On Irma And Stupidity
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2017-09-06 10:52 by Karl Denninger
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On Irma And Stupidity
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Yesterday the local WalMart was completely sold out of bottled water.

Irma has not had more than 5% chance of getting this far west -- ever.  There was exactly one model with any sort of support for even tropical storm force winds here, the CMC -- and that took the storm into Appalachicola, which would mean that we'd get..... a rainstorm.

Really.  Not flooding, not wind damage, not surge (we'd be on the wrong side) -- a rainstorm.  Never mind that the CMC is one of the less-reliable long-term models and has been left behind by more-recent evolution in hurricane path modeling.

Nonetheless the one thing that's literally the most-stupid to buy was stripped out of the local stores instantly: Bottled water.

Folks, what's wrong with your tap?  Fill up a cooler or any other clean container.  That's nearly free instead of standing in line and carting around bottles which, I remind you, then turn into trash you must dispose of in the middle of a storm when services (like garbage collection and recycling) might be disrupted.

Never mind that most houses have tank-style water heaters.  They typically have 50 gallons of drinkable water in them even if the water pumps are dead.  They also have a nice draincock on the bottom to which one can either attach a hose or simply put a glass under and open (if it's on a platform.)  Turn off the breaker or shut off the pilot (so you don't dry-fire and damage it) when the storm comes and you have 50 gallons (enough to last a family of four nearly two weeks in drinking water!) of clean, drinkable water.  Just open a hot-water tap so as to break the vacuum when you need to drain some for drinking.  When water comes back on fill it back up completely before turning it back on.  Easy, free, and already in your house or apartment.

real problem is that lift stations typically go down with the power which means you can't flush the toilet or take a shower or you will flood.  Worse, your neighbors can't either or they may flood you (if you're lower than they are.)  This means you need to figure out how you'd going to use the bathroom when you can't flush for however long the lift stations are out of service.  Know where the cleanout plug is in your drain line and/or figure out how to plug that line to block reverse flow (e.g. with an inflatable device); while it's illegal to open the plug I'll take the fine for doing it if caught if I can't block the line over the alternative of a house full of raw sewage which is going to wind up in the environment anyway if your neighbors do a stupid thing during or after a storm.

When it comes to places like Houston, Miami and elsewhere the federal government has cheered on utterly stupid things.  So have the state, local and county governments, by the way, all in the name of "economic growth."  Houston is a particularly-glaring example in that damn near the entire city is flood-prone and always has been; the early settlers that came to the area literally found a swamp and turned around, deeming it unfit for settlement.  Miami is built largely on reclaimed swampland that has and will continue to subside; that's not from global warming, it's from stupidity.  This means that both ought to be full of literally-disposable buildings along with those built on high enough pilings and 200mph wind ratings so that over their economically-useful life they won't get wet or destroyed.  But that costs more money and doesn't look as "cool", never mind the code madness cities impose that prohibit low-cost disposable structures for those who either don't want to or can't afford such stout construction but are expected to be destroyed in a major storm and thus are deliberately not insured.  Why no, instead we must build edifices and palaces in places known to be prone to inundation and then expect the taxpayer to cover it when they get trashed while the profits from building same have gone to private parties.

This is madness.

Everyone wants to say that Irma is the "strongest hurricane ever in the Atlantic."  Nonsense.  We didn't have weather satellites until the '60s and thus the only way to know one was coming was when the weather went to crap or a ship went through it (by accident) as ships sure didn't go through the eye of a hurricane on purpose!  Second, anemometers (windspeed indicators) don't generally survive 150+mph winds even today (several government-bought and thus high-quality ones failed at ~130mph last night as Irma came in), and 50-100 years ago they never did, so we have no accurate records with regard to hurricanes that are older than the last 50-75 years since flying through them is pretty-much how you clock maximum windspeeds; ground-based equipment tends to get destroyed.  What we do know is that two really nasty hurricanes came through Florida just prior to the '29 crash; the 1926 Miami 'cane caused a hell of a lot of damage and it then hit Pensacola, causing heavy damage, after re-emerging into the Gulf.  Two years later almost to the day a monster storm came in between Jupiter and Boca Raton known as the Okeechobee hurricane.  Between the two they trashed what was at the time a monstrous real estate bubble and in fact set off a property market crash in the state that has been memorialized in the famous (and true) saying "selling swampland in Florida."

