So here I sit, in northeastern Wisconsin, snug as a bug in a rug. It’s now two in the morning and it’s kind of balmy-cool outside (Heidi & Co woke me for a slightly urgent bit of business in the back yard), so after that I came in and flipped on the Weather Channel – and watched Irma move in on Key West in real-time.
Where Hwy 41, the so-called Tamiami Trail, comes into Naples, just before the road turns north, there’s a collection of shops and restaurants on the water called Tin City, and on the south side of that place is a tiny, 15 boat marina. I lived there for a year or so and ended up making friends with a few people there, and I had the time of my life there, too.
Right now I’m thinking about the words “storm surge,” and what that’s going to mean for Naples and, indeed, all of SW Florida going forward. Not to mention my friends.
But…a 10-12 foot storm surge?
I’d say that 90% of all homes in the Naples area are one story affairs. Twelve feet of standing water would submerge them, while twelve feet of hurricane driven storm surge will likely scrub them from this earth. People who decide to ride out Irma in these areas won’t make it. They’ll die. How many will perish? How many weeks or months will it take to come up with a valid number?
How many decided to heed the chorus of warnings issued all week? How many will try to ride it out? Oh, did you read about the sheriff down there? The one who proclaimed that anyone coming to a storm shelter would have to produce ID? He promised anyone coming in search of shelter who happened to have warrants out would find fine sleeping arrangements in the county jail. Yup, folks, that’s called compassionate conservatism.
Meanwhile… Looking at the weather maps as Irma makes landfall, I’m struck by the size of this monster…
Florida isn’t a terribly large state, not compared to California or Texas, but from Key West in the south to Jacksonville in the northeast it is over 400 miles “long”, so let the image above soak in a little bit. From the eye to Jacksonville, right now, we’re looking at a massive storm more than 500 miles wide, from eye to northernmost band. Now, check out this image, from Key West, taken earlier today:
Note the intrepid photographer taking pictures of all the cute approaching waves…
Then, well, kind of disappearing as a wave breaks over the sea wall. And this was more than 12 hours before the storm moved off Cuba’s northern coastline. I feel kind of sorry for this guy, too. Surely a Darwin Award winning pose if ever there was one, and you can’t even see his face.
Now, here’s another number to ponder. 200,000,000.00
As in two hundred billion. That’s Dollars, with a capital D.
In immediate property loss as a result of this storm. THIS storm. This one storm in Florida.
Not including Harvey. Oh yes, have you already forgotten about Harvey, that little ‘ol storm down there in Houston? The little storm that is projected to cost around 130,000,000.00 to clean up and sort out? We’re not even to the halfway point in hurricane season and we’re at a third of a trillion dollars. Given that our little adventures in south central Asia are costing around a trillion a year, we’re talking some serious money now.
So while FEMA’s running out of money, and Herr Drumpf wants to eliminate around 13% OF THEIR BUDGET, consider that right now they’re responding to the two largest storms in North American meteorological history. Which of course, as you well know, has nothing at all to do with climate change. As one-time child actor Kirk Cameron told us this week, it’s all happening because God is pretty upset with us.
It’d probably be in bad taste to go on much more right now, so I’m going to sit back and watch the Weather Channel some more.
Oh, while on the subject of TV, there’s a new movie out on HBO called Hidden Figures. Just watch it, okay? You won’t regret it.