So... Hurricane Michael

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wfooshee

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Everyone heard about Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina, Hugo, Wilma, Ivan, Irma, Harvey, Florence, and the list goes on. Now we've had Hurricane Michael, just shy of a category 5, some reports saying it was a cat 5 at landfall, with a barometric reading of 918 millibars, lower than Andrew, which destroyed so much of the Miami/Dade Co. area, and lower than Irma, which was so vicious to Central Florida (Orlando) last year. Yet how many of you have even heard of it? Here we are, nine days after, and there's no thread on it. It was so bad that I'm just now getting reliable (but slow) Internet service on my phone. The cable providers say they are weeks from restoring service. I had no power or running water until yesterday, eight days after the storm, and the water is still not drinkable until boiled.

The largest mobile carrier in the area, Verizon, has been completely shut down until this past Wednesday, and it still goes up and down. They've brought in temporary tower trucks to replace destroyed infrastructure. AT&T service remained uninterrupted, and AT&T even went so far as to provide free prepaids to customers of other carriers such as Verizon. And even though my Verizon now works, it still drops or refuses to make about half the calls I try, and it shuts off data while making a voice call. How long has it been since you've seen the message, "Mobile data unavailable, voice call in progress?" Apparently, Verizon's fiber links are on poles, not underground, which seems a serious design flaw. Might be cheaper, but they don't work when the poles blow away and the trees fall on the lines.

This is a heavily forested area, although not any more. People were trapped in their homes by trees that fell across doorways, or trapped on their lots by trees that fell across driveways and roads. I've been lost several times driving around because landmark buildings or vegetation are simply not there any more, especially at night with no power. Thousands upon thousands of business and homes are destroyed or seriously damaged.

As for myself, I was planning on riding it out at home. Forecasts the day before predicted a cat 3 diminishing to a 2 at landfall, headed directly for us in Panama City. I've sat through a Cat 2 before, Opal, back in 1995. You can just about walk around in a cat 2! The only part of the forecast that was correct was the destination. The eyewall came across just east of Panama City. I moved myself and my animals (three cats and a small dog) to my place of employment when the tracking showed it strengthening rather than weakening, and I did not trust my house to a 4 or 5 storm! The building I was in survived fairly intact; It had a large tree fall on it, but stood up to it with minor roof damage. There was water intrusion, again minor, from the roof, and along the front of the building at the windows and front door.

As for my house, part of my roof is gone, with my laundry room open to the sky. The ceilings are separated from the walls throughout my house because of the wind trying to lift the roof. My house has extreme water saturation because of the open roof, and I have ceilings down in three rooms and the garage, with two others bowed in. The eastern side of my house is pretty much OK, except for carpet wicking water from the west side, but the furniture there is OK, and my electronics seem to be OK. The west side of the house developed several openings as the roof deteriorated, shingles disappeared, and the space between sheets of decking allowed rain into the house. As the attic insulation soaked up the water and got heavy, those ceilings gave way, and I have wet drywall and loose fiberglass in the laundry area and my master bedroom. Globes on ceiling lamps where the ceilings still exist are full of water. The drywall on the back side of the house is molding already, and there aren't enough contractors to go around for everybody. My insurance adjuster was here, told me to make sure I get water removal people in ASAP. It was my impression that the insurance company had those people on retainer and would send them. Why is it my responsibility? I have no communications! The only way the adjuster got here is that I have access to a customer's working landline, but it's 12 miles from where I am, which takes about 90 minutes one way with these road and traffic conditions (trees and power lines blocking roads, intersections all unmanaged.) All I've been able to do at the house is start packing stuff that's OK to keep. I had clothes hanging in the laundry room that are under pounds of drywall and fiberglass now. I can't get to my stuff in the bedroom to check on it, as the debris is piled up at the door, I can open it only far enough to take a peek in. Still working on finding storage for my stuff, and a place to live for a while. My homeowner's policy has a decent-sized "loss of use" section, so I should be OK in that regard, but there isn't any place to go to.

As for positives, the response from the power companies has been amazing. Initial estimates for 95% restoration were up to two months. They've got crews here from all over the country, and you see bucket trucks by the thousands working to put poles and lines back up. The long estimation was because the power company said it was infrastructure damage, not just poles and lines. I rather thought poles and lines was their infrastructure, so I didn't understand that. Apparently what they meant was that substations were wiped out, and those huge towers with the 500,000-volt lines were gone. Can't distribute power that can't even get here. Anyways, truckloads of transformers, and flatbeds of cranes have been brought in, and that stuff is getting fixed.

So for now I'm still living at work, which is not open for business, yet. We're an IT support company, and we have no phones or Internet... Customer support is extremely difficult to provide when you're not connected to anything.