Hurricanes are part of the natural phenomena in nature and redistribute energy from the oceans into the atmosphere.  While Irma has already done a lot of damage in the Leeward Islands and will undoubtedly do more intentionally stupid decisions by humans are responsible for far more economic damage and loss of life than the weather itself.

While you and I can probably not do much about the idiocy of city planners and politicians we do have the choice to not do dumb things that destroy our own financial lives, or even worse, get people we love hurt or killed.

Use your heads folks.

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Drifter
Posts: 129
Incept: 2016-02-11

Pacific Northwest
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WaterBob. Goes in your tub, let's you store up to 100 gallons of water. I keep two in the house.

I live in the country, so toilet issues aren't a problem. If I lived in the city, I'd have a couple dozen army issue Wag Bags on hand.

If you have a camper/trailer, keep that baby ready to go. Saved my parents from unnecessary hardship when they had to flee wildfires, twice, around Omak, WA.
Chaparral
Posts: 281
Incept: 2007-09-11

Los Angeles
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If there's a lot of Latinos or other turd worlders in the area then expect runs on bottled water no matter what. They come from ****holes where although there may be boulevards lined with swanky high-rises and luxury boutiques, the municipal tap water is still not seen as safe to drink. Here in LA we have excellent tap water but the turd-worlders bring their culturally ingrained habits with them and make the bottled water companies a fortune.
Bagbalm
Posts: 5281
Incept: 2009-03-19

Just North of Detroit
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"Turn off the breaker or shut off the pilot"

My family had a plumbing business for years. I can't tell you how many college educated middle class or above people have no idea where to turn off their utilities. It's almost like they take pride in being helpless. They don't have any idea what a gas valve or water valve LOOKS like or what to do with the handle whether a lever or a round handle on a stem. People don't know where there breaker box is located and the breakers are not labelled and they can't tell if one has been tripped. Actually - ran into this in schools before. No resident custodian now and nobody in the building knows where the breakers are.
Drifter
Posts: 129
Incept: 2016-02-11

Pacific Northwest
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How did it come to pass that we are a nation of idiots? That basic knowledge of electricity, plumbing, autos, diet, survival, etc etc has vanished? I had an employee that paid $100 to have a battery replaced in a key fob and asked for a raise a week later.

The concept that if she only managed her money better she wouldn't need a raise was completely lost upon her.
Eleua
Posts: 15089
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A True American Patriot!
N 47.72/ W 122.55
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@Drifter,

Working with your hands and having a practical knowledge of how things work is for the lesser intelligent, or so we are told. The "smart" people work in cubicles and stare at screens all day long.

We don't teach shop and everyone needs to go to college.

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"My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism." - Karl Marx
"Destroy the family, you destroy the country." - Lenin
"Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." - Stalin
Oldno7
Posts: 2615
Incept: 2008-11-14

RECALL STATE USA
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Karl, so you are telling me you want people to use some common sense? You have a lot of nerve. A lot of people just don't want to think for themselves they want someone else to make their decisions so they have someone to blame. I hate group think which is why I don't belong to groups of any kind. I think for myself and make my own decisions and live with the consequences. Your comments are spot on and it is a shame that you even have to make them. Use you head people!!!

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IT'S THE SPENDING STUPID The US must become less a government of men, and more a government of LAW.When people lose everything and have nothing left to lose they lose it -Gerald Celente
Tickerguy
Posts: 149712
Incept: 2007-06-26
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Ok, ok.

Go sit on Miami Beach. Right now, and stay for the next 4 days.
Bring beer.

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Winding it down.
Yourapostasy
Posts: 58
Incept: 2008-10-06

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Quote:
...the turd-worlders bring their culturally ingrained habits with them and make the bottled water companies a fortune.


Once you travel the world, you will realize how small a proportion of the global population has potable municipal tap water. Even in the PRC, in the top tier of Tier 1 cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, municipal water is not potable out of the tap. A selling point there in high-end hotels and residences is potable water out of the tap (using on-site RO or filtration). Even in many rural parts of southern France that I visited, the municipal water is not potable. The ubiquity of high-quality water in the US is an unsung accomplishment.
Tickerguy
Posts: 149712
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A True American Patriot!
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True, but I have both larger-scale and man-portable filtration/purification gear, so even THAT isn't a deterrent -- so long as the water is not salty or severely chemically contaminated the rest I can deal with.

