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May 30, 2015

Weathering the Weather [KT and Y-not]


Weathering the Weather

Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll weather the weather,
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.


I hope they got these horses out of the river.

Back on Wednesday, Andy reminded us that, unlike certain "Scientists" (and news people), we should not be terribly surprised by floods like the recent Texas/Oklahoma floods. As he noted, there is even a song to remind us that floods happen.

Last weekend, I was involved in a discussion concerning local disaster preparedness. We set up a rudimentary plan for a mock disaster-response drill, aimed primarily at assessing if people were in trouble. One topic that came up was finding a safe meeting place for the people assigned to locate those who might have been affected by the disaster.

Sometimes after a disaster, a recognizable local meeting place is hard to find. Whilst preparing for the Saturday Gardening Thread, I ran across the video below. It describes Amish building techniques intended to increase the likelihood that a beach house in Texas would survive a hurricane. An intact building could help a lot of people following such a weather-related disaster.

The Amish workmen did not use a calculator or computer, but did use some modern tools. In this case, old-fashioned Amish joinery was expected to stand up better than modern joinery:

When I was a girl, our family took a trip to Yellowstone. In West Yellowstone, we stayed at a motel where guests rented small log cabins. These were among the few buildings in West Yellowstone to survive the big Yellowstone/Hebgen Lake earthquake intact, because the way the logs were joined allowed them to move at the "hinges".

My father told us that one of our neighbors had been killed in the quake while camping at Hebgen Lake. The lakebed shifted, drowning people on one side of the lake and tearing the clothes off people on the other side because the wind was so tremendous. A landslide formed Quake Lake just downstream and buried people in another campground. We visited both lakes and saw the earth slippage near Hebgen Lake.

No home construction technique could have helped the people who ended up in the lake's new bed, but more suitable construction techniques might have helped some people in West Yellowstone.

I can't promise you that your local building inspectors would accept the "old ways", so you might want to check before starting a project. There are more modern ways to increase weather and quake resistance of homes, too. These include things like extra reinforcement of walls, especially at corners, and hurricane straps. You might want to keep preparation for a disaster in mind when building or buying a home.

Last weekend, we also discussed some reasonable steps people could take to help them survive a disaster until communications were restored and help arrived. The first one was storing some clean water. Start now.

I won't go into too much detail here about living through the loss of electricity, gas, water utilities and electronic communication. However, I thought that the video below, about a couple living "off the grid" in the West Texas desert, was a good reminder that it could be done. I liked it.

Y-not: Thanks, KT!

This thread is KT's brainchild (I'm just cheap labor formatting the thing), but I thought I'd add a couple of links.

Apparently, there is more rain headed Texas' (and Oklahoma's) way.

Central Texas' flood resulted in 9 dead and 10 missing (as of last night).

The number of dead rises considerably when you include a broader area. The Weather Channel reports: At Least 28 Killed in Texas and Oklahoma; President Obama Signs Disaster Declaration.

I haven't seen firm estimates of how much damage was caused in terms of dollars, but here's an eye-opener: April Storms Cause Estimated $65M Damage Across Texas.

How have our morons and moronettes in the path of these storms fared?

Have you been satisfied by the local and state responses to the flooding?

Open thread.

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posted by Open Blogger at 04:30 PM

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