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Hurricane Florence could dump up to 40 inches of rain on parts of the Carolinas — here’s why the deluge may be so intense

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  • Hurricane Florence, a category 4 storm, is approaching the coast of the Carolinas. Its effects are expected to be felt in the area starting Thursday.
  • Forecasters predict the storm will slow down considerably as it approaches the shore, coming close to a standstill and dumping as much as 40 inches of rain.
  • That could prompt deadly floods.
  • Climate scientists say Florence’s behavior isn’t an anomaly — hurricanes are getting wetter and slower. Here’s why.

Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the US East Coast, bringing 125 mph winds, a life-threatening storm surge, and extremely heavy rain.

The storm’s center is expected to make landfall near the border between North and South Carolina. Its extreme winds and storm surge could be devastating, as a wall of water 13 feet high in some spots pushes its way into the shore.

But the worst impact of the storm may actually come from the rain.

The National Hurricane Center predicts that the storm will get stuck over North and South Carolina all weekend, stalling over portions of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia until Sunday morning. Projections suggest Florence will inch its way west over the weekend, with its eye taking two full days to drift from the coast into central North Carolina.

During that time, up to 40 inches of rain could fall over parts of North Carolina’s coast, prompting immense floods. Even areas as far inland as Charlotte and Raleigh could get up to 10 inches of rain.

Several factors are combining to create this worrisome situation: a high-pressure ridge of calmer weather is developing over the Ohio Valley, and ocean and air temperatures are higher than average.

Why Florence will get stuck

High-pressure ridges form when warm air in the upper atmosphere descends toward the Earth, making for clear, cloudless skies. This provides a natural barrier for swirling storms like Florence.

“Hurricanes cannot plow through regions of high pressure, they prefer to go around them,” James Done, an atmospheric scientist from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told Business Insider in an email on Tuesday. “In this case, there’s not an easy way around this high pressure.”

So this weather system coming in from the west will essentially block Hurricane Florence from moving and dispersing, holding the massive, 73,000 square mile-wide storm in place over the Carolinas and Virginia.

The National Weather Service is warning that “thousands of homes and businesses will be filled with water” in the storm-affected area. Roads on wet ground will likely erode from underneath.


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(Business Insider)

It’s similar to what happened last year when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. Harvey was downgraded to a tropical depression when it made landfall — with winds of less than 39 mph — but it lingered for days, hanging over low-lying Houston and causing devastating flooding.

Hurricanes are becoming wetter

The second reason that Florence could bring deadly rainfall and flooding is part of a larger trend in hurricane development: storms are becoming wetter and more powerful as the oceans and air warm up.

Peak rain rates, which arrive when the fierce core of a storm is overhead, have increased 30% over the past 60 years, according Andreas Prein, a project scientist with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

This is due to greenhouse gases from fossil fuels, which trap more heat on the planet and make the air and oceans warmer as a result. Warmer air can hold more water vapor, and this allows storms to become stronger and produce more rain.

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Hurricanes are also fed by warm ocean water, which pumps more heat and evaporating seawater up into a storm. The surface water in the ocean needs to be at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit in order for a hurricane to get swirling. (That’s why they don’t appear during the winter.) Currently, sea surface temperatures off the Carolinas are 3 or 4 degrees Fahrenheit higher than average for this time of year, giving Florence more fuel than previous storms that hit the region.

Because Florence is trapped by that high-pressure ridge and likely to stick around over warmer water for longer, that could give the storm even more strength.

More powerful hurricanes also bring higher storm-surge levels, a problem that’s exacerbated by sea-level rise. Hurricane Florence’s storm surge could be as high as 13 feet in places like Cape Fear and Cape Lookout on the coast of North Carolina.

Hurricanes typically lose strength as they move over land, but the warmer air and water means there’s more energy available to fuel their destructive paths. When storms like Florence have more moisture to draw from, they maintain more strength as they move inland and hold in moisture for longer.

“Storms are going to move deeper inland and affect more people,” climate scientist Cindy Bruyere, who studies storms at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, recently told Business Insider. The trend means places where people aren’t used to being in the flood path could be inundated.

Eastern North Carolina has a moderate to high risk of flash floods as the storm arrives, but flash flooding is possible up into Maryland and the southeast corner of West Virginia, per National Weather Service.

Storms are getting sluggish

Stalled storms like Harvey — and potentially Florence — might represent a new normal, according to recent research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The analysis, done by by NOAA researcher James Kossin, shows that hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical storms are moving more slowly over the Earth’s surface, especially over land. Storms slowed by an average of 10% from 1949 to 2016, that analysis found.

This cyclone slowdown is likely caused by changes in the circulation of Earth’s atmosphere due to climate change, Kossin said. Over the 67-year period he studied, the average global temperature rose by 0.5 degrees Celsius.

Stronger, wetter, slower storms are becoming a life-threatening consequence of living in a warmer world.

Read more of Business Insider’s hurricane coverage:



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General

Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

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Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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