out, I guess maybe it’s a very exclusive resort for that area? A++++++++ would stay again!!

Kurt Vonnegut’s Letter Home

As a private with the 106th Infantry Division, Kurt Vonnegut, along with five other battalion scouts, wandered behind enemy lines for several days during the Rhineland Campaign and became cut off from their battalion. They were captured by Wehrmacht troops on December 14, 1944 and imprisoned in Dresden, Germany.

While a prisoner, he witnessed the controversial fire bombing of Dresden in February 1945 which destroyed most of the city. The Germans held Vonnegut in an an ad hoc detention facility that had originally been an underground slaughterhouse meat locker. This experience was the inspiration for his famous novel, Slaughterhouse-Five.

A month later he wrote his family from a repatriation camp informing them of his capture and survival:

Kurt Vonnegut Letter home

See the rest of the letter at Letters of Note – Slaughterhouse Five.

Jimmy Page in 1957

Jimmy Page on BBC1 in 1957.

When asked by host Huw Wheldon what he wanted to do after schooling, Page says, “I want to do biological research [to find a cure for] cancer, if it isn’t discovered by then”.

Instead he went on to form one of the world’s greatest rock bands, Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin in 1969. From left to right: John Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones.

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