Across the bridge and in Panama City Beach, things are almost back to normal. Still no drinkable water, so most restaurants are still closed. Groceries are readily available, and gasoline is available too, although with probably a 30-minutes or so line. Not enough stations are back in business yet, due to damage sustained. It's amazing what a difference ten miles makes! During the height of the storm, I had wind from due north, with debris flying by, and rain pretty much horizontal. As the afternoon progress, the wind moved around to the northwest. This told me I was west of the eye, on the "good" side, as it moved in from landfall just a few miles east of me. The town of Lynn Haven, where my office is, is severely damaged, yet places farther east, such as Tyndall AFB and the town of Mexico Beach, are all but wiped out. I encourage you to do a Google search for "Hurricane Michael before and after." My Internet is so bad I can't even get those searches to load right now, so I can't post the links.
 
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22,500
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Here to Eternity
TexRex72
Everyone heard about Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina, Hugo, Wilma, Ivan, Irma, Harvey, Florence, and the list goes on. Now we've had Hurricane Michael, just shy of a category 5, some reports saying it was a cat 5 at landfall, with a barometric reading of 918 millibars, lower than Andrew, which destroyed so much of the Miami/Dade Co. area, and lower than Irma, which was so vicious to Central Florida (Orlando) last year. Yet how many of you have even heard of it? Here we are, nine days after, and there's no thread on it. It was so bad that I'm just now getting reliable (but slow) Internet service on my phone. The cable providers say they are weeks from restoring service. I had no power or running water until yesterday, eight days after the storm, and the water is still not drinkable until boiled.

The largest mobile carrier in the area, Verizon, has been completely shut down until this past Wednesday, and it still goes up and down. They've brought in temporary tower trucks to replace destroyed infrastructure. AT&T service remained uninterrupted, and AT&T even went so far as to provide free prepaids to customers of other carriers such as Verizon. And even though my Verizon now works, it still drops or refuses to make about half the calls I try, and it shuts off data while making a voice call. How long has it been since you've seen the message, "Mobile data unavailable, voice call in progress?" Apparently, Verizon's fiber links are on poles, not underground, which seems a serious design flaw. Might be cheaper, but they don't work when the poles blow away and the trees fall on the lines.

This is a heavily forested area, although not any more. People were trapped in their homes by trees that fell across doorways, or trapped on their lots by trees that fell across driveways and roads. I've been lost several times driving around because landmark buildings or vegetation are simply not there any more, especially at night with no power. Thousands upon thousands of business and homes are destroyed or seriously damaged.

As for myself, I was planning on riding it out at home. Forecasts the day before predicted a cat 3 diminishing to a 2 at landfall, headed directly for us in Panama City. I've sat through a Cat 2 before, Opal, back in 1995. You can just about walk around in a cat 2! The only part of the forecast that was correct was the destination. The eyewall came across just east of Panama City. I moved myself and my animals (three cats and a small dog) to my place of employment when the tracking showed it strengthening rather than weakening, and I did not trust my house to a 4 or 5 storm! The building I was in survived fairly intact; It had a large tree fall on it, but stood up to it with minor roof damage. There was water intrusion, again minor, from the roof, and along the front of the building at the windows and front door.

As for my house, part of my roof is gone, with my laundry room open to the sky. The ceilings are separated from the walls throughout my house because of the wind trying to lift the roof. My house has extreme water saturation because of the open roof, and I have ceilings down in three rooms and the garage, with two others bowed in. The eastern side of my house is pretty much OK, except for carpet wicking water from the west side, but the furniture there is OK, and my electronics seem to be OK. The west side of the house developed several openings as the roof deteriorated, shingles disappeared, and the space between sheets of decking allowed rain into the house. As the attic insulation soaked up the water and got heavy, those ceilings gave way, and I have wet drywall and loose fiberglass in the laundry area and my master bedroom. Globes on ceiling lamps where the ceilings still exist are full of water. The drywall on the back side of the house is molding already, and there aren't enough contractors to go around for everybody. My insurance adjuster was here, told me to make sure I get water removal people in ASAP. It was my impression that the insurance company had those people on retainer and would send them. Why is it my responsibility? I have no communications! The only way the adjuster got here is that I have access to a customer's working landline, but it's 12 miles from where I am, which takes about 90 minutes one way with these road and traffic conditions (trees and power lines blocking roads, intersections all unmanaged.) All I've been able to do at the house is start packing stuff that's OK to keep. I had clothes hanging in the laundry room that are under pounds of drywall and fiberglass now. I can't get to my stuff in the bedroom to check on it, as the debris is piled up at the door, I can open it only far enough to take a peek in. Still working on finding storage for my stuff, and a place to live for a while. My homeowner's policy has a decent-sized "loss of use" section, so I should be OK in that regard, but there isn't any place to go to.

