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Old 09-14-2017, 11:09 AM   #1
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Effects of Irma

Fortunately, Makin Memories weathered Irma without any significant damage, in fact, she fared better than our home. With trees down and debris everywhere, at home, Makin Memories kept all her canvas and glass and took very little water onboard. As witnessed down south of us, it could have been so much worse. Our hearts go out to those who suffered the damaging effects of Irma, and we wish them godspeed in their recovery.
Makin Memories is moored at Turtle Cove Marina in Tarpon Springs, and I have to give a shout-out to the staff for their preparations and continued care while Irma raged through our area. Makin Memories well being is in large part due to their professionalism and dedication.
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:14 PM   #2
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You make some excellent points and this leaves something for every marina to look at and for us all to look at in choosing home marinas. You had those that checked all lines, made sure the docks and the boats were all properly secured. Then you have those that just left it all to the boat owners. In those cases there were often some absentee owners who didn't do anything and some who had boats that had long been for sale and were just as happy if their boat got destroyed.

You also saw construction of marina making a big difference. Concrete floating with high piles, full fingers, all helped. In retrospect, you can look at the marinas in many places that suffered major damages and clearly their construction and design was not up to hurricane standards.

Now, there will be many effects we don't even know yet. I know a lot of young people who went home to their parents homes in NY or Chicago or wherever free from the storm and got a renewed plea from their parents to stay there. The ones I know came back. I do think for a while the inflow of people to FL will slow down, perhaps even reverse. It will be interesting to see population trends.

Sadly, I hate to mention this one and please lets not get into a debate on the subject, this isn't an editorial comment just a reporting of facts. There will be a renewed push to restrict anchoring by some. There was a lot of damage in some areas caused by anchored boats, most often sailboats not in the best of condition and of little monetary value although perhaps high value to the owner. Mostly uninsured and many with the owner not even seen since the hurricane. But there are many that crashed into individual docks and into marinas. Lake Worth was an especially bad area for them. The area in Miami that has already been the hot spot had some. In total the number is few, but some sit sunk and some have washed up on shore and the landowner has nothing they can do about it. Anchoring definitely wasn't a good choice for this storm. Oddly, you can look back to the Palm Beach marinas having nearly the same issue in 2004. At that time many of the boats were large motoryachts. I wasn't here to know why they were anchored but they destroyed quite a few docks after breaking free.

One other effect that's positive and negative. Key West will return, the homes destroyed will one day be replaced. They will be replaced by new expensive homes built to today's hurricane codes and built to withstand a storm like this. Many of the destroyed homes were older and not so well built by today's standards. The negative is that the poor lose. They can't afford to rebuild their home, even if it's insured. Building new plus building to today's code would add too much to the cost. This could change many areas. Take away the mixed demographics and even some of the charm. Hopefully there will remain some housing in the area they can afford. Then to add more to the cost you have increased construction prices you'll see throughout the state. Mobile homes will come under renewed scrutiny too.

A lot of businesses will never reopen and others will die slowly by the changes in their area. In Rockport, the cute touristy places with local flavor are unlikely to return, at least any time soon. Same in areas of Florida. The mom and pop restaurant or bar along the coast may not. The general business market will be down with spending on non-essentials less strong for a while. On the other hand, this will be a huge boost to other businesses. The construction industry will be strong. I had offered to me yesterday a window and door business where the owner has been trying to retire. Now, I have no interest, but I just thought what a boost to the hurricane window and door sales and to roofing sales. Furniture sales will be up. Car sales will be way up in some areas. Boat sales will be up.

Everyone is impacted differently. Some good, some bad. Some very mixed who came through safe and well, no damage to their home, but lost their plane or their boat.

Then there's the ugly creature lurking in the woods called insurance. Harvey and Irma will have to be paid for and costs will rise throughout the country but even more in these areas. We have no personal claims and likely no business claims or very minimal if any. Yet, we know when it comes time for renewal we'll be dealing with higher, probably much higher rates. We rent all our buildings our stores are in and those rents will go up as well.

