Monthly Archives: October 2012

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After the Storm – Monitoring Hurricane Sandy Damage Reports and Relief Efforts

Blogs of War - Covert Contact Hurricane Sandy Recovery Monitor

Sandy lived up to the hype and extensive rescue and recovery operations are underway this morning. We have updated the Hurricane Sandy Monitor to reflect this and to better track the relief effort. The monitor now tracks:

  • Hurricane Sandy – Any mention of the storm.
  • Power Issues – Around 7 million people are without electricity this morning and may be so for many days.
  • Disaster Relief – Discussions about the relief effort.
  • Donations Needed – Calls for assistance and support.
  • Casualties – Deaths and injuries related to the storm.
  • Damage – Any discussions about flooded areas, fires, etc.
  • Videos/Photos – Media related to the storm.

Subscribers will find the updated monitor on the main menu. Demo users can launch the monitor by clicking on the big green button below:

Blogs of War

Subscriptions to Covert Contact’s array of over 140 topic monitors and 400 live social media streams are available for only $10 per month.

Hurricane Sandy Live Streams – Widescreen Monitor

Covert Contact - Live Streaming Social Media Intelligence - Hurricane Sandy Monitor

Sandy is shaping up to become a truly dangerous storm:

“It’s going to affect millions and cost billions,” he said. The storm will cause flooding and power outages that could last for days or weeks.

The storm is an unusual combination of a tropical weather system with a cold air mass that Moss called a “truly historic” event and said would act more like a nor’easter than a hurricane.

Most jurisdictions in the area – New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia – declared states of emergency and set up shelters in anticipation of the storm.

The potential for deadly storm surge is of particular concern:

This afternoon’s 3:30 pm EDT H*Wind analysis from NOAA’s Hurricane Research Division put the destructive potential of Sandy’s winds at a modest 2.8 on a scale of 0 to 6. However, the destructive potential of the storm surge was record high: 5.8 on a scale of 0 to 6. This is a higher destructive potential than any hurricane observed since 1969, including Category 5 storms like Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Camille, and Andrew. The previous highest destructive potential for storm surge was 5.6 on a scale of 0 to 6, set during Hurricane Isabel of 2003. Sandy is now forecast to bring a near-record storm surge of 6 – 11 feet to Northern New Jersey and Long Island Sound, including the New York City Harbor. This storm surge has the potential to cause many billions of dollars in damage if it hits near high tide at 9 pm EDT on Monday. The full moon is on Monday, which means astronomical high tide will be about 5% higher than the average high tide for the month. This will add another 2 – 3″ to water levels. Fortunately, Sandy is now predicted to make a fairly rapid approach to the coast, meaning that the peak storm surge will not affect the coast for multiple high tide cycles. Sandy’s storm surge will be capable of overtopping the flood walls in Manhattan, which are only five feet above mean sea level. On August 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene brought a storm surge of 4.13′ and a storm tide of 9.5′ above MLLW to Battery Park on the south side of Manhattan. The waters poured over the flood walls into Lower Manhattan, but came 8 – 12″ shy of being able to flood the New York City subway system. According to the latest storm surge forecast for NYC from NHC, Sandy’s storm surge is expected to be at least a foot higher than Irene’s. If the peak surge arrives near Monday evening’s high tide at 9 pm EDT, a portion of New York City’s subway system could flood, resulting in billions of dollars in damage. I give a 50% chance that Sandy’s storm surge will end up flooding a portion of the New York City subway system.

We are rolling out a widescreen Hurricane Sandy Monitor to both subscribers and demo users as a public service. This monitor looks at mentions of the storm, discussions about storm surge, wind damage, flooding, causalities, warnings, and links to related videos and photos. Subscribers can access the monitor via the main menu now. If you are not a subscriber just hit the big green button below to launch the demo and access the monitor.

Blogs of War

Subscriptions to Covert Contact’s array of over 140 topic monitors and 400 live social media streams are available for only $10 per month.

