Science

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Never Turn Your Back: Sneaker Waves Possible this Weekend

Posted By on Sat, Jul 4, 2020 at 12:42 PM

sneaker_wave_warning.png
The Eureka office of the National Weather Service warns there is a slight to moderate threat of sneaker waves this holiday that continues through Sunday evening.

A long-period southernly swell is bringing the risk, which is more acute at steep beaches but larger waves may also wash over jetties and rock outcroppings that would normally remain dry, according to the beach hazard statement.

Read the NWS hazard statement below:
* WHAT...
A long period southerly swell will bring a threat of sneaker waves to area beaches.

* WHERE...
Coastal Del Norte, Northern Humboldt Coast, Southwestern Humboldt and Mendocino Coast Counties.

* WHEN...
Through Sunday evening.

* IMPACTS...
Potential sneaker waves may create locally hazardous conditions at area beaches. Steep beaches will have a higher risk of sneaker wave activity with greater wave run-up onto beaches. Large waves will also wash over jetties and rock outcroppings that normally stay dry.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
Caution should be used when in or near the water. Stay a safe distance from the water along beaches, rocks, jetties, piers, and other waterside infrastructure. Remain out of the water to avoid hazardous swimming conditions. Never turn you back to the ocean. A slight to moderate threat of sneaker waves will be possible along south-southwest facing beaches through Sunday evening. Steep beaches will have the highest risk of sneaker wave activity. Remember to never turn your back on the ocean.
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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Making the Grade: No Bummer Beaches for Humboldt this Year

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 3:12 PM

An exceptional low tide at Luffenholtz Beach near Trinidad. - PHOTO BY MARK A. LARSON
  • Photo by Mark A. Larson
  • An exceptional low tide at Luffenholtz Beach near Trinidad.
Here’s some good news:  Humboldt County’s shores didn't make the “Bummer Beach” list in this year’s Heal the Bay report card on California’s coastline.

Clam Beach has been at the top of list in recent years and Luffenholtz Beach has also made an appearance or two. In fact, the Humboldt report shows above average grades with 80 percent of local beaches receiving an A or B during wet weather while that dropped to 60 percent for the region’s summer grades.

“A day at the beach shouldn’t make anyone sick,” Shelley Luce, President and CEO of Heal the Bay, said in a release. “We are glad to see water quality improving at some beaches, but there are no guarantees."

Find the full report here.

Read the Humboldt County section from the report below: 
HUMBOLDT COUNTY Summer Dry Grades were poor but still above average this year with just 60% of the beaches receiving A and B grades.

Wet Weather Grades were good and far above average this year with 80% of the beaches receiving A and B grades.

Humboldt County does not monitor its beaches in the winter months so there were no Winter Dry Grades and no beaches were eligible for the Honor Roll.

Humboldt County received 36 inches of rain, which is 11% lower than the historical average of 41 inches. Most of the rain fell during the winter months when the beaches are not monitored, so we do not know the full impact of the reduced rainfall.

There was one reported sewage spill that sent 5,300 gallons into the Eel River, which flows into the ocean south of Eureka. No beaches were closed as a result of the spill.

Can't see the PDF in mobile view? Try desktop view.

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Friday, June 26, 2020

Blue Lake Rancheria's Microgrid Efforts Make HuffPost

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2020 at 3:44 PM

A line of cars waiting to fuel up stretches down the block at the Blue Lake Rancheria gas station, which used microgrid technology, including the solar panels above the pumps, to keep operating through the blackout. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • A line of cars waiting to fuel up stretches down the block at the Blue Lake Rancheria gas station, which used microgrid technology, including the solar panels above the pumps, to keep operating through the blackout.
A HuffPost story published today on the role microgrids play in keeping the lights on during natural disasters — focusing mainly on a community located on the Bay of Bengal in the wake of a cyclone — gives a cameo appearance to the Blue Lake Rancheria’s efforts.

