I Hate to Keep Hammering on This

…but it’s a subject near and dear to my heart. I’ve decided to let Max Mayfield talk today.

Looking back nearly a year to the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, and the third-worst hurricane in terms of American lives lost, Mayfield said Katrina itself could have been a greater disaster.
More than two days before Katrina struck the Gulf coast August 29, the hurricane center had predicted its future track accurately and also warned it could become a powerful Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir Simpson scale of hurricane intensity.
New Orleans was squarely in the danger zone, and emergency managers and residents had plenty of time to prepare.
One of my greatest fears is having people go to bed at night prepared for a Category 1 and waking up to a Katrina or Andrew. One of these days, that’s going to happen,” Mayfield said.

I believe they came close with Charley ~ people were expecting a 3 and got damn near a 5 at the last second. (I also love the swipe at local LA officials, but that’s neither here nor there.)

…Or how about a major hurricane racing up the east coast to the New York-New Jersey area, with its millions of people and billions of dollars of pricey real estate?
“One of the highest storm surges possible anywhere in the country is where Long Island juts out at nearly right angles to the New Jersey coast. They could get 25 to 30 feet of storm surge … even going up the Hudson River,” Mayfield said.
“The subways are going to flood. Some people might think ‘Hey, I’ll go into the subways and I’ll be safe.’ No, they are going to flood.”

That would suck. But there’s something bothering Max that is the most important thing of all. And NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES (in however MANY ways) it gets passed to the citizens in vunerable areas, everybody STILL wants to know why the National Guard’s not handing out Dasani 3 hours after landfall.

He is mystified by a study that found 60 percent of people in hurricane-prone U.S. coastal areas have no hurricane plan — which to disaster managers means up to a week’s worth of food and water squirreled away, a kit with flashlights and other gear, and an established evacuation route to higher ground.
“After Katrina and after the last two hurricane seasons you can’t understand why more people are not taking hurricanes seriously,” Mayfield said.

Because people are helpless MORONS in general, Dr. Mayfield. And MORONS are conditioned to think that ~ even if every major access to a HUGE area is OBLITERATED ~ that somehow the gub’ment is responsible for BOTH the damage and their welfare. ‘MORONOCITY‘ (the technical term) spans all socio-economic barriers and all ethnic persuasions. The day after Ivan there were Range Rovers, taxis and ancient Impalas all lined up for hours (within hours) by our airport. The Squid Terrorist was aghast at the desperation. He had to deal with them attempting to attack him for ‘cutting in line’ as he tried to assess the damage to the airport and it’s outer areas, so relief flights could start coming in. (He’s one of the airport maintenance supervisors, hence ’emergency personnel’.) Oh, he was hot under the collar when he got home that first VERY long day.

“How can these f*ckin’ IDIOTS be out of water and PISSED OFF already?!
It’s only been a day…”

I dunno. But they do it every time, with every storm. And they’re the goobers you see on the news reports, like the whole world’s failed them.

9 Responses to “I Hate to Keep Hammering on This”

  1. DirtCrashr says:

    Disasters are Great! Found this really kewl world disaster website over at Tim Blair’s: floods in India, vehicle accident in the Urkraine, forest fire in Greece, airplane accident in Clarksville, Tn – and volcanos going off everywhere! 🙂 Thought you’d like it.

  2. The_Real_JeffS says:

    I’ll comment on this after work, THS……I’d likely do a rant myself, and I can’t spare the time now. But you make an excellent point.

  3. Oh DC, that is a TREASURE! (But I didn’t see Casa de Major Dad under the bio-hazard warning…maybe the GPS hasn’t picked up on us yet ~ time to move!!)

  4. DirtCrashr says:

    Glad you like it!

  5. John says:

    ” “One of the highest storm surges possible anywhere in the country is where Long Island juts out at nearly right angles to the New Jersey coast. They could get 25 to 30 feet of storm surge … even going up the Hudson River,” Mayfield said. ”
    1938, people. Blew the roof and steeple right off of my church. Look at the picutre of Hartford on that website. Hartford is about 70 miles from the coast.
    In terms of fatalities and property damage – the 1938 hurricane stands as one of the worst disasters in American history. In a matter of hours, 600 people were killed, 3500 were injured, and more than 75,000 buildings were damaged. The states of New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, suffered their worst natural disaster in recorded history. The tidal wave like storm-surge that hit Long Island and Rhode Island was so severe, that earthquake instruments 3,000-miles away recorded it on seismographs. As a final cruelty – the residents of the northeast had little or no warning that this extreme meteorological event was unfolding before them.

  6. If you LIVE by the ocean, you’re going to get it eventually is the moral of the story. It shouldn’t be a surprise and it shouldn’t be a big deal to get your act together ~ you should have lots of practice already. Can you imagine with the population density NOW what these storms would do?
    Like this, for instance ~ I’ll see you that storm and raise it to the “Great Miami Hurricane of 1926” which also, co-incidentally, schmutzed Pensacola. Given that no one LIVED in the Panhandle and (relatively speaking) few in Miami then, it was THE big blow of note until Andrew.

