Archive for April, 2009

April 29, 2009: Red Cross Recommendations

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Nobody really knows how this will all unfold.  Right now the virus is mild.  A big deal for those who get sick, but not something to worry about.  Concern is a better way to approach what is happening.  The Red Cross has some nice recommendations for those who are concerned about the virus.

 

http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.1a019a978f421296e81ec89e43181aa0/?vgnextoid=099ba3cdcc8e0210VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD

Red Cross Urges Preparation

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 — The recent documented cases of swine flu in several states across the U.S. and in a growing number of other countries may cause many people to wonder what they can do to better protect themselves right now.

As health experts around the world seek to better understand the scope and severity of the swine flu outbreak, this is a good time for individuals, families, businesses and organizations to review and update their emergency preparedness plans.

Stay Healthy
The Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are offering the following tips to ensure you stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective when soap and water aren’t available.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way. Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Influenza (flu) is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing.
  • If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Consult your healthcare provider if you develop symptoms of the flu, such as:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

For more information, see the Red Cross Flu Checklist.

Prepare for Potential Flu Outbreak
Stocking extra food, water and supplies at home will reduce the need to go out should swine flu become more widespread, thereby limiting potential for exposure to the virus. If a person does get sick and has extra supplies on hand, they will help reduce the spread of the flu by staying home.

  • Store a two-week supply of food, water and household necessities (such as laundry detergent, toilet paper, etc.). Select foods that are easy to prepare and store. 
  • Store one gallon of water per person per day in clean plastic containers. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles.
  • Insure that formula for infants and any child’s or older person’s special nutritional needs are a part of your planning. Store an extra supply of food for your pets.
  • Make sure you have an adequate supply of essential medications and medical items for all family members.

The Red Cross recommends you take this opportunity to prepare your family for any disaster by getting a preparedness kit, making a plan and being informed. More information is available on the Red Cross Web site.

Up-to-the-minute updates on the swine flu can be found at the CDC Web site. People seeking information on human swine flu should visit the CDC Web site or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.

 

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation’s blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.

April 29, 2009: WHO raises pandemic alert level to 5

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

April 29, 2009: Swine flu outbreak a ‘serious situation’: Obama

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

US President Barack Obama said Wednesday the outbreak of swine flu had created a "serious situation" in the United States requiring the "utmost precautions."

April 28, 2009: Rain Rain Rain – house coming along

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

  We picked up over an inch of rain last night.  Looks like more rain this week – possibly some storms.  Unsure on severe weather, though.

  The house is moving along.  Hoping to have it in the dry soon.  Looks like the roof is almost covered.  :)

  We met Tommy Reed and Jason Darnall at the farm today.  Walked through the house and discussed the lightning and the weather room.  Some good ideas were brought up.  Believe everything is moving along in the right direction.

 


Nice sky today :)

 


Bobby on his toy

 

 

 


Mud!

 

 

April 28, 2009: A great man has passed away

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

  Mr. Joe Ogle has passed away.  One of the great men of one of our local communities.  Joe was my scout master for many years.  I went on many camping trips with him.  He taught me much.  May he rest in peace.

 

April 27, 2009: WHO raises alert level to four – flu spreads

Monday, April 27th, 2009

WHO raises its pandemic alert level on swine flu

 

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The World Health Organization raised its global alert level Monday, signaling the swine flu virus was spreading from human to human in community outbreaks, but it stopped short of declaring a full-blown pandemic.

The WHO announcement in Geneva followed a decision by the top EU health official urging Europeans to postpone nonessential travel to parts of the United States and Mexico because of the virus.

Mexico health department spokesman Carlos Olmos confirmed the move by the WHO to raise the alert level from Phase 3 to Phase 4.

Putting an alert at Phases 4 or 5 signals that the swine flu virus is becoming increasingly adept at spreading among humans. That move could lead governments to set trade, travel and other restrictions aimed at limiting the disease’s spread.

The WHO’s Phase 6 is the pandemic phase, characterized by outbreaks in at least two regions of the world.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the United States is preparing as if the swine flu outbreak already is a full pandemic.

 

 

April 26, 2009: Tyler’s Baptism

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

  Tyler was baptized today.  :)   Some photos…also some photos that Danielle took at mother’s house.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Danielle took this photograph

 


Danielle took this photograph

 


Danielle took this photo :)

 

 

April 26, 2009: Public Health Emergency Declared

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Still lot of questions as to how this all unfolds…

 

US declares public health emergency for swine flu

AP News Wire

WASHINGTON – The U.S. declared a public health emergency Sunday to deal with the emerging new swine flu, much like the government does to prepare for approaching hurricanes.

Officials reported 20 U.S. cases of swine flu in five states so far, with the latest in Ohio and New York. Unlike in Mexico where the same strain appears to be killing dozens of people, cases in the United State have been mild — and U.S. health authorities can’t yet explain why.

"As we continue to look for cases, we are going to see a broader spectrum of disease," predicted Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We’re going to see more severe disease in this country."

At a White House news conference, Besser and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano sought to assure Americans that health officials are taking all appropriate steps to minimize the impact of the outbreak.

Top among those is declaring the public health emergency. As part of that, Napolitano said roughly 12 million doses of the drug Tamiflu will be moved from a federal stockpile to places where states can quickly get their share if they decide they need it. Priority will be given to the five states with known cases so far: California, Texas, New York, Ohio and Kansas.

Napolitano called the emergency declaration standard operating procedure — one was declared recently for the inauguration and for flooding. She urged people to think of it as a "declaration of emergency preparedness."

"Really that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re preparing in an environment where we really don’t know ultimately what the size of seriousness of this outbreak is going to be."

DR. MARC SIEGEL: The Most Powerful Virus Is Fear Not Flu

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

With a new swine flu strain spreading among close to 1,000 people in Mexico and at least eight in the U.S., and with 61 reported deaths in Mexico, the most powerful virus pushing out its tentacles is not flu but fear. We are afraid of what we don’t know and what we don’t understand.

We hear about an unseen killer and we worry that we will be next. The best antidote for this kind of fear is the facts.

So let me take on the fear-laden terms. The first is pandemic. A pandemic means a new flu virus infecting people in several areas of the world at the same time. It can be mild, moderate, or severe. Everyone knows about the 1918 Blue Death that killed over 50 million people worldwide, but how many people realize that the last pandemic, in 1968, ameliorated by vaccines, antibiotics, and public health measures, killed only 32,000 in the U.S. and 700,000 worldwide, less than many yearly outbreaks.

The current swine flu outbreak is not a pandemic, as the outbreak is confined mainly to Mexico, but if it does become one, it is far more likely to be the 1968 variety because of modern public health measures and because we have been exposed to several parts of this virus before and have an immune memory to it.

Precautions like isolating sick people and use of the anti-virals Tamiflu and Relenza in order to decrease severity are wise precautions.

Wise too is closing schools in Mexico to prevent spread (schoolchildren are notorious flu spreaders), provided that this measure doesn’t send the world the wrong message that a massive pandemic is in the offing.

The second scare term is the pig itself. Pigs scare us. They are filthy noisy creatures. They are also loaded with flu viruses. This strain occurred because a bird virus mixed with at least one human virus and two pig viruses. Flus are changing all the time so a new strain
isn’t really a surprise.

