400 still missing from Ike

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Alladin
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Re: 400 still missing from Ike

#41 Postby Alladin » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:14 pm

The problem is that too many residencies are built in highly dangerous areas. It’s dangerous and foolish to build a home on a barrier island or close to coastal surge areas. Yet all sorts of residences are regularly built in these dangerous areas due to greed.

Developers want to build houses, realtors want to sell houses, local governments want to increase their property tax base and the beat goes on. It’s all about money. I have no sympathy for people that build, buy, rent, lease or reside in any residence that is located in or near a coastal surge area.

I also think that dwellings that are located in these areas should not be allowed to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. However, the National Association of Realtors would stop that change in a heartbeat. Why? Money and greed.

If you don't build your home in a danger zone, then you don't have to evacuate.
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Re: 400 still missing from Ike

#42 Postby jinftl » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:37 pm

But we have built on the coast...that is a done deal, so saying the solution is to not have built on the coast in the first place is a belief, not a solution. Millions of people live in surge zones...and these are not all barrier islands. Some major cities are located close enough to the water to have areas prone to surge flooding....downtown Miami, parts of NYC, Providence, and parts of Houston come to mind. These cities are in some cases hundreds of years old...and coastal locations were a logical place to have to built these cities....think back to their colonial beginnings as port cities.

The people who are drowning during storms because they did not evacuate are not part of the jetset, business tychoon crowd. They are people who did not want to leave for one reason or another....and often have been where they live for their whole life. They are often lower income folks who may not have the means or ability to flee their homes. They are the people living in the older residences, not the new condo highrises with impact resistant windows. They are regular, everyday people who may not want to or be able to consider abandoning the home and community they have known for years and generations to move inland. Maybe that perspective makes those who live in surge zones worthy of a bit more compassion, especially in light of the facts regarding the demographics and economics of those who often fare worst when a storm hits.

Not to mention the long list of other major cities that are at equal or greater risk of a worst-case, doomsday disaster. Does the San Francisco 1906 Earthquake ring a bell? Heck, if you go that route, you could even say anyone who lives or works in New York should know the heightened terrorist risk they face. Once you get done with all that, who is left to have compassion for when disaster strikes? The Midwest? Nope...St. Louis and other cities are built on welll-known flood plains of the major rivers.

Compassion can not be imposed...but all sides should be considered. Where do you live by the way?




Alladin wrote:The problem is that too many residencies are built in highly dangerous areas. It’s dangerous and foolish to build a home on a barrier island or close to coastal surge areas. Yet all sorts of residences are regularly built in these dangerous areas due to greed.

Developers want to build houses, realtors want to sell houses, local governments want to increase their property tax base and the beat goes on. It’s all about money. I have no sympathy for people that build, buy, rent, lease or reside in any residence that is located in or near a coastal surge area.

I also think that dwellings that are located in these areas should not be allowed to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. However, the National Association of Realtors would stop that change in a heartbeat. Why? Money and greed.

If you don't build your home in a danger zone, then you don't have to evacuate.
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Re: 400 still missing from Ike

#43 Postby bvigal » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:26 am

All these stories are so sad! Not just the heartache felt by friends and relatives of those lost, but the panic and dread many of the victims felt from the time they realized they'd made a bad decision, until their death - just gives me chills.

I think that local emergency management agencies are responsible for flood plain maps, evacuation routes and plans, and issuing adequate warnings to local residents. They have models and resources available to them not available to the general public, that is their job. If they recommend something to local officials, who don't take their advice, those officials are responsible for the consequences.

There is too much blaming federal government agencies who, without multiplying personnel 500-fold, cannot possibly do the job local agencies exist to accomplish. Regionally, there is always a review as to whether those local agencies felt they received adequate and timely information from NWS/NHC, and changes are constantly inacted based upon those reviews. The public's perception might be different.

I don't understand why any hospital on earth that has even the most remote chance of flooding would put critical services in either a basement or ground floor. The ground floor should contain waiting areas, cafeteria, gift shop, other non-critical services, and no more. Ramps to at least 2nd floor emergency room would allow wheel-in/walk-in access. The basement should contain nothing critical, especially not the generators and electrical plant! For tornado protection, each floor should have adequate areas away from outside walls/windows for emergency shelter during an approaching tornado. A hospital, of all places, should remain functional during a natural disaster, and be a safe haven for patients and personnel. Local building codes should insure this on all new hospital construction.