As for positives, the response from the power companies has been amazing. Initial estimates for 95% restoration were up to two months. They've got crews here from all over the country, and you see bucket trucks by the thousands working to put poles and lines back up. The long estimation was because the power company said it was infrastructure damage, not just poles and lines. I rather thought poles and lines was their infrastructure, so I didn't understand that. Apparently what they meant was that substations were wiped out, and those huge towers with the 500,000-volt lines were gone. Can't distribute power that can't even get here. Anyways, truckloads of transformers, and flatbeds of cranes have been brought in, and that stuff is getting fixed.

So for now I'm still living at work, which is not open for business, yet. We're an IT support company, and we have no phones or Internet... Customer support is extremely difficult to provide when you're not connected to anything.

Across the bridge and in Panama City Beach, things are almost back to normal. Still no drinkable water, so most restaurants are still closed. Groceries are readily available, and gasoline is available too, although with probably a 30-minutes or so line. Not enough stations are back in business yet, due to damage sustained. It's amazing what a difference ten miles makes! During the height of the storm, I had wind from due north, with debris flying by, and rain pretty much horizontal. As the afternoon progress, the wind moved around to the northwest. This told me I was west of the eye, on the "good" side, as it moved in from landfall just a few miles east of me. The town of Lynn Haven, where my office is, is severely damaged, yet places farther east, such as Tyndall AFB and the town of Mexico Beach, are all but wiped out. I encourage you to do a Google search for "Hurricane Michael before and after." My Internet is so bad I can't even get those searches to load right now, so I can't post the links.
Well, I'm glad it wasn't as bad for you as it could have been. Seeing coverage of the devastation, it's a wonder the storm didn't claim more lives than it did...though I don't know that the current number won't increase.

There were only scattered comments regarding it within existing thread(s), with the largest chunk I'm aware of being a fairly solid half page in one of those existing threads.

I don't know that I'd chalk up an absence of discussion to apathy, though; I think it's more a matter of people already being bomvarded bombarded* by information about it that there's no apparent need to discuss it further, particularly when little (obviously not all if you click that link) is subject to interpretation or debate.

*Edit for typing error.
 
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Dotini

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I don't know that I'd chalk up an absence of discussion to apathy,

Perhaps another part of it is that mainstream media did not have the event prioritized to cover. For one thing, it seemed to pop up too suddenly and surprisingly for them to prepare coverage.
 
22,500
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TexRex72
Perhaps another part of it is that mainstream media did not have the event prioritized to cover. For one thing, it seemed to pop up too suddenly and surprisingly for them to prepare coverage.
Except they did cover it, they covered it quite heavily. I made special note of the fact that they covered it and you clearly purposely omitted the part of the sentence (Can't you even credit me as using complete sentences?) where I did so, presumably because leaving it in makes your remark look incredibly stupid and heavily motivated by bias.

The omission is deceptive and I [obviously] don't appreciate it, so I've opted to report it.

And while you're free to respond to this, don't expect me to see it...

20181020_043212.png

...as the only reason I opted to reveal this post from the only individual I ignore was because I thought it'd be nice to see you showing empathy in response to another's situation. I'm not surprised that I didn't see that.
 

Dennisch

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Except they did cover it

Compared to the previous hurricane, Florence? the media here hardly gave Michael any attention, apart from some short snippets during the evening news.

Reading how strong it was, and the damage it did, it should have been as much in the news as the Sulawesi earthquake, but it wasn't. At all.
 

Johnnypenso

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Compared to the previous hurricane, Florence? the media here hardly gave Michael any attention, apart from some short snippets during the evening news.

Reading how strong it was, and the damage it did, it should have been as much in the news as the Sulawesi earthquake, but it wasn't. At all.
Perhaps another part of it is that mainstream media did not have the event prioritized to cover. For one thing, it seemed to pop up too suddenly and surprisingly for them to prepare coverage.
Definitely. Thing is though, unless there is something unusual, these things don't get nearly the coverage they once did. When Katrina happened and New Orleans flooded they had massive coverage. The city was flooded, rescues were happening constantly, people on rooftops or wading through chest high water etc. It was really one of those watershed type events that helped popularize the 24 hour news cycle. 20 hurricanes later and it's like any other drama based television, it has to be bigger and more dramatic otherwise there's a sense of been there/done that. Sad with all the suffering that is happening there and Puerto Rico but that's human nature I suppose

Of course there's always that other elephant in the room, President Trump. The left wing MSM has decided that all Trump all the time (just an expression, not meant to be literal) is what's best for ratings and anything that gets away from that likely means less clicks and views. Covering Trump is cheap and effective. No hurricane is going to drag them away from his latest tweet or contradiction. Ain't nobody got time for that.
 
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TexRex72
Compared to the previous hurricane, Florence? the media here hardly gave Michael any attention, apart from some short snippets during the evening news.