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Winding it down.
Tsherry
Posts: 885
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Spokane WA
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Quote:
Go sit on Miami Beach. Right now, and stay for the next 4 days.
Bring beer.
Quote:


I'd wager that if there were a (meaningless to me) super-pop/hip-hop/rave/Burning Man event scheduled there, sort of a flash-concert, we could wipe out a good chunk of the idiot gene pool....

...is that what you were thinking? Love it.
Click
Posts: 13
Incept: 2017-06-26

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I totally agree with the lack of common sense regarding rebuilding in flood zones..

I also agree with filling up tap water into containers instead of waiting in line.

My preps include used food grade 55 gallon drums for water storage, bottled water purchased on sale and in advance, three different expedient water purifiers ( e.g., Sawyer water filter) and last, but not least, the survival knowledge necessary to survive ...

If you lack basic survival knowledge, then you and your family are at risk... For those who want to learn how to survive a natural disaster like Harvey, I'd highly recommend Cody Lundin's book, "When All Hell Breaks Loose"... The book has excellent advice including the tip Karl mentioned about the hot water heater containing potable water...

Finally, as a former professional hunting guide, trapper, fisherman, rancher and survival instructor,I'd highly recommend that you seriously think about redundancy regarding your preps --- especially water. Don't just rely on one source, e.g., hotwater heater. What happens if the wind knocks a tree over onto your house and smashes your hot water heater or renders it unreachable?

The rule of thumb is have a plan B and C when it comes to critical items like water. Also, don't forget what kills most people in a survival situation is failure to maintain core body temperature... Hypothermia and hyperthermia can kill in less than three hours --- sometimes less than an hour..

Flooding, of course, is the number one killer during and shortly after a hurricane... So, first be worried about too much water, then not enough...
Jamesred
Posts: 30
Incept: 2017-08-18

NY
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The lastest models have the eye going directly across Miami as a Cat 5 from directly South. Theres about 6m people in that area. I dont know much about Florida, but Karl, you do. How many people will need to be evacuated and whens the latest that evac order can be issued to ensure an orderly evacuation?
Tickerguy
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Short answer: Get out now or you're ****ed.

There are two major arteries out of there -- I-95 and I-75, with a cross-over (the turnpike.) Latest models have it raking the coast all the way up to Stuart, which is high-density basically all the way from Miami with a series of barrier islands (all very high-value housing) to make it even worse (by a lot.)

Were I bagging it I would take the surface (secondary) highways north to roughly Tampa and be prepared to bail northbound from there, with that decision made sometime tomorrow or VERY early Friday. I suspect that by tonight I-95, I-75 and the turnpike are going to be parking lots.

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Winding it down.
Quik49
Posts: 4000
Incept: 2007-12-11

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I'm not in hurricane area, but am in earthquake zone.... pretty well ready for it or a SHTF episode...besides alot of what is discussed here, another level of our plan is our small 16 foot off road trailer....always packed and ready to go with 3 of our vehicles...if we cant get to it, they all have bags in them. Redundancy Redundancy....

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Long Vaseline....

Ginnie
Posts: 24
Incept: 2017-04-03

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So I guess there's a reason why when I visited Florida in the 1970s the houses were either shack-like or small 1 story cinder block houses? I can't believe what they've built since then. It's one of many reasons why I minimize my income so I don't subsidize idiots, both the wealthy and the poor.
Tickerguy
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Quote:
So I guess there's a reason why when I visited Florida in the 1970s the houses were either shack-like or small 1 story cinder block houses? I can't believe what they've built since then. It's one of many reasons why I minimize my income so I don't subsidize idiots, both the wealthy and the poor.

Exactly.

Either make it "huff and puff and **** you it's not coming down" or make it disposable and run like hell when a storm comes.

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Winding it down.
Aquapura
Posts: 649
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South of Canada
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I've driven all over SE Florida and over to Naples on the west coast. If you're basically anywhere south of West Palm you've got very few options to get out. There is no way those roads can handle a mass evac under panic. Since we know most people are idiots I'm confident any evac order would be complete panic and leave people stuck in gridlock in the middle of a swamp as the storm hit. Not good.

By comparison Houston has 10, 45, 290, 69(59) as all major routes out of the city. An evac should be relatively easy. Reverse direction on the inbound lanes and you have a ton of paths out of the city in every direction but south. Yes, they had problems with that in the past but telling people to shelter in place where they knew flooding would be to rooftops seemed a little stupid to me.