AFRICOM Monitor – Monitoring U.S. Africa Command

Covert Contact - Live Streaming Social Media Intelligence - AFRICOM

We just rolled out a new AFRICOM monitor. It is currently monitoring over 30 elements related to U.S. Africa Command and Islamist activity on the continent. Subscribers can find it on their “Topics” menu. This monitor is very active and it will stay that way for a long time to come.

Iranian Weapons and Drones Monitor

Iranian weapons continue to find their way into the hands terrorists and other rogue states whether it’s alleged an missile factory in Sudan or drones in the hands of Hezbollah. The sheer numbers of weapons involved and their increasing killing power is turning this into a very serious problem. Today’s low intensity conflict could develop into something extremely intense if (ok, when) a larger war breaks out in the region.

With this is mind we’ve rolled out a new Iranian Weapons Monitor that tracks Iranian missiles and conventional weapons, Iranian drones, Iranian-made Hezbollah drones, and discussions about new Iranian weapon announcements. Subscribers will find it in their Topics menu.

Subscriptions to Covert Contact’s array of over 140 topic monitors and 400 live social media streams are available for only $10 per month.

Monitoring Rocket Strikes on Israel

Subscribers will find a new Rocket Strikes on Israel Monitor in their Topics menu. This tracks Gaza, Hamas, and official Israeli military tweets on the topic. Of course, this has been an ongoing problem but things could be heating up:

An Israeli military spokeswoman, said 79 projectiles had been fired at Israel and that the Iron Dome system had intercepted eight of them. She said several homes had been damaged by Palestinian rockets.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is seeking a renewed mandate in Israel’s Jan. 22 election, visited an Iron Dome anti-missile battery near the southern city of Ashkelon on Wednesday and threatened stronger Israeli military action in Gaza.

“We did not choose this escalation, nor did we initiate it, but if it continues, we are prepared for a much wider and deeper operation,” he said, pledging to press on with “targeted attacks” against militants preparing to fire rockets.

Subscriptions to Covert Contact’s array of over 140 topic monitors and 400 live social media streams are available for only $10 per month.

Live Streaming National Security Updates on the Kindle

Covert Contact - Live Streaming National Security Tweets on the Kindle

This mini-version of Covert Contact for the Kindle is currently in development but may be released to subscribers. It has a few limitations, and certainly isn’t as robust as the full version of Covert Contact, but it is handy for checking in on key topics quickly and could be useful if more robust tablets or computers are not available. We’ll let you know if and when it becomes available.

Subscriptions to Covert Contact’s array of over 140 topic monitors and 400 live social media streams are available for only $10 per month.

Mass Shooting Near Brookfield Square in Wisconsin

Covert Contact - Live Streaming Social Media Intelligence - Mass Shooting Monitor

This is a breaking story:

Brookfield police have confirmed that multiple people have been shot near Brookfield Square. Multiple ambulances are at the scene. Police have not officially released any more information on the shooting

Subscribers can track this with the Covert Contact Mass Killings Monitor. It is, unfortunately, quite active.

Subscriptions to Covert Contact’s array of over 140 topic monitors and 400 live social media streams are available for only $10 per month.

Seven Column Widescreen Monitor Added for Mali

Intervention might not be right around the corner but it is getting increasingly likely. Covert Contact has monitored Mali from the start but this weekend I decided that a widescreen monitor was called for. It is available to subscribers now.

Turkey Monitor – Syria and Turkey Trade Artillery Fire

Covert Contact - Live Streaming Social Media - Turkey

So far the exchange seems contained but the situation is tense:

Turkey says it has fired artillery against targets inside Syria after Syrian shells killed five people in a Turkish border town.

The Turkish military shelled Syrian targets identified by radar near the border, the office of PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement.

Nato said it would hold an urgent meeting over the incident.

The Covert Contact Turkey Monitor is extremely active at the moment – as are the various Syria monitors. While an immediate escalation of the conflict seems unlikely this will be definitely be an area to watch.

Subscriptions to Covert Contact’s array of over 140 topic monitors and 400 live social media streams are available for only $10 per month.