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Old 04-21-2015, 06:03 PM   #21
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Our approach is different. We evacuate early and leave FL from mid May until mid Oct even though we have a home generator. Keep our boat on the Great Lakes. Hurricanes don't scare me but we choose not to potentially be inconvenienced by them..
Well so far we haven't been inconvenienced by any. I guess time will tell. History in Fort Lauderdale has been good, much better than the Keys or the Gulf Coast.
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Old 04-22-2015, 11:46 AM   #22
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...

A few days after the event, I went to the Cape Fear River in Wilmington and observed. Obviously the water was flowing fast as it was still draining from inland, but what was unreal was the color and odor of the water. Purple. And the odor was something I had never detected before, strong enough to weaken knees, and certainly not pleasant. Have no way to even describe it.
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The storm flushed out all the agricultural holding ponds and fertilizers. The mixture of manure and nutrients created a dangerous brew. The combination devastated the fisheries and marshes on the coast. It was definitely a historical event in North Carolina.
I saw the flooding on the Neuse and Tar rivers. The Tar was worse in that the land up there was just one big flood plain, at least in the areas I was working. Anything that was in a house, Walmart, gas station, farm store, farm, etc went into the water during the flood. Sewage from water treatment plants as well as the sewage from hog lagoons. Every cemetery we saw that was flooded had vaults pop out from the ground and some did float away. I did see the 100 dead milk cows being hauled out and any land critter that could not move fast to high ground drowned. Above and below ground fuel tanks leaked into the flood waters not to mention used oil tanks. Fertilizers from farms, stores and houses all went into that water. The stench of the water was unreal and just turned crops black.

How more people did not drown is a mystery to me. We had an elderly family member who had a hair appointment at a certain time every week for decades. The day after the storm was her hair day and even though there was no power and flooding in the area, she went to get her hair done. She was danged lucky that a man in a pickup truck saw her car get swept off a road and float down stream when she drove into flood waters. He had a cell phone and was able to get help. Twas her first and last copter ride. She was danged lucky it was not her last car trip.

She was also lucky in that the flooding was not so bad upstream of where she went swimming, and as a result, the water was not that dirty. It was just muddy run off not full of chemicals like it was further down stream.

I was shocked to see people voluntarily getting exposed to that that witches brew.

My first trip to help out, we did not have N95 masks to use when searching for bodies in houses. Even though we spent very little time in houses, and the water was already gone or peaked, mold had already started to grow, and we werer coughing up multicolored goo from my lungs after a few hours.

The second trip Down East, I bought plenty of N95 masks. They helped a bit but when you are clearing the contents out of a house you are just going to get exposed to the mold. The masks helped but we still were coughing up multicolored goo. But at least we could leave and go home to our warm and dry beds in our own house. One couple we helped almost drowned and were rescued by the previously mentioned air boat. The wife had just finished Chemo and the stress of the flood and exposure to chemicals, filth and mold did not do her a bit of good. I will always wonder if that flood killed her well after the waters had receded.

At least when she saw my team roll in clean up her house, she knew she had some help, we were going to Get It Done, and someone gave a dam...n. Seeing someone show up to help was a huge moral boost for the people we helped then and people I helped at other disasters. Seeing people in shock, days and weeks after disasters like this is sobering and an understatement.

Later,
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Old 04-22-2015, 01:15 PM   #23
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Sandy was NOT a hurricane when it made landfall.
Because it was downgraded so late in the process, IIRC, right at landfall, I often wonder if the landfall designation was political rather than scientific.
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This raises an interesting questions about the correlation between the official storm strength and the damage inflicted.
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I fall into the group that doesn't consider anything less than a Category 3 to be major either, and don't get overly excited until Category 4, but for Sandy I'll make an exception. As it was the largest Atlantic Hurricane on record while a Category 2 off the coast, it's uniqueness and the extent of the damage done by it and the remaining storm post-hurricane force make it quite "major" in my mind.
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Sandy was a big but pretty weak storm. The damage came from boats and structure that were not built to handle it.
I noticed a fair amount of discussion re: Sandy strength, catagory etc and thought I'd post some info I assembled DURING the storm.

First my disclaimer... I'm not a meteorologist and have NO formal training in the area. My Wx learning has been DIY - taking the USPS Wx course, reading, studying, and visits to our local NWS office.
I am an volunteer instructor for Seneca Sail & Power Squadron and was in the middle of a 10 week Wx course when Sandy was heading for NYC.
I changed the schedule and we covered Hurricanes the week Sandy hit NJ /NYC.

See the attached file 5 Reasons hurricane Sandy will be (was) epic for some interesting info re: Sandy... it may help clarify the many points raised in previous posts.