Reading how strong it was, and the damage it did, it should have been as much in the news as the Sulawesi earthquake, but it wasn't. At all.
I'm not in the habit of comparing coverage of one thing to another, even when it comes to catastrophic events, and while I have no doubt it was covered extensively, I don't actually have any recollection of the coverage of Florence.

I really can't comment on how media abroad covers things, I just know that when I wanted to relax and be apprised of goings-on locally, nationally and internationally without having to actively seek such information out--which is to say by watching televised news--I was presented with a great deal of content relating to Michael.

There's even one program I actually record because its schedule conflicts with my own, CBS This Morning, and while its second hour is generally reserved for lighter subject matter (apart from a brief recap of the first hour), Michael coverage appeared in that particular slot as well. I rather like that slot, as it typically isn't flooded with content relating to a certain someone, and while seeing the havoc that Michael was wreaking, I understood the importance.

But hey, I understand the compulsion those of a certain bent have to point fingers at "MSM"...actually, no...I don't understand it. It's absolutely hilarious and pretty danged pathetic.

Why I thought this thread would differ from others in the O&CE section I really don't know.
 

wfooshee

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Why I thought this thread would differ from others in the O&CE section I really don't know.

Well, it's kinda the same people discussing it as you see in the other threads...

I think part of it is that this area, while devastated, does not house millions upon millions of people. Katrina and Harvey hit very large cities. Florence was widespread with flooding. I haven't seen anything about Michael's effects inland. Did it dump rain, cause flooding, what? Here I am in the middle of it and I have no news of it, being cut off the way we are here.
 
22,500
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TexRex72
I think part of it is that this area, while devastated, does not house millions upon millions of people. Katrina and Harvey hit very large cities. Florence was widespread with flooding.
I think that's a fair assertion. However, aside from a data perspective with regards to trying to be prepared for future events, I'm not sure how constructive it really is to compare two unique storms. I think it's far more imperative to address recovery and a return to normalcy.

I haven't seen anything about Michael's effects inland. Did it dump rain, cause flooding, what? Here I am in the middle of it and I have no news of it, being cut off the way we are here.
Unfortunately most of what I know is more general and I haven't been apprised of how where was affected. Given the path the storm took, I'd have to imagine a big chunk of Georgia got hit pretty hard, and I know that assistance for the state was expanded at one point in light of the toll Michael was taking.

You mentioned water damage as a result of roof failure and the resulting penetration, but are you having to deal with damage resulting from rising water? Have you been able to get any traction with what you expected the insurance company to handle?
 
22,532
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HamiltonMP427
Glad you're alright, these situations are quite nerve wrecking especially for the eastern seaboard more so than the west coast. I hope that going forward from here your situation improves and you can rebuild from what ever damage was done.

As for the storm itself, I can see why someone could say the coverage was less than optimal, and this isn't the only storm this season that has had that.
With that said, I do think a good portion of people heard about it and the Hurricane going on on the west coast at the same time (Rosa). Rosa had somewhere close to 20 fatalities I believe and 940 mbar, 150 mph winds and flooded many areas in my state which was actually much needed considering the current drought.

Michael though seems to have been not nearly as troublesome to media, at least not in the sense of the major publicized storm of this year, Florence. I know many of us IMSA fans were watching to see if Michael would pose an issue to Petite and surrounding areas but it seems to have not really been a big issue once inland. I will also say that most storms unless catastrophic tend to not get their own thread and even Florence I couldn't find a thread. If I recall most times people just relegate big storm conversations to the American thread or at times global warming thread.

This is in no way to say this doesn't deserve a thread, but rather give insight on to why hurricanes in general don't get such separation from more general topics. If I recall there use to be a storm thread here that probably long ago went inactive, I know the Earthquake thread gets used still.
 
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TexRex72
This is in no way to say this doesn't deserve a thread, but rather give insight on to why hurricanes in general don't get such separation from more general topics.
For what it's worth, I think that came across. There's not a great deal of variance in tbe subject matter that invites discussion, and nearly everything pertaining to the subject posted here has been gleaned from myriad sources. About the only deviation in that is the sort of thing that comes from the OP--and anyone else in a similar situation--who is unfortunatel in having first-hand experience with it.
 

ryzno

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We had practically 24/7 coverage of the storm. While the south GA farm land got hit hard, we got the usual heavy rain and wind.
I wonder if it has anything to do with people's choice for news sources that are more worried about a Trump fart than the citizens that give them their ratings?
Hope everyone is alright.
 

wfooshee

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Answering Texrex's question about my damages, I did not have rising water damage. A neighbor who stayed home said the surge was up my driveway a bit, but not into the garage, much less the house.

I have not heard anything from the insurance company since the adjuster was here. Calling their number, I get a message that the number cannot be dialed from my area code. So apparently I can't call 800 numbers... I sent an email to the agent assigned, but have not gotten a reply.
 
