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Power outages affecting mobile connectivity in Atlantic Canada after Hurricane Dorian

If you’re experiencing issues with slow internet and poor connectivity, you’re not the only one in Atlantic Canada.

Since Hurricane Dorian made landfall this weekend, social media has been flooded with a steady stream of complaints about slow network speeds and limited access to mobile services.

Although hundreds of thousands of households in Atlantic Canada remain without power, the complaints have even come from those who now have the lights back on.

The complaints haven’t been limited to one telecommunication company, either, with angry customers complaining about Bell Aliant, Telus and Eastlink.

Bell Aliant said power outages have impacted a number of its wireless cell sites and other communication facilities across Nova Scotia.

“Bell wireless sites are equipped with battery backup power systems, and if required, our teams activate generators to keep individual sites up and running if electrical grid power has not yet been restored,” said Katie Hatfield, a spokesperson for Bell Aliant.

Hatfield added that Bell Aliant is working with Nova Scotia Power to get power restored to the affected sites as soon as possible.

Steve Beisswanger, a spokesperson for Telus, said customers can check the company’s website at telus.com/outages for updates or visit its Twitter page @telussupport.

“We are working closely with our network partners,” Beisswanger wrote.

Eastlink told Global News it is continuing to assess the damage and power-related issues caused by Dorian.

“All of our technicians are out working, addressing any and all areas they can while power restoration efforts continue,” wrote Jill Laing in an email, adding that Eastlink has been activating generators to ensure critical sites, including cellular sites, are up and running.

“We are working closely with our partners, including Nova Scotia Power, as we work to restore services as quickly as possible.”

Only Eastlink addressed a question about whether it would be considering a data-forgiveness policy due to the mass power outages caused by Dorian.

“Our primary focus right now is restoring service to affected customers. As it relates to customers’ individual accounts, we will absolutely treat customers fairly as part of our ongoing commitment to our customers,” wrote Laing.

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Science

These round homes have survived every major hurricane in the last 50 years, including Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. Take a look.

  • Hurricane Dorian hasleft a trail of devastation in the Bahamas: Around 13,000 houses were damaged or destroyed by the storm.
  • The design company Deltec manufactures circular homes that can withstand hurricane-force winds.
  • So far, the company said, its structures in the Bahamas seem to have survived the storm.
  • Deltec designs have also withstood previous hurricanes like Harvey, Irma, and Michael.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more.

Hurricane Dorian swept through the Bahamas earlier this week, leaving behinda trail of devastation, including waist-deep floods and flattened homes. The storm has killedat least 20 people.

The Red Crossreports that Dorian damaged or destroyed around 13,000 houses in the Bahamas after making landfall there on Sunday as a Category 5 hurricane with wind speeds of up to 185 miles per hour.

For the past 50 years, the design companyDeltec Homes has developed circular houses that are especially resistant hurricanes like Dorian. So far, all of the company’s structures in the Bahamas seem to have survived the storm, the company said.

Take a look at how Deltec’s properties are able to withstand hurricane-force winds.

The round design of a Deltec home makes it more aerodynamic than a traditional, rectangular structure.

Because the buildings are circular, wind tends to flow around them instead of putting pressure on one side of a home. A sloping roof also deflects wind pressure, as opposed to a flat roof, which can come loose during a hurricane.

Deltec sources its lumber from a mill in Georgia, which tests each board to make sure it’s sturdy enough to hold up during a storm.

The company also uses impact windows, which are laminated and usually contain a synthetic inner sheet so that the glass doesn’t shatter if it gets struck by an object. During a hurricane, a broken window can cause air pressure to rise and a house to blow apart from the inside.

On top of that, Deltec offers metal hurricane straps that tether a home’s roof to its foundation.

Read more: How to hurricane-proof your home, according to an architect who designs homes that could withstand Category 4 hurricanes

Deltec has been designing these circular homes for more than 50 years. The properties can be found in about 30 countries.

The company’s homes are prefabricated in its North Carolina factory, and they range from around 300 square feet to 10,000 square feet. Some are individually owned, while others are part of resorts.

Deltec said it reached out to homeowners in the Bahamas to find out whether their houses remained intact. Those who responded said their properties survived.

Dorian made landfall at the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas on Sunday. Manyhomes in the area quickly collapsed and were submerged in water.

