13 September 2008

All This on a Cat 2. Houston Was Just Another Warning

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Something has certainly messed with Texas. Everyone knows who- Ike.

Ike was only a category two hurricane, but the flooding was, and still is, significant.

Hobby airport in South Houston had gusts to 96 mph. Over 2.8 Million are without power. In an area where everyone lives in air conditioning, there may be quite a few casualties of the heat over the next few days.

Imagine if this had been a category 4 with a 22 foot storm surge. Or 25 feet. Someone had better imagine it because it will happen. Maybe not for 30 years. Maybe later this month.

The flooding was worse in Houston for two reasons. Subsidence and Climate Change.

Houston has sunk up to 10 feet in the last 100 years. Why? All the water, gas, and oil pumped from the ground beneath it. Since Hurricane Alicia in 1983, the sea level has risen about 3-4 inches due to climate change. The sea level is now rising at 3.3mm per year, and this rate is increasing.

All of this spells big trouble for cities like New Orleans, Houston, and Miami. Even New York City.

Alicia struck in August of 1983. I was in Galveston, and Houston as the eye passed right overhead. It was certainly a night to remember. I wonder if any of the lessons we are being given from Mother Nature about living, and building near coast lines will sink in.

Those of us who do not live on the coast are already paying part of the insurance, for those who do. There is a growing outcry over this. Living in a sustainable world, means we must pay the real cost of the goods and services we use. That includes the environmental costs as well. If you add it up, the real cost of living on the beach is a lot more expensive than you might think.

Just some thoughts on a Saturday night, as I appreciate the breeze from Ike we are getting here in Huntsville.