We also need to be cautioned by the lessons of history. Back in 1976 an emerging swine flu virus appeared to be responsible for the death of a military recruit at Fort Dix (this later turned out to be erroneous), sparking a massive public hysteria fueled by Center for Disease Control press conferences.

I was reminded of this Friday when the CDC again spread fear about an emerging swine flu. We need to remember that fear causes people to take less precautions, but fighting contagions requires more precautions.

In 1976 Gerald Ford, trying for election, ordered 40 million vaccinations over a three to four month period of time, probably leading to almost 1,000 cases of ascending paralysis from the hastily made vaccine (Guillain Barre Syndrome) and driving most of the vaccine makers out of business. We certainly don’t need a repeat of this performance, in advance of any real worldwide threat.

Thirdly, we are also afraid because this disease is emerging in Mexico, a foreign land to the south over which we have no control. But fear of an unknown land doesn’t automatically translate to an American health risk. We are wise to have our scientists and public health officials tracking the outbreak, but we are not wise to anticipate the worst.

Like all flus, this one causes great fatigue, muscle aches, fevers, sore throat, nasal congestion, stomach upset, but is generally curable. The greatest risk is from secondary infections like pneumonia or ear infections, especially in the chronically ill. But in the U.S., if it spreads here, these problems are much more easily treated than in rural
Mexico.

We should be comforted by the time of the year. This is the end of the flu season, not the beginning. Flu viruses thrive in the low humidity of winter, not summer. It is very likely that this outbreak will die out automatically as the summer comes. It will remain necessary to track it because it could reappear in the fall, but it is very unlikely that it will erupt into a pandemic this summer.

I am glad that this outbreak is a swine rather than a bird flu, not because pig viruses are intrinsically safer than bird viruses, but because the greater lesson to guide us here comes from the 1976 pig hysteria, rather than from the 1918 bird flu plague.

 

Marc Siegel MD, an associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, is a FOX News Medical Contributor. He is the author of “Bird Flu; Everything You Need to Know About the Next Pandemic”, and “False Alarm; the Truth About the Epidemic of Fear.”

 

April 25, 2009: Growing Panic in Mexico City

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Mexico City: Mayor states 70% of bars, clubs and restaurants shut down.

Mexico City: Supermarkets crowded with people "panic-buying" supplies.

Mexico City: Police arrest two for selling face masks at 25x the normal rate. Most pharmacies sold out of masks.

Mexican President declares state of emergency.

 

Mexican Army soldiers hand out surgical masks to people in cars at an intersection in Mexico City, Friday April 24, 2009. Mexican authorities said 60 people may have died from a swine flu virus in Mexico, and world health officials worry it could unleash a global flu epidemic.

(AP Photo)

 


People wear masks as they stand with their bags inside a bus station in Mexico City April 24, 2009.
(AP PHOTO)

 

Soldiers patrol the strees wearing face masks as prevention against the swine flu virus in Mexico City. A new swine flu outbreak that has killed up to 68 people in Mexico has "pandemic potential," the World Health Organization warned Saturday, as concern grew of the virus spreading in the US and worldwide.

(AFP – Photo)

 


AP Photo

 

 

Swine Flu in Mexico- Timeline of Events

Introduction

At Veratect, we operate two operations centers based in the United States (one in the Washington, DC area and one in Seattle, WA) that provide animal and human infectious disease event detection and tracking globally.  Both operations centers are organizationally modeled after our National Weather Service using a distinct methodology inspired by the natural disaster and meteorology communities.  Our analysts handle information in the native vernacular language and have been thoroughly trained in their discipline, which include cultural-specific interpretation of the information.  We are currently partnered with 14 organizations that provide us with direct ground observations in 238 countries.  We are a multi-source, near-real time event detection and tracking organization with years of experience in this discipline.

March 30

Veratect reported that a 47-year-old city attorney for Cornwall was hospitalized in a coma at Ottawa General Hospital following a recent trip to Mexico.  Family members reported the individual voluntarily reported to the hospital after gradually feeling ill upon returning from his trip on 22 March.  The source stated that the hospital did not know the cause of illness.  The case was reportedly on a respirator and awaiting a blood transfusion, but sources did not provide symptoms or a suggested cause of illness. This information was available in our web portal to all clients, including CDC and multiple US state and local public health authorities, however no one had connected this man’s illness with a potential crisis in Mexico.

April 2

Local media source Imagen del Golfo reported that state health officials recorded a 15% increase in disease over an unspecified period in the highland areas of Veracruz, which includes La Gloria. The increase was primarily due to higher levels of upper respiratory disease and gastroenteritis. Specifically, officials noted an increase in pneumonia and bronchial pneumonia cases. Health officials attributed the increase to seasonal climate changes.

April 6

Veratect reported local health officials declared a health alert due to a respiratory disease outbreak in La Gloria, Perote Municipality, Veracruz State, Mexico.  Sources characterized the event as a "strange" outbreak of acute respiratory infection, which led to bronchial pneumonia in some pediatric cases. According to a local resident, symptoms included fever, severe cough, and large amounts of phlegm. Health officials recorded 400 cases that sought medical treatment in the last week in La Gloria, which has a population of 3,000; officials indicated that 60% of the town’s population (approximately 1,800 cases) has been affected. No precise timeframe was provided, but sources reported that a local official had been seeking health assistance for the town since February.

Residents claimed that three pediatric cases, all under two years of age, died from the outbreak. However, health officials stated that there was no direct link between the pediatric deaths and the outbreak; they stated the three fatal cases were "isolated" and "not related" to each other.

Residents believed the outbreak had been caused by contamination from pig breeding farms located in the area. They believed that the farms, operated by Granjas Carroll, polluted the atmosphere and local water bodies, which in turn led to the disease outbreak. According to residents, the company denied responsibility for the outbreak and attributed the cases to "flu." However, a municipal health official stated that preliminary investigations indicated that the disease vector was a type of fly that reproduces in pig waste and that the outbreak was linked to the pig farms. It was unclear whether health officials had identified a suspected pathogen responsible for this outbreak.

Local health officials had implemented several control measures in response to the outbreak. A health cordon was established around La Gloria. Officials launched a spraying and cleaning operation that targeted the fly suspected to be the disease vector. State health officials also implemented a vaccination campaign against influenza, although sources noted physicians ruled out influenza as the cause of the outbreak. Finally, officials announced an epidemiological investigation that focused on any cases exhibiting symptoms since 10 March.

This information was available in our web portal to all clients, including CDC and multiple US state and local public health authorities.

April 16

Veratect reported the Oaxaca Health Department (SSO) indicated that an unspecified number of atypical pneumonia cases were detected at the Hospital Civil Aurelio Valdivieso in Reforma, Oaxaca State, Mexico.  No information was provided about symptoms or treatment for the cases.  NSS Oaxaca reported that rumors were circulating that human coronavirus was spreading at the hospital; sources did not provide any response to these statements from the hospital or health officials.   

Laboratory samples were sent to Mexico City for analysis; results were expected to be released sometime next week.  According to NSS Oaxaca, health officials had intensified preventive measures aimed at mitigating further spread of the disease.  Sources reported that the SSO also implemented a sanitary cordon around the hospital.         

