|Namazu The Earth Shaker|
A FEW THOUGHTS ON STORM NO.2
Those of you who read my post titled "UH....About Jack" last week know that based on insider information provided by my Cajun Cousin Jack I predicted another storm would batter the North East later this week. By now most of you have heard the official word from NOAA that a serious coastal storm is forming and headed your way if you live between the Virginia Capes and New York. This won't be another Frankenstorm but expect wind, rain, some snow in places, and power outages. Winds on the coast in places could exceed 60 mph in gusts and sustained winds in the 30 to 40 mph range will be wide spread. So you know that means power outages, including power outages for people who have just recovered power and protracted misery for those who don't have it on by the time the "re-do" hits. Folks I know this seems strange, unheard of, and positively unfair. But in fact the old one/two punch is far from unheard of among us forces of nature.
Think back just a bit. Katrina, that old city killer was followed in short order with Rita a smaller Hurricane that barely brushed New Orleans while it was down for a long count after being flooded by Katrina. Rita did some additional property damage as far east as New Orleans and spread hurricane force winds and tides westward along the coast to Beaumont, Texas. Before hurricane season was over the Central Gulf Coast from Mobile to Beaumont had experienced property damage and power failures. The death toll due to the levee breaches in New Orleans was in the thousands.
"Forces of nature" like my Cajun giant catfish cousin Jack and I don't do these one two punch tricks out of any ill will to the two legged kind. If your perception of us is a mere sum of our parts there is no way that anything so lacking in consciousness as a low pressure system, a high pressure system, and steering currents could have "ill will" towards you. If you have the imagination to see us forces of nature as the ancient Japanese saw us with personalities and names then hear this. We mean you no harm! We are giant catfish and we gotta wiggle, its in our nature like your DNA. We are absolutely neutral we just gotta wiggle.
But for those who believe, we want to communicate. We want to point out to you how we can share the planet with a whole lot less friction. Believe me nobody knows more about the Southeast American Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico than my cousin Jack the giant hurricane causing Cajun catfish. But you people have been listening to NOAA. NOAA don't know Jack! You depend on FEMA, ask any Cajun, FEMA don't know Jack. If you want to know Jack, ask Jack, or at least ask me Namazu through the comment section at the end of the post. I'll pass your questions on to Jack and report his answers.
But one thing that you must be prepared to understand is that many mistakes were made before these storms and if you want to undo them you have to start to rebuild differently. You have to rebuild infrastructure differently, you have to rebuild homes and other human dwelling places differently, you have to protect beaches differently, approach flood control differently, approach sharing the risk differently than conventional insurance, and develop a totally different attitude. FEMA will eventually get the flood control ( as if there really is any such thing as flood control ) infrastructure back to where it was,or slightly improved. Well, how'd where it was work for ya? FEMA will eventually fix you up with some woefully inadequate funding that coupled with some more woefully inadequate insurance settlements may allow you to rebuild without going bankrupt. Are you going to put everything back the way it was ? Then you don't know Jack.
Was your house over one hundred years old? For 99 % of those who lost homes the answer to that question is no. Will the one you rebuild last 100 years? Not if its like the one you lost save for the Federally recommended "Dade County" roof.
Lets look at a case study that Jack suggests. The Pass Christian Yacht Club is the oldest yacht club on the Central Gulf Coast. It was founded in the 1870s. Within the living memory of the oldest members there have been three clubhouses on the extremely exposed peninsula over looking the Gulf that the club sits on. The oldest clubhouse that any living members can remember was constructed after the 1948 hurricane that wiped out the Mississippi Gulf Coast. By most accounts it looked a lot like the clubhouse it replaced which may have stood 50 years. The club sells prints of a painting of the 1948 club house. While there are wonderful Gulf and beach views through the floor to ceiling "storm glass" in the new post Katrina club I doubt that anyone will ever do a painting of the club that draws anything like the demand for the prints for the 1948 club.
The pre -1948 clubhouse was a traditional raised West Indies cottage with a big porch set up on masonry piers at least five feet above the grade of the site which is a filled rubble mound about fifteen feet above mean Gulf level. The windows were a little short of floor to ceiling and only filled with the ordinary glass of the time. But the shutters were real and fashioned of stout cypress. No one had heard of "Dade County" standards but roofs were most often slate with terra cotta cylinder halves covering the critical seams. Doors were made of solid planking not hollow laminated material. The club house survived many a tropical storm, many a direct hit from what we might call a Force 1 hurricane today. But apparently the storm of 1948 (before we started naming and force designating them) was something stronger and the club house was shattered. The result was the 1948 club house, which based on the prints of its image, was a kissing cousin of the pre-1948 structure. The 1948 club house stood until about 1969 when it was wiped out by Hurricane Camille.
|Hurricane Camille as seen from low Earth orbit|