The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The march of storms

Living in Florida,especially south Florida, you learn a lot about hurricanes. Some of it accurate, some not so. Yes, even Floridians get caught up in the myths and misunderstandings of these storms.

I knew nothing about tropical storms and hurricanes when my family first moved to Florida in the mid-50's. Over the next several years, I learned quite a bit. I learned to respect them but not fear them. I learned that, at that time, most houses were built to withstand them fairly easily. Made of cinder block, with concrete tile roofs, they were almost like bunkers. Especially if you had the heavy hurricane awnings. Ours were made of thick marine plywood, later ones were made of aluminum. There were older houses, built before the building codes were strengthened to standards that had created the cinder block homes, that had survived numerous storms. A combination of luck and good workmanship.

You see, most hurricanes that hit south Florida in the decade I lived in or near Dade County were not larger than category 2 storms. In fact, most hurricanes that hit anywhere were not any larger than that. It was the rare storm that hit us directly (Cleo in 1964), most missed by quite a bit. The further away from the eye of the storm, the safer you are. 50 miles from the eye wall and the storm is nasty but hardly life threatening. We, my friends and I, used to chuckle over national news reports that attributed deaths from heart attacks while putting up shutters or in car accidents while going for supplies to the hurricanes. These could have happened on the nicest of days, just random incidents.

I have met people from all over the country that told me they could never live in Florida because of the hurricanes. Some of these people live in tornado prone areas, others in California where earthquakes are the prevalent danger. It mystified me that hurricanes worried them, scared them that much. At least with a hurricane you get several days warning. You can prepare, you can protect yourself in advance. You don't wake up in the middle of the night to a siren or the violent shaking of your bed with only minutes, at most, to find a safe haven. In an earthquake, reduce that to less than seconds. Comparably, hurricanes are big annoyances that will mean lots of clean up afterward and a lack of electricity for a day or two. At least back then. Today, it seems there is much more clean up afterward and the power may be out for a week or more.

I worry more when they start coming late in the season, in lock step, one after the other, from the western coast of Africa or off the northern coast of South America. It's like armies marching on your position. Wave after wave. You know that, eventually, at least one will get through and pass close enough to impact you.

You feel relieved when it misses you and hits somewhere else. Also a little guilty because you know that others are going through what you didn't, what you feared.

And why do they start this march just a few weeks before I leave on a trip?


Bagman and Butler said...

Living in Charleston, South Carolina, we share the vigil of the marching storms...

Charlotte Ann said...

The march appears to have started for this season.and it was so quiet; a quiet we were enjoying. I prefer hurricanes here to the earthquakes of California and the tornadoes of Oklahoma. I've lived through all these forces.

Douglas said...

B&B, hang in there. I hope Earl misses you and everyone else.

Charlotte Ann, I could tell you a funny story about the first earthquake I felt in LA but it's a bit ribald.