Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Aftermath: South Florida

The damage in South Florida is becoming clear this morning and it can only be described as extensive. These residents are going to need a lot of strength to endure the recovery effort that lies in front of them. CBS4 in Miami is streaming live news coverage 24x7 on the internet. The Mayor of Broward County is currently holding a press conference and here is some of the information that I have gathered from listening and reading stories on the internet.

The damage to the FPL power infrastructure can only be described as unprecedented. 98% of the customers from Palm Beach County south have been affected. The damage is so severe that it is all the way down to the sub-station level. These sub-stations will need to be repaired first, before line power can be fixed. It could be 4-6 weeks before a majority of customers will have power. Of course, businesses and schools will be closed until power is restored.

The phone systems in South Florida are also down at this time. The UPS battery backup systems were only designed to hold power for 8-10 hours, which has long since expired. Communications in South Florida are almost non-existent. The cell service providers are in the process of bringing mobile towers to help emergency officials get communications back online. These consistent failures of our communication systems during hurricanes only helps me believe that satellite phone service has a huge market out there once it becomes more affordable.

One of the most amazing stories I have read online today is the experience a lot of Key West residents went through with the storm surge. Once again, the Key West residents continue to say that next time they will stay again! I guess that is just called Darwinism.

The Cancun tourist situation continues to scare me. I have thought several times today about being a tourist trapped down there right now. Needless to say I would be pretty scared. I can only imagine what the scene at the airport is going to be when it does open again. Who goes first when 30,000+ tourist show up to get out of there? Of course, we already have some who are screaming for why our government isn't coming to get them. Well, because you are in Mexico? Give me a break!

Finally, one of the most discouraging articles I have read this morning talks about the problems the National Hurricane Center ran into with their equipment, flight times, and cooperation from other countries when trying to develop a forecast track for Wilma. Does $350 million dollars really sound like a lot of money when compared to the damage totals from all of the hurricanes this year. Give me a break, again!

Here is the wind field summary from South Florida that I have gathered. The damage isn't so surprising when you see numbers like this. What a storm it must have been for people down there.

Ochoppi 88 g 116
Weston 88 g 106
Naples 85 g 102
Virgina Key 75 g 99
Miami 69 g 96
Everglades City 71 g 93
Delray Beach 72 g 86
Key West 59 g 85
Fort Myers 52 g 77
Vaca Key 40 g 60
Trident Pier 41 g 59
Port Manatee 46 g 56
Clearwater Beach 48 g 55
Old Port Tampa 41 g 52
St. Petersburg 30 g 45
Pompanno Beach 92 g 124


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