Hurricane Florence, What did we learn???

Discussion in 'Preparedness' started by LostViking, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. LostViking

    LostViking Supporter Supporter

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    Obviously this storm is still raging. But I think we can all gain some knowledge from the experiences of folks in the path as they tricke in.

    I hope everyone is safe and secure. Don't waste battery power if you need it for emergency use.

    But if/when you have time and the inclination to do so. Please share with us your experiences. Definitely a game changer for a lot of folks I'm sure.

    It's looking like this storm will be affecting a lot of people and a larget chunk of real estate for the next several day.

    Wind, on shore tidal surge, copious amounts of rain, loss of power. It's all there.

    I'm not down there and probably won't be affected by this storm until next Tuesday or Wednesday. Here it will be mostly just rain. Northern New York is safely away from this one.

    Still, I can't help but believe there are many lessons already learned and more to come in the following days, as this storm comes on shore and does it damage.

    Luckily for a lot of folks it weakened from its Category 4 peak prior to landfall. But it has slowed and that will bring its own sets of problems.

    I'm very curious for feedback from folks in the path. Or near enough to be affected.

    What did you see?
    What did you do?

    What worked?
    What didn't?

    What will you alter in the future?
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  2. DomC

    DomC Retired Old Scrub Stomper

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    I have weathered thru many hurricanes in my lifetime. A few stand out in my memory. Hurricane David (1979) was one that brings back feelings of fear and anxiety. I was living in a small apartment in Melbourne, Florida and when David hit, my front door was battered relentlessly for many hours. With heavy wind noise and pounding rain I thought my front door was gonna explode off it's hinges! :eek: I braced myself against the door with all my weight for what seemed like hours. The water began racing underneath the door into my apartment. I had every towel and bedsheets I owned piled on the floor to help curtail the flooding in my apartment to no avail. It still came rushing in and completely flooded my small apartment. I thought my windows were gonna shatter as there were no shutters available and I didn't bother to board them up with plywood (wrong decision)and by the time David cleared out, my apartment had about 6" of water and the pond in front of my apartment building was at my front entrance. After that experience I never again underestimated the power and unpredictability of a hurricane!:eek:.....
    Dominick.......
     
  3. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

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    So far it seems like I learned the more I do to prepare, the more likely it is that the hurricane will detour way around me.

    They're really catching it out in New Bern. I feel so bad for those folks.
     
  4. tomcfitz

    tomcfitz Supporter Supporter

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    @andy.t Yup, Durham here too.

    As of 1 pm on thursday, still no rain. Very much over hyped the dangers for us.

    But still have fuel, propane for the grill/camping stove, water, etc etc just in case. It's not like it goes bad, and it can all live in the shed until it's needed next time.
     
  5. Red Wing

    Red Wing Guide

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    My brother is by Wilmington, has lost the doors on his barn and the roof is about to go, dozen downed trees, had to clear 4 to get out or his driveway to go check on his animals he evacuated to high ground early in the week.
     
  6. SilverFox

    SilverFox Scout

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    So far so good in my area. I am prepared for power outages etc. Saturday and Sunday maybe the day for heavy rain and possible power outages. We will see what she brings!
     
  7. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    To be honest, it's convinced me I'm right to live far away from hurricane country. Of course wherever you go there's some kind of threats. Where I am now wildfires are a lot bigger issue than they were back in the Midwest.
     
  8. Mr. Tettnanger

    Mr. Tettnanger Supporter Supporter

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    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
  9. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

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    I’m not in hurricane country now, but I’ve lived in southeast Texas, on the Louisiana border, and in the Midwest tornado country. I’d say, listen closely to the weather news, prepare for the worst, and be thankful if it misses you...
     
  10. tomcfitz

    tomcfitz Supporter Supporter

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    @Mr. Tettnanger came across this video from some flooding in the northeast. Makes me laugh every time.

     
  11. USMCPOP

    USMCPOP Supporter Supporter

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    I've about given up on watching news about this. Seems like very little information, but a lot of hype and ooh-ah.
     
  12. Red Wing

    Red Wing Guide

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    4 inches of water on the first floor of my brothers home. Seems to be the extent of damage though.