Sandy is a perfect example of the fact that damage is sometimes not related to a storm's rating (alone). Frequently there are other complicating factors that can have a significant impact... exactly the case with Sandy and, I think, why there are many questions about forecasts & models being incorrect and not representing the resulting damage accurately. To a large degree Sandy was "A Perfect Storm" in that several events and occurrences when combined had a more devastating impact than expected based on categories alone. The fact is Sandy WAS a MAJOR STORM ( record breaking low pressures along the East coast) but NOT a major hurricane - and several factors made the results even worse.

Hope this helps
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:20 PM   #24
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The problem I have with Cat X huricanes is its just based on wind speed. Physical size of the storm changes the impact because of the duration of the storm conditions. Just like a 5 Richter earthquake that lasts a full minute does more damage one that only lasts 10 seconds.
Sandy was a large area storm.
I can remember a Cat 3 hurricane eye ('F' named) going by around 1993 only 115 miles off the beach in Ocean City NJ. The winds in town barely made it to 15 knots with no rain. Hurricane Gloria stayed off the beach and was beating our town 60 miles inland.
Hurricanes need a different rating like max wind speed times a storm diameter or duration factor.
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Old 04-23-2015, 07:20 AM   #25
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The problem I have with Cat X huricanes is its just based on wind speed. Physical size of the storm changes the impact because of the duration of the storm conditions. Just like a 5 Richter earthquake that lasts a full minute does more damage one that only lasts 10 seconds.
Sandy was a large area storm.
I can remember a Cat 3 hurricane eye ('F' named) going by around 1993 only 115 miles off the beach in Ocean City NJ. The winds in town barely made it to 15 knots with no rain. Hurricane Gloria stayed off the beach and was beating our town 60 miles inland.
Hurricanes need a different rating like max wind speed times a storm diameter or duration factor.
The Cat X situation really doesn't explain the situation but it is something every Joe, Dick and Mary can understand as far as a general picture of the degree of risk.

I normally look at the National Hurricane Center website and follow their 3 hour or so updates during the season even when up in MI. In my view, other important indicators are the size of the storm, atmospheric pressure, speed of the storm and the side of the storm that is likely to impact our residence. On landfall, storm surge is a risk but another often overlooked risk is tornadoes that are spawned from the storm. The tornadoes often do the worst damage and may not follow the path of the storm.

The NWS and the government in general has a real issue in that the public tends to expect perfectly accurate forecast of largely unpredictable situations. I don't see a real way to give a better warning than using Cat X.

Whenever there is a storm going to make landfall in the US, the talking weather heads on the Weather Channel and other TV stations make it sound like the end of the world is near. That should be enough to scare off most of the public except when people are walking the beaches and swimming in the background. No matter what the situation, there are a certain percent of the population that will ignore or avoid what they are told of the risk. I confess to having been one of them who did not evacuate on every evacuation warning/order. It wasn't for not realizing the risk but due to lacking infrastructure in FL, I felt attempting evacuation could put me in a worse situation.
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Old 04-23-2015, 07:50 AM   #26
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Heres a tutorial on autocorrelation using weather as an example...
http://www.ltrr.arizona.edu/~dmeko/notes_3.pdf
And that's both the strength and the problem with weather models: the autocorrelative terms in the models have strong influence in the predictions. Breaking from the near term predictions requires strongly informative data, that may or may not be available.


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Old 04-23-2015, 07:58 AM   #27
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Sandy was NOT a hurricane when it made landfall.

...

"On October 27, Sandy briefly weakened to a tropical storm and then restrengthened to a Category*1 hurricane. Early on October*29, Sandy curved north-northwest and then[8]*moved ashore near*Brigantine, New Jersey, just to the northeast of*Atlantic City, as a*post-tropical cyclone*with hurricane-force winds.[1][9]"

Hurricane Sandy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Because Tropical Cyclones (we call hurricanes) and Extra-Tropical Cyclones ( we call Low Pressure Centers) get their energy in different ways.

THe waters off the Mid-Atlantic states in October are far colder than tropical waters. Hurricanes need that warm water.

Lows on the other hand strengthen from other sources, in particular, cold air at the upper levels producing instability and increasing low level convergence.

Sandy became a Nor'easter.
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:20 AM   #28
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...

I think forecasters fall into a very difficult area weighing the need to adequately warn vs. the possibility of falling into what I call the "Chicken Little Syndrome." Television exaggerates that issue. We hear over and over "Hurricane So and So forming and could be on it's way here...more at 11". The Hurricane then never gets close. We lived in an area of NC with very little snow, but yet we got many "Snow Leads" on television every year. Well, ultimately it becomes like Chicken Little. You've heard they were coming, the sky was falling, so many times that then when it really is happening you don't believe it.

Do understand I'm not faulting meteorologists. Their content is often nothing at all like the headline. Headline is often "Snow on the way for this weekend. Find out at 11." Then the actual forecast is "While the front dropping snow on parts of Tennessee is headed our way, there appears very little chance we're see any snow from it."