The story describes the Rancheria’s microgrid system — built in collaboration with the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State — as being the “core of a sophisticated energy strategy designed to prepare the community for the growing impacts of climate change.”

That preparation was on full display back in October, when wildfire threats plunged Humboldt County into darkness.

While PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoffs may now seem long, long ago and far, far way in the wake of the pandemic, it was — of course — the Blue Lake Rancheria that provided a major lifeline to the community during that time.

Not only was the Rancheria able to keep its hotel in operation, but it provide a safe space for the medically fragile, kept the ice and gas flowing and allowed people to charge their phones and medical devices, among many other important services.

Read the full HuffPost story here.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Orcas Spotted Off Eureka (Video)

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2020 at 12:11 PM

Arcata writer Ishan Vernallis and his friend Robin Brown were cruising on Vernallis’ fishing boat Tuesday at around 4 p.m., hoping to get into a few halibut. They had traveled about 4 miles northwest of the harbor entrance when their eyes caught something much bigger — a killer whale. 


It appeared to be a juvenile, and the orca was feeding on a sea lion or seal, Vernallis observed. He kept his boat at a distance to avoid creating a disturbance and moments later a pod of three more orcas surfaced on the starboard side of the boat. Vernallis called experience “exhilarating.” 

Orcas chillin' off Eureka. - ISHAN VERNALLIS
  • Ishan Vernallis
  • Orcas chillin' off Eureka.

“I’ve been fishing rather regularly for 12 years and this was the first time I’ve seen an orca,” he said.

Others saw killer whales, too. Full Throttle Sport Fishing owner and captain Gary Blasi encountered a pod earlier that day, at around 2:30 p.m. and captured the stunning video below. After Blasi’s video and Vernallis’ photo appeared on Facebook, marine biologists began to chime in about the significance of the sightings, though they couldn't later confirm whether the men had seen the same pod or different ones.

Continue reading »

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Friday, June 5, 2020

Antarctica Research Vessel Taking Harbor in Humboldt Bay, LoCo Reports

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2020 at 7:50 PM

The research ship Nathaniel B. Palmer in McMurdo Sound with the Royal Society Range in the background. - NSF PHOTO BY HOLLY GINGLES
  • NSF photo by Holly Gingles
  • The research ship Nathaniel B. Palmer in McMurdo Sound with the Royal Society Range in the background.
The Lost Coast Outpost reports that the bright orange, 300-foot research vessel with icebreaking capability currently taking harbor in Humboldt Bay is the Nathaniel B. Palmer.

Named to commemorate the American credited with first seeing Antarctica, the ship used by the National Science Foundation is taking a break on the North Coast before setting out on a new voyage.

Read the full story here.
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County: Details on When More Humboldt Business Sectors Can Open Coming Soon

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2020 at 6:12 PM

A Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory employee processes a COVID-19 test. - PUBLIC HEALTH
  • Public health
  • A Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory employee processes a COVID-19 test.
More details on when the next business sectors will begin reopening in Humboldt County are expected next week, with County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich making the ultimate call on the timeline.

In a news release, Frankovich notes that the state strongly recommends against bringing additional sectors online until after June 12 to allow time to gauge the impacts of Memorial Day weekend and recent demonstrations in the wake of the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

“We all know how important reopening businesses is to our whole community. Our economy directly impacts the health and well-being of residents,” Frankovich said in the release. “We are going to do this as quickly as possible, but with safety as our first priority.”

The reopening date for hair salons and barber shops is expected to be announced Monday, followed by campgrounds by around mid-week then lodging establishments and gyms after June 12.

“As we’ve said since shelter-in-place first took effect, every time we add activities or businesses for reopening, we increase the number of people moving and interacting throughout our community, which increases the chances for the virus to spread,” Frankovich said. “It is important to monitor the amount of disease activity so we know whether it is safe to continue moving forward or whether a pause is needed.”

