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Blog Entries from February 17, 2010

NOAA National Weather Service to Use New Hurricane Wind Scale

Satellite image of Hurricane Ike, 2008. Click for larger image.

NOAA’s National Weather Service will use a new hurricane scale this season called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The scale keeps the same wind speed ranges as the original Saffir-Simpson Scale for each of the five hurricane categories, but no longer ties specific storm surge and flooding effects to each category. Changes were made to the Saffir-Simpson Scale because storm surge values and associated flooding are dependent on a combination of the storm’s intensity, size, motion and barometric pressure, as well as the depth of the near-shore waters and local topographical features. (More)

NTIA, Census Bureau Report New Findings on Internet Use in the United States

Image of circle of connected computers. Courtesy of Shutterstock

Image © Francesco Bisignani/Shutterstock

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a new report taking a first look at data collected through the Internet Usage Survey of more than 50,000 households, commissioned by NTIA and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in October 2009. Since 2007, the data show that, while virtually all demographic groups have experienced rising broadband Internet access adoption at home, historic disparities among particular demographic groups overall continue to persist. (More) (Census tables) (NTIA “Digital Nation” report—PDF)

Under Secretary Blank Statement on New Residential Construction in January 2010

Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau today released data on new residential construction in January 2010. Housing starts rose 2.8 percent in January and permits decreased 4.9 percent. Starts have advanced 23.4 percent and permits have risen 24.7 percent above their April 2009 low point. “Despite the mixed performance at the start of the year, the outlook for growth in housing activity remains positive,” Commerce Under Secretary Rebecca Blank said. (More) (Release)