I live on the Gulf coast. We take hurricanes pretty seriously here because we have to. They are a fact of life we have come to expect and we are fairly well prepared. If we had a storm coming in, as Sandy did, as category l, we would breathe a huge collective sigh of relief. It would do some damage and a few people would die, but we would be relieved because we know it could be a whole lot worse!
Am I trying to minimize the result and damage done by this storm? Hell no! Last I heard, the death toll was at 28 and I have no doubt that the property damage will far exceed anything else in history. The death toll will continue to climb and I wouldn’t even hazard a guess as to the eventual bill for the property damage.
So what’s the point of this diary?
It is a warning to you all. The effects of global warming are with us now and it is likely that before too long you will know from sad experience the difference between a Cat I storm that makes landfall at 80 mph and a cat II or III storm with sustained winds from 100 to 150 mph. What if Sandy’s storm surge had been 30 or 35 feet instead of the 12 feet (the last number I heard) you actually experienced?
Your politicians will make every effort to minimize the chances of that happening, aided by a compliant media that hasn’t managed to mention global warming hardly at all – if at all – in it’s coverage. Cleanup is going to be horrendously expensive and preparing for even stronger storms in the future just isn’t going to be a priority. Even though it is much cheaper to prepare for a disaster than clean up after one, nobody is going to want to raise taxes to prepare for an “unlikely” future disaster.
Because efforts to minimize that risk will be almost universal. Sandy will be called “The Storm of The Century” – meaning that it was a fluke and you can relax for 50 or 100 years before there is any danger of it happening again. No problem.
You have gotten a wake up call. The question is, will you take it or allow your politicians to hit the snooze button?
I’m afraid, because of the politics involved, that I know the answer to that question. But I would love to be proved wrong.