Unemployment taxes will increase dramatically too. I've encountered businesses who have told their employees they're not reopening for a while, just to go file for unemployment. Some businesses that could open, just don't feel their sales would be good so waiting at least a month. We hired a young girl yesterday who drove all night to get back and show up at work at a store behind ours. She'd tried to reach the manager unsuccessfully. She still couldn't but finally found the owner who was rude and dismissive and said he didn't know when he'd reopen. We didn't need an extra employee that we know of yet, but always need one like her. We had a few of the stores we reopened yesterday with no sales for the day. We knew we would. It was worth it.

Then attitudes toward hurricanes. A lot of young people for whom this was the first. You see the impact in some liveaboards talking about moving. Next time how will these young people react. Will more people evacuate? If from Key West that might be good, but if from non-evacuation zones it could lead to major problems.

Laws will change too where needed. I was shocked to find out that nursing homes in Florida are not required to have generators. Even those that have them often are undersized, but worse not regularly inspected. What about carbon monoxide detection too. Also, while hospitals were, nursing homes were not listed as critical facilities to be prioritized in restoring power.

Portable generators for homes may come under new scrutiny as some people still insisted on using them in their garages or even their homes. Will there be new regulations on cranes at construction sites?

Some of the subtle changes to our lives we won't ever know are taking place. It's like getting pens that will write upside down which all came out of the space program.

Life won't be the same. Doesn't mean worse or better, just not the same. Many of us won't look at life the same either. That's honestly the way it should be. We should learn and grow through every experience in life. We all even looked at this differently going in. I looked at win or lose based on lives lost first. If I was still alive then everything else was just a bonus. I feel guilty that we came through with so little damage while others lost all they had.

Will we learn and be better prepared for the next one as a society, as a state? I hope we always learn.
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:34 PM   #3
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Likely not nearly enough, few years later all the same mistakes being made. It isn't realistic to expect the general population to have long memory, that's what our social institutions, bureaucracies, regulations etc are for, but these now rarely are tuned to true public interest when that requires reducing short-term profits.

I suppose if these events become "the new normal" then the lessons stay fresh.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:44 PM   #4
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Likely not nearly enough, few years later all the same mistakes being made. It isn't realistic to expect the general population to have long memory, that's what our social institutions, bureaucracies, regulations etc are for, but these now rarely are tuned to true public interest when that requires reducing short-term profits.

I suppose if these events become "the new normal" then the lessons stay fresh.
Wifey B: I think we learn sometimes. I know South Florida learned about building codes after Andrew. Houses built since then did very well in Dade, Broward and West Palm as did new commercial buildings.

And those wicked evil insurance people help us manage risk when we're too dumb to do so. They don't tell us we must replace windows with hurricane ones or replace roofs to today's code but they tell us windstorm insurance will cost many times more if we don't. And then they and FEMA look at elevation and flood history and tell us what will cost more.

I'm not a mathematician, but in my simple mind it seems like you take record storm surge, 100 year or whatever, and you add a few feet for waves and you make sure you have that elevation. Well, our flood insurance now costs less than our neighbors as we're an 10'+ and the record surge is under 6'.

And marinas. Look at those built since Andrew, look at most Broward Marinas. Oh, science and math. Concrete, no bolts though just decking, floating, and piles higher than the greatest surge.

Now it takes time. We have older homes and some were well built, some not. I see Hemingway's cats all came through fine. But many of the older homes are built in a way in a place that's not smart.

We're going to get tons of complaints over electric but the changes they made since Andrew have been big time pluses and I'm impressed given the numbers. Now, water systems may be the next big concern. (Sidebar: Omg, our neighbors are going to get would up on underground wiring again. They can't get it because it requires everyone on the line to approve and pay as we don't have an HOA to vote and force everyone. Plus they might be glad they don't have it. Yes, it protects against falling trees and limbs. But it also is much much much much harder to chase down problems and very susceptible to flood issues. Doesn't matter as it's not going to happen in our neighborhood. We'd require everyone on the line to do it and we're the last house. Odds of 350 homeowners all agreeing? Well, again, I'm not the mathematician but I'd say 1 in a bazillion.)

