"What we should have learned, is this type of thing is going to keep on happening until we get a whole lot smarter about preparedness. Until then, we just await the next punch from either nature or a rogue, outlaw country."
The twin storms of Harvey and Irma are finally over. Residents, who left the storm areas for safety, are now starting to filter back. Many in Houston are stunned at the amount of damage caused from a yard of rain. With the other storm Irma, many in Florida are relieved that Cuba took enough starch out of the storm to cut down the amount of damage it could have done. However even with that, there still was damage. And about half the state remains without power.
Reading about the aftermath of these two storms gave me pause to think. This morning I got up, went into the kitchen and made coffee. In Florida, half the residents can't do that. It takes electricity. According to Governor Scott, if might be quite a while before all power is restored to Florida. Meanwhile, many houses in Florida are uninhabitable. No place to store perishable food. No air conditioning. No cell service. In a sub-tropical climate, that is uninhabitable.
Then my thought was this - what about all those people who have jobs? How do you work if you have no place to stay? To shower? To eat? My wife, the retired school teacher, had one better. What about the schools? When are they going to be in session? And the kids? Will they be in a good place to learn if they still don't have a livable home to back to?
Back to Houston for a minute. It is one thing to have so many homes right now be determined to be unlivable due to the flooding. However, there is something else to consider. In the paper this morning, the issue of the lost cars was addressed. For a city which thrives on private transportation, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of care are either "flood plain" cars or totaled. How do you get back to any sense of normalcy when you are both without a home and a car?
Department of Homeland Security, please take notice. We saw this during Super Storm Sandy. We saw it during Katrina. Irma was particularly bad for Florida as it was almost state wide. Supplies could not be pre-positioned. What if we had something even more wide spread than a 400 mile wide hurricane like Irma? Like a solar flare disrupting our power grid. An attack on our power grid through cyber terrorism? Or the biggest fear of all - the Norks being able to effect an EMP strike on this country, ruining many parts of our power grid.
It really is amazing that in 2017, going on 2018, we are still this vulnerable. How vulnerable? We are one tragic event from being cast back into a lifestyle from the 1800's. The lack of urgency to fix this vulnerability by this administration, just like previous ones, is jaw dropping. We should never lose power to this extent from a storm, no matter how big and how powerful it is. Our power grid should be totally robust, rad hardened, and redundent.
Every night on the news, we will watch the slow and painful recovery from these two storms. We last saw it during Super Storm Sandy. What did we learn from that storm? Not much, actually. What we should have learned, is this type of thing is going to keep on happening until we get a whole lot smarter about preparedness. Until then, we just await the next punch from either nature or a rogue, outlaw country.