Monday, October 24, 2005

Hurricane Wilma Hits Flat Florida


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

As NOAA predicted, hurricane Wilma would reorganize and strengthen in the Gulf. A storm surge of 17' is predicted at landfall. It is totally flat in the Everglades region and many people didn't evacuate because the hurricane didn't sound so bad 24 hrs ago.

From Yahoo:
Hurricane Wilma charged toward southwest Florida early Monday as a Category 3 storm, packing wind gusts of 120 mph, spawning tornadoes and churning up walls of seawater that could make thousands of Keys residents regret they defied evacuation orders.

Wilma was expected to bring a 17-foot storm surge when it makes landfall before dawn along the state's southwest corner, likely near Naples and Marco Island, National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield said.

"This is a very dangerous hurricane," said Mayfield. "People need to stay hunkered down."

At 4 a.m. EDT, Wilma was centered about 75 miles west-northwest of Key West, 80 miles southwest of Naples and moving northeast at about 20 mph with no signs of weakening.
As always, the very poor, farm laborers, lifelong residents, drunks, a collection of people stay, either unable to or unwilling to leave obvious danger. The government did the usual useless propaganda stuff showing pictures of semi trailers in very vulnerable tin warehouses holding ice and food. The warehouses are the type hurricanes usually tear asunder so why park them right in the middle of where the hurricane will happen? Storing hurricane supplies should happen in secure buildings built for just such emergencies. Big tinplated structures are stupid in hurricane territory! Of course, they are cheap and easy to assemble and like all cheap, easily built stuff, easy to destroy.

We know that huge hurricanes will rake low lying Florida! This is very obvious. Yet we insist on building expensive but flimsy structures there which are then insured by all people needing insurance, namely, those of us who build for the climate and sustain rare damage must subsidize people building multimillion dollar resorts on sand spits in hurricane alley.

In flat Bangladesh, a very poor third world nation, they have managed, thanks to the UN, to build typhoon sanctuaries that are made of heavy cement and above the tidal surges. This has greatly cut down on the loss of life there.

You would think, the USA could do the same, right? Yeah. Sure.

The Florida Keys will get a mere 8' storm surge and winds of only 110 mph. This will pretty much drown anyone in a one story house not to mention, the houses being destroyed by water pressure and wind. There is a good reason why the only people to live on the Keys were transients or campers until the last 50 years. It isn't a very logical place to build or live. Unlike tornadoes which can hit anywhere including deep in my mountains here in upstate NY, the destruction can be great but avoiding death means mostly moving into a basement during tornado watches. In a hurricane, and Wilma has spawned several tornadoes already, you die if you go into a basement so there is no place to go but to hope the tornadoes don't hit which is why solid cement structures like in Bangladesh should be a fixture for every 100 residents! All one has to do is calculate how many people are most likely to remain in hurricane territory during such storms and start building. I don't see this happening, though, simply because the sun will be out tomorrow and everyone will be showered with Federal aid and each time a hurricane wrecks Florida, money gushes like crazy so why do anything but build more flimsy ticky-tacky hotels and condos?

Make money!

This attitude is destroying our economy because this is all being paid for via vast seas of red ink which are drowning our future. The crazy talk of building a new, better, fancier, Las Vegas Gulf coast and doing it on the back of $250 billion debt has died down since the Chinese are not funding this insanity, now we will see another $50+ billion in damage if Wilma, as expected, doesn't loose steam and plows through Greater Miami, well, this whole thing is utterly insane, isn't it? If we taxed the hurricane south to reflect the true cost of living there, the south wouldn't be able to undercut the north on costs of doing business, would they? The attraction of living there would be a lot less if they paid an extra $200 a month per person to reflect the reality of that paradise.

Instead, we will pile on more and more debt. Since this latest hurricane destruction cycle should last around 5-10 years, at $300 billion a year this means in ten years it will cost us what, $3 trillion? Our debt is going to be $8 trillion in another month! With the Bush debt override being about $400-600 billion a year on top of this, the numbers are staggering. In ten years, at this rate, the debt will be, using these numbers unchanged, $16 trillion in 10 years.

This is bankruptcy on any level. It is impossible. Seeing the obvious, will we start to make moves to prevent this financial catagory 5 hurricane? Arg, are we dealing with global warming in any sane way?

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