This information was pushed to CDC and several US state and local public health authorities in an email alert notification provided by Veratect.

April 20

Veratect was urgently asked to provide access to the VeraSight Global platform on 20 April by a client in the US public health community, and indicated they had received word from their counterparts in Canada that Mexican authorities had requested support.  This client speculated whether notification of all southern U.S. border states’ public health authorities should be done and were confused as to why the CDC had not issued an advisory.  Veratect contacted the CDC Emergency Operations Center to sensitize them about the situation in Mexico. CDC indicated they were already dealing with the crisis of recently detected H1N1 swine influenza in California and possibly Texas.

April 21

Veratect reported the Oaxaca Health Department (SSO) confirmed two adults died from atypical pneumonia at the Hospital Civil Aurelio Valdivieso in Oaxaca, Oaxaca State, Mexico.  One of the cases was a 39-year-old female; the other case was an adult male of unspecified age.  After the deaths, the hospital established a quarantine in the emergency room due to initial concerns that avian influenza was responsible for the cases.  However, the SSO subsequently stated that neither avian influenza nor coronaviruses, including that which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), were the source of infection.  Additionally, the SSO denied the cases represented an epidemic.  According to local sources, the SSO indicated that the atypical pneumonia cases were caused by an unspecified bacterial pathogen and were treatable with antibiotics.  Sources indicated a total of 16 additional patients exhibited signs of respiratory infection; none of these patients exhibited complications.          

Veratect sources indicated the 39-year-old female was treated at the hospital for five days before dying on 13 April.  This case was reportedly immunocompromised; in addition to acute respiratory symptoms, she also had diabetes and diarrhea.  The SSO contacted 300 people that had been in contact with the woman; sources stated that between 33-61 contacts exhibited symptoms of respiratory disease, but none showed severe complications.  The SSO characterized the incident as an "isolated case;" they noted that over 5,000 cases of pneumonia occur annually in Oaxaca. 

Another local source reported the SSO launched surveillance measures in the former residential areas of the two fatal cases and in other targeted geographic areas.  No additional information was provided regarding the second fatal case at the hospital.   

Veratect reported that the Oaxaca State Congress Permanent Committee on Health had undertaken an investigation into the cases.  The committee inspected the Hospital Civil Aurelio Valdivieso on 20 April.  The director of the medical school at the University Autónoma "Benito Juárez" de Oaxaca (UABJO), along with other medical academics, publicly requested that national health authorities investigate the cases of atypical pneumonia.  No information was provided indicating that national health authorities plan to investigate the matter.  The director of the medical school also requested the SSO furnish evidence showing that the cases were negative for avian influenza, SARS, and other severe pathogens; his request was echoed by readers commenting on an online user forum.         

Veratect also reported the National Ministry of Health issued a health alert due to a significant increase in influenza cases during the spring season in Mexico.  Officials indicated that there have been 14 influenza outbreaks throughout the country.  The most heavily affected states are Baja California, Chihuahua, Distrito Federal (Mexico City), Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, and Veracruz.  Local case counts were not provided. 

Officials stated that 4,167 probable cases of influenza, 313 of which were confirmed, have been reported throughout the country in 2009.  Case counts for suspected and confirmed influenza cases have tripled in 2009 as compared to the equivalent time period in 2008.  The National Institute of Respiratory Diseases recorded two fatal cases of influenza in 2009, but specific dates and locations were not provided.   

Health officials stated they were unsure precisely why the incidence of influenza had increased.  However, they believed the increased presence of influenza B, in combination with influenza A, was a contributing factor.  In response, officials advised anyone exhibiting influenza symptoms to avoid self-medication and seek medical care immediately.  Officials had also enhanced epidemiological surveillance for influenza.  Lastly, health officials had focused efforts on providing antiviral medications and influenza vaccinations to the most vulnerable segments of the population.  According to the Mexican Ministry of Health, 44.3% of the national population was vaccinated against influenza in 2005-2006.

Veratect sensitized the International Federation of Red Cross who in turn requested broader access be provided to the Pan-American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU).  Veratect moved to notify several US state and local public health authorities, providing the caveat the situation in Mexico remained unclear due to pending laboratory results.  Veratect reached out to World Health Organization (WHO) operations, informing them the Veratect team was on an alert posture and available for situational awareness support.  They indicated they and their subordinate, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) were now aware of the situation but had no further information.  Veratect also extended contact to the British Columbia Center for Disease Control and offered assistance in tracking the events in Mexico.  All contacts indicated laboratory results were pending.

April 22

Veratect reported the Oaxaca Health Department (SSO) indicated 16 employees at the Hospital Civil Aurelio Valdivieso in Oaxaca, Oaxaca State, Mexico had contracted respiratory disease.  However, the SSO denied these cases were connected to the recently identified cases of atypical pneumonia at the hospital.  No information was provided indicating how many employees work at the hospital or whether the number of respiratory disease cases was higher than average.  The source reported that "fear" persisted among hospital physicians concerning the possible presence of a deadly bacteria or virus circulating in the hospital.  One anonymous hospital employee criticized hospital management as "unfair" for not providing clear information regarding the first fatal atypical pneumonia case.

An additional source reported the cause of the atypical pneumonia cases remained unknown; it stated that bacteria or virus could have caused the cases.  In contrast, according to an 18 April report, the SSO indicated that the atypical pneumonia cases were caused by an unspecified bacterial pathogen and were treatable with antibiotics.  The reason for this discrepancy was unclear at this time.

The Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), a national health entity, had now joined the SSO in responding to the cases; reports did not indicate the Mexican National Ministry of Health had joined in the response efforts.  The IMSS extended the sanitary cordon surrounding the hospital.  Patients exhibiting flu-like symptoms would be sent to the hospital’s epidemiology department for further study.  IMSS instructed physicians to hospitalize respiratory disease patients immediately if they meet certain standards for severity of symptoms.  Lastly, the hospital’s emergency room would remain closed for an additional 15 days so that cleaning and preventive disinfection could be carried out.

Veratect also reported the Mexican Ministry of Health indicated that an "unusual" outbreak of laboratory-confirmed influenza caused five deaths from 17-19 April 2009 in Mexico City, Mexico.  The deaths occurred at the following three hospitals: el Hospital de la Secretaría de Salud (2), el Institute Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias (2), and el Hospital Ángeles del Pedregal (1).  According to unofficial sources, the fatal case count was higher than that provided by officials.  There were currently 120 influenza cases hospitalized throughout Mexico City.  National health officials indicated that influenza vaccines were sold out in Mexico City and that they were attempting to acquire additional supplies of the vaccine.   

At this point, the Mexican Health Secretary reportedly stated there was an influenza epidemic in Mexico City and throughout the rest of the county.  In response to the cases, the official stated health authorities would launch a public awareness and vaccination campaigns.  He stated that 400,000 vaccines would be administered, primarily to medical staff; it was unclear whether these efforts would be focused on Mexico City or any other geographic area.  Health officials also ordered the provision of special masks, gloves, and gowns for medical personnel that were in contact with influenza cases.  