    …Little in the way of meteorological information on the approaching hurricane was available to the Weather Bureau in Miami. As a result, hurricane warnings were not issued until midnight on September 18th, which gave the booming population of South Florida little notice of the impending disaster.

    The Category 4 hurricane’s eye moved directly over Miami Beach and downtown Miami during the morning hours of the 18th. This cyclone produced the highest sustained winds ever recorded in the United States at the time, and the barometric pressure fell to 27.61 inches as the eye passed over Miami. A storm surge of nearly 15 feet was reported in Coconut Grove. Many casualties resulted as people ventured outdoors during the half-hour lull in the storm as the eye passed overhead. Most residents, having not experienced a hurricane, believed that the storm had passed during the lull. They were suddenly trapped and exposed to the eastern half of the hurricane shortly thereafter. Every building in the downtown district of Miami was damaged or destroyed. The town of Moore Haven on the south side of Lake Okeechobee was completely flooded by lake surge from the hurricane. Hundreds of people in Moore Haven alone were killed by this surge, which left behind floodwaters in the town for weeks afterward.

    The hurricane continued northwestward across the Gulf of Mexico and approached Pensacola on September 20th. The storm nearly stalled to the south of Pensacola later that day and buffeted the central Gulf Coast with 24 hours of heavy rainfall, hurricane force winds, and storm surge. The hurricane weakened as it moved inland over Louisiana later on the 21st. Nearly every pier, warehouse, and vessel on Pensacola Bay was destroyed.

    …With a highly transient population across southeastern Florida during the 1920s, the death toll is uncertain since more than 800 people were missing in the aftermath of the cyclone. A Red Cross report lists 373 deaths and 6,381 injuries as a result of the hurricane.

    And almost 60,000 HOMELESS in the Miami-Dade Metro area ALONE! In 1926 !!
    Put beenies weenies up once a year if you live within 50 miles of ANY coastline. If you’re ON the coast when it’s on it’s way ~ get out in an orderly fashion.

  7. Cindermutha says:

    Huh, better make it 100 miles… Charley crossed over that to smack us with a clue. So did Frances and Jeanne, to a lesser extent. I knew we were in trouble when it made landfall where it did. I was somewhat prepared, but apparently no one else was. I tried to take the boys to BK and get some last minute stuff and we couldn’t even get off the end of our street with all the freaked out people.
    There was none of that with the next two that swept by. Almost everyone was ready.

  8. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Yo, THS! I be back from work…..
    He is mystified by a study that found 60 percent of people in hurricane-prone U.S. coastal areas have no hurricane plan — which to disaster managers means up to a week’s worth of food and water squirreled away, a kit with flashlights and other gear, and an established evacuation route to higher ground.
    I don’t work much with hurricane areas — thank God! — but I am involved with general disaster preparedness, personally and professionally. I am not mystified by this lack of preparedness. Dismayed, even pi$$ed off, but not mystified.
    My observations of and dealing with people over many years leads me to conclude that this is a direct result of one or more of the following traits (I hope that I am not extremely cynical, but this is one of those weeks):
    1. What, me worry? A lack of imagination or complacency. OK, stupidity as well. But some people will simply not think about the consequences of their actions more than a fews day ahead.
    2. Greed. Development means money, in business, jobs, and tax base. Politicians are happy to ignore potential problems from building in areas subject to natural disasters. And it’s not limited to the Gult Coast or the eastern seaboard…..Boise, Idaho, had a huge amount of development in their flood plains, and when the Boise River barely went above bankfull, a lot of people had water at their backdoor. And all that construction happened with the full approval of the elected officials.
    3. Culture Of Convenience. How many people actually keep more than a few days supply of food in their homes? Heck, how much of that food is frozen food, heat & serve? Need an egg? Run to the store! What, no beer? Honey, warm up the car! Growing up, my family shopped a couple times a month, and we had something like a month (or more) of food in the pantry at any one time. And that was fairly standard way back then. No more.
    4. We Wants The Nanny State!!! In some ways, that tremendous response to Katrina sent the wrong message. New Orleans had thousands of people who — perhaps — couldn’t evacuate, but they could have filled water jugs and bought basic foods in advance. Even a few pounds of rice, or a dozen cans of beans, would have gone far. How many even bothered trying? As a reward, they were showered with food and water.
    Don’t get me wrong — that relief effort was necessary. But some people will have this expectation that The Government will take care of them, no matter what, so why bother? Damned if we do, and damned if we don’t…..
    5. Laziness. Some people simply won’t help themselves because it’s too much work. That’s someone else’s job, doncha know?
    6. It’s all about me. People get very self-centered during a disaster. This may be a survival trait, but in the age of modern communications, it becomes great sound bytes for the media. Mayhaps this is just another form of panic, but I still find it annoying.
    I’ve seen some or all of these traits in people during a disaster. Truly, the number of people who should be surprised by a disaster is very small. Everyone else is just getting smacked by a cluebat. And you can include me as having been in both categories at one time or another.

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