Monday, August 20, 2007

It could happen tomorrow: Miami (Weather Channel)

Recently, the Weather Channel has broadcast some of the "It Could Happen Tomorrow" series, half-hour programs on various catastrophes. This one demonstrates what would happen if a Category 5 hurricane made a direct hit on Miami Beach, downtown Miami, and Coconut Grove. It could render more than one million people, many immigrants and low income, homeless for months and challenge ordinary Americans to house them on a scale that even dwarfs Katrina. Miami does extensive drills, and has a "storm activation level time" of SALT system. The show had practical tips for reinforcing homes, and ownership in that area requires a commitment not necessarily expected in inland or less exposed cities.

In 1992 Hurricane Andrew passed to the south of Miami but did tremendous devastation. Hurricanes in August often follow straighter paths than those later in the season, but Katrina was an anomaly, forming suddenly off the Florida coast and intensifying explosively in the unusually warm Gulf of Mexico. That risk is greatest in August.

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