8,940
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The photos/videos I've seen look more like the damage caused by a strong tornado. That was an insane hurricane. Hope everything turns out ok.
 
22,500
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Here to Eternity
TexRex72
We had practically 24/7 coverage of the storm. While the south GA farm land got hit hard, we got the usual heavy rain and wind.
I'm not at all surprised that you saw significantly more coverage in Atlanta than I did, given the path that the storm took, and while I may not have had coverage dumped on me, there was never a time I thought "they should be talking about the storm more" and I suspect had I wanted to find television coverage at any given time, I could have.

I wonder if it has anything to do with people's choice for news sources that are more worried about a Trump fart than the citizens that give them their ratings?
While I don't doubt that some outlets may have covered it less than others, the notion that any are really more interested in criticizing Trump than informing people of the havoc Mother Nature is wreaking is rooted in bias and will never be substantiated because it simply isn't the case.

People want to point a finger at the "MSM bogeyman"--to the point that they edit others' comments in such a way that itenables them to do so with greater ease--but they don't want to acknowledge that the right-wing narratives that they latch onto and regurgitate so regularly have their own mainstream outlets pandering to a population that just eats it up and asks for more. The closest they ever get to acknowledging this fact is chalking it up to "selling subscriptions and getting sponsorship from clicks and views".


Answering Texrex's question about my damages, I did not have rising water damage. A neighbor who stayed home said the surge was up my driveway a bit,
Well that's fortunate. I don't have experience in dealing with aftermath of hurricane forces, but our last home was subjected to flood damage and that was just a nightmare to deal with. As much an inconvenience it is, the localized nature of your water damage is surely a plus.

I have not heard anything from the insurance company since the adjuster was here. Calling their number, I get a message that the number cannot be dialed from my area code. So apparently I can't call 800 numbers... I sent an email to the agent assigned, but have not gotten a reply.
I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully you gain some traction soon.

The photos/videos I've seen look more like the damage caused by a strong tornado. That was an insane hurricane. Hope everything turns out ok.
Oh absolutely. I didn't see a great deal of flooding, but there were plenty of areas that were just flattened and the sight left my stomach in a knot. The relative few fatalities is surely a credit to people heeding warnings and getting out.

In the picture I posted in the "America" thread, my eye was frequently drawn to the sole blue stilted house standing seemingly untouched but surrounded by devastation, and I have to imagine lots of people want to know who built that danged thing.
 

wfooshee

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That house was built at great expense when the owner told the contractor to double every code requirement. Twice as many nails, twice as many tie-downs, even twice the depth of pilings, I think.

That's one of the issues with coastal building. You can build to withstand huge forces, but almost nobody can afford to. Did his insurance company cut him some slack on premiums? Probably, but certainly nowhere near enough to actually make up the difference of standard code construction. And the complaint is that the codes don't just apply to coastal building, they apply to ALL homes built in Florida. As codes make greater and greater demands, home ownership becomes less and less of a possibility for so many people. Are we tipping the balance too far between risk and availability?

The swath of the eyewall has been compare by many to being a very large tornado. Have a look at this before/after image, showing the deforestation that occurred. That cape at the bottom was broken by the storm, almost exactly where the red line crosses it, and the state park at the end of it is no longer accessible; there are TWO channel through the cape now.

45487450051_aebb948883_b.jpg
 

Beeblebrox237

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One of the reasons there wasn't as much media coverage is that there was much less lead time with Michael than with a lot of other storms. Florence was anticipated to be a major event at least a week in advance. Michael wasn't forecast to be anything serious until maybe 3-4 days out, and it wasn't until maybe 2-3 days out that it was forecast to be a major (cat 3+) hurricane. What then happened was that it underwent relatively steady rapid deepening up until and through landfall, which is somewhat unusual, and so it was still strengthening even and hour before landfall, when most storms are starting to weaken due to land interaction. Because of this, the hurricane force winds extended much further inland than usual, and the real indicator of the storms strength is the fact that the pressure at landfall is the third strongest of any hurricane to make landfall in the US, behind Camille and the 1935 "Labor Day" hurricane. So while the NHC did forecast it to be quite potent at landfall, if you look at the advisory archive you'll see that the intensity forecasts were steadily rising for the last 48 hours or so before landfall. That meant that there wasn't much time for the media to hype things up, since by the time everyone realised how serious it would be the priority was to simply get people out of the way of the storm, particularly given that a Cat 4+ storm has never made landfall where Michael did:

Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 08.41.01.png


The media loves to be able to draw out a story of impending doom, but there was no time to draw this one out. There was barely time to warn people.

As I mentioned in the weather thread, the storm intensified so quickly that it caught many storm chasers off guard, as well as the general public. A number of chasers had their cars damaged or destroyed by storm surge as they had to abandon them and take cover, which has raised questions about the rise of amateur tropical weather chasers in the same way that the famous El Reno tornado raised questions about the increase in untrained tornado chasers and the issues that are arising from them.

