What Ticks Me Off About Hurricane Florence

You ever watch HGTV?  Ruth and I stopped watching the channel, because after a while it was all the same…”open concept….hardwood floors, backsplash in the kitchen…it got kind of boring.


But what really ticked me off was the promotion of living along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean!  You know, “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” and other similar shows. Now I understand a lot of people live where they live because they have to.  It’s where they were raised, they have a job there, their family is there etc.  But choosing to live there because of a lifestyle they desire is another thing.


You see I studied meteorology about 30 years ago to become a “Broadcast Meteorologist” on channel 10 here in Phoenix, AZ and one thing that always stuck in my mind is the concern of the meteorology and climatology community was and is the proliferation of development along these shores. NOAA and other concerns have warned repeatedly its dangerous to build homes, communities in these areas because of the storm tracks of these devastating tropical storms. 


But there’s more to it than the danger. See this op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal  at:   https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-u-s-is-rich-so-storms-are-worse-1536962988?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1


Holman W. Jenkins writes quoting Bob Sheets, then-head of the National Hurricane Center, said after Hurricane Frederic: “It was like an urban renewal program out there.”


He goes on to report, “AIR Worldwide put it in 2015, not climate change but “the growing number and value of coastal properties is the largest factor impacting hurricane risk today.” A whopping $17 trillion in property now exists inside the U.S. storm-surge zone!”


So I’m wondering why should taxpayers support the life style choices of people who choose to live on the coasts?


Back in 1989 when I was graduating with my Broadcast Meteorology Certificate from Mississippi State University, I remember reading about the dangers of development of these coastal communities. 


Meanwhile places like New Orleans needed protection from hurricanes and nothing was done. Before Hurricane Katrina, warnings about its vulnerability to hurricanes were made at least 40 years before.  

I lived in Puerto Rico in the ‘70’s and I know the island, although a territory of the U.S. is mostly poor and in need of shoring up its infrastructure against tropical storms, but nothing.   People that live in these areas have no choice it’s their home.  They have to live there.


Yet billions of dollars will go to clean up the damage of these lifestyle communities where there should not be any development at all.  Could all of this have been prevented?