Like most news, it's become sensationalized and separating the wheat from the chaff can be difficult.
That right there is the problem as I see it.
Weather has become a major income producer for the media.

Therefore they sensationalize EVERYTHING and the more they scare you, the more you will watch, listen and the money pours in.

The second issue that a number of you have alluded to is subsidized flood insurance. It's still not clear to me why the federal government started doing this, it has been going on for at least 40 years.

When you build your house on a flood plain, whether it be on the beach or off the Mississippi, you don't pay the full cost of insurance at that location.

Why, I don't know, the the Fed's pay the insurance companies the difference.
That's why you see homes continually being rebuilt in the same locations.

Lastly, someone also mentioned this, some boaters seem to have little sense of risks.

I read this story of a sail boat couple who having done some cruising in the NE that summer and fall, came down the Hudson River, and upon hearing that Sandy was coming, put their boat on the hard in Staten Island.

That seemed to have worked well, even though their boat was dominoed, little damage was done.

But then, as they were lifting it, the strap broke and they dropped the boat. ouch.

My point is, had I had Dauntless in the area those days, I would have taken her up the Hudson a few miles and she would have been fine.

So why anyone would think the coast of Staten Island was safer than the Hudson, I will never know nor do I really care to find out because at that point ...

Lastly, I talked to our insurance underwriters who came to a Krogen Rendezvous. I was pleased that my insurance was dirt cheap, half of what I pay for my 10 year old Jeep.

He response was that they have found Krogen owners will take that extra step to protect their boats, while many others, just assume the insurance company will cover them.

Richard in NYC
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:23 AM   #29
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I understand the metro....what I don't understand is just because a storm changes it's source of energy, people have to have additional insurance....


....another disclaimer that may be added down the road
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:35 AM   #30
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I don't depend on television for my weather forecast. Honestly, don't depend on it much for my news. I can go online for news and select in depth stories related to the lead story. I can get beyond the sound bite.

There are some good meteorologists in television news but that's now what gets them promotions or the next job. It's ratings. Much like a good college coach who his athletes go to class, get good grades, take legitimate subjects, but all that matters is wins and losses. Both are judged based on scorecards. I hear the weather lead talking about storms. I go check other resources and see 10% probability. I hear the name of every tropical storm on television, mainly while watching another show and getting the tease. I read elsewhere and quickly see that the storm mentioned is not close to land, not close to being a hurricane, and not expected to ever be an issue.

As to the floor insurance subsidies, they have been greatly reduced and more is being done. They originated to protect people from losing their existing homes. However, they became more widespread

Starting Jan. 1, 2013, premium rates for subsidized non-primary residences will begin increasing. Rates will increase 25 percent per year until they reflect the full risk-rate. Later in 2013, there will be premium rate increases for additional categories of subsidized properties, including business properties, substantially damaged or improved properties, severe repetitive loss properties, and any property that has incurred flood-related damages where claim payments exceed the fair market value of the property. Rates for these additional categories of properties will phase in at a rate of 25 percent per year until they reflect full risk rates. Additionally, in late 2013, FEMA will begin to apply full risk rates to policies written for newly purchased property. Beginning in 2014, premium rates for other properties, including non-subsidized properties, will increase as new or revised flood insurance rate maps become effective and full risk rates are phased in for these properties. These premium rate increases will include properties in areas that have received new or revised flood insurance rate maps since July 6, 2012 (the date of enactment of the new law). Additionally, even if you build to minimum standards today, you will be subject to significant rate increases upon remapping if your flood risk changes in the future.

The program was designed for "homes located in a high-risk flood zone (i.e., zones beginning with an A or V) and built before the first flood insurance rate map became effective, and that have not been substantially damaged or improved."

So the gist is that flood zones were created to warn people and flood insurance subsidies were implemented to take care of homes built before the warnings. So the statement, "When you build your house on a flood plain, whether it be on the beach or off the Mississippi, you don't pay the full cost of insurance at that location" is no longer true. In fact you go into a high risk pool and pay the rates for that group.

Now it is complicated when flood maps are redrawn and someone suddenly moved from a low risk zone to high risk is in big trouble.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:42 AM   #31
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One issue that seems to have blossomed is the term "named storms" and yet just recently even winter lows seem to be named storms in some cases.


I guess I could look it all up but it doesn't affect me...just a whole load of people who think they are protected from one year to the next and they really aren't.


Flooding is just one issue and storm damage seems to morph quicker than the average joe realizes.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:49 AM   #32
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One issue that seems to have blossomed is the term "named storms" and yet just recently even winter lows seem to be named storms in some cases.


I guess I could look it all up but it doesn't affect me...just a whole load of people who think they are protected from one year to the next and they really aren't.


