Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wilma Can Destroy Huge Parts of Florida


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

According to Oct. 19th projections, Hurricane Wilma will rage right across half of Florida. It might make landfall at 2am Sunday which is high tide. Winds of over 120mph sustained. Evacuation is highly recommended.

Miami Beach is only 4' above sea level. Much of Florida is barely more than 50' above sea level in the middle, the shorelines are scant inches high. Many parts that are paticularily built up are below or right at sea level, protected by sand barriers so they are on inlets with lower water than the outside sea.

The hurricane, if it is traveling with 120+ mph winds, coming at high tide at night, will have a sea surge of towering proportions because the two forces will combine. If, like Katrina, the surge is over 20', this could ride right over much of lower Florida. From University of South Florida:
Although there was an economic boom in Florida during the early 1920s, the economy went downhill as the decade came to an end. Two severe hurricanes damaged a large portion of South Florida. The first one hit the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas in the middle of the night, which came as a surprise to many people including tourists. Severe flooding and wind damage crippled the community. The second one hit the Palm Beach area, which caused Lake Okeechobee to flood and drown over 2,000 people in nearby communities.
The lake didn't merely "flood"--the hurricane pushed the entire lake sideways! It basically created a huge tidal wave out of the lake!

It also killed the big housing boom in Florida that was already on fumes. Guess what? We are repeating history, aren't we, every horrible bit of it!

From Tampa Bay news:
Pug, a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle was found floating in the Stump Pass Marine boat basin in Englewood last month. He was nearly crushed by either a shark or beach dredge.

Snead is a Kemp Ridley turtle. It's the most endangered of all sea turtle species. Snead was found floating in April near Snead Island in Sarasota. He was suffering from the effects of red tide. Earlier this week, 10 sea turtles were found dying on Pinellas Beaches. Red tide also killed 29 manatees in Fort Myers in March.
Ah, the red tide continues. Despite several humongous hurricanes stirring up the Gulf waters, it is still, in October, deadly hot there. This is why I can predict this hurricane, even if the winds slow down a tad because it goes over parts of Cuba and the Yucatan, it will still be very ferocious when it strikes Florida.

This most unusual because a catagory 5 hurricane usually displaces much of the heat stored in the sea, this displacement of energy is what weakens following hurricanes yet we see one after another following much the same track, even, just like last year. Three fives in less than a month and a half in the same part of the Gulf is very amazing. Of course, the sun spat out a lot of fierce energy back in late August. I felt it, wrote about it here on the blog, how even a burst of deadly x-rays shot out, we had spectacular auroras all the way down to Arizona, even. This added energy is now playing itself out in hurricanes.

This morning, Wilma's isobar ratings was a terrifically low 882millibars, a record. It is now "up" to 900 millibars. which is still awesome. Great windspeed actually hinders rain collecting but like Katrina, as Wilma's winds slow down from a frightful 165+mph to a "mere" 145mph, she is sucking up water from the Gulf and expanding her girth. Since 80% of Florida is only a few feet above sea level, dumping 24" of rain can be a huge catastrophe. The weather service is actually hoping the hurricane moves rapidly so at least it won't dump tons of water, too.

If the hurricane moves a tad north or a tad south, it will nail at least one big city. None are major ports or important to huge swaths of the economy but this is one of the top hot spots for the housing bubble just like in the 1920's. Alread, a million homes have been damaged or destroyed in the previous hurricanes. In heavily built up south Florida, there are many millions of homes to be destroyed or seriously damaged.

The Chinese are not offering us help. Watching us shrug off the deaths of 78,000 people in a supposed ally country, Pakistan, do we really think the world will be agog to help us through this disaster?

Oh, I forgot about Cuba. This is going to be very interesting to watch if Miami is nailed. Might change some political dynamics, eh?

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