Flying Through Hurricane Matthew
Zack Bloom

Hi, I have succeeded.

Benjamin Franklin demonstrated the rapidly mitigating weather effects of light oil on water in his famous

Experiments on a pond at Clapham a cruet of oil and dropped a little of it on the water.

“I fetched out a cruet of oil and dropped a little of it on the water. I saw it spread itself with surprising swiftness upon the surface… Though not more than a teaspoonful, produced an instant calm over a space several yards square which spread amazingly and extended itself gradually till it reached the lee side, making all that quarter of the pond, perhaps half an acre, as smooth as a looking glass.”

“After this I contrived to take with me, whenever I went into the country, a little oil in the upper hollow joint of my bamboo cane, with which I might repeat the experiment and I found it constantly to succeed.” Benjamin Franklin, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. London, 1774, 64, 445.

Today we call it a monolayer. The effect is that of water/air surface lubrication so that wave action diminishes. So storm surge diminishes with the air/water surface lubrication with my vegetable oil monolayer. The hurricane’s low air pressure fails to “grab” water to pull it upward due to diminished friction. When the wind does not encounter the resistance of friction of the normal sea surface, then the air circulation homeostasis of the storm is also disrupted. A storm is mostly synchronously moving air, when that is knocked off kilter completely, the storm will disintegrate into tropical storms.

1 Tsp / .5 acre So how much area would my 68 quarts of fine vegetable & canola oil cover? 192 Teaspoons /quart/ 2 Tsp/Acre = 96 acres. 96 acres/quart X 68 quarts = 6528 discontinuous acres (or about 10 square miles) were covered by my oil pulsed monolayer in Matthew’s path if it arose from a single point. Given the dissemination on top of a river current entering the ocean at night, the discontinuous sheen would have an even wider influence.

The recent major hurricane, Matthew, approached the coast of Florida this last week. I was able to mitigate and diminish the storm rather simply as suggested by Ben Franklin’s original experiment. This is the case of an old solution awaiting modern technology. We couldn’t measure storms well in the 18th century, even vegetable oil was expensive. On Wednesday night 10/05/2016 between 10 and 11:15 pm I dumped 68 quarts of Walmart vegetable oil and Walmart canola oil into the middle of the Middle River at the bridge over US1 in Fort Lauderdale. The oil dispersed in all directions, even upstream at a rapid rate. The fresh water of the river’s current floats above the seawater and the oil stays on top of that, naturally. If you look at the progress of the storm, you will notice that once the sheen and the hurricane met about 12 hours later, the hurricane’s behavior changed. The “eye” of the storm rapidly widened. And after thousands of miles at the same constant clip, the storm suddenly slowed considerably, and the strength of the storm diminished.

Seeing the dramatic success of my original experiment, I followed up with similar oil discharges at Daytona Beach 11 gallons @ 4:00 to 4:15 pm 10/07/2016, at St. Augustine two dumps of 8 gallons +1 quart, and 9 gallons, and Jacksonville 6 gallons dumped into the river at 6:30pm 10/07/2016. I put a total of about 30 square miles of vegetable oil sheen in hurricane waters this last week. I noticed on my car radio via news reports that weather conditions improved dramatically behind me along highway 1. I hope my discharges into the intracoastal waterway were effective in diminishing storm surge. You may google the record.

The cheapest technique, which for poverty I was forced to utilize, is to find a stream entering the ocean that puts its stream across the path of an oncoming hurricane. I was able to render the storm from a major hurricane to a much weaker storm. Better might be to use a submarine to release a few hundred gallons of vegetable oil beneath a hurricane to completely destroy the storm. Submerged or floating buoys might be employed for the same purpose. Oil bombs from aircraft could also do the job. Oil can be contained in water soluble packaging, too, and placed as needed.

Ross Corby “Bubba” Nicholson