A total of 13 fatal cases of influenza were reported in Mexico City in the past three weeks.  However, several other media sources reported that the 13 deaths were recorded since 18 March 2009; the reason for this discrepancy was unclear.  Sources reported a total of 20 fatal cases of influenza throughout Mexico over the disputed timeframe.  The other cases were located in San Luis Potosí (4), Baja California (2), and Oaxaca (1).  The Director of Epidemiology at the National Center for Epidemiological Surveillance and Disease Control characterized the outbreak as "quite unusual."

No information was provided indicating that the strain of influenza itself was unusual.  Rather, several sources indicated that it was "unusual" to record this many fatal influenza cases during this time of year.  Influenza cases normally peak from October to February, while these cases had occurred during Mexico’s spring season.

Canada announced a national alert for travelers returning from Mexico with respiratory disease, beginning a campaign of public media announcements. Potentially ill contacts were identified returning from Mexico and isolated in Canada.  Internet blogs begin to spin up.  CDC indicates concern about the events unfolding in Mexico.  Veratect sensitizes the US community physician social network managed by Ozmosis.

April 23

Veratect reported the Secretary General of the Oaxaca Ministry of Health Workers Union confirmed that a doctor and a nurse from the Hospital Civil Aurelio Valdivieso in Oaxaca, Oaxaca State, Mexico were under observation for suspected "atypical" pneumonia.  This contradicted statements made by the Oaxaca Health Department (SSO) on 22 April that 16 hospital employees contracted respiratory disease, but none of the cases exhibited atypical pneumonia. 

The union official stated that a review by the Oaxaca State Board of Medical Arbitration indicated that the hospital faced serious difficulties caused by overcrowding; he stated that overcrowded conditions created a "breeding ground" for the spread of various epidemics.  According to the official, the hospital has 120 beds but the number of patients hospitalized had at times surpassed 240.       

Other sources reported that the Department of Livestock, Fisheries, Rural Development, and Feed (SAGARPA) declared on 20 April that Oaxaca, Mexico was free of avian influenza.  SAGARPA stated that authorities should remain vigilant in monitoring for the disease among birds.  

Canadian local health officials stated that a Rouge Valley resident with influenza-like illness was being monitored at Scarborough Centenary Hospital in Scarborough, Ontario.  The precaution was being taken in accordance with an alert issued by the Ministry of Health asking hospitals to watch for severe respiratory illnesses in travelers returning from Mexico.  Despite the warning, the Ministry had indicated that evidence is not suggestive of a novel pathogen or influenza strain, according to the source.  A representative for the Rouge Valley Health System stated that this case is being monitored related to the alert.  The source did not specifically indicate symptoms or that the person had traveled to Mexico.  No additional information regarding the case, including age or health status, was reported.   

The source stated that hospital employees were asking any patients admitted to the hospital if they had recently traveled to Mexico, which according to the source was a popular tourist destination for Durham-region residents.

Additional Canadian sources indicated Southlake Regional Health Centre officials treated a patient with influenza-like illness (ILI) who recently returned from Mexico.  The Ministry of Health recently notified Southlake, in addition to health units across the country, that an outbreak of severe respiratory disease was affecting areas of Mexico; ill travelers returning from that region with ILI symptoms were encouraged to be monitored.  Sources did not provide any specific information about the case, including age or current treatment status.  Information regarding the individual’s travel to Mexico was also not provided, including destinations and duration of time in country.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) noted that an Ontario resident who returned from Mexico on 22 March experienced severe respiratory illness, but has fully recovered and was not considered connected to the current situation.  Veratect recently reported on 30 March that a public official from Cornwall, Ontario was hospitalized with an unknown illness following a trip to Mexico; however, it is unclear if the cases are related, or if this was the case referenced by PHAC officials.   

Veratect assesses the situation and notes the following:

Affected areas:

Oaxaca, Distrito Federal, San Luis Potosí, Baja California

Distance to nearest international airport:

•    Oaxaca airport, located approximately 150 miles from Reforma, is connected via non-stop air traffic to Houston
•    Mexico City (Distrito Federal) airport is connected via non-stop air traffic to many cities in the US, Canada, Europe and Latin America, with the most outbound traffic to Los Angeles, Frankfurt, Houston, Dallas, and Amsterdam
•    San Luis Potosí airport is connected via non-stop air traffic to Dallas and Houston
•    Mexicali airport in Baja California is connected via non-stop traffic to Los Angeles
•    Veracruz airport is connected via non-stop air traffic to Houston

Large mass gatherings:

Semana Santa (April  ~April 3 – 12, Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday), which is Mexico’s second largest holiday.  Mexico’s population is approximately 90% Catholic, which results in substantial population migration patterns during this time period.  For instance, in Ixtapalapa (in Mexico City), one million people visit for Semana Santa.  Other well-known sites for the holiday include Pátzcuaro, San Cristobal de las Casas (Chiapas), and Taxco.  Veratect notes substantial population migration has just occurred that could facilitate the spread of respiratory disease.

Civil Unrest:

The recent surge in organized crime and drug-related violence in Mexico, including homicides, kidnappings, extortion, and theft, has disproportionately impacted Mexican states along the Pacific Coast and U.S.-Mexico border.  This factor may confound situational awareness of respiratory disease in Mexico and contribute to problems in epidemiological investigation and response measures.  Baja California is one of five states within this region that currently accounts for more than 75 percent of Mexico’s drug-related homicides, and has recorded high levels of drug seizures and police corruption cases. Veracruz, a state with high drug cartel activity in the Gulf of Mexico, has recorded little violence, while the state of Oaxaca to the southwest, recently recorded the assassination of a political party leader. Mexico City, in the center of the country, recently arrested a major drug cartel leader, and recorded few homicides this month. The levels of unrest in Hidalgo, San Luis Potosi, and Tlaxcala, however, are very low, and have not reported a single homicide related to organized crime in the past month.

Veratect issues notification to additional public health authorities in two states.  Veratect reaches out to the Pan American Health Organization emergency operations team but is unable to establish contact.  Veratect notes no publicly available English language reporting from ProMED, HealthMap, FluNET, CDC, ECDC, or WHO about the unfolding events in Mexico.  Many of Veratect’s clients, including Canadian, ask why an alert has not been issued by the US to sensitize their healthcare community.

April 24

Veratect continues to process a dramatic increase in reporting on the situation in Mexico.

WHO requests access to the Veratect system.  Veratect is aware of laboratory samples from Mexico are positive for “swine flu” H1N1, a novel virus.  World media are now aware of the situation in Mexico.  CDC issues a press statement, as does WHO.

Veratect notifies the private US clinical laboratory community and activates a Twitter feed (twitter.com/veratect) to enable more rapid updating of information.

 

April 25, 2009: World Health Organization “viruses have mutated”

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

This has the potential to cause problems around the world.  Not a time to worry but certainly something we should be concerned about.  The economic impacts of this virus and the human suffering for some countries could be quite dramatic.  The big question is whether it mutates into something worse.  Nobody knows.  So, a lot of questions remain as to what happens next. 

 

 


Hiram Diaz, 8, left, gives his 6-year-old sister Adely Diaz a ride on the pegs of his bicycle while wearing protective masks near the market where their parents own a store in Mexico City, Saturday, April 25, 2009. Mexico is struggling with a new strain of swine flu that has killed 68 and sickened more than 1,000. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern." (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Julio Cortez)

 

GENEVA — An outbreak of swine flu in Mexico and the United States is a quickly evolving situation that has "pandemic potential," the head of the World Health Organization said Saturday before an emergency meeting of flu experts.