Some of the changes take generations. Some take unpopular moves. I never thought much of houses on the ocean before but now I look at each one thinking or . I now think of words like 150 mph winds and elevation and hurricane resistant.

I had to be dragged into the world of LED lights. I liked my old lights. I didn't want to change. But the change was right and if I see one of the old kind now, I think

We're not going to change it all overnight but it will slowly happen. I'm upbeat and

Now, lunch over, and I must get back to work. We're on our way to meet someone in West Palm. Work assignment we were given.
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:27 PM   #5
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After the 04 Hurricanes we buried the wires on Jupiter Island, and it has been a great success. We were able to get back on the Island much quicker, without having to check for live wires, and power was restored much more quickly.
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:32 PM   #6
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After the 04 Hurricanes we buried the wires on Jupiter Island, and it has been a great success. We were able to get back on the Island much quicker, without having to check for live wires, and power was restored much more quickly.
Best,
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Did you have an HOA or how did you get everyone to go along?

Basically everyone on the line has to agree to pay and an HOA can vote to do so. Our "HOA" is just a voluntary account to pay for security but has no power. Also no mandatory fees.

I grew up in Charlotte with underground then in the country and on the lake with overhead. Here have overhead.
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:45 PM   #7
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No HOA, but a tight knit Town.
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Old 09-15-2017, 12:31 AM   #8
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I learned from hurricane floods in baja to mount electrical panels way high on the wall. Saved me a lot of trouble over the years. I've been through 4 or 5 major floods, a couple of them were 13 to 18 feet over the floor. Panels got trashed in those 2 floods, but were dry in all the others. Breakers in baja are not cheap!
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Old 09-15-2017, 12:39 AM   #9
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No HOA, but a tight knit Town.
So did the city make it happen by passing it somehow? My understanding is it takes either the city or the HOA or all persons from you in to agree to it. Some in our neighborhood have been working trying to get FLL to bring it to a vote. The total cost per homeowner would be pretty high but the city can do it as an add on tariff. The big issue in our area is easements since underground requires 10' easements. That would require an ordinance and I'm not sure it could even be done.

Did cable and phone also convert?
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:08 AM   #10
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Wifey B: I think we learn sometimes. I know South Florida learned about building codes after Andrew. Houses built since then did very well in Dade, Broward and West Palm as did new commercial buildings.



And those wicked evil insurance people help us manage risk when we're too dumb to do so. They don't tell us we must replace windows with hurricane ones or replace roofs to today's code but they tell us windstorm insurance will cost many times more if we don't. And then they and FEMA look at elevation and flood history and tell us what will cost more.



I'm not a mathematician, but in my simple mind it seems like you take record storm surge, 100 year or whatever, and you add a few feet for waves and you make sure you have that elevation. Well, our flood insurance now costs less than our neighbors as we're an 10'+ and the record surge is under 6'.



And marinas. Look at those built since Andrew, look at most Broward Marinas. Oh, science and math. Concrete, no bolts though just decking, floating, and piles higher than the greatest surge.



Now it takes time. We have older homes and some were well built, some not. I see Hemingway's cats all came through fine. But many of the older homes are built in a way in a place that's not smart.



We're going to get tons of complaints over electric but the changes they made since Andrew have been big time pluses and I'm impressed given the numbers. Now, water systems may be the next big concern. (Sidebar: Omg, our neighbors are going to get would up on underground wiring again. They can't get it because it requires everyone on the line to approve and pay as we don't have an HOA to vote and force everyone. Plus they might be glad they don't have it. Yes, it protects against falling trees and limbs. But it also is much much much much harder to chase down problems and very susceptible to flood issues. Doesn't matter as it's not going to happen in our neighborhood. We'd require everyone on the line to do it and we're the last house. Odds of 350 homeowners all agreeing? Well, again, I'm not the mathematician but I'd say 1 in a bazillion.)



