JUNE 24, 2013

It seems that the Rolling Stone article about the disappearance of Miami under the floodwaters of a mythical hurricane someday has sparked everyone’s attention. Unfortunately, there was one major flaw in the article about Miami disappearing under the waters of a fictional Hurricane Milo in 2030.

We don’t have to wait until 2030 for that disaster to happen. Miami and most of Southeast Florida could disappear under a real hurricane this year, or any year between now and 2030.

When South Florida first responders engage in training exercises, they include a training exercise for the “worst case scenario.”  This is what that worst case scenario looks like.

A massive category 5 hurricane comes ashore at high tide somewhere between downtown Miami and Fort Lauderdale, bringing with it a 20-25 foot storm surge and a couple feet of rain, that combined with the storm surge, pounds everything along A1A, and drives water inland across Biscayne Boulevard and/or US 1. 

The storm is large, and it slowly plows north, northwest straight towards the southern levee wall of Lake Okeechobee, where it weakens the levee wall so that it crumbles and the lake comes pouring out onto the hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland in Palm Beach and northern Broward counties and keeps flowing south until it meets up in some areas with the rain water from the storm.

It’s been estimated that in some places it would take weeks for all of that water to evaporate or drain into the ocean.

Even with the canals and the water management system that was put in place after the historic 1947 hurricanes - a year when most of southeast Florida from Orlando south became a flood plain because of the almost 100 inches of rain that accumulated from those historic storms - the damage and destruction from both a major hurricane and the lake water would rival the damage predicted in the Rolling Stone article.

The short, medium and long-term financial costs of such devastation, would easily rival the costs that the Rolling Stone article projects for their fictional storm Milo.

The question has never been whether we’re destined for a catastrophe some day, the only question is when?

Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, who after witnessing the destruction associated with last year’s Hurricane Sandy recognized that time did not allow for a protracted, politics as usual response to the threats posed by any future and larger storms, has managed in the course of less than a year to produce a $20 billion plan on how to try and protect his city from another storm.

During that same year local politicians have continued to engage in a political circle jerk making decisions that all but guarantee that the damage from the next major storm will be astronomical.

Miami is the epicenter of hurricane alley. Yet, year in and year out both City of Miami and Miami-Dade County   politicians continue to approve massive waterfront developments that could end up costing tens of billions of dollars in cleanup costs after one of these storms hits us.

In the last year the alone the Miami City Commission approved the construction of the Brickell CityCenter with 1600 underground parking spaces three blocks from Biscayne Bay, the Related Group’s deal to become partners in the Flagstone deal on Watson island where a 20-25 foot storm surge would not only flood Jungle Island, the Children’s Museum and the Port Tunnel, but they are poised to approve a new RFP to replace Scotty’s Landing and Grove Key Marina with a project whose design does nothing to mitigate against being submerged under a similar kind of storm surge.

None of those projects, or any of a number of other high-rise condos built close to the waterfront in recent years seem to have taken seriously the possibility of being hit by 20-25 foot storm surges into consideration, other than to expect that flood insurance will pay for the recovery costs.

The increasing number of intensifying natural disasters, whether they be the result of continuing to build along the nation’s coasts, below the flood plain of some of the country’s major rivers, or in the middle of forests are beginning to cause people all over the country to question whether their tax money should continue to cover the rebuilding costs of homes and businesses along the Mississippi River every couple years after after the latest “100 Year Flood,” or rebuilding the houses and businesses on the Barrier Islands along the Gulf and East Coast after hurricanes.

When it comes to Miami, the photographic evidence has been around since 1926 of what everyone can expect from a major hurricane plowing into downtown Miami.

The failure to consider that evidence in the making of public policy over the years was what led to the disaster of Hurricane Andrew, and even today politicians deflect the potential for a major catastrophic disaster by claiming that the people of Miami and South Florida would rise above such a calamity through courage and perseverance.

That might have been true back in the day when Miami was little more than a small town and the sea level was lower, but the major storms that threaten us today, as the Rolling Stone article clearly pointed out, have the potential of making Miami an unlivable city.

Almost worse than the storms themselves is that first we need to be protected against the morons and assholes that consistently seem to pop up to demonstrate an ignorance and craziness that has made Florida the laughing stock of the world on so many levels.

You could choose from any number of troubling quotes uttered by politicians and appointed public officials in the Rolling Stone article to underscore this problem, but to me no other quote comes anywhere near as revealing as to just what a bat-shit crazy state Florida has become than this one:

        “Given how much Florida has to lose from climate

        change, the abdication of leadership by state and

        federal politicians is almost suicidal – when it isn’t

        downright comical. Watson recalls attending a

        meeting on natural-hazard-response planning in

        South Florida, funded by the Federal Emergency

        Management Agency and the state: “I mentioned

        sea-level rise, and I was treated to a 15-minute

        lecture on Genesis by one of the commissioners.

        He said, ‘God destroyed the Earth with water the

        first time, and he promised he wouldn’t do it again.

        So all of you who are pushing fears about sea-level

        rise, go back and read the Bible.’”

How does someone like that even get appointed to a board entrusted with making fact based decisions on an issue of such importance?  Who would appoint someone this fucking stupid and removed from reality?

This unnamed commissioner might represent an extreme, but within arm’s length of his craziness you will find any number of incompetent, stupid or cowardly elected officials and appointed functionaries who sit idly by allowing this kind of craziness to influence the making of public policy.

Our cities, our counties, our states and our federal government have been taken over by morons on the left and right of the political spectrum who have cow shit for brains and who are often little more than empty vessels being manipulated by PR and social media “experts” who have cynically discovered that wheelbarrows full of money can be made through the crass manipulation of these fools and their “message.”

The more avenues of communication that are developed with a promise of increasing an ethos of “community,” the quicker these platforms become corrupted by these charlatans and schemers who spend their days searching for new opportunities to turn them into vehicles for manipulation.

I’ve written in the past, and will in the future about how this is occurring in Miami, but make no mistake, whether sooner or later, one day Miami will be hit with a major hurricane that will reveal just how poorly served the citizens have been by their elected officials, and when that day comes, we’ll hear from the assholes like the unnamed commissioner above who no doubt will change his message from God “wouldn’t do it again,” to God did it to punish us for our sins.

Sadly, the moronic asshole will be right, and the first among all the sins that God will punish us for is allowing these  stupid, bat-shIt crazy assholes to take over our government.

It’s Miami, Bitches!



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