One area which could stand some improvement on federal level, buoys. They are constantly broken, adrift, awaiting redeployment, etc. and the delays point back to lack of funding. Even if the delay is schedule of buoy tender, fund some more tenders! Triple or quadruple the number of buoys, so that when one fails, there is alternate data near enough the storm to be useful. As both Gustav and Ike approached the Gulf coast, there were buoys destroyed by Katrina that still had not been restored, and others that failed very early, and others that measure ocean temps but not wind or waves, etc. We have the technology, we should spend the money. Everything deployed should measure everything, and be built as bulletproof as it can be. Predicting surge would be more accurate if there was more scientific data available.

Another question, why are all those oil rig fortresses NOT collecting and transmitting this data? Some are, but they shut down before the storm. Why can they not leave a large battery on, to continue supplying this vital information for as long as possible? Also, did you notice all the coastal monitoring stations by universities were dismantled before the storm? The instruments are not that expensive, they can easily be replaced! Of course, by that point, evacuations are already in progress, or completed, but all data collected will help to better future forecasting of storm sea potential along coastlines.
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Ed Mahmoud

Re: 400 still missing from Ike

#44 Postby Ed Mahmoud » Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:46 am

Another question, why are all those oil rig fortresses NOT collecting and transmitting this data? Some are, but they shut down before the storm. Why can they not leave a large battery on, to continue supplying this vital information for as long as possible?


NOAA and Shell Oil Company Launch Enhanced Ocean Observations Project in Gulf of Mexico

Upgrade all weather stations on four Shell platforms to include direct transmission to NOAA’s geostationary satellites (GOES), and emergency power ensuring an uninterrupted stream of information even if the platform is evacuated.




I don't think there was any major forecast errors that affected the decision of people on Bolivar not to evacuate, anyway.
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Re: 400 still missing from Ike

#45 Postby GalvestonDuck » Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:53 am

This was not a Katrina-type mess where thousands of people attempted to seek shelter in a big sports arena without their own provisions. I'm not sure where everyone is getting their numbers. I've read that 3 million evacuated for Rita and 2 million evacuated for Ike. Given the fact that most of Houston was kind this time and stayed off the roads, I could see why the number is smaller.

Sure, I know that there are reports that fewer evacuated from Galveston Island this time. But given the fact that many of those lived behind the Seawall and those home sustained no flooding, there would be no risk of finding dead bodies in those areas. Those same people evacuated from Rita because of the risk of wind damage. This time, they saw no risk in being flooded...and amazingly, they were right. I used to live in a home in one of those areas. But I still wouldn't have stayed myself..

The current number of missing now is 111 according to LRCF.org. The number of missing has gone down, but the number of deaths has not increased by the same.

bvigal -- I'm not sure if you read my post, but those areas you listed that should be on the first floor are (gift shops, cafeteria, waiting, admitting). Our ER is on the second floor as well as some OR's. ICU's are on 2 and 4, labor and delivery is on 3. Furthermore, you're thinking about a hospital being one building. In essence, that's true. However, UTMB is made up of 7 hospitals, a number of community-based clinics (both on the island and off), a medical school, nursing school, school of allied health, several research facilities, and a biocontainment laboratory (a very secure buildling for studying toxins, diseases, and weapons of mass destruction).

Alladin -- where, praytell, is there a place to build that is not a "danger zone?"
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Re: 400 still missing from Ike

#46 Postby bvigal » Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:54 am

Ed, thanks for that bit of good news about Shell Oil!!! Now lets hope EVERY oil company will do the same! It's really a relatively minor cost to them.

No, I don't think there were any forecast errors, either. Seems everyone did a great job: NHC, local authorities, etc. Some people just gamble and lose. There will always be some of those.

GalvestonDuck, that makes sense that hospitals these days are multiple buildings, so I guess some are designed to keep running while others are not. Yes I read your post, but not carefully enough! I think what gave me that general impression was the statement: "can't open until the sprinkler and fire alarm systems are working, as well as getting the pharmacy, blood bank, admitting offices, and food prep areas back in full swing (all were on the first floor along with many other ancillary services). Other buildings are in the same condition... " So perhaps I should have included as critical those services which prevent the hospital from being open, but understand that doesn't keep everything closed during the actual emergency. Also, I wasn't just referring to Galveston, but thinking of others I've read about in past storms, like the major flood event in Houston, was it Allison?, where a hospital's generators were in the basement under water, also much of 1st floor. Those pictures will always remain in my memory!