Some of the changes take generations. Some take unpopular moves. I never thought much of houses on the ocean before but now I look at each one thinking or . I now think of words like 150 mph winds and elevation and hurricane resistant.



I had to be dragged into the world of LED lights. I liked my old lights. I didn't want to change. But the change was right and if I see one of the old kind now, I think



We're not going to change it all overnight but it will slowly happen. I'm upbeat and



Now, lunch over, and I must get back to work. We're on our way to meet someone in West Palm. Work assignment we were given.


Back in FTM after Andrew, our dead end street put power underground. A few wouldn't pay, a few couldn't pay, so the rest of us chipped in the difference. That's what good neighbors do. And I agree, FL is night and day after Andrew. Like generators for gas stations and supermarkets. My beloved Cudjoe took a direct hit, but that is the way of it in hurricane central.
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:28 AM   #11
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Most of the newer subdivisions in Florida have all utilities placed in the ground. I believe it is required by state or county governments. Older areas like Dade and Broward counties, specially on the beach side are not likely to be in the ground. In some places, coquina rock makes in ground utilities prohibitively expensive.
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:45 AM   #12
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Most of the newer subdivisions in Florida have all utilities placed in the ground. I believe it is required by state or county governments. Older areas like Dade and Broward counties, specially on the beach side are not likely to be in the ground. In some places, coquina rock makes in ground utilities prohibitively expensive.
Local governments, not state. State requires the power company to go the cheapest route. Now what happens on new subdivisions is the developer does it up front. Local government requires it to get plans approved.
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:57 AM   #13
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Back in FTM after Andrew, our dead end street put power underground. A few wouldn't pay, a few couldn't pay, so the rest of us chipped in the difference. That's what good neighbors do. And I agree, FL is night and day after Andrew. Like generators for gas stations and supermarkets. My beloved Cudjoe took a direct hit, but that is the way of it in hurricane central.
In an older development a few issues. First, as to cost, it's not just the FPL fee but in many cases significant cost to the homeowner for the area from street to house since sometimes requires major work due to code changes since first built. Still the financial side could often be handled as you did. However, easement is a more complicated issue.

I don't know. We're the last house and we're more than willing, but takes a lot of other homeowners. Maybe one day. Apparently those working on it targeted 2020. It's been ongoing since we bought in 2012.
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Old 09-15-2017, 12:55 PM   #14
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I believe it will be business as usual in a few months, perhaps with a few minor changes. We really don't need more rules, restrictions or "better" building codes.

I could argue to build a "reasonable" home and just be prudent about making it stand up against the bulk of storms. To build it to totally withstand a Cat 4 or 5 hurricane is unreasonable. Just like it would be unreasonable to build a home thats tornado, earthquake and flood proof.

It would be prudent to put some protections into the plane.. perhaps higher elevation and not build right on the river bank, support the structure well. We don't need hurricane windows and overall, they are not cost effective.

And one of my biggest gripe are the codes for remodeling and improving existing homes. It's become unaffordable to make a better house because of the new codes, so people don't do it... so we have less hurricane prop houses.

But, bottom line, I'm arguing that the Cat 4 is a once in a 100 year event, so there's no need to go overboard.

Just looking at the majority of Florida members on this forum and losses have been minimal. Sure, we have some, and we deal with them. But for most of us the only thing our insurance premiums give us is peace of mind (which I'm not willing to pay for).

Over the years, I could argue strongly to just be self insured and if you're just "average" you'll come out ahead. Of the premium you pay, the claim is only about 60% of that, so you loose there. And if one is prudent and more safety conscious they can do much better.

I would argue that if one feels they are a high risk with very low premiums, then insurance is a good bet. (and that's all it is, a bet).