    Updated

    9194.jpeg 9195.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
  13. USMCPOP

    USMCPOP Supporter Supporter

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    Red Wing, that sux. I experienced one flood in Thailand years ago. MIL's house was right by the river. I helped move stuff upstairs all day. By nightfall, water downstairs was waist deep. Fortunately, it was and old hardwood house, just siding boards, no hollow walls or insulation or anything. Bare concrete slab floor. It wasn't fun washing out 1/4" of slimy clay when the water went down. Bucket brigade and squeeges made from a stick stabbed into an old flip-flop. My house was on higher ground and raised about 8 feet on stilts. Looked like a couple 0f inches of water had run under the house. My motorcycle was OK.
     
  14. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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  15. USMCPOP

    USMCPOP Supporter Supporter

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    Years ago at work, we had some rather bad weather, maybe a tropical storm. As I was heading out for lunch, a rather ample (ahem) lady co-worker volunteered to walk me to my truck. Didn't want me blowing away in the wind. She weighed about 2 1/2 times what I did. That got a lot of laughs.
     
  16. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    How about, "Don't build on low ground."?
     
  17. Skotelawe

    Skotelawe Guide

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  18. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    Live Marines ARE Marines.
     
  19. LostViking

    LostViking Supporter Supporter

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    That doesn't look like fun. He has smoke and prayers coming his way from up north. Hopefully it will receed som so the dryout process can start.
     
  20. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor

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    What I've learned (Actually, I already knew it. This hurricane just reinforced it.) is that people's ability to judge risk is based on, and biased by, which way the wind blows.

    By this I mean the following: Storms of this nature are large and complex and, despite what many believe, difficult to predict from a meteorological perspective. Whether the storm is viewed as catastrophic or "overhyped" is based on where the individual is located and two individuals located only 50 miles apart may have two completely differing views on the severity of the storm. You can see that just in the responses in this thread.

    Now while I will admit that there is quite a bit of grandstanding by network news outlets trying to fill air time, the basis of the abundance of caution that is preached by weather forecasters is because large storm systems like this are highly unpredictable. Sometimes (and fortunately) they don't exactly come together in a manner that gets the greatest damage, in which case the storms are viewed as "overhyped". But sometimes they do. The problem lies in the fact that many people view the next major storm based on the last major storm, when in reality each storm is unique and carries with it its own probability of mayhem.

    Even being located away from the coast is no guarantee that these storms can't cause major damage and loss of life. The area in which I live in PA was devastated back in 1955 by Hurricane Diane which dumped over 11 inches of rain in less than 36 hours in a region of steep terrain and valley towns. The portions of PA that got hit hardest, despite being inland, resulted in 101 deaths, 37 of which were campers at a summer camp. 50+ roads and bridges were washed out and 30 dams breached. If you spend any time in northeastern PA, much of how storms are treated here today is the result of Diane in 1955. Even Hurricane Sandy, in recent times, left this area inland without power for a week. The winds left the area looking like God had just bought a new weedwhacker.

    I think the point that I may be trying to make is that folks who are within a large storm's path that fair the storm well take a moment to reflect the situation and arrive at a realization of "Damn, we got lucky" as opposed to "Damn, they really overhyped that bogus forecast".
     
  21. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

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    Well said @Sandcut ,,,
     
  22. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

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    We have been very fortunate so far, here in Durham. However, we're really not out of the woods yet. We had tornadoes and flash flooding overnight and this morning, and the rivers and creeks continue to rise. Unfortunately, all that water in those rivers and creeks is headed toward the folks who caught the worst of hurricane. It's Dutch Door action for the towns out on the coast and along the watersheds. They got wind, rain, and storm surge a few days ago, now they're getting flooding coming from the other direction.

    The temporary levee in Lumberton failed, so they're getting flooded out. Their water treatment plant is now pulling from the reserve wells, which will run dry soon. They just got hammered by Hurricane Matthew, and now this.
     