 “We are very, very concerned,” World Health Organization spokesman Thomas Abraham said. “We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human … It’s all hands on deck at the moment.”

Mexico City mayor cancels all public events for 10 days to try to contain swine flu outbreak, AP reports.

WHO Director-General Chan says it may change global pandemic alert later today after emergency meeting.

WHO Director-General Chan says it is premature to issue travel advisories at this time, will hold emergency meeting later today -

WHO Director-General Chan says it is unclear if swine flu will develop into a pandemic.

WHO Director-General Chan says the swine flu situation is evolving quickly

Newspaper Reforma says the chief of the Mexico’s antropologic museum died of swine flu; had direct contact with Obama few weeks ago

The quarantine station of Narita decided to use thermographic imaging to check the temperatures of passengers arriving from Mexico.

Japan is on alert because the swine flu outbreak; Narita airport will check the health of every passenger flying from Mexico City.

April 25, 2009: 2 AM :) Finals are over!!!!!!

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

  Finals are finished!  Won’t know grades until next Wednesday or Thursday.  Now I have a couple of weeks off.

 

April 24, 2009: Flu outbreak making headlines…

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Lots of questions on this subject.  WHO and CDC says they are very very concerned.  Strong wording from them.

 

Headlines today…

60 Mexico flu deaths raise global epidemic fears

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexican authorities said 60 people may have died from a swine flu virus in Mexico, and world health officials worry it could unleash a global flu epidemic. Mexico City closed schools across the metropolis Friday in hopes of containing the outbreak that has sickened more than 900.

Scientists were trying to determine if the deaths involved the same new strain of swine flu that sickened seven people in Texas and California—a disturbing virus that combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before.

The World Health Organization was looking closely at the 60 deaths—most of them in or near Mexico’s capital. It wasn’t yet clear what flu they died from, but spokesman Thomas Abraham said "We are very, very concerned."

"We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human," he said. "It’s all hands on deck at the moment."

WHO raised its internal alert system Friday, preparing to divert more money and personnel to dealing with the outbreak.

President Felipe Calderon cancelled a trip and met with his Cabinet to coordinate Mexico’s response. The government has 500,000 flu vaccines and planned to administer them to health workers, the highest risk group.

There are no vaccines available for the general public in Mexico, and authorities urged people to avoid hospitals unless they had a medical emergency, since hospitals are centers of infection.

They also said Mexicans should refrain from customary greetings such as shaking hands or kissing cheeks, and authorities at Mexico City’s international airport were questioning passengers to try to prevent anybody with possible influenza from boarding airplanes and spreading the disease.

But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Americans need not avoid traveling to Mexico, as long as they take the usual precautions, such as frequent handwashing.

Mexico’s Health Secretary, Jose Cordova, said only 16 of the deaths have been confirmed as the new swine flu strain, and that government laboratories were testing samples from 44 other people who died. At least 943 nationwide were sick from the suspected flu, the health department said.

"We certainly have 60 deaths that we can’t be sure are from the same virus, but it is probable," Cordova said, adding that samples were sent to the CDC to look for matches with the virus that infected seven people in Texas and California.

Cordova called it a "new, different strain … that originally came from pigs."

Epidemiologists are particularly concerned because the only people killed so far were normally less-vulnerable young people and adults. It’s possible that more vulnerable populations—infants and the aged—had been vaccinated against other strains, and that those vaccines may be providing some protection.

Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC said "at this point, we do not have any confirmations of swine influenza in Mexico" of the kind that sickened seven California and Texas residents. All seven recovered from symptoms that were like those of the regular flu, mostly involving fever, cough and sore throat, though some of the seven also experienced vomiting and diarrhea.

Scientists have long been concerned that a new flu virus could launch a pandemic, a worldwide spread of a killer disease. A new virus could evolve when different flu viruses infect a pig, a person or a bird, mingling their genetic material. The resulting hybrid could spread quickly because people would have no natural defenses against it.

The most notorious flu pandemic is thought to have killed at least 40 million people worldwide in 1918-19. Two other, less deadly flu pandemics struck in 1957 and 1968.

Nobody can predict when pandemics will happen. Scientists had been concerned about swine flu in 1976, for example, and some 40 million Americans were vaccinated. No flu pandemic ever appeared, but thousands of vaccinated people filed claims saying they’d suffered a paralyzing condition andother side effects from the shots.

In recent years, scientists have been particularly concerned about birds. There have been deaths from bird flu, mostly in Asia, but the virus has so far been unable to spread from person to person easily enough to touch off a pandemic.

Closing the schools across the metropolis of 20 million kept 6.1 million students home from day care centers through high schools, and thousands more were affected as colleges and universities closed down. Parents scrambled to juggle work and family concerns due to what local media said was the first citywide schools closure since Mexico City’s devastating 1985 earthquake.

Authorities also advised capital residents not to go to work if they felt ill, and to wear surgical masks if they had to move through crowds. A wider shutdown—perhaps including shutting down government offices—was being considered.

"It is very likely that classes will be suspended for several days," Cordova said. "We will have to evaluate, and let’s hope this doesn’t happen, the need to restrict activity at workplaces."

Mexico’s initial response in its overcrowded capital brought to mind other major outbreaks—such as when SARS hit Asia. At its peak in 2003, Beijing was the hardest-hit city in the world. Schools, cinemas and restaurants were shuttered to prevent the spread the deadly respiratory virus, and thousands of people were quarantined at home.

In March 2008, Hong Kong ordered more than a half million young students to stay home for two weeks because of a flu outbreak. It was the first such closure in Hong Kong since the outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Lillian Molina and other teachers at the Montessori’s World preschool scrubbed down their empty classrooms with Clorox, soap and Lysol on Friday between fielding calls from worried parents. While the school has had no known cases among its students, Molina supported the government’s decision to shutter classes, especially in preschools.

"It’s great they are taking precautions," she said. "I think it’s a really good idea."

Still, U.S. health officials said it’s not yet a reason for alarm in the United States. The five in California and two in Texas have all recovered, and testing indicates some common antiviral medications seem to work against the virus.

Schuchat of the CDC said officials believe the new strain can spread human-to-human, which is unusual for a swine flu virus. The CDC is checking people who have been in contact with the seven confirmed U.S. cases, who all became ill between late March and mid-April.

The U.S. cases are a growing medical mystery because it’s unclear how they caught the virus. The CDC said none of the seven people were in contact with pigs, which is how people usually catch swine flu. And only a few were in contact with each other.

CDC officials described the virus as having a unique combination of gene segments not seen in people or pigs before. The bug contains human virus, avian virus from North America and pig viruses from North America, Europe and Asia.

Health officials have seen mixes of bird, pig and human virus before, but never such an intercontinental combination with more than one pig virus in the mix.

Scientists keep a close eye on flu viruses that emerge from pigs. The animals are considered particularly susceptible to both avian and human viruses and a likely place where the kind of genetic reassortment can take place that might lead to a new form of pandemic flu, said Dr. John Treanor, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The virus may be something completely new, or it may have been around for a while but was only detected now because of improved lab testing and disease surveillance, CDC officials said.