I know, a few will disagree with this, and that's fine.
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Old 09-15-2017, 01:55 PM   #15
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CAT 4's or 5's are not 100 year storms. Perhaps once a generation. I totally support and endorse the codes in effect for Key West, for Dade County and for Broward County. The extent of damage is many homes built before Andrew and before the codes. Another issue is that some areas impacted by this storm elected not to go to increased code requirements.

A 150 mph home isn't built that way just to handle CAT 5's. That's it's upper limit and how well it does that in practice we may never know but it will then handle storms such as the one we just had. Incidentally the requirements are 160 mph for the Keys, 150 mph for Miami and 140 mph for Broward, although most just go on with the Miami/Dade code of 150 due to insurers.

As to renovations, I know many who have strengthened their homes against hurricanes by changing windows and doors and by getting their next roof at 150 mph protection. In the Keys there are a lot of wood homes just as in South Texas. They aren't allowed by current code in our area, with concrete and steel being the requirement.

Your attitudes on insurance are well known and consistent. However, they're not a practice that will work well for the average person.

I do agree with your comments on elevation. Flood plains and required elevations have been well mapped recently and homes built should have no living quarters in the 100 year flood plane. It's really such a simple change. Typically it only requires 2 or 3' more elevation than homes have had although in some places it could be 10' or more. Regardless, it's a law in effect in other beach areas. This wouldn't solve the issue of roads under water but would make homes safe against surge and flash floods.

I take no consolation that the majority of TF members didn't have damage. 25% of the homes in Key West were destroyed. Estimates as to those with damage range from 60-90%. I can't feel good about not having damage when my neighbors to the south have so much.
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Old 09-15-2017, 04:35 PM   #16
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I lived in Coober Pedy a while fossicking for opals.

Whole town built underground, some miners get rich digging out a bigger living room.

And would save billions in air conditioning.

Of course the water table's a bit lower there, but perfectly hurricane proof for hundreds of years.
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Old 09-15-2017, 06:24 PM   #17
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I lived in Coober Pedy a while fossicking for opals.

Whole town built underground, some miners get rich digging out a bigger living room.

And would save billions in air conditioning.

Of course the water table's a bit lower there, but perfectly hurricane proof for hundreds of years.
Where did they put their septic tanks?
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:44 PM   #18
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CAT 4's or 5's are not 100 year storms. Perhaps once a generation. I totally support and endorse the codes in effect for Key West, for Dade County and for Broward County. The extent of damage is many homes built before Andrew and before the codes. Another issue is that some areas impacted by this storm elected not to go to increased code requirements.

A 150 mph home isn't built that way just to handle CAT 5's. That's it's upper limit and how well it does that in practice we may never know but it will then handle storms such as the one we just had. Incidentally the requirements are 160 mph for the Keys, 150 mph for Miami and 140 mph for Broward, although most just go on with the Miami/Dade code of 150 due to insurers.

As to renovations, I know many who have strengthened their homes against hurricanes by changing windows and doors and by getting their next roof at 150 mph protection. In the Keys there are a lot of wood homes just as in South Texas. They aren't allowed by current code in our area, with concrete and steel being the requirement.

Your attitudes on insurance are well known and consistent. However, they're not a practice that will work well for the average person.

I do agree with your comments on elevation. Flood plains and required elevations have been well mapped recently and homes built should have no living quarters in the 100 year flood plane. It's really such a simple change. Typically it only requires 2 or 3' more elevation than homes have had although in some places it could be 10' or more. Regardless, it's a law in effect in other beach areas. This wouldn't solve the issue of roads under water but would make homes safe against surge and flash floods.

I take no consolation that the majority of TF members didn't have damage. 25% of the homes in Key West were destroyed. Estimates as to those with damage range from 60-90%. I can't feel good about not having damage when my neighbors to the south have so much.
Geeze,

Just put a big post out and it deleted it cuz I was too slow...... so I'm posting the highlights.