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  23. pipehand

    pipehand Scout

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    I walked here from my house. We had a lot of bridges over very small creeks turn into this. Water level is usually 12 to 15 feet lower. A lot of the dirt roads are cross washed out in the area. Power has been out since Friday. Beer isnt as cold as I'd like. 20180916_144815.jpg
     
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  24. 1911srule

    1911srule Scout

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  25. hillst1

    hillst1 Supporter Supporter

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    We made it through the storm with a little damage. Being prepared made me feel better about what may happen and allowed us to stay hunkered down longer. My take home is NEVER drive through water. Most of the deaths so far have been caused by people driving through water.
     
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  26. Metaldog

    Metaldog Just chasing my tail... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    One of the many reasons I refuse to shop at Walmart. Personally, I hate Walmart. They may have good prices on some things, but is it worth the headache of dealing with disrespectful employees and rude clientele? NOPE! Sorry. Not for me. :mad:
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  27. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

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    I won’t do business with Chinamart, but some of my bairns do, and around me they call it “The store which shall not be mentioned”.
     
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  28. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    And if you do buy a boat.
     
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  29. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    There is a difference between reporting what the hurricane experts tell us about a storm's intensity, probable path, etc versus the yellow journalism wailing about snakes in the streets, whole communities wiped out, and on and on. Sensational headlines and wild speculation sell, even as they fray the social fabric and create unnecessary alarm
    It is such wild and sensational misrepresentations that end up causing tbe general public to scoff and disregard future claims of danger.
    An old saying,"Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." Fool me three times and I will ignore your lying face forever. Media has passed the third level, repeatedly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
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  30. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor

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    I won't argue with the yellow journalism claim at all. But I will point out that an attitude like you are claiming to have, which many of us do have, just reinforces why I say that people in general are bad at assessing risk. When assessing risk, people rely on an availability heuristic of past experiences to guide them, even when conditions and probability are against them. With this occurring in enough people, it becomes a heuristic cascade and spreads socially as one person's biases reinforce another's despite evidence to the contrary.

    Each storm is its own event with its own influences and probabilities. Past storm behaviors have no more of an influence on the current storm than past coin tosses have affecting the one you are about to do.
     
  31. USMCPOP

    USMCPOP Supporter Supporter

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    We finally got a bit of residual storm in Richmond yesterday. Had a few brief periods of very heavy rain, though it probably was less than 2 inches total. We did have several small tornadoes fairly close by. One died in this incident. A car was flipped in a parking lot nearby.

    Apparently there were 16 tornadoes in VA. 4 touched down in our county.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
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  32. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    Because each storm is a different event, we need hard facts, actual data, if we are to make a valid assessment of risk or danger. When media begins making mendacious headlines about looming disaster, they are creating a set of false expectations or fears. When the reality is less fearsome for some larve subset of those involved, it lessens faith or belief in any future media pronouncments. That in turn creates false expectations and a degradation of the social compact.
    Media creates false memes, which exacerbate faulty analysis, which can create bad outcomes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
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  33. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor

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    I disagree.

    To make a reasoned calculation of risk for a hurricane you really only need to know a few things.

    1. Category of storm - which is an indicator of the destructive potential of the winds
    2. Track of the storm - which is an indicator of whether or not you'll be hit by the storm and by which part of the storm system (e.g., outer western edge or northeastern corner of the eye wall)
    3. Storm speed - to assess duration of storm in your area
    4. Tide phase - to help determine what the potential storm surge may be
    5. Pressure gradient - affects storm surge

    And realistically, 4 and 5 are not even necessary for the average person to make a reasoned assessment.

    We know that hurricanes are dangerous storms. There are many factors that may influence just how bad they are, but in general, they are bad. So if you are located in the path of a storm that you know has the potential to be bad and you remain, despite the fact that we already know that hurricanes are bad, you are gambling on your safety.

    And that is not the media's fault.
     
  34. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    I agree completely with points 1 to 5.
    However, media sensationalism and hyperbole create a false expectation for some 80 to 90 percent of those in the general area. Storm path projections are a cone of probability, with accuracy inversely correlated with time. A two day projection may have some value, a 5 day projection is too vague to be a valid prediction.
    People in the actual area may be as badly affected as the early headlines said, but many more people in the original cone of prediction are unaffected. They now have a false value set for judging future predictions. "Hey, I survived Hurricane X and it was nothing like as bad as they said. All this hype about Hurricane Y is just more of the same. "
    Tornado warnings are a bit more immediate and more local, yet the effects are random devastation. Many of us just walk out to look at the sky and assess the danger ourselves.