I live far from any hurricane zone but did pick my home based on access to multiple major freeways for both daily convenience but also escape should be need ever arise. By comparison I have friends that live in the city that take pride in living a 15 min drive from the nearest highway. When the **** hits the fan that's going to be fun.
Marquiri
Posts: 30
Incept: 2015-02-24

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I'm in Sebastian, FL, which is about 45 miles north of Stuart. Still planning on staying, but I've been keeping an eye on things today. Doesn't look good.
Drifter
Posts: 129
Incept: 2016-02-11

Pacific Northwest
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Karl,

If you don't mind me asking, what water purification gear do you have, besides backpacking models?
Jamesred
Posts: 30
Incept: 2017-08-18

NY
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Thanks Karl.

The clock is ticking. Theres less than 4 days until landfall.
Cerich
Posts: 953
Incept: 2008-12-17

ga
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that area of Florida (that I once lived in) can't handle traffic hour let alone a evac. It's gonna suck very, very large if this bitch hits as a 4.
Bagbalm
Posts: 5281
Incept: 2009-03-19

Just North of Detroit
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If I lived in the bottom third of the state I'd have been in Georgia yesterday MORNING. Why wait for heavy traffic, price gouging and full motel rooms? Things happen - your car could break down.
We have 3 lists on the refrigerator. Ten minute list / half hour list / and a 3 to 4 hour list.
Als
Posts: 548
Incept: 2010-03-12

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I was relieved when I saw the storm models shifting to the east. I'm with you Karl on this one, if you're waiting to leave on Friday night or even Saturday, you're already screwed. You only have four options out of Dade and Broward counties, interstates I-95N or I-75W running over to Naples then north, Rt 41 is a two lane that runs E to W parallel to I-75 or lastly Rt 27 also a two lane that runs north west towards Lake Okeechobee that turns north running through the center of the state. A mass evacuation of the southern Florida east coast is going to be a major Cluster F**K or a total FUBAR anyway you slice it. You know people they'll always wait until the last possible second to bug out.

Here is what management at my Condo in Naples just put out an hour ago.

Dear Owners and Residents,

On Thursday, September 7th Management will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting
in the lobby at 10:00 AM. Any owners that have chosen to stay and not evacuate during the storm, please attend.

Management and the Board of Directors recommend evacuation in accordance with the City of Naples and Governor Scotts recommendation to evacuate the area during the storm. As the storm approaches please expect the following to be unavailable; emergency services, cable television, internet services, mobile & landline phone services, air conditioning and electricity.

In terms of what our area could see, the earliest arrival of tropical storm-force winds will likely be felt by late Saturday. Hurricane force winds could move over the area on Sunday or Monday, depending on the eventual path the hurricane takes.

The front desk will be unattended and personnel will not be available during the storm. Management will be on site to handle building issues as they approach, but will not be available for personal assistance. We cannot stress enough the importance of evacuating the area.

Once the storm has passed maintenance, the front desk, housekeeping, and the office will be working to get the property to normal operation with prioritized lists.

Please make sure to attend the meeting at 10am tomorrow in the lobby if you are going to be on property during the storm.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience during this difficult period.

Sincere Regards,

**** *******
Administrative Assistant


Lenguado
Posts: 2101
Incept: 2010-01-12
A True American Patriot!
Orlando, FL
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Quote:
I suspect that by tonight I-95, I-75 and the turnpike are going to be parking lots.

There are reports on the radio that both I-95 and I-75 are backing up in the Cent FL area. Don't know the veracity of the reports though. Don't drive the interstates on a regular (daily) basis.

The other problem will be trying to find fuel. I know that there are already lines at the pumps as folks fill up their fuel cans (I have 8 x 5 gal + cans filled up, plus all the fuel we have in the vehicles) for their generators, and people keeping their vehicles topped off. If there is a mad rush to evacuate that many folks, they better have full tanks already - AND - have at least a couple cans of fuel. I'd bet that the infrastructure won't be able to keep up the fuel supply for very long for that many people evacuating north.

Quote:
in the 1970s the houses were either shack-like or small 1 story cinder block houses

That is EXACTLY the kind of houses I grew up in in Miami in the 60's / 70's. Single story concrete block (poured) house with a FLAT roof. Designed to withstand probably even a Cat 5. Just had to cover the smaller windows. And there weren't many windows either. Not like today's houses.

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I just realized... they aren't saying, "Keynesian Economics"
they're saying "Kenyansian Economics". Grass Huts for everyone!
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