Monday, August 29, 2011

I Remember Floyd

Hurricane Floyd for me was a many-hour trip from Melbourne, FL, to my wife’s nephew’s home in Georgia, a little north of Plains. The traffic was so slow that we got off I-4 at an interchange, filled up with gas, used the one working restroom, and got back on I-4 three cars ahead of where we were in the traffic when we got off.

Later, when threatened by Hurricane Francis and Hurricane Jeanne, we remained in our home in Melbourne. My neighbor to the East lost several shingles. During Francis, one broke our bedroom window. Being at home, we were able to stuff things into garbage bags and place the bag in the window. We also put car floor mats in the window. We secured the inside of the window by nailing pegboard over the whole window on the inside. For Jeanne, we put plywood over the outside of the windows in the exposed areas.

An episode of the TV series JAG used the line “Remember Floyd” to caution against over reacting.

The Wikipedia entry includes a visual comparison of Floyd and Andrew “while at similar positions and nearly identical intensities”. Floyd has a diameter which is two to three times that of Andrew. A hint of Floyd’s future path may be given by its lack of symmetry with respect to its eye. Andrew is small but symmetric.

Ordering a mandatory evacuation is the easy part. Hurricane Irene highlighted the need for plans to evacuate/care for the elderly and the critically ill. The current “First Responders” have gotten too much influence, if not power, in part due to the Patriot Act. We need Comprehensive Homeland Security Reform to plan for natural events other than War and Terrorism. We should also reassess how much Homeland Security we can afford and then assign resources appropriately. Isn’t a Mandatory Evacuation Order currently an Unfunded Mandate?