    Hurricanes, tornadoes and earth quakes are all devastating, varying in size of area affected, intensity, and amount of lead time.
    We need to treat the Gulf coast and East coast as we treat fault zones, requiring all new construction to meet standards for wind resistance and built with flood plains in mind. Rational planning done decades ahead will lead to much less danger and might lead to restoring coastal ecologies.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  35. 1911srule

    1911srule Scout

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    I'd be one of those people who would stay rather than go based on consistent media hype. They want ratings and could give a rats azz about US. The government would rather error on the side of caution, so they are not reliable either. Who can we trust? If you leave , after TPTB won't usually let anyone return for quite some time. People don't want to lose out to looters, ect, so who can blame them for staying put. Who has funds to travel far out of the way and pay for lodging either..
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
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  36. charlesmc2

    charlesmc2 Scout

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    A couple of notes on reporting. A few years back an agricultural fertilizer facility exploded in the city of West, Texas. (West is a Czech community 12 or 15 miles north of Waco on Interstate 35. I worked many years with a number of people from West and I predicted then the media would miss the real story of West. What they missed and have failed to follow up on is how this close knit community has pulled together and supported one another. Fantastic people there, hard working people. Incidentally a big percentage of those killed were the volunteer fire fighters who showed up to battle the blaze that caused the explosion.

    A few years earlier there had been a serious grass fire just outside Cross Plains, Texas (about 35 or 40 miles SE of Abilene. The news reporters were wagging their heads, saying they doubted the town would ever recover. Now, 12 years later, you can scarcely tell there was a fire.

    The so called elites do not understand real people. People who deal with adversity and find a way to keep going. Mankind is resilient—I like to think Americans are especially so.

    Watch who shows up first for relief and who keeps showing up months and months after these storms. Volunteer groups generally are some of the very first to get there and are some of the most effective.

    God bless America.
     
  37. LongChinJon

    LongChinJon Guide

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    We see the same lessons relearned with every hurricane.

    As @Sandcut points out, few people (and maybe none) really assess risk correctly. This gets discussed and studied by experts who publish their findings, and they still don't seem to have the best grasp of how our minds assess it. Add the unpredictable aspect of weather since we are discussing hurricanes and who knows?

    If you can evacuate, do so and leave early. This may mean the storm turns and you evacuate for "nothing." It isn't really nothing, of course. It's a calculated risk that may or may not pay off. I can tell you from experience that evacuating st the last minute is a lot less fun than leaving early. :)

    If your health is fragile, if you are elderly, or if you have young children: evacuate, and evacuate early.

    If you aren't in the evacuation zone, be prepared to eat, drink, and live without power for at least a week, maybe two.

    If you live near water, buy flood insurance.
     
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  38. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I think that if you're financially and physically fit and live in an area prone to getting nailed by hurricanes, it might behoove you to examine if getting off the X permanently might be the best course of action. Hurricanes are only going to get worse as time goes on.
     
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  39. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor

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    That's a tough one. Moving away from the coast may not be an option for many. Access to the water is important for business. The development of barrier islands and how we builod on the coast is ripe for discussion.

    As far as hurricanes getting worse, there is no real foundation supporting that claim. Despite the fact that there is clear evidence supporting that human influence is affecting global temperatures, there is no evidence to support the claim that hurricane frequency or severity is increasing along with it. This claim is made alot by the media, but if you look at storm statistics over the last 50+ years, there is no observable pattern to indicate that an increase in storm severity is correlated to rising average temps.
     
  40. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    This page from NOAA does a good job of explaining what you describe. Seems the increase that some note may well just be due to improved monitoring and reporting.

    https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/historical-atlantic-hurricane-and-tropical-storm-records/

    That said, there is some evidence mounting that things are changing though it remains to be seen what the ultimate effect will be. This particular study is based off different modeling so I personally wouldn’t claim it’s conclusive or definitive since models can be wrong. But multiple models showing a similar trend is relevant.

