Flooding and Hurricanes, surprise surprise

SE Ohio got hit pretty hard with torrential rainfall from Frances and Ivan. Many rivers reached floodstage or above, most are receeding now.

The usual places got flooded as they usually do. The news crews went out to the same places they go to get a shot of a canoe or boat in a flooded street.

Not to make light of anyone's tragedy but I can't help but wonder why anyone is surprised by these occurances. Get out of the 100 year floodplain if you want to stay dry. 4"/day rain events do happen, they will happen in your lifetime. A lot of folks are poor around here so were they live is not really a matter of choice but society as a whole should begin to realize that rivers flood. And when they do it is probability not a "disaster" . The last big flood FEMA did come in and buy out a lot of flooded/destroyed homes to prevent people from rebuilding. Temporary activity, farmland, parkland in the floodplain makes sense. Permanent activity does not.

Same goes for Hurricanes and the coast. Been to the outer banks lately ? That is one huge gamble, a billion dollar bet on the odds of hurricane whoever NOT coming there way. And everyone on this website knows that it is just a matter of time.

Just wishing that folks were able to do a little bit of long term planning but I guess that is asking too much.
 
Should people leave the West Coast cause of quakes?

Should people leave the Atlantic and Gulf coasts cause of hurricanes?

Should people leave the Plains cause of tornadoes?

Should people leave Moore, OK cause of tornadoes?

Should people leave the Mississippi River valley cause of flooding?

Should people leave the mountains cause of wildfires?

Should people leave the southwest cause of monsoon flash flooding?

Unfortunately, that doesn't leave a lot of places left to go. News happens, and regardless of what happens, it happened and it affects people. In that case, it will be news! Sorry man, bad argument, there.
 
Sometimes I think the same thing while driving down a narrow valley with trailers and nice houses alike built right next to the creek. Within 5 years, they will be virtually guaranteed to have water come into their homes, and in 25-30 years, there is a huge probability that they will get washed out completely. Here, for example, Elk Twomile Creek north of Charleston floods once or twice a year, blocking the roads and getting into people's homes. And every once in a while, this happens:

http://wvlightning.com/june162003.html

And this type of flood happens several times a year in this region. I always worry about who is next.

Tom's right, it's not a matter of if, but when. The problem is, around here there is nowhere else to build *but* in the valleys. There isn't much buildable land in Appalachia away from the rivers and creeks - unless you excavate the mountainside away, which is extremely expensive. If you do that, then you've got soil instability and landslide problems to deal with.

There's no easy answer to the problem, but Tony's right - there are risks everywhere. Flooding to valleys and hurricanes to the coast more so than tornadoes and earthquakes, though.
 
You forgot a few...

Should people leave Hawaii becaue of tsunamis?

Should people leave Seattle becasuse Mt. Rainier is going to blow its top?

Should people leave the mountains because of avalanches?

Should people leave New England because of nor' easters?

Unless you want to live in a concrete bunker in Australia natural disasters are just a part of life. The risk is well worth the reward in almost every case. More importantly the statistics prove it. Anybody care to guess the odds of dying in the US from a natural disaster?
 
I have questioned why people have lived in these places also. I'm not sure many of your arguments are better than the original one. Would you rather take your chances with a tornado or a hurricane? Which is more likely to cover a broad area? Would you rather live in a flood plain or on a hilltop? The point is, I CHOSE not to live below Tuttle Creek Dam because it sets on a fault line and did not stop the flood almost ten years ago. I certainly would not live along a river or valley without the thought of flooding, or along a coast without the thought of hurricanes or storm surge.

I'm not saying these instances are not newsworthy, but people make choices therefore they must live with the consequences.

Tim
 
Most areas of the US have their hazards. Either weather/quakes/dangerous bugs. You "pick your poison" per se. I will take weather over them bugs and the quakes. At least you can see the weather coming!
I have wondered why people continue to rebuild in flood prone areas too. But if it is a desired spot and they know the risk, more power to them. I would hate to have their insurance rates.
 
Should people leave the West Coast cause of quakes?

Should people leave the Atlantic and Gulf coasts cause of hurricanes?

Should people leave the Plains cause of tornadoes?

Should people leave Moore, OK cause of tornadoes?

Should people leave the Mississippi River valley cause of flooding?

Should people leave the mountains cause of wildfires?

Should people leave the southwest cause of monsoon flash flooding?

I am talking about locations that have flodded 5-10 times in the last 20 years. I will place a bet that they will flood again in the next 5 years. Not quite the same as quakes/tornadoes. I know where the flood is going to be, I can show you what houses/towns will flood. I have seen the same photos on the news year after year. FEMA has made some movement on this area, they have a long term vision and know that they will be providing disaster assistance to floodplain developments every 24-100 years or so. So they are beginning to move people out of the floodplains instead of rebuilding. Floods are rather predictable, to an extent.


I think a hundred years is a good measure of risk, 100 year floodplain is a bad place to build. If major hurricanes are more likely than not in a 100 year period then houses should be built accordingly. Above strom surge if possible, and strong enough for sustained winds. Same goes for earthquake areas, legislation is in place to mitigate the dangers. Try building an 8 story masonry structure in San Francisco and see if you get a permit.

So my answer is NO they should not leave the west coast due to earthquakes, but buildings should be as safe as they can be given the circumstances.

Tornadoes... I dunno what is the risk per given structure? I can point to a house and predict it will be flooded. I do not know if you can do the same for a house in OK.

Fires,
Cedar shingles would be a poor choice for roofing material that is for sure.

The point is to know the risks. Move a house up 10 feet and you have quadroopled it's chance of surviving a flood. Move the houses off of the beach and behind the barrier dune and you save a large percentage of them, move them off the barrier Island and you save even more of them when the Hurricane comes.

Reasonable risk.
 
Tornadoes... I dunno what is the risk per given structure? I can point to a house and predict it will be flooded. I do not know if you can do the same for a house in OK.

Probably about 1 in 500,000 a year in the United States.

You make some valid points, and for new construction they should be the standard. I believe in mitigation before the event, not recovery after it. The problem is that most houses in the US are old or older so you gotta live with them. While some places are getting 100 year floods every few years there are others who haven't seen a 100 year event in centuries. (If that sounds confusing, sorry, it's insurance talk). More importantly there are people who know the risk. They know their house could be wiped out in the next storm but they find the risk acceptable. The problem is they never get interviewed on the news. Only the sobbing families who lost everything, who ignorantly say "We never knew this could happen."
 
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