Public Health has confirmed a total of 49 new cases since May 8, but the rate of new cases seems to have slowed considerably over the past week, with just six new cases confirmed since May 28.

Read the full release below:


Continue reading »

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Thursday, June 4, 2020

Brrrrrr: A Winterlike Weekend is in the Forecast

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2020 at 5:16 PM

thunder_rain.png
It’s going to feel a bit more like winter than June as an “unseasonably cold weather system” moves into the region, with temperatures from the coast to the mountains forecast to dip into the 40s on Sunday and Monday, according to the forecast.

The National Weather Service office in Eureka also states that widespread rain is expected Saturday — and possibly into Sunday — while thunderstorms and even light snow at higher elevations may make an appearance.

“Blustery westerly and northwest winds” are also expected this weekend, the forecast states. The strongest winds will be in interior areas and over ridges.

Find more information about specific areas here.
low_temps.png
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Birth Announcement: It’s an HSU Geography Magazine!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2020 at 12:27 PM

SUBMITTED
  • Submitted

Around 10 a.m. today, Humboldt State University's Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Analysis (GESA) gave birth to a healthy, brand new magazine. Dubbed Humboldt Geographic, the online journal is the culmination of 20 undergraduate students's efforts in a 2019 fall semester course taught by professors Matthew Derrick and Nick Perdue.

Reached while making final edits in his home, Derrick said it’s been a time of “upheaval” for the students, perhaps referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, the widespread economic uncertainty, the countrywide protests and riots and the university’s transition to online-only classes.


"It’s fun to finally get [the journal] done,” said Derrick, who also serves at the GESA Department Chair. “Our goal is to have a print version in the fall.”

The publication’s contents include department news, feature stories, nifty maps known as “geovisualizations,” alumni highlights and student research on topics ranging from marijuana cultivation to gray wolves to sex work in Humboldt County.

Derrick said he hopes the journal will serve as a bridge between the campus and the wider Humboldt community, giving outsiders a window into a department some might consider mysterious. (We may or may not have Googled “what does a geographer study?” Answer: pretty much everything involving people and places.)

For a more detailed answer, check out the magazine.


Editor's note: This story was updated from a previous version to correct an omission.
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Friday, May 29, 2020

NWS Issues Flash Flood Watch as Storms Approach

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2020 at 12:36 PM

Areas in green are under a flash flood watch. - NWS
  • NWS
  • Areas in green are under a flash flood watch.
A wallop of wild weather is expected to hit the North Coast overnight, with some areas under a flash flood watch from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday as thunderstorms, heavy rainfall and the potential of some severe hail and gusty winds bear down on the region.

According to the Eureka office of the National Weather Service, “unseasonably heavy rain” is forecast for much of Humboldt and neighboring counties starting tonight and lasting into Saturday.

“Storms may become numerous and train across the same locations for several hours resulting in heavy rainfall rates,” a NWS post states. “Hail will be possible with the strongest storms. In addition, flashy creeks and streams may flow across roadways. Motorists are urged to drive cautiously in areas of heavy rain, and avoid driving across roadways covered by fast flowing water.”

The National Weather Service in Eureka has issued a flash flood watch for the northeastern and northwestern interior of Mendocino, interior areas of Southern Humboldt and southwestern Humboldt.

According to NWS, local rainfall rates of a half inch per hour are possible.
For more information, visit the Eureka office’s website here.
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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Blown Away: Humboldt Saw Some Wind on Friday

Posted By on Sat, May 23, 2020 at 1:07 PM

Heck yeah, it was a windy Friday afternoon.

Cooskie Mountain near Petrolia saw 46 mile per hour winds while Ferndale clocked in at 42 miles per hour and the Arcata/Eureka Airport came in at 36 miles per hour. Out in Hoopa, it was a bit more mild at 25 miles per hour.

For a look at peak wind gusts around the region, check out the handy graphic from the Eureka office of the National weather service below or click here.
wind_gusts.jpg
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