Deltec’s president, Steve Linton, told Business Insider that it has been tough to communicate with homeowners in the Bahamas, but a couple of residents with Deltec properties reported that they are “doing great,” he said.

One Deltec home in the Abaco Islands, he said, lost some of its roof shingles and a bit of siding, but appears to be structurally intact.

In 2017, Deltec’s structures in Texas weathered Hurricane Harvey as well.

Harvey made landfall on San Jose Island, Texas, as a Category 4 storm in late August 2017. Three hours later, it made a second landfall at Rockport, Texas — part of the Texas mainland.

Linton said he visited Rockport after the storm andfound widespread devastation. The storm damaged or destroyed nearly 135,000 homes in the state.

“It was pretty gut-wrenching because essentially you just see a pile of homes on the curb, like they’re trash,” he said. “Out of a hundred homes, there were maybe one or two that were left standing.”

Deltec’s homes were among them.

A couple weeks later, Deltec homes also withstood Hurricane Irma.

“We had about 200 homes in the path of Irma,” Linton said. “None of them were lost to the hurricane.”

At one property, the section of a wall blew out, but the roof was still intact, Linton said. The lesson there, he said, was that homeowners should always board up their windows and doors.

“That’s one of the common failure mechanisms for structures,” he said. “If the hurricane gets inside the home, you essentially have a hurricane pushing from the inside and pulling from the outside.”

During Hurricane Michael in 2018, Deltec’s properties also remained standing.

In October 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall as a Category 5 storm near Mexico Beach, Florida. In the wake of the hurricane,photos showed large swaths of beachfront homes that had been flattened or cleared away by the storm.

But most of Deltec’s properties were relatively fine, and those in the direct line of the storm sustained only minor damage.

Read more: A Florida home called ‘Sand Palace’ survived Hurricane Michael while everything was flattened around it. Here’s why.

This coastal home in Mexico Beach, Florida, for example, took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael. It lost part of its roof, but the structure was sound.

“In one sense it’s rewarding to see the Deltecs standing strong,” Linton said. “Then on the other hand you’re like, ‘Wow, there’s so much more work to be done.'”

The company’s bungalows on Black’s Island, a private resort in Florida, looked pristine after Hurricane Michael.

Deltec produced 26 circular bungalows for Black’s Island. The resort was located squarely in Michael’s path, but the 1,250-square-foot propertiessurvived. Meanwhile, homes about 6 miles away Port St. Joesaw extensive damage.

Linton said interest in Deltec homes “tends to ebb and flow with the rise and fall of these storms.”

He added that customers often ask for the homes to contain more windows, so the company is researching ways to add more without compromising the integrity of a structure or making it more vulnerable to hurricanes.

Deltec homes typically cost around 10% more than an average house of the same size. The smallest model starts at around $100,000.

But the company says the hurricane-resistant features could pay off over time.

Lintontold Business Insider in 2016 that the total cost of a Deltec home — including repairs, utilities, and upkeep — could be 20% less than a typical property after 20 years. The homes, he said, are designed to last for generations, so should require little maintenance.

Deltec homes can also be customized to have varying levels of energy efficiency, all the way up to net-zero energy consumption.

Deltec’s designs offer another benefit: The round shape provides a panoramic view.

Linton said that customers tend to purchase a Deltec home because they’re sturdy and energy-efficient, but what stands out is the view.

“You feel like you’re living outdoors,” Linton said.

Deltec is testing new products, like an insulation blanket that keeps homes warm during the winter.

In 2016, Deltec opened an innovation center to test new products. The company uses model homes there as “real-life laboratories,” Linton said.

Right now, Deltec is working on a way to insulate properties in cold climates. This would improve energy efficiency, since it would reduce the need to generate heat.

Many traditional homes have insulation between the wooden studs, but that allows some heat to seep out. Linton said Deltc wants to be able to wrap the entire exterior of a home in insulation, like a blanket.

Hurricanes like Dorian challenge the company to keep improving its designs, Linton added.

As storms grow stronger and more frequent, Deltec’s design challenges becomes even greater, Linton said. Storms like Dorian, he said, “raise the bar” for the company to develop new innovations that keep residents safe.

But Linton said opting for sturdy materials and circular construction is still the best bet for hurricane-safe houses.