This storm will be studied for years to come; there is already a fair bit of discussion around various aspects of the storm. The damage is being compared to both the EF scale and other major hurricanes, and could help our understanding of eyewall mesovortices. Another aspect which has been questioned is how the early strengthening occurred so steadily while the storm did not yet have a completely closed eyewall. Michael never underwent an eyewall replacement cycle, which is very rare for a hurricane of its strength, however these typically begin after intensification levels off, something which never happened. Observations did indicate a double peak in wind speeds as it approached landfall so it's possible that intensification was beginning to slow and that it would have underwent an ERC in the next 12-24 hours had it been over the open ocean during that time.

So, as you can imagine, most of the discussion immediately afterwards and moving forward has been speculation about whether the post analysis will upgrade Michael to a cat 5. Realistically it sounds like the chances are low, but that people have forgotten simply how violent a high end cat 4 is, but there is definitely a chance.
 

wfooshee

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Going back to the media coverage issue...

Recovery efforts for this storm, the 3rd worst to hit the US in recorded history, are lagging behind any other major storm in history. Corporate donations amount to about a quarter of what was received for Irma 2 years ago, yet Michael created seven times the debris of Irma, while affecting less than a quarter of the area of Irma (in Florida.) The city of Panama City alone has collected enough fallen trees to fill the Empire State building four times. That's trees, not construction debris!

Yet nothing comes in to help.

The NFL, which has sent millions to relief effort for previous storms, has sent not one red cent.

People see the beaches in the news, and our resorts are just fine. They see that and think that we're OK, we've recovered, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Our beaches are many miles west of the landfall, and thus on the least damaging influence. My sister's house near Hwy 79 never even lost power during the hurricane, yet my neighborhood didn't have power for over two weeks! We still have areas with no internet!

Yet nobody knows about it. The corporations that always help aren't helping. The celebrities that love the attention of being seen helping, aren't helping. Private donations are so small as to be irrelevant. We are indeed Florida's "Forgotten Coast."

We have people living in tents, or in their cars, because there's no place else for them to go. I'm living in a borrowed camping trailer, myself. Going back to Irma vs. Michael. Irma affected 50 counties in Florida, 43 "severely," basically moving up the entire length of the peninsula. Michael affected 10 counties in the panhandle of Florida, yet created seven times as much debris. There is no structure anywhere in the area without some amount of damage, and at least half are still not usable. The costs of clearing trees and rubble is many times most of our municipalities' total budgets!

So if you're involved in any way with any organization that usually works to help these kinds of recovery efforts, go out and light some fires and kick some teeth, get some action going. We need the help, desperately.
 
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20,678
TenEightyOne
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We need the help, desperately.

That was hard to read, it's incredible to think that Federal emergency assistance hasn't been properly mobilised. I'd start emailing national-level journalists, it might be a way to leverage the national recognition that might start some actual aid :(
 

UKMikey

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I was shocked to see an update to this thread. Can't believe Michael's victims have been abandoned to this extent so long after the event.
 

wfooshee

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Hi, it's me again. New numbers coming out on the debris totals...

Bay County (just my county, and not the total for Florida, or even the total for the hurricane wherever it affected) is expected to reach 20 million cubic yards of debris removal. For comparison, the FIFTY-county total for Irma in 2017 was 2.5 million yards. Maria, also 2017, created over 6 million yards of debris in Puerto Rico, an area 3.5 times the size of Bay County.

(EDIT: Turns out these units are cubic tons, not cubic yards. That's how the article read, and I assumed it was written by an idiot. However, a cubic ton is a unit of volume in the timber industry, 40 cubic feet, which is significantly more than the 27 of a cubic yard.)

My house has a new roof, but that is the only completed repair. I need siding on the west face, all new flooring, nearly all walls and all ceilings replaced, all interior and exterior doors replaced, kitchen cabinets replaced, and an all new HVAC system (due to mold spores getting into the system.) I will probably need new windows, too, even though I lost no glass, because of wind displacement of the casings in the walls. Oh... new garage door, too. I will then need all new furniture, and I lost almost all of my clothes. It will be summer before I'm back in my house, and that's only if I can find a contractor who can put me on their schedule.

As for debris, these pictures are not immediately post-storm, they are all since New Year's! I've followed each one with a screen shot of Google's Street View to compare.

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Here are some shots of what the woods areas look like before clearing. (Actually, the woods aren't being cleared... just trees that are blocking access to something. The only clearing of land is in the cities, and not all of that.) These go back into December and November. The tree damage is not a few trees here and there, it's about 80% of the trees broken down! It only took Michael about two hours to do this, by the way...