Another good example of the priciple of all-hazards resistance for emergency services structures: One of our shelters here had to be abandoned in the middle of Omar, because it flooded. Had we been having really strong winds, people could have been injured or killed. The shelter's roof held just fine, and hopefully would have in stronger winds, but it became unusable due to a different hazard.
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#47 Postby HURAKAN » Thu Oct 23, 2008 11:06 am

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Re: 400 still missing from Ike

#48 Postby bvigal » Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:24 pm

Thanks for the map, Hurakan! Also, the Ike page is incredible. Here's the link, it takes a while to load:
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/hgx/projects/ike08.htm
The pictures are heartbreaking. I just visited the Laura Recovery site and they still list 96 people missing.
http://www.lrcf.net/Ike/

Those pilings holding houses in Bolivar were left, but the houses were gone. Some concrete buildings also washed away. It appears that NOTHING can survive the force of the sea, except maybe huge steel girders planted on bedrock 30 feet down. But whatever is on top, if the water reaches it, will be gone. And who wants to be trapped above the entire ocean on some man-made sticks? What if they fail? You're dead.

The biggest impact made upon me regarding storm surge/wave action predictions with hurricanes was some years ago, listening to someone on tv from NHC. He talked about possible surge height, then mentioned possible height of battering waves ON TOP of the surge, and added them together to make a number that was nearly unbelievable. I seldom hear it expressed that way, certainly not in the routine advisories. Maybe it should ALWAYS be expressed that way, i.e. surge of 10-15ft possible with 6-8ft battering waves = 23ft of debris filled, battering water. That would get my attention!

From all I've learned here at s2k from other members, and their horrific experiences, if I lived anywhere less than 30ft above sea level that I couldn't run in 2 minutes to higher ground, I'd get in my car and drive away 2 days in advance, even if I lost my job. I wouldn't care if my area had NEVER had a storm surge. I'm a big chicken now!!
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Re: 400 still missing from Ike

#49 Postby MiamiensisWx » Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:45 pm

bvigal wrote:Thanks for the map, Hurakan! Also, the Ike page is incredible. Here's the link, it takes a while to load:
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/hgx/projects/ike08.htm
The pictures are heartbreaking. I just visited the Laura Recovery site and they still list 96 people missing.
http://www.lrcf.net/Ike/

Those pilings holding houses in Bolivar were left, but the houses were gone. Some concrete buildings also washed away. It appears that NOTHING can survive the force of the sea, except maybe huge steel girders planted on bedrock 30 feet down. But whatever is on top, if the water reaches it, will be gone. And who wants to be trapped above the entire ocean on some man-made sticks? What if they fail? You're dead.

The biggest impact made upon me regarding storm surge/wave action predictions with hurricanes was some years ago, listening to someone on tv from NHC. He talked about possible surge height, then mentioned possible height of battering waves ON TOP of the surge, and added them together to make a number that was nearly unbelievable. I seldom hear it expressed that way, certainly not in the routine advisories. Maybe it should ALWAYS be expressed that way, i.e. surge of 10-15ft possible with 6-8ft battering waves = 23ft of debris filled, battering water. That would get my attention!

From all I've learned here at s2k from other members, and their horrific experiences, if I lived anywhere less than 30ft above sea level that I couldn't run in 2 minutes to higher ground, I'd get in my car and drive away 2 days in advance, even if I lost my job. I wouldn't care if my area had NEVER had a storm surge. I'm a big chicken now!!

I think this post brings an important and underestimated fact to the front. The impact of waves on coastal structures (in addition to the storm surge) is sorely underestimated. If you traverse the majority of homes swept away during Gulf TCs, the majority of the structures are attached to the pilings at the top. In many cases, the pilings remained in place (albeit bent/prostrated), but the attachments did not sufficiently anchor the home to the pilings or ground. It is very probable that the homes were dislocated from the pilings by large waves in numerous cases; consequently, the homes were moved/thrown off the pilings via attachment failure, and they were subsequently "engulfed" by the surge (and disintegrated). If the surge does not reach the deck/balcony railings or the elevation of a home on pilings, the waves will likely "get it", resulting in probable loss of life (if the occupants remain in place).

By the way, I apologize for my "rant" in the Ike Caribbean thread... I was truly concerned for all residents, and I have a tendency to be aghast when common sense is not utilized.
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