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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Safe as Houses

Courtesy: The Miami Horrible

As Renato, who is seconding me ably on the blog until I can get back online, put it: I am well, but tired.

Hurricane Wilma was at least 2 times worse than Hurricane Katrina, for us down here in South Florida.

Now that I am able to compare these two recent events, I can see what we went through with Katrina was truly just inconvenience.

Sure, we sweated a lot, and sure we were without power and water pressure at times, but at least we had minimal structural damage, and restoration of services was within a week, tops. Not to mention, only one county in Florida was truly affected -- Miami-Dade.

This Wilma aftermath will be much, much trickier.

For one, there are 4 immense counties affected:

1) Miami-Dade -- where Miami, Miami Beach, are located
2) Monroe -- the home of the Florida Keys
3) Broward -- Ft. Lauderdale and environs
4) Palm Beach County -- where West Palm Beach and the toney Palm Beach proper are located.

All 4, plus most of Okeechobee County, where the lake which is our water source lies, of us making over 6 MILLION residents without power, and a great many of us without running or potable water.

That's 98% of us, folks -- a full 1/3 of the state of Florida.

Miami Beach, this time, was not so fortunate.

As I conjectured in my recent reply in the thread below, I think the quick pickup, removal of detritus, and restoration of services were due to two things, which we don't have going for us today:

  • Hurricane Katrina was a Category 1 storm when she hit South Florida. Borderline 2, but still, not a MAJOR hurricane. This is what Wilma was, since she was a scary Category 3. That's three times the damage over Katrina.


  • Hurricane Katrina hit us on the Thursday before the MTV Video Music Awards Ceremonies that very Sunday. With all the star-studded events, and general hoopla attached to the prestigious awards' ceremonies, including the massive amounts of VIPs we had in South Beach especially, it was inevitable they tidied up and powered us very quickly.


  • As I said, this time, we are not this lucky.



    There are no Puff Daddies and Missy Elliots this time to the rescue.

    But also, we are not forgotten -- the local, State, and Federal governments have done a tremendous job in rallying locals with supplies, and information.

    The first and most important thing after a hurricane is to keep the populace secure: to that end, both Miami-Dade and Broward County mayors declared a curfew, which for us in Miami-Dade starts at 8 PM EDT.

    No one who isn't going to or from work, will be allowed outside, to minimise not only looting concerns (which are considerable, seeing as how there are already reports of sporadic looting up in Broward), but to assure that traffic accidents are at a minimum, seeing as how there are NO overhead lights, or indeed, traffic signals working ANYWHERE.

    Courtesy: The Miami Horrible

    Here I'd just like to say that you can see what a contrast it is, when you have a people like South Floridians who are used to hurricanes, pre-and-post, have reacted like, to the pandemonium seen by those of poor unfortunates in New Orleans, especially.

    There, neither local, nor State, nor Federal reactions were conmeasurate with their positions of importance -- one of which is to have free-flowing and well-directed management of emergency responses to a catastrophic event.

    Almost as a matter-of-course, the Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, positioned himself here in Miami, so that he could be a visible and immediate presence to his fellow Floridians. He had, after all, lived most of his adult life in this city, in the upscale neighbourhood of Pinecrest (where O.J. Simpson lives today).

    And the Miami-Dade County mayor, Carlos Alvarez, started the morning, afternoon and evening with a press conference giving us counsel about water distribution, and general updates ON THE DOT, daily.

    We are the only State, to the best of my knowledge, that has a pet-shelter, where citizens who wish to take their pets with them to a shelter, can do so, if they are caged (that one is located near the Florida International University campus, which is also the shelter all evacuees from Key West use. It must be huge).

    All of this goes a long way to reassuring people that their surroundings may be chaotic, but their elected officials are trying as much as they can, to slowly restore order to the city.

    Poor NOLA residents never stood a chance.

    Well, it's almost 6 PM EDT here, and it should be getting quite dark soon. I will try my darndest to update the blog if I can get net access each day.

    Having something to do each day, like updating my blog (if I can), emailing, and phoning my friends, really gives me a filip, so you can be assured you may just be a passive reader of Sundries, but you are my lifeline to a better world.

    P.S.: RIP Rosa Parks.

    More Wilma Images

    17 Comments:

    • Vicky!!! It's so good to see your words on Sundries. If there's a will there's a way.;)

      It's good to hear that everything seems as well as can be. How is the gas situation? Is there any way to get pumps going without electricity?

      Is there still canned/dry foods on the shelves for people who didn't prepare? Like you said, this will indeed be tricky...

      Good luck Vicky and stay stafe! Keep us up to date please. :)

      By Blogger Renato, at Tue Oct 25, 07:12:00 pm GMT-4  

    • Victoria,

      Good to hear you're ok, and even blogging! (possible future cliche: "Alive and Blogging!") Here's hoping Jeb gets things in shape somewhat quickly, and your own situation gets a bit better as well! Much bloggish support here; write us when possible.

      Ron

      By Blogger Ron, at Tue Oct 25, 07:41:00 pm GMT-4  

    • Courage, the sun will dry floods and tears over Florida quickly.

      Is it jeb BUSH house seen half destroy on your blog or is it yours?
      You are welcome in Chicago if needed. Would you mind baby sitting? :-)

      Keep the good mood up and watch out for gators!

      By Anonymous SHUSSBAR, at Tue Oct 25, 08:36:00 pm GMT-4  

    • Kind of said what I had to under your response to Renato's Monday post, but I'll say this again, Excellent to hear your sweet voice!
      The pictures are stark and sad.

      By Blogger Paul, at Tue Oct 25, 10:31:00 pm GMT-4  

    • Victoria,

      It's Elizabeth, from over at Althouse; wow! those are awesome photos