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If you're curious, get on Google Earth or the satellite view of Google maps, zoom in on any area of north Florida north east of Panama City. For example, here's an area along I-10 just east of Marianna. That's not an oblique view of trees, that's trees lying on the ground.
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UKMikey

This is where the casuals hang out, right?
Premium
9,859
United Kingdom
West Drayton
UKMikeyA
UKMikeyA
Your research and citizen journalism is way too thorough to be confined to a niche videogame forum. I hope you and others who are similarly affected are also publicising your plight via social media. I've heard your president uses it a lot.
 

wfooshee

Rather ride my FJR
Premium
4,724
^^^^ That reaction right there is what aggravates us here. ^^^^

Not against you, personally, that you had such a reaction, but that the reason for the reaction is that you have no clue what happened here. people are thinking, "Oh, Florida had another hurricane, big deal. That's nothing new for them. Now, Houston, New Orleans, North Carolina... they don't know how to handle those and they need all the help we can get. But Florida? Who cares? They know what to do."

There is no concept outside of our area of the severity of the devastation, the difficulties that are coming in the recovery, and no outside help is coming in.

Only two hurricanes on the continental US IN HISTORY have been worse than this one, and neither of those destroyed anywhere near as much timber as this one did. But nobody knows, and no help comes in.

Panama City's entire annual budget is about 90 million dollars. Panama City's debris removal costs are expected to exceed 110 million, which amounts to decades worth of what would be considered emergency money in the budget. Panama City is by far the most populous city in the county, so other communities, with debris costs approaching that number, are actually seeing several years' worth of their annual budgets needed for debris removal alone.

And none of that debris removal expense has anything to do with rebuilding anything.

Here's a link to a recent story in the Tallahassee newspaper on the lack of Federal response.

The devastation here is the same as you see in a huge midwestern tornado. The difference is, that tornado might affect an area a mile or so wide, maybe 5 or 10 miles long. 20 miles if it's really bad. Michael left tornado-like destruction for over 100 miles, 50 miles wide! (Refer back to the image I posted in #17...) It was still a category 3 when it reached Macon, Georgia.

The NFL, which almost always comes to the aid of such a disaster, says they evaluated it and decided not to participate. Apparently having three teams in Florida isn't enough for them to see a need, as none of those three cities was actually affected. Just another reason to not give a flying #^%$ about the NFL...

The beach's tourism people are promoting the beach very strongly, encouraging visitors to "Come on down, we're OK, we're not affected by the hurricane!" Meanwhile, they've evicted displaced families who have been renting condos, to make room for vacationers, and they've contributed nothing to the efforts of recovery east of the bay, where the damage is highest. Their tourism advertising could have had some content about recovery efforts, give to United Way, that sort of thing, but not a word! Crossing the bridge going west onto Panama City Beach is like going to another planet. Their trees are standing. Their stores are open. There are tarps on a few buildings, but nothing is destroyed. They were just that far enough away from the center of the storm to get through it OK. And they're telling the world that the area is good. That is not being received well on our side of the bridge, when locals are telling the world that we're OK and open for business just to promote their seasonal tourism industry. Most of the outside world doesn't differentiate between Panama City and Panama City Beach. To them, the beach is Panama City ("We goin' to Panniemaw City fer Spring Break!") when in fact it's an entirely separate city and economy. Panama City beach is OK. Panama City is not. Nor is Lynn haven, Callaway, Springfield, Parker, Tyndall Air Force Base, or Mexico Beach. (I haven't even shown you Mexico Beach! I haven't been over there for my own pictures. Just Google it. The city was literally flattened, houses ripped off the foundations and carried hundreds of feet, some even being set down nearly intact, most being destroyed in the process.)
 
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822
United States
NW Middle Tennessee
TPC_Shearon
@wfooshee I hate to hear that the Feds and the rest of the country have forgot about ya’ll down there.
I spent 6 weeks down there right after the storm. It was the worst one I’ve worked.

Pictures are not professional and from all over the panhandle.

My opinion is most of the media was covering that caravan from Central America instead of the aftermath of the storm.

Did FEMA ever bring in trailers and what would you say ya’lls biggest needs are almost 5 months later?
 

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wfooshee

Rather ride my FJR
Premium
4,724
We're beyond the need for food, water, and other supplies like that. The rebuild is what's going on now, and there's no money for that. Insurance is slow, FEMA is slow, and charities are non-existent compared to previous events. Biggest needs are licensed contractors. There just aren't enough folks to do the work! Like I said before, my house got handled inside, i.e. gutted. I have a new roof so the weather stays outside. I've had two contractors come to look at the interior rebuild, they both made all the right noises while looking the place over, never heard back from either of them. Others in the neighborhood are still removing contents! Pulling up carpet, tearing out wallboard. Still others are sitting pretty much untouched.

As for FEMA, I'm just not sure. They claim to have trailers in the area, but I haven't seen or heard of any set up anywhere. I didn't qualify because I have loss-of-use insurance which would pay for housing, but there is no housing within a fifty or a hundred miles. I'm fortunate to have been able to borrow a mostly-intact camping trailer.

