Spent much of today on the internet trying to talk some people into some travel. No, I haven’t taken up gainful(?) employment as an obnoxious travel agent, was just trying to convince them to get out of the way of 140 MPH winds, 10 foot and higher storm surges, and maybe a foot of rain, frogs, and locusts thrown in for good measure.

Most infrastructure like buildings, utilities, telecommunications, and transportation are built for a design wind speed of 100 MPH or so. The below ground infrastructure is built to survive an inch of rain an hour and a once a hundred year flood. Thus a Cat 4 hurricane with the aforementioned assets will likely take out your phone and internet as well as electricity and your toilet won’t flush. The either the walls will blow down, the roof will blow off, or you’ll get flooded and get to drown in your own home instead of killed by your own home come crashing down on you. At that point, the loss of internet access and flush toilet won’t really matter.

Now this catastrophe is forecast to be visited upon the east coast of Florida from around Palm Beach to the state line tonight and friday, and on up along the coast through Georgia and the Carolinas over the weekend. Hop on the bike, car, whatever and head 50 miles west and you’re out of danger. Now I’ve always been suspect of the ability to evacuate the millions of Florida’s east coast citizenry by Florida’s under built highway system, and you’d think that with so few miles between catastrophe and safety, those under built highways would have been jammed… But for the last few days before tonights landfall, westbound traffic counts were up only a thousand vehicles an hour or so at most.

So with safety just an hours drive or even a days bicycle ride west on the Tamiami Trail, Alligator Alley, Bee Line Highway, I-10, and many two lanes, why did folks stay encamped in the hurricane’s path? I heard detailed descriptions of the “nesters” plywood covered windows, reserves of food and water, and stashes of batteries, candles, camp stoves and flashlights. That might work fine up to 100 MPH winds, hundred year floods, and a “garden variety” hurricane. But at 140 MPH it becomes am admittedly comfy but none the less coffin.

Sadly, we have lost our national national need to wander… Used to be that we’d drive 50 miles just to see a good thunderstorm, never mind escape a hurricane. And we’ve become so inept at science that we have no concept of the power of wind, and how it grows in logarithmic fashion. Give us some social media and munchies, and we’ll climb into coffins of our own making and passively await our deaths…

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