First, I find nothing wrong with the new Miami Dade Standards for new construction. While it adds some cost, it's not astronomical.

However, with remodeling, the costs ARE astronomical... depending on the county and the inspector you get. I'd love to improve several homes, but the cost is staggering if I get a permit... not double but 4x, and it just is not affordable. I've tried. So I do a few with "midnight" construction and some I just don't do. There are a few things that one can do like windows, but MUCH more cost effective to just cover with plywood. Now, the roof is another story.

Second, the St Pete area has not has a Cat 4 or 5 in well over 100 years, even the 1920s one. So the risk here is probably lower that Miami.

Third, as for the damage, sure, we've had damage, but it's the VAST minority that has damage in these storms. As for our St. Pete area, with the some odd 100 house I've had and my buddy's 200 rentals homes, over the years the damage has been very low... not worth insuring. Sure, we've lost a few with trees, etc. but the bulk of them the damage is minor, as has been with Irma.

Forth, MOST homes do not meet Miami Dade standard... NONE of mine or my buddies do. It's just NOT cost effective.

Fifth, WE DO hurt for our friends that have suffered worse than we have, and that's why we help out, like YOU HAVE, and thanks to you for going to TX to help. We have our "airlift mission" that organized small planes to take supplies to areas hit hard. And while we can't take tons of stuff, we can dispatch FAST and get the job done. I can haul 1000# to Key West in 1:20 which works, and helps out a bit. We can also donate to several organizations that help.

And last, we just can't rebuild all of Florida.... ain't gonna happen....
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Old 09-15-2017, 09:01 PM   #19
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Where did they put their septic tanks?
Do, plenty of miners still there, opal's doing very well!

Deep drops in the old days, now it's more regulated, in fact Oz in general much more sensibly and effectively than the US.

Solid rock most of it, so they likely pump out and have town treatment.
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Old 09-15-2017, 09:11 PM   #20
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Geeze,

Just put a big post out and it deleted it cuz I was too slow...... so I'm posting the highlights.

And last, we just can't rebuild all of Florida.... ain't gonna happen....
That really hurts when you lose a post. Did that happen mobile? I'm asking because normally online you can tab back and it's still there.

No, we can't rebuild all of Florida. However, we do have to rebuild 25% of Key West and much of the rest of the keys and some of SW FL. The parts we do rebuild we can do right. Same in South Texas. Much of the Crescent Bend must be rebuilt. That can be done right.

Now, that's where the really painful challenge comes in. How do we rebuild without discarding the poor along the way.

In a new construction some of the requirements aren't so expensive. You're right than in a remodel they are sometimes prohibitive. Turning a wood house into concrete and steel is like starting over. I'll toss a simple one though and that's elevating above the record surge levels. So easy when building new. In our neighborhood there are homes that are safely above and those that aren't, some old and some new. I have neighbors whose elevations are lower than ours. When they tore down the old homes in the 90's and built new, they didn't apparently think of adding some land under the house or elevating it in some way.

I don't have the answers of how to make it all affordable. I think in Key West, it's going to require some multi-family construction if many of those who lost their homes are to stay there. The high value of an empty lot is going to mean million dollar homes where $100k homes sat. I hate the thought of people displaced. Many won't even remain there long enough for the rebuild as they'll have to seek lodging elsewhere. Key West will lose something.

It's a long slow process, protecting against the elements in various locales. It's one step at a time. After Andrew, we replaced Country Walk with better construction. Even if it's just 20,000 homes or so replaced, at least they can be safer. It may be 30 years before the next one hits, but those homes will withstand it better. Others will have to be replaced then.

On a bright note, I'm in awe of the enthusiasm I've seen this week from so many. They're ready to move forward. Obviously some in the keys can't yet, but time will come they can. I heard very little today of what they'd been through just a lot of happy to be back at something somewhat normal. I do believe in people and believe we'll see amazing resilience in Texas and Florida.
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