The virus was first detected in two children in southern California—a 10-year-old boy in San Diego County and a 9-year-old girl in neighboring Imperial County.

It’s not known if the seasonal flu vaccine Americans got this winter protects against this type of virus. People should wash their hands and take other precautions, CDC officials said.

____

Associated Press

 

 

CDC says too late to contain U.S. flu outbreak
24 Apr 2009 19:31:20 GMT


WASHINGTON, April 24 (Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday it was too late to contain the swine flu outbreak in the United States. CDC acting director Dr. Richard Besser told reporters in a telephone briefing it was likely too late to try to contain the outbreak, by vaccinating, treating or isolating people. "There are things that we see that suggest that containment is not very likely," he said. He said the U.S. cases and Mexican cases are likely the same virus. "So far the genetic elements that we have looked at are the same." But Besser said it was unclear why the virus was causing so many deaths in deaths in Mexico and such mild disease in the United States.

 

 

 

WHO ready with antivirals to combat swine flu...
Travelers warned of mysterious respiratory illness...
CDC says too late to contain...
Mexico City launches huge vaccination campaign...
8 hit in USA...
Heighten Risk of Pandemic...
Concerns in Texas...
Mutated from pigs, transmitted to humans...

 

Government web-site concerning pandemic

http://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/index.html

 

 

April 23, 2009: FINALS!!!! Phone turned on!

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

  Well, everything is moving along.  Finals continue – they will end in the coming days.  I take one tomorrow morning.  Severe Weather is the class.  I hope I do well.  The harder test will come after that.  Weather Prediction 1.  Tough class – at least the tests are harder.  Hope to finish finals by Saturday night.  That is the goal – at least.

  Looks like the roof is coming along on the house.  Maybe it will be in the dry next week – if the shingles come in.  They are delayed.  Let’s hope they arrive next week.

  We picked out the interior doors today.  That went smoothly. 

  I finally figured out how to read the maximum and minimum thermometers – thanks to my friend David in Canada.  :)   So, that is good!

  Looks like the telephone was turned on today.  They buried the wire – 12 pair – so it is ready for the T line.  Now we need to get the T line working.

  Clipped the chain on the swing.  So, that project is finished!

  Looks like a hot day tomorrow – 80s!!  Today we actually reached into the 80s, as well.  First time this season.  Looks like more warm weather to come.  More active storms may return later next week.  Will have to keep an eye on how that develops.  We are not in severe weather season.

  Few photos from today…

 


Moving forward

 

 

 


Phone company

 


Looking north – there will be a window here.  Underneath this platform is the walk out porch on the second floor.
This image is taken from the "attic"

 

 


Rodney and Don working today

 

 


View from the "weather" center :)

 

 

 

 

April 22, 2009: Putting up swing – chain sawing – thermometers

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

  Well, today  has been a long day.  Spent it up at the farm – cut a bunch of brush – then installed the thermometers into the instruments shelter – then we hung a swing.  Rodney, Bobby, and Don built a house.  :)   Looks like the rafters are coming along.  They also delivered the posts today for the decks/porches. 

  I had a great lunch with Caesar and Geri yesterday.  We all went to CC Cohen (downtown Paducah).  We had to fight off the quilters, though.  Okay, well it wasn’t THAT bad.  But, there were a lot of quilters around!

  BEAUTIFUL sunny day today.  Perfect temperatures – 70s!!!!  One of the rare 70+ days this year so far.  We could use a few more.  It looks like great weather through Sunday.  Might get some rain after that, though.  Hopefully the good weather will continue.  It is spring, though.  So, it won’t last forever. 

  Some photos from yesterday and today.

 


I won this on ebay today – one of the first weather radios I ever owned!  I
saw one in Oklahoma at the Severe Wx Conference and it gave me the
idea to do a search for one.  I was about 12 when I got my first weather
radio and it came from Sears!

 


Looking at the new house from where my grandmothers house used to be – this is the old well

 


Beautiful cumulus and cirrus clouds yesterday – going up I24 in Massac County, Illinois

 


Puffy clouds over the Ohio River

 


Looking towards Metropolis yesterday.  Windy windy – white caps.

 


Looking down towards the neighbors farm – west/northwest

 

 

 

 

 


Rodney and Bobby

 


Rodney

 

 

 

 


Putting the swing together

 

 

 


That would be me – getting ready to hang the swing

 


That would be me – climbing the ladder and getting ready to hang the swing

 

 


And the final product :) – Now I just need some bolt cutters to cut the extra chain.  :)   Perhaps tomorrow!!!

 

 


The neighbors dog sound asleep – helping with the swing

 


We got the door to close and lock today – tornado shelter

 


On the third floor – top of the house.

 

 

 


Looking southwest from the top of the house (well almost the top)

 


Some spring flowers up on the farm

 


Time to put the thermometer together :)   -  This is the device the holds them in place

 


The minimum thermometer is on the left and the maximum one is on the right

 

 


Then they are placed inside the shelter

 


Now if I can just figure out how to read the maximum thermo – hard to read
(will need to ask my friend David Brown) from Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 20, 2009: SUNNY Morning! Then it rained.

Monday, April 20th, 2009

  Well, it was a BEAUTIFUL start to the morning.  INCREDIBLE to be honest about it.  Just perfect.  By afternoon clouds rolled in and it started to lightning and thunder – with heavy downpours.  Oh well, the morning was nice!  Course – I like rain – so whatever.

  I have come to the realization that I am just not a phone person.  I know Sue told me this a long time ago.  Oh well – guess everyone can’t be a phone person!  I will just have to try harder.  :)

  We met Dale at the farm today and went over the cabinets and placement of cabinets.  Also discussed a few other items.  Looks like everything is moving right along.

  Some photos from the farm today…you can see the sheets of rain moving in.  Note that when we arrive it is PERFECTLY sunny and within 30 minutes the sky turns to what you see at the end.

 


We arrive and it is a perfect day!!!!

 


Then a few clouds show up and the wind starts to blow

 


Then a few more clouds and some rain in the distance

 

 


Sheets of wind blown rain – winds were gusting over 30 mph as we drove down the road into the rain.

 

April 20, 2009: Busy days!

Monday, April 20th, 2009

  WOW – the sun is actually out this morning.  BRIGHT blue sky!  Big orange ball – plain as day!  Something we don’t see very often around here.  At least not lately.

  Enjoy it!!!!!

  Few storms later today and then the winds will pick up through tomorrow.  Could be some hailers out and about – small hail.  Cold temperatures aloft this afternoon.

  Tony is coming this morning and we are looking at some apartments – also heading to the farm to meet Dale – who is making the cabinets.  Then figuring out where the plumbing goes!  Also talking about the kids room on the top floor – how to finish it out.

  Then home and I guess I will start to study some more for my finals.  I have finals through the weekend.  FUN FUN!  lol

  Lunch with Caesar and Geri tomorrow. 

 

April 19, 2009: Storms rolling into the region…

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

  Lines of showers and thunderstorms are approaching West Kentucky.  No severe weather has been reported.  A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect for portions of southeast Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee.  Looks mainly like some heavy rain, gusty winds, and small hail. 