Insurance companies are slow to respond. That's my own experience, and it's what I hear from everyone else. My coverage is replacement cost, yet I have no idea what things will cost. They want me to list original cost of everything, but I have no clue what I paid for a dinette 15 years ago, or a sofa and coffee table 25 years ago. To me, that's just foot-dragging. ("Well, we don't have complete information, so your processing is delayed." BS BS BS BS BS!!!)
 

wfooshee

Rather ride my FJR
Premium
4,724
Returning once again to the lack of emergency response...

After Hurricane Harvey flooded southeastern Texas in August of 2017 with unprecedented amounts of rain, Congress passed a relief bill of 15 billion dollars within weeks.

After Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc along most of the eastern seaboard in 2012, Congress passed a 61-billion-dollar relief bill, just 3 months later.

Here we are 6 months after the event, and no such bill has even made it to the floor for consideration!

Cleanup of most destroyed properties has not even begun. A realtor friend of mine posted on his Facebook page last week that the MLS system showed 6 available rental units in Panama City. SIX!!!! And those are at prices that in some cases are triple what they were before the storm.

So many apartment complexes, shopping centers, businesses, and homes stand just as they did the evening of October 10th, in some cases completely untouched since that day. My own house has had no progress since the new roof was completed in December, although I do have a contractor lined up for the remodeling. He simply doesn't have enough crew to take up the job yet until other jobs are completed. At least I'm on his schedule board, which is more than many can say. A former coworker received a stop work letter from his insurance company, but no explanation. They haven't said they're going to declare a total loss and rebuild, or take another path to recovery; they just told him to have all work stopped. So his house sits, still open to the weather, rotting from the inside out.

Apartment complexes all over town are vacant, some seemingly abandoned, with no work under way, others being rebuilt completely, with new roofs, siding, and interiors on the existing framing. Same for businesses. Some have been demolished, some have been repaired. Most sit just as they did after the storm. Our two hospitals have their ERs open, but medical offices are not open. Doctors who lost their offices, whether in the hospital office buildings or their own, are sharing office space with doctors who were not so hard hit. The hospitals themselves are running with a fraction of their rooms working, and have laid off hundreds of staff. The school system is facing an immediate funding crisis, as money to operate classrooms and pay salaries had to be diverted to even get the schools open after the storm. Several schools have been closed permanently, others are working double shifts, meaning one school occupies the buildings in the morning, and another school occupies the buildings in the afternoons. The board is out of money and will be laying off hundreds of staff within the next couple of weeks of something doesn't come through.

So no relief is coming either from Congress at the federal level, or from the legislature at the state level, despite multiple introductions by our local representatives in those bodies. Even though relief was quick and plentiful in those two prior instances I cited.

And then there's the fire... we had an 800+ acre fire a couple of weeks ago, fueled by the dead and dying trees that our forests now consist of, and the spring thunderstorm season is just beginning. That fire wasn't lightning, however, it was a debris fire that escaped a homeowner.
 
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wfooshee

Rather ride my FJR
Premium
4,724
An example of the media's short memory on these (and pretty much any) kind of events...

With Hurricane Dorian approaching Florida's Atlantic coast, then slowing down and building, finally turning north a bit, approaching the Bahamas as a category 5 while I type this, the media has been full of speculation about how this would be the worst storm to hit Florida since Andrew. One idiot even said the worst hurricane in Florida in 19 years.

Hey, guys??? Florida had a category 5 hurricane less than a :censored:ing year ago!!! Yet not once has Hurricane Michael been mentioned in any of the media panic from Dorian. NOT ONCE. Yet here we sit, still trying to recover, businesses still closed, buildings still rubble, housing still unavailable, families still moved to other towns, schools still sharing their loads with other schools, hospitals still less than full availability, and employers still unable to find enough help to perform their services because so many people left because of no housing. Worst since Andrew? 🤬 Andrew! Michael's central barometric pressure was lower! Lower than Katrina's as well. Yet all the comparisons with Dorian as a threat to Florida are to Andrew, with Michael totally forgotten. Michael was worse, but had the poor judgment to kill fewer people by hitting a less populated area, so nobody remembers it.

My area is under no threat from Dorian, but we would like to at least have our crisis remembered by people who like to help with these things. Yet the media's ability to recall, or even do research, seems to have nothing to do with actually getting out there and actually looking up the facts. That goes for just about everything they do, though, doesn't it? Sell papers, sell advertising, get ratings, make everything spectacular. Facts? Who needs 'em??

Idiots...
 

Novalee

(Banned)
708
Canada
Earth
last i saw they were comparing dorian to a storm in 1935 ? gusts over 210 mph now

this is supposed be a live stream from bahamas marsh harbour
 
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