Saturday, September 25, 2004

Hurricane Fatigue 

Poor Florida. Sure, the other 49 states were pissed about Election 2000, but does Florida deserve this? Four hurricanes in two months?

On TV, the journalists are at it again, showing how macho they are by reporting from the storm. On every report I see, a reported picks up a piece of debris left over from the last hurricanes. A lot of that debris will likely end up flying through the air as missiles when the storm blows through.

Another item the reporters mention is how many people along the coast have decided to sit this one out, Hurricane Fatigue setting in. I've never been through a hurricane, but if I got as much certain warning that an earthquake was coming, you bet I would hit the road and endure the evacuation traffic.

Not to begrudge Florida's troubles, but it's times like this that show how fortunate it is to be an American. In Haiti, the death toll from Hurricane Jeanne is being measured in the hundreds and even thousands. Comparing the death tolls from Haiti to those in the US, you would think there is no way the same type of natural disaster caused both.

Impending tragedy that it may be, Jeanne will do nothing like that to Florida or the rest of the US. The 1900 Galveston hurricane cost 6000 people their lives. We've come a long way since then, and not just in hurricane protection.

Hopefully, Jeanne won't have any younger siblings that intend to visit Florida this year. If you are curious what bloggers in the storm's path have to say, Kathy Kinsley's blog has an extensive list (via Michele). Even if the numbers are several orders of magnitude less than Haiti, a few deaths are still too many. Hope everyone comes out the other side OK.

Having now lived through several, it just comes down to a risk-benefit analysis, frankly. Will it be bad enough that it might kill me? And with darwinian survival of the best-built homes and almost all of the potential projectiles already gone in FL, if you still have a usable house, it's just easier to stay than to fight everyone else for the best spot in the shelter. Especially if you have little ones or pets that can't go to the shelter. The Princess is definitely one of the biggest factors in our decisions whether to go or stay. Since they won't take her, we're less likely to go.
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