Battening the Hatches for a Hurricane

I am somewhat alarmed by the preparations of USA to the imminent hurricane.

  • there have been few announcements about flooding and local governments have advised residents to evacuate the coast, “ordered” them to evacuate certain low-lying areas and provided evacuation sites to assist with heat, light, shelter, food, water…

What’s wrong with this? The data given predicts precipitation amounts in ~24h period up to 8 inches, similar to an annual precipitation rate where I live. All the rivers and lakes and creeks cannot possibly handle that so instead of local flooding there will be widespread flooding and flash floods of great depth.

It’s just maths. Multiple 8 inches by the area of a storm hundreds of miles across and figure where that volume will fit. Remember, you cannot pile up water unless it’s snow. This storm is predicted to be held stationary for hours from an advancing cold front and low pressure area to the west. A river large enough to take that amount of water would take weeks to do it…

The result could be that the two or three days of food/water recommended will be insufficient and that even the early distribution of FEMA resources will barely touch this problem. A lot was learned about responsiveness as a result of hurricane Katrina but I think it’s going to be more than an “October Surprise” in this election year. In law, the election must go as scheduled but I can see much of Obama country being denied the vote. Expect sparks after the disaster. The right wing may feel God wanted their guys to win… The left wing will feel the GOP sold its soul to the devil…

In any event Obama will have an opportunity to prove his worth and Romney will have an opportunity to find fault. They both are powerless in the face of Nature.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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8 Responses to Battening the Hatches for a Hurricane

  1. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson from our disasters here insurance assessors turn out to be critical to reduce time to people being back in home.

    2011 was a really bad year for Australia. Cyclone hit Queensland. Storm from Antarctica caused lot of rain fall in the south east side and fires on the west side.

    Key to the fast recovery was getting the insurance money to rebuild going as soon as able. Gardens in the effected areas still show sign of flood damage but that is about it.

    –The problem is not the initial moves but the magnitude. Between wind, water, snow and ice, and the huge diameter of the storm, power could be out for millions for weeks.–

    Months could be more correct. Due to the damage we had with smaller storms.

  2. harry says:

    I taught french and english in Cuba on two separate 18 month periods in the past 20yrs and have gone another 6-7 times on vacation since my best man married a cuban woman and they left the cold canadian climate to settle there about 8yrs ago.
    The thing that I always found stunning is the preparedness for hurricanes (that and the fact that my ex girlfriend at a time got operated for a sliced tendon in her foot 10mins after arriving at hospital and how important physical fitness is in school curriculums while 1/3 of our own kids become obese).

    People are well trained and rehearsed on what to do when the next storm comes. Because there is always a next one.
    And the preparations happen BEFORE always make sure that services are directed to a specific part of the island if storm goes only on one side so help can be closer once it passes.

    During my first hurricane there, i thought I was going to die. By the time I went though my 4th and last major one, I knew what to expect.

  3. Olavi wrote, “The hurricane might bring floods but probably not flash floods”

    Much of the eastern USA is hilly country so the same effect results: rapid runoff to the low spots makes deep water. Of course the effect is more dramatic in mountains but the effect is that many homes will be flooded perhaps to the second story. Where I live, the land is fairly flat and we have this problem during snow-melt only but our thunderstorms are just a few miles in diameter. This monster is one of the largest hurricanes ever seen so all low spots may be filled to over-flowing within the next few hours and drain to other filled low spots… The lowest of the low spots will surely flood.

    I once lived in hill country when a storm deposited 6 inches of rain in one hour. The place was an instant river and every low spot became an instant lake or torrent. Imagine that kind of water spread for hundreds of miles. The depth and duration of flooding will be great.

  4. oiaohm wrote, “So far I have not seen any calls for that in the USA system.”

    Electrical utility workers, mostly line-men, have been called in from a dozen surrounding states. FEMA has relocated resources, including personnel. National Guard and other military which may include tradesmen have also been readied.

    The problem is not the initial moves but the magnitude. Between wind, water, snow and ice, and the huge diameter of the storm, power could be out for millions for weeks. One estimate is that millions of trees could be blown down taking out thousands of power-poles and lines in cities.

  5. Olavi says:

    Flash floods mean something different. They occur only in mountainous regions. Due to rains or other events upslope, a dry creek bed will go from dry to a trickle to a wall of water in basically seconds. The hurricane might bring floods but probably not flash floods.

  6. oiaohm says:

    Ok I know this might be asking too much. Here in Australia when there is a big cyclone or other problem appearing part of prep is making is locating trade persons, heavy machine operators and insurance assessors who can be moved in after the disaster to start clean up. So far I have not seen any calls for that in the USA system. You don’t seam to see it with any USA incoming storm. I just find this point strange seams like perfect common sense to start locating the repair crews before you need to call on them.

    Storm this size if there is not damage it will be luck.

    So the USA system has no allowance for moving the vote time due to natural disaster?? If not that is highly bright of them thinking that mother nature is always going to play ball.

    I hope everyone plans for their personal safety works or failure be funny and not life threatening like riding the storm safely inside a bath tub.

    ssorbom remember USA power grid failure on one coast can black out the other one if power routing systems screw up. So even you guys who are not near the storm front need to check your basics for dealing with a blackout that might happen.

    Yes cyclone warnings in north of Australia cause messages to go out to everyone linked to that power grid to prep for blackouts in-case everything does not go to plan.

  7. MK says:

    This crazy weather sonds unreal, especially when looking out upon a sunny Middle Eastern day.
    Hope people can pull it thought safely.

  8. ssorbom says:

    I’m worried too. I am safe on the west coast, but I have a brother in Boston, Massachusetts. No doubt He’ll be sending pictures of the chaos if he still has power after it hits. They say the storm will get as high as Maine so he probably will get hit…
    It really makes me appreciate how mild things stay out here by comparison.

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