Stormy sky over Paducah – 5 PM

April 19, 2009: Teardrops from Heaven

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

  I took this photo of a raindrop earlier this afternoon clinging to a flower petal.  You can see the cumulus clouds and blue sky reflected in the raindrop. 

 


Teardrops

 

 

April 19, 2009: Spring Wasp

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

  I miss taking "photographs".  :(   Life will slow down a bit later this year :) – school will be finished and the house will be built.  Then perhaps I can concentrate a bit more of taking photographs – once again.

  The sun popped out this afternoon and there are plenty of flowers blooming – everywhere.  Puffy Cumulus Clouds dot the sky.  I took these photos of a wasp outside of the house on one of our flowery bushes…


Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 19, 2009: Rain Rain Rain Rain Thunder

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

  Well, the clap of thunder woke Daisy and me up this morning.  She jumped straight up out of bed – so I had to grab her and hold onto her.  lol  There was a loud clap of thunder then another.  You could hear the rain hitting the windows of the house here in Lone Oak.  Woke up this morning and it was still raining.  Looks like a lot of water in the ditches.  Rain should continue through today and into this evening.  Strong storms are possible if the sun can come out later (heat things up and provide more energy for the atmosphere).

  We are nearing the 1" mark for rainfall since Midnight.

 


Morning radar showing widespread rain

April 19, 2009: Strong storms possible today…

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Date: Sunday, April 19, 2009

Call to action: Spotters activation may be required later this morning and into the afternoon hours.

This forecast was issued by – Beau Dodson
Meteorological Specialist for the Paducah/McCracken County Office of Emergency Management

This outlook is issued for portions of southeast Missouri, South Illinois, southwest Indiana, State of Kentucky, West Tennessee, and northeast Arkansas.
Effective from .

Weather Event/Threats: Strong to possible severe thunderstorms later this morning and afternoon.

Storm Mode/Type:  Thunderstorms will form if the sun comes out later this morning and into the afternoon hours.  Wind fields are weak but colder air aloft will help trigger strong/severe storms.  Large hail and gusty winds will be the main threat.  Isolated tornadoes will be possible.  SPC has placed us in a slight risk for today.

Storm Movement: East/Northeast 30+ mph
Storm Prediction Center Risk Level: Slight - (remember there are three levels of risk – slight/moderate/high).

Area impacted:  Entire region is under a risk for severe thunderstorms.

As always, severe weather events are normally isolated.  One county may receive severe storms while the county next to it escapes with very little in the way of significant weather.  This is the nature of severe weather.  As always, it is also impossible to forecast what county will receive what type of severe weather.  So, those with an interest in this storm system or concerned about the severe weather potential should listen to NOAA weather radio and local media for later statements and the possibility of watches and/or warnings.

Paducah’s hazardous weather outlook can be read at the bottom of the email.

Storm Prediction Center
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/

NWS Paducah (radar/warnings)
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/pah/

NWS Jackson, KY (radar/warnings)
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/jkl/

NWS Louisville (radar/warnings)
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lmk/

NWS Memphis (radar/warnings)
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/meg/

NWS St Louis (radar/warnings)
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/

Large Radar
http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/full.php

Beau Dodson
Meteorological Specialist for the Paducah/McCracken County Office of Emergency Management

NWS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK
ISSUED BY THE PADUCAH, KY NWS OFFICE
http://kamala.cod.edu/ky/latest.flus43.KPAH.html

April 18, 2009: Daisy –

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

  Had a nice dinner with Tommy and Dione tonight.  We went down to Murray – new place I have never been to before called Tom’s Grill.  Great food :)   -  will defin go back.

  Afterwards Tommy took me to see a nice house on KY Lake.  Log cabin style – we even saw some deer!!!

  Doug says we are building the "10th Wonder of the Weather World" up on the farm!!!!  I like the sound of that.  :)

  Daisy tonight seems fairly uninterested in the weather.  :)

|
Daisy tonight :)   – now let’s compare with when we first got Daisy :)

 


Daisy in 2006

April 18, 2009: Raining – cloudy – a tall roof :)

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

  Well, we had some problems with the pitch of the roof last week, but those have been corrected today.  Looks like everyone agrees that this pitch is much better.  It is way up there, though.  I believe the observation deck is going to be more than 40 feet high.  So, a good view – for sure!!!!

  It is raining today – more rain tonight and Sunday.  Don’t think the severe weather risk is very high, though.  Can’t rule out a few strong storms, however.

  Some photos from earlier this afternoon -

 


Ladder going up :)

 


Looking southwest

 


The roof – first two sections were placed today.

 

 

April 16, 2009: Cloudy day! Tests! House coming along

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

  Well, it was supposed to be sunny today.  That did not happen.  Clouds have lingered for 90% of the day.  The sun is just now breaking through – evening.  Too little too late!  Maybe tomorrow?  Looks like it.  I am HOPING we have more sun than clouds for Friday.  Rain by Saturday and Sunday – Monday, as well.

  Tests!  I have my fourth quarter test today and tomorrow for Severe Weather and then finals.  Lots to study in the coming days.

  Jason, from St Louis, is coming tomorrow to put the pole into the ground for the solar panels.  Yay.  :)   Then Sat and Sunday will be spent studying – then on Monday we are looking at some apartments in Paducah and revisiting the Murray subject – then to the farm to meet the man who is making our cabinets.  So, busy days ahead.  What is new?  :)   I like it busy, though. 

  The roof is beginning to take shape.  We realized last night that the pitch was not correct – so they are going to change that.  Means a higher roof and widows walk – so I won’t complain about that!

  Some photos from today…

 


HIGH UP ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP :)

 


Bobby and Rodney discussing the roof

 

 


And finally the rain gauge for the Wunderground Instruments (online set) is now finished.  I believe we are
ready to go!  I need internet and electricity.  :)   Soon – very soon :) :) :)

 

Do you think it has been cold lately?  You are correct!  A chilly spring.

 

April 15, 2009: Finishing weather instruments – found a room – getting taller

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

  Well, it was a fairly long day up at the farm.  Arrived this morning and starting running wires (electric) for the weather instruments and tower cam.  At one point I lost my pull string – but somehow managed to get it back.  I was fairly panicked for about 10 minutes!!!  Thankfully, I somehow managed to get it back and finished that project.  Now we have to hook it all up (waiting for electric to be run and T line).

  The roof is starting to go up on the house.  I went up into the room above the media room – which is/was the attic area.  However, the stairs that go to the top of the house (widow’s walk) is going to be in a small room at the top of the second set of stairs.  Anyway, Bobby and Rodney discovered that there will actually be quite a bit of room up there – so we have figued out where to put the kids video games and the like.  Which is good news, because this is something we had not quite figured out.  So, I am happy about that!

  The guy who is making the wood floors met Tony and the rest of us up there this morning, as well.  He is making them out of torn down barnwood.  Should be interesting :) .  Hopefully I can get a photo of the barns they use.

  Tomorrow we have to finish up a few small items – on the weather instruments.  Attach a rain gauge.  Then I have finals coming up – so study study study for the weekend.

  Next chance of rain comes on Saturday and Sunday.  Don’t believe severe weather is in the cards.  Will keep an eye, though.  This time of the year it doesn’t take much instability to cause problems.

