Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Where to go?

When counting down the top billion-dollar weather disasters of 2011, one of the meteorologists on The Weather Channel expressed perplexity about the number of fatalities incurred by a couple of the disasters.
He asked how it is, given the advances made in weather prediction and warning systems, there could still be so many fatalities.

Frankly, I think the speculation is a bit shallow myself.
The advances made are of our ability to predict potential storms, track them once they do form, and figure out where they're liable to end up as well as how much intensity they're most likely to have when/as they enter certain areas.

But, we still can't control nature---she still does whatever she damn well pleases. We can only slightly outguess just WHAT it is she's most likely to do---and nothing more.
All they can do for those in a storm's path is just to tell them, essentially: Watch out! It's coming your way!
That those in the storm's path know they're "in trouble" is about the max even the best forecasters can do to this day.

As for the fatalities:
How DO you excape a monster storm?
...especially when all there's available for the most part are the usual lamely constructed houses, buildings, and other structures?
Most structures---houses, apartments, businesses---are those "slapped together" in a generic mass-produced manner.
Often whatever was "trendy" for whatever time period they were built.
We're not exactly talking about finely-crafted marble-and-stone structures built to withstand intense seismic activities or Category-5 hurricane-force or EF-5 tornadic-force winds...we're merely talking about the typical wood and brick houses, brick buildings with huge picture windows---your standard residential and business structures.

And, frankly, they're not quite enough as far as shelters go. Especially when talking about the type of bizarre weather occurrences which regularly plague a good portion of the U.S..
They say, like in the case of an approaching strong tornado, to "take shelter in the lowest portion of your structure".
Fine, but often the basements in a lot of these paint-by-number structures get flooded as well.
You'll start down the steps only to find 3 feet of water staring up at you. Go any further and you're liable to drown---or even get electrocuted.
And even if the basement IS dry enough to inhabit, you look above yourself and you're looking at a wooden floor and wooden structure laiden with wires and pipes.
If this damn storm IS as bad as they make it out to be you'll most probably get buried alive anyway.
The structure's simply not strong enough to handle anything excessive.

Hell, a lot of structures can't even handle strong winds (45-MPH-plus) without the awnings or gutters blowing down.
Just what do you think such a structure will do when faced with a storm of some REAL magnitude?

As you've probably gathered there really ISN'T anywhere anyone has to go when/if something intense DOES occur weather-wise.

So I'm not particularly surprised at the fact that, in spite of all the progress made in the meteorological department, there are still significant weather-related fatalities.

No comments:

Post a Comment