Disaster Zone

2017 Hurricane Season: A Fluke or the New Normal?

A lack of urgency seems to be the norm.

by Eric Holdeman / October 23, 2017

60 Minutes had a segment a couple of weeks back, Hurricane Harvey: A fluke or the future?  

It is a good program that looks at the Hurricane Harvey event from several different perspectives. The one that resonated with me was the mayor of Houston talking about why more has not been done about flood mitigation, and he pointed the finger at a lack of funding and a lack of urgency. It is the lack of urgency that drives the lack of funding.

If 2018 does not produce any Cat 4 hurricanes, that lack of urgency will ramp down even more. However, for Houston and flooding, it does not take a hurricane to cause trouble. They have had repeated flood events in the last few years that have caused devastating damages to homes and other properties.  

Speaking of the "lack of urgency" from a totally different hazard perspective, the Seattle City Council will soon have the opportunity to act on finding a fix for unreinforced masonry buildings (URM) or punt the issue to the future, like it has been done for decades before. Earthquakes are not as frequent as hurricanes or flood events, so no one is beating on their doors to take action.