  Some photos from today…


Finished the big rain gauge :) – it is ready to use.  Now we need rain – errr wait we don’t want rain.

 

 


Posting this for Jason to see – the wires are ready to hook up now for the weather instruments.

 


Starting to work on the roof :)

 

 

 

April 14, 2009: Quiet weather – mixing concrete – weather instruments

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

  Well, some quiet weather for a few days?  SAY IT ISN’T SO!!!!  :)   Chilly weather today with a lot of clouds.  We escaped the severe weather threat yesterday.  Why?  No instability.  No instability = no severe weather.  Had the sun came out yesterday we would have had hailstorms and high winds.  Thankfully, we did not!  So, we escaped severe weather for once.

  Next threat for showers and storms will be Saturday or Sunday.  Nothing major – at least that is how it appears right now.  Will monitor :)   – as always.

  Finals are coming up.  Guess I need to start studying for those.

  We mixed concrete today.  Trying to get my weather instruments up and running.  I needed a concrete pad for the big rain gauge – then we put a pole in the ground for the digital rain gauge that shows up online – and we poured some concrete into the shelter leg – holes.  Will let it harden tonight and go check it tomorrow. 

  I need to run some electric wires – as well. 

  Verizon came today, but couldn’t finish.  They have to do a dig order – first.  I don’t know why they thought they could run the wire above ground.  The trucks will run over it.  That would not be good.

  Some photos from today…

 


Time to mix some concrete :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 13, 2009: Severe weather threat – mainly east of us – Easter Photos

Monday, April 13th, 2009

  Well, too many clouds today to have severe weather.  Instability is better to our east and that is where I believe the most intense weather will remain.  Some hail is possible if storms can form this evening over southeast Missouri and South Illinois – they will then move eastward.  Again, though, the most intense weather will be to our east.  Tornado threat over portions of Indiana and Kentucky – then southward (east of Paducah, though).

  We had quite a bit of rain overnight.  Tony and I went up to the farm this morning and swept all the water out of the house.  Hopefully they will get things in the dry soon.

  Here are a few pictures from Easter.  We spent the evening at Tony and Deena’s house.  Had some great BBQ and played a few games.  The kids had an Easter Egg Hunt.  Even the big "kids" participated.  :)

 

 


Tyler – Easter 2009

 


Deena and Tyler

 


Dylan and his girlfriend Shawnie

 

 


Lori made an easter brownie :)  

 


Danielle – with lots and lots of eggs!

 

 


Tyler – I think that is plenty of candy!

 

 

 

 

 


Bubba decided to participate in the hunt.

 

 

 

 


Farm this morning – stormy sky. 

 


Looks like the garage roof is coming along.

April 12, 2009: Made the front page – severe weather moving into region – again

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

  The recent storms have brought some attention from the media, again.  There was a nice front page article about all of the tornadoes and recent hail/wind events.  Here is the story from the Paducah Sun – http://www.stormreports.org/april112009_frontpage.htm 

  They had a quote from me concerning the high winds in McCracken and Massac Counties.  I tried my best to get Tony’s hail photo included!  No luck this time around.  I guess he will just have to chase again.

  Here is some images I put together of the Massac County event – http://www.stormreports.org/april_10_2009_massacstorm.htm

  More strong to severe weather will be possible on Monday.  Hail could be a problem.

  Regional radar at 10 AM this morning -

 

 

April 12, 2009: Severe weather possible on Monday

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Date: April 11, 2009

Couple of items –

We have yet to have a "major" outbreak.  All of the risks lately have been slight.  This shows you what the potential for each "risk" level is from the Storm Prediction Center (there are three – slight/moderate/high).  Don’t be fooled by the terminology of "slight" risk (I don’t care for their threat levels anyway – it is confusing and can be misleading).

Also – I have discovered that it is not productive for me to send out watch alerts and warnings – my time needs to be focused on radar coverage for emergency management.  So, if you want to receive watches and warnings – please go here (it is a free service and I use it, as well)

WPSD TV 6 Email Weather Alerts:  http://www.wpsdlocal6.com/login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2falertregistration%2fdefault.aspx

Also, I recommend everyone have a NOAA Weather Radio – it is the quickest way to receive warnings.

I will continue to send out daily forecasts when weather events are expected.  I will also update the outlooks as necessary.  Since Jan/Feb the email updates have been averaging a lead-time of 5-7 days on each event.  But, like this morning – the weather can be unpredictable at times.  Storm systems can slow down and surprise us with more severe weather or less severe weather than expected.

Also, I always encourage everyone to remember that when a severe weather event occurs not every county will receive severe weather.  Remember, that this email is going out to numerous counties.  Listen for watches and specific county warnings from NOAA Weather Radio or local media.

Now for the forecast…


Call to action: Spotter activation might be necessary on Monday.  As always, listen to NOAA Weather Radio or other local media for updated forecasts.

This forecast was issued by – Beau Dodson
Meteorological Specialist for the Paducah/McCracken County Office of Emergency Management

This outlook is issued for portions of southeast Missouri, South Illinois, southwest Indiana, State of Kentucky, West Tennessee, and northeast Arkansas.
Effective from .

Weather Event/Threats: Heavy rain and possibly strong/severe weather
Heavy Rain – Sunday night into Monday
Strong/Severe Thunderstorms – possible on Monday

Storm Mode/Type: Possible bow echoes and supercells in or near the region

Storm Prediction Center Forecast Threat Level: Slight  (Remember there are three levels – slight/moderate/high).

Storm Movement: East/Northeast 30+ mph

Area impacted:  Entire region

Discussion:  Yet another in a series of strong storm systems will approach the region on Sunday night and Monday.  It is a bit early to know for sure just how high the risk for severe weather will be.  At this time the models are showing a window of opportunity for severe weather from noon Monday through 9 PM.  This is still a couple of days away and will need to be monitored.

Heavy rain is going to be a problem.  Recent moderate to heavy rain events have caused rivers to rise.  This is going to continue.  Additional rainfall could cause flash flooding or general flooding in some of our counties.  We will need to monitor this situation, as well.  Those interested in river levels and flood potential should visit the Paducah, NWS web-site for updated flood information.

Rain will move into our region on Sunday night and continue into Monday morning.  We should have some sort of break on Monday morning – late.  More rain and thunderstorms are then forecast to develop over the region as the warm front moves northward.  If the storm system tracks further south and east then the severe weather threat level will be lower.  Again, updated forecasts will fine tune the threat.

Looking ahead – more showers and thunderstorms are possible later this week.  I know it is beginning to sound like a broken record.  Spring is here.

Beau Dodson
Meteorological Specialist for the Paducah/McCracken County Office of Emergency Management

Links of interest:

Storm Prediction Center
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/

NWS Paducah (radar/warnings)
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/pah/

NWS Jackson, KY (radar/warnings)
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/jkl/

NWS Louisville (radar/warnings)
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lmk/

NWS Memphis (radar/warnings)
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/meg/

NWS St Louis (radar/warnings)
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/

Large Radar
http://radar.weather.gov/Conus/full.php

NWS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK
ISSUED BY THE PADUCAH, KY NWS OFFICE
http://kamala.cod.edu/ky/latest.flus43.KPAH.html


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