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NASA releases video of 3 hurricanes from space

Cameras outside the International Space Station captured dramatic footage of three hurricanes churning through the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

In a video released by NASA, Hurricane Gaston can be seen in the Atlantic Ocean, along with Hurricanes Lester and Madeline in the Pacific. Time-lapse video of the hurricanes, taken 257 miles above the Earth, shows the eye of each storm and white clouds wrapping around the center of the storm.

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Gaston was weakening but could impact the Azores as a tropical storm this weekend.

A hurricane watch for Lester was issued Thursday for the Big Island and Maui County.

Madeline was downgraded to a tropical storm on Wednesday.

Landscapes: Trees and yard

Trees should be trimmed by early June, before storms threaten. Many municipalities have “amnesty” weeks before storm season, when you can deposit more than the allowable limit of yard debris. Call municipalities for more information.

Call a professional. Trees trimmed by a professional arborist are far less likely to go down in a storm.

Thinning a tree allows wind to blow through its canopy, offering less wind resistance in a storm. Prune young trees to create a single leader, which will grow into a strong trunk.

To minimize damage to a mature tree, eliminate weak branches and reduce the length of limbs at a tree’s sides. Don’t remove interior branches, as this can make a tree unbalanced.

Hatracked trees become sails. Removing a tree’s canopy encourages bushy growth, which makes a tree top heavy and wind-resistant. Some hatracked trees “sailed” directly to the ground. Hatracking is illegal.

‘Lifted’ trees mean broken branches. “Lifting” is a common practice where the lower branches are removed to provide clearance underneath. Lifting contributes to branch breakage and makes the tree top heavy.

Don’t wait until the storm is threatening to prune. If the trash pickup doesn’t get to your curb before the storm strikes, you’ve created a pile of potential missiles.

Coconuts behave like cannonballs in high winds. Remove them well before a storm hits. If trees are too tall for you to reach, hire a tree trimmer.

  • More hurricane tree protection tips

    Tips for your yard

    Take in hanging pots and baskets. Secure or take in pots from shadehouses.

  • Secure young trees with additional stakes.

    Don’t remove fruit. If you put it in a trash pile and the pile isn’t picked up, the fruit may fly around in the wind.

    Tree-dwelling bromeliads, staghorn ferns and orchids can be secured with fishing line.

    Take in or tie up any piles of yard or construction debris.

    Take in all garden furniture, grills, tiki torches and other outdoor items. (Do not sink furniture in swimming pool.)

    Consider removing gates and trellises.

    Palms, native trees fared best through 3 hurricanes

    In high wind, palms will bend but not always break. Since they originated in the tropics and subtropics, their supple trunks have adapted to hurricanes.

    Plant palms in clumps around the edge of your garden (not near the house) to block the wind and protect more fragile plants inside. Although fronds will be damaged in a storm, most of these palms will recover.

    Ficus trees come down easily in storms

    Ficus trees are not meant for residential yards. They grow to 70 feet with a massive span of shallow roots, and come down easily in high winds.

    If you already have a ficus, have it professionally trimmed before hurricane season begins. (If you have Australian pine and ficus in your yard, consider removing them.)

    Stake small trees as a storm approaches with stakes driven at least 8 inches into the ground.

    Trim large masses of vines so they don’t pull down fences.

    Lay arches and trellises on the ground and anchor with rope.

    Fast-growing, brittle trees should never be planted in hurricane country, no matter how quickly you need shade.

    STRONG TREES

    Gumbo limboCocoplumCypressDahoon hollyGeiger treeButtonwoodJamaica caperMasticIronwoodLive oakSand oakRed bayRed mapleCypressSea grapeStopperStrangler fig

    BRITTLE TREES(Consider removing these trees from your yard.)

    Australian pineEarleaf acaciaFicus (ficus benjamina, weeping fig)Bishopwood (Bischofia)CarrotwoodHong Kong orchidTabebuiaLaurel oakMelaleucaScheffleraBlack oliveJacarandaJava plumNorfolk Island pineRoyal poincianaSilk oak

    STORM-SAFE PALMS

    Cabbage palm (sabal palm)Canary Island date palmChristmas palm (adonidia)Coconut palmFlorida thatch palmFoxtail palmRobellini palm (Pygmy date palm)Royal palmMajesty palmPaurotis palmThatch palms

    Note: Queen palms are the exception. They have a very low wind tolerance.

    Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

    Tropical Storm — Winds 39-73 mph

    Category 1 Hurricane — winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt)No real damage to buildings. Damage to unanchored mobile homes. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Also, some coastal flooding and minor pier damage.- Examples: Irene 1999 and Allison 1995

    Category 2 Hurricane — winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt)Some damage to building roofs, doors and windows. Considerable damage to mobile homes. Flooding damages piers and small craft in unprotected moorings may break their moorings.Some trees blown down.- Examples: Bonnie 1998, Georges(FL & LA) 1998 and Gloria 1985

    Category 3 Hurricane — winds 111-130 mph (96-113 kt)Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings. Large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly built signs destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain may be flooded well inland.- Examples: Keith 2000, Fran 1996, Opal 1995, Alicia 1983 and Betsy 1965

    Category 4 Hurricane — winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt)More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Terrain may be flooded well inland.- Examples: Andrew(FL) 1992, Hugo 1989 and Donna 1960

    Category 5 Hurricane — winds 156 mph and up (135+ kt)Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Flooding causes major damage to lower floors of all structures near the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required.- Examples: Camille 1969 and Labor Day 1935

    Atlantic hurricane names

    When the the winds from these storms reach 39 mph (34 kts), the cyclones are given names. Years ago, an international committee developed names for Atlantic cyclones. In 1979 a six year rotating list of Atlantic storm names was adopted — alternating between male and female hurricane names. Storm names are used to facilitate geographic referencing, for warning services, for legal issues, and to reduce confusion when two or more tropical cyclones occur at the same time. Through a vote of the World Meteorological Organization Region IV Subcommittee, Atlantic cyclone names are retired usually when hurricanes result in substantial damage or death or for other special circumstances. The names assigned for the period between 2016 and 2020 are shown below. Names for Atlantic Basin Tropical Cyclones 20162017201820192020 AlexBonnieColinDanielleEarlFionaGastonHermineIanJuliaKarlLisaMatthewNicoleOttoPaulaRichardSharyTobiasVirginieWalter ArleneBretCindyDonEmilyFranklinGertHarveyIrmaJoseKatiaLeeMariaNateOpheliaPhilippeRinaSeanTammyVinceWhitney AlbertoBerylChrisDebbyErnestoFlorenceGordonHeleneIsaacJoyceKirkLeslieMichaelNadineOscarPattyRafaelSaraTonyValerieWilliam AndreaBarryChantalDorianErinFernandGabrielleHumbertoImeldaJerryKarenLorenzoMelissaNestorOlgaPabloRebekahSebastienTanyaVanWendy ArthurBerthaCristobalDollyEdouardFayGonzaloHannaIsaiasJosephineKyleLauraMarcoNanaOmarPauletteReneSallyTeddyVickyWilfred

    Dealing with mold

    Grills are convenient, but can be dangerous

    When the power goes out, you may be cooking on a charcoal, propane or natural gas grill, or a hibachi.

    Never leave grill unattended. Keep children away! Don’t grill near leaves, wood or other flammable objects.

    CHARCOAL GRILLS

    Safety first! Grills can kill. Charcoal emits carbon monoxide. It’s odorless and colorless and deadly. Grills emit it even if the lid is on, and they can emit it even if coals appear completely out. After Hurricane Wilma in 2005, a mother in a family of three died from carbon monoxide poisoning after a smoldering grill was left in a kitchen.

    Grill food in a well-ventilated area. NEVER bring a grill inside a home, camper or tent. Do NOT grill in a garage, carport or shed.

    Douse coals with water, stir and douse again. They are out when they are cool to the touch.

    Stock up early. Store in a dry area, away from flame.

    PROPANE GRILLS

    Fill your propane tanks now! Lines will be long once the storm approaches. If you have a big tank, have it filled regularly during the season. If you use small tanks, have two or even three full ones on hand.

    When refilling, have supplier check for dents, damage, rust or leaks. At home, check hoses for leaks, kinks or deterioration.

    If tank appears damaged after a storm, don’t use it.

    Keep propane tanks outside the home, but secure them so they don’t become missiles during the storm.

    Use and store propane cylinders outdoors in an upright position after the storm. Do not store spare tanks close to a hot grill.

    Don’t tamper with supply lines or permanent connections.

    Keep grill lid open until you’re sure it’s lit.

    Always make sure valves and dials are shut tight on both grill and tank. Escaping propane fumes, easy to detect by their strong odor, are deadly to breathe in quantity and can explode. If you smell gas, clear the area and seek help.

    Never smoke around propane! 

    Checklist: Inside the home

    Cleaning the fridge

    Avoid being victimized by contractors

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