Flooding is just one issue and storm damage seems to morph quicker than the average joe realizes.
Doesn't effect us either, ironically, as we have no mention of named storms in our policy other than to say "There are no exclusions for named storms."
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Old 04-23-2015, 12:02 PM   #33
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My comment was more for landowners but I guess it applies to some yacht policies too. As one friend pretty much said...I went with hurricane insurance for my business thinking that it was more likely to have greater coverage and that a hurricane coming ashore no matter if downgraded or with a scientific name change would negate coverage.


Me, my boat is my home and pretty much all I own...so a rain squall gets my attention for protecting her and her contents. Yacht insurance for me is so I can buy some clothes and make first months rent on an apartment. Worth knowing what it says but no big deal.
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Old 04-25-2015, 12:17 AM   #34
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Thanks B&B for the explanation.

I know there were a lot of folks in the NJ and NY, Staten Island and Brooklyn, in particular that lost their houses, but insurance didn't pay.

What's amazing is that as b&b mentioned, they constantly hype storms that end up doing nothing, but during Sandy, they ignored the damage done Staten Island and Brooklyn, while showing the Ferris wheel of Asbury Park ad infinitum.
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Old 04-25-2015, 12:36 AM   #35
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Thanks B&B for the explanation.

I know there were a lot of folks in the NJ and NY, Staten Island and Brooklyn, in particular that lost their houses, but insurance didn't pay.

What's amazing is that as b&b mentioned, they constantly hype storms that end up doing nothing, but during Sandy, they ignored the damage done Staten Island and Brooklyn, while showing the Ferris wheel of Asbury Park ad infinitum.
I don't care where you live, you better be sure you have flood insurance. That's where the insurance battle comes, not from the naming or strength of the storm. So much of the damage from Sandy was water entering the homes from the ground. Knock the roof off and let rain fall in, you have storm damage. Roof stays on and water comes in from the streets and it's flood damage.

One part that truly bothers me is all the persons who are not properly advised by their homeowners' agents. If they're advised and say no, that's one thing. But a lot have never had floods mentioned to them. I saw this happen in Charlotte NC where adding flood coverage would have cost most homeowners very little. Creek runs through a beautiful park. During storm the culverts get blocked so water rises outside the banks. Water crosses street and seeps into home.
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Old 04-25-2015, 07:04 AM   #36
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Yes, it's well worth reading your policy carefully regarding "floods". As B&B says, the most probably watering events are typically NOT covered.

Re flood insurance, we live on the water front but are NOT in a flood zone. Regardless, insurance was extremely difficult to get with only 3 companies writing insurance for water front homes; Chubb, Ace, and AIG/Chartis. All of them reflect "yacht" pricing. None of the more commonly used companies will write insurance for a waterfront home regardless of flood zone, despite teh fact that the house has stood for 125 years, and despite the fact that no storm has ever reached it.

I also looked at flood insurance to fill the gaps in the normal policy. It was a complete waste of money. Yes, it provides coverage for the events not covered by homeowners, but the catch was the cap. The max it would pay out is $30k. That might rebuild the garage and dock, and is less than the deductible for the homeowners insurance for a named storm.
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Old 04-25-2015, 07:11 AM   #37
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What's amazing is that as b&b mentioned, they constantly hype storms that end up doing nothing, but during Sandy, they ignored the damage done Staten Island and Brooklyn, while showing the Ferris wheel of Asbury Park ad infinitum.
Irene was similar. As I recall, everyone was pissed at the media because it didn't impact NYC as predicted. Most people saw the storm as a flop. But ask anyone in upstate NY or VT or Quebec if it was a flop. It left major appliances wedged in bridge abutments 30' over the normal river level. People are still rebuilding today.
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Old 04-25-2015, 10:25 AM   #38
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Yes, it's well worth reading your policy carefully regarding "floods". As B&B says, the most probably watering events are typically NOT covered.

Re flood insurance, we live on the water front but are NOT in a flood zone. Regardless, insurance was extremely difficult to get with only 3 companies writing insurance for water front homes; Chubb, Ace, and AIG/Chartis. All of them reflect "yacht" pricing. None of the more commonly used companies will write insurance for a waterfront home regardless of flood zone, despite teh fact that the house has stood for 125 years, and despite the fact that no storm has ever reached it.

I also looked at flood insurance to fill the gaps in the normal policy. It was a complete waste of money. Yes, it provides coverage for the events not covered by homeowners, but the catch was the cap. The max it would pay out is $30k. That might rebuild the garage and dock, and is less than the deductible for the homeowners insurance for a named storm.
Often the separate flood policies are very limited and, if one can, getting the insurance from their regular insurer is best. The other option if your carriers can't provide it or won't is to go to a surplus lines carrier for your homeowner's insurance.

Not surprisingly the companies you find willing to write insurance for waterfront homes are the same ones insuring boats and yachts. All three companies you mentioned above are major yacht insurers in the US.
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