Thursday, September 22, 2005


Sitting here in Europe, the thought of Hurricanes and flooding and everything seems to be so far away. On one level I know its happening, I know that people are still suffering from the effects of Katrina, and here I read that now Rita is coming into the picture with what looks like a monster Category 5 hurricane (remember Andrew and his destruction anybody? I was down in Florida 8 months after and was amazed/appalled to see mountains of debris and refuse everywhere still.)

So, here comes this Category 5 hurricane heading right towards the site of the largest natural disaster in US history - the 1900 Hurricane that almost obliviated Galveston off the map. In my opinion, anyone with any sort of a brain would leave a city where 17 foot storm walls do not stand a chance against 50 foot storm surges. 50 feet!! Lets put this into building perspective here. Normal foundation would be about 1.5 feet off the ground. Assuming (to be generous) 12 foot high ceilings (normal is 9 I think) plus a 1 foot buffer between floors, a 50 foot storm surge would engulf a 3+ story house / building completely. The impact and force of these surges should be enough to wipe out anything in their path (picture the tidal wave images here folks, although not with the same suddenness....or would it be????)

So imagine my utter surprise to read this one:
Hurricae Rita Threatens Gulf Coast

Jennifer McDonald in Galveston planned to ride Rita out. She and her husband have enough food and water to last 10 days in their wooden house. If it gets really bad, the couple will take to the roof.

"If it goes, it goes," the 42-year-old nurse said of the house. "We're completely prepared."

How are you prepared???? Your WOODEN house could be completely swept away. So you are now in the water. Even assuming you are wearing life preservers / flotation devices, there will be debris, trees etc in that same water being pounded by the forces of Mother Nature.

Remember the stories from Katrina - the water rose in some places to engulf the roofs in 10 can you get out in time? Where can you go to? There is not any high ground. Once access has been cut off, you are SOL!

*thump* *thump* *thump* will someone please whack these ying-yangs over their heads and tell them to wake up to reality of a Category 5 hurricane!!!!!!!!!

I spent the lunch hour today talking about hurricanes, tornados, typhoons, tidal wavse etc to my Belgian colleagues and explaning the devastation and capabilities of the varying Category Hurricanes. I told them about the 1900 Hurricane and how weather forecasting today should be able to help us prevent another disaster and allow enough time for everyone to evacuate if they would only listen to the warnings. Well, the warnings and orders have come and tehre are still folks who want to stay????? Wake up, smell the coffee and get the hell outta dodge!!!

Rant over. Thanks for reading! :) Have a great & SAFETY SMART day everyone!


Jessica said...

Yeah, it's hard to understand, I know. And then everyone's insurance rates go up to fund the cost of rebuilding.

Well, just keep in mind that a lot of people *are* getting out. It's all you can do.

Anonymous said...

You would think that after what happened to Galveston in 1900 would make people want to leave! It just amazes me that people are still staying (Funny, I started reading a book about that hurricane right after Katrina hit - actually bought it before I knew of Katrina!) Some people are just plain idiots. I guess they are getting lucky, though, since it now looks like it's going to hit near the Texas/Louisianna border. There are thousands of people evacuating though, and I'm having to deal with the traffic because they're all coming here! Ugh.


Divaborn said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly on your take of the situation...if only people would LISTEN!!! Why must people test the forces of nature? That's why hindsight is always 20/20!

Shoulda, coulda, woulda...