10 August 2009

Heating up after a slow start

I love hurricane season - not that I would wish lethal destruction on anyone, but c'mon, the intersection of maps and science is pretty cool.

And after no storms in the Atlantic and a few far from land in the Pacific, the 2009 season is heating up. Tropical Storm (formerly hurricane) Felicia is bearing down on Hawai'i, and there are some hot spots lining up in the Atlantic.
The NOAA Hurricane Center website is here; you can roll your mouse over the colored areas for more info on the storms, or potential storms.

It's a matter of time, of course, before the big one hits - yes, Katrina was a terrible disaster in terms of human costs, and it was great fun blaming the victims there for that one, right?
Just wait until a storm that size directly hits Houston, the 6th largest metro area in the country with 5.7 million people at 0-83 feet above sea level (shown above, with all that water in Galveston Bay), or Miami (#7, 5.4 million, 0-30 feet), or Tampa-St. Petersburg (#19, 2.7 million, satellite image below left showing elevation - think what a storm surge with a category 4 will do when it hits Tampa Bay), or Jacksonville (1.5 million, 0-40 feet).

We are simply not prepared.
We are overbuilt.

We are facing subsidence due to taking out too much fresh water from underground aquifers.
We are facing global climate change, and warmer water is more conducive to the formation and sustenance of hurricanes.

So even if you live inland, or on the Left Coast, keep your eyes on the NOAA site, and check back frequently. It's going to happen, and it might be this year.

2 comments:

CFox said...

I simply can't say how relieved I am not to live in a flat swamp any longer, and especially how glad I am that my parents left, too. That said, I recognized both of those images immediately, b/c I've lived in both of them. In fact, if I were handier and could hack your site, I could put an "X" where I used to live in Dunedin. Frankly, it gets harder each year to live on the coasts. Even storms that are not "the big one" drastically reshape the coastline (it looks nothing like it did in 1978,when we moved to FLA) and cause people to bail out water, fight the mold, or move. Or all three. It's crazy that we haven't done more to protect the coasts, or to stop the terrible use of land that has left us so vulnerable. Even 1 mile inland in FLA, for example, the destruction of the citrus groves for substandard housing meant a serious degradation in land water retention and a whole $hitload of flooding. This isn't even about the actual coastal area, but about the insane and immoral? landgrab of the '80s and '90s that basically destroyed Florida.

...not that I have an opinion about this.

Ken said...

Thanks, Brennan. I was feeling pretty good, but not so much after having soiled myself.

Just waiting for the first Great Lakes hurricane to wipe out our fresh water. Yay.