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00539.1

    Interestingly several models show a decrease in frequency despite increase in severity.
     
  41. beacon

    beacon Simul justus et peccator Bushclass I

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    We made out very well this time, since Florence took that weird turn around Raleigh.

    However, I learned (was reminded of?) a few things:
    • My family is not as willing as I to endure discomfort (either in degree or duration)
      A/C is very important to some of them when it's HOT, and you can't even open the windows.
      Even the prospect of losing A/C in early September had some rattled.

    • Keep up on preps to avoid the madness at the "last minute" (which was over a week before the storm this time)
      We were short on canned foods (since we don't regularly consume much).
      I should have the ability to store larger quantities of gasoline; I currently have about 10 gallons on-hand at any given time, but a generator would consume that quickly.

    • Water can be an issue, even if connected to the municipal system
      Having been used to being on a private well for many years, I assumed water would not be an issue now that we're connected to the municipal system. A friend who works for the municipality informed me that they had been considering shutting it down to avoid equipment damage due to flooding.

    • People are crazy; especially when they're scared.
      The line waiting for Home Depot to get the generator shipment was downright frightening.

    • A hand-crank radio is probably good to add to the toolbox.

    • I want a generator...with a transfer switch...even if I hardly ever need to use it.

    • Be prepared for the unprepared; they'll want/need your help. Friends, family, neighbors...

    Now that we're on the other side, we're looking for more ways to help those who have been affected. I'm sure there will be lessons learned from those experiences too...
     
    Gumbi, Boondocks70 and Sandcut like this.
  42. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor

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    Different data than what I had seen in the past, but drawing the same conclusion (which is actually reassuring that the "science" is largely unbiased).

    Thanks for sharing that!
     
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  43. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I think there's some evidence that storms are getting stronger but more reason to expect that they will increase in power as the oceans continue to warm. Another issue is an increase in the population living in the danger zones. It's difficult to be sure- humans live by the sea for some good reasons and not everyone can move.

    But undoubtedly hurricanes will continue to regularly batter the south east.
     
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  44. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    Arc?
     
  45. Rich_S

    Rich_S Tracker

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    Focus on storm surge potential. That's not to say that wind and rain aren't important, they are, but storm surge is what kills the most people and causes the most damage to houses.
     
  46. CSM1970

    CSM1970 Guide

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    Reminder: generators don't run underwater. Weather patterns are changing and not for the better. During Harvey, which dropped over 5 FEET of rain on Houston, I never lost power and received no high water. Ten minutes south of me got flooded. The next one may be different.
     
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  47. Akela

    Akela Scout

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    Some food for thought...

    The following tidbits come from a review of the book Sea of Storms: A History of Hurricanes in the Greater Caribbean from Columbus to Katrina, authored by Stuart B. Schwartz (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2015).
    The review can be found here: http://origins.osu.edu/review/rough-weather-ahead

    Quote:
    "The modern system of measuring storm intensity on the category 1 through 5 scale was not developed until the 1970s. Thus historians depend largely on subjective reports of damage to estimate the intensity of earlier storms. In past centuries, many of the fatalities caused by hurricanes did not result directly from wind and storm-surge damage, but came about later due to starvation, thirst, and exposure."

    Quote:
    "This was especially a problem on smaller islands where a single storm could wipe out major elements of the infrastructure for providing food, drinking water, and shelter."
    Considering that both the book and the review are dated 2015, this particular tidbit seems to foreshadow the damage that Hurricane Maria inflicted on Puerto Rico in 2017.

    As stated in the review, Schwartz defined the “greater Caribbean” as extending from South America, westward to Mexico, and north as far as the Chesapeake Bay on the east coast of the United States.
    Another review stated that Schwartz has estimated that the Caribbean has experienced between 4,000 and 5,000 hurricane-level storms since 1492.
    Everyone is free to guess at the number of pre-Columbian hurricane-level storms that have occurred (along with their cyclical levels of intensity and destruction) since mankind first arrived in the “greater Caribbean” .

    I wish all that are impacted by Florence the best that can be.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018

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