“Short of building a concrete bunker, there’s really not much else that you can do,” he said.

SEE ALSO:A house made of plastic soda bottles can withstand winds twice as strong as a Category 5 hurricane. Take a look inside.

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Science

A cocktail of weird Caribbean weather is making Hurricane Dorian's path especially hard to predict

  • Hurricane Dorian, currently a major Category 3 storm, is expected to makelandfall in Florida on Monday as aCategory 4 hurricane.
  • The hurricane hasn’t quite followed the path that scientists initially anticipated. A pocket of high atmospheric pressure is causing it to veer left.
  • The direction of the storm determines whether it passes over warmer waters, which could affect its intensity.
  • Read more about Hurricane Dorian:Photos reveal the damage so far,what spaghetti models can and can’t tell us,information on flights,why storms are getting stronger and wetter,what hurricane categories mean, andtips for how to prepare.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more.

Hurricane Dorian is sweeping across the Atlantic Ocean on its way to the Bahamas and Florida, where it is expected to make landfall asa Category 4 storm on Monday.

It’s currently a Category 3 hurricane, with wind speeds of 115 miles per hour. By the time Dorian hits Florida’s eastern coast, its wind speeds areexpected to reach 140 miles per hour — enough to damage homes, down power lines, andrender neighborhoods unlivable for weeks or months.

Current projections suggest the eye of the storm could make landfall near West Palm Beach, Florida, and it may first pass over the Bahamas, but Dorian’s exact path is still highly uncertain.

Predicting where the storm could make landfall has been challenging for forecasters because of a cocktail of weather conditions in the Caribbean, including warm water and an area of high pressure in the atmosphere. Here’s what we know so far and why information is still limited.

Hurricane Dorian’s path has shifted

Forecasters initially thought Hurricane Dorian could hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday, which prompted President Donald Trump to declare approve an emergency declaration for the US territory on Tuesday. Instead, the storm shifted east toward the Virgin Islands, causing widespread blackouts in St. Thomas and St. John and sporadic power outages in St. Croix.

Hurricanes like Dorian start out over warm ocean water near the equator, where the sea’s surface temperature isat least 80 degrees and the air is humid. The rising moisture creates a cluster of thunderstorms, which form a vortex, like water circling a drain.

The churning winds then create an area of low pressure over the ocean’s surface, which allows more air to enter. Once the winds in that spinning storm system reach 74 miles per hour, a hurricane has formed.

Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

In Dorian’s case, the storm system is lopsided, with a large cluster of thunderstorms pulling the hurricane east. This allowed the hurricane to avoid passing over the mountains of Puerto Rico, which would have cut off its supply of moisture and heat and reduced its intensity.

On Friday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said thatmost reliable hurricane models agree that Dorian will move west and pass near or directly over the Bahamas on Sunday. But after that, the NHC said, predictive models disagree about exactly when and where the storm will turn toward the US.

Caribbean weather makes predicting Dorian’s landfall difficult

At the moment, Dorian is “very gradually turning toward the left,” according to the NHC. That behavior is strange, sincetropical cyclones passing through the same location typically re-curve to the right.

The reason for this odd pattern is a pocket of high atmospheric pressure called the Bermuda High, which essentially acts like a road block that pushes the storm in a new direction. If the Bermuda High is strong (the more likely scenario), that would push Dorian toward the Florida Peninsula. If it’s weak, it could steer the hurricane toward Georgia and the Carolinas.

Figuring out how a storm intensifies is “a vexing problem,” Brian Haus, a researcher who simulates hurricanes at the University of Miami, told Business Insider.

“It’s pretty well understood that if the water is warmer and it’s causing more moist air to come up, you have the potential of a storm to grow quickly and intensely,” Haus said. “The question is how much that’s going to happen.”

As Dorian passes through the Gulf Stream, the warm water there will cause the hurricane to gain strength. But its severity will also depend on whether it passes over the Bahamas’ northernmost islands or continues to hover over warm water.

The storm could also intensify due to shifts in wind shear — the change in wind speed or direction that comes with a higher altitude. Dorian’s wind shear is expected to weaken as it approaches Florida, meaning the storm is likely to get worse.

“Uncertainty is always a tough thing to communicate,” Haus said. “I would love to know exactly where this storm is going to go, how strong it’s going to be, and what that means for my house in Miami.”

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