peterbirks: (Default)
I was looking at the hurricane weather tracker a few moments ago, to see what path Hurricane Katrina was taking (http://html.nbc5i.com/sh/idi/weather/hurricanes/hurricanetracker.html). I'm quite inured to reading about hurricanes this past 12 months, but they have an eternal capacity to surprise you. In this case Katrina seems to have decided to zoom up to category 5 (only three of these have hit land in the past 100 years or so) in virtually no time at all. If it continues on its expected path at its expected slow speed (hurricanes have two "speeds" -- the speeds of the winds generated, and the rate at which the hurricane is moving) then, to be blunt, New Orleans is genuinely fucked. Not vaguely fucked in a Miami Dade County kind of way last weekend (a mere $1bn in damage), but seriously in danger of a kind of flooded and destroyed fucked that we haven't seen in a major US city since San Francisco in 1906. Most of this will be because of flooding (the famous Katrina Waves....) that, if the levees break, will move through a city that for various reasons was built mainly below sea level.

Flooding, as you may or may not know, is not covered by insurance in the US. It is covered by the Federal Emergency Management Authority. Basically this means that someone living in a rockies home in Colorado pays taxes for flooding that occurs in South Carolina. Curiously, the Americans seem to have put up with this for many many years, even though you might think that Billy Cowhand in Montana might reckon that there isn't much chance of a flood coming through his back yeard, so how come that is federally protected, but the hailstorms that might destroy his car aren't? Well, historical accident, basically. Life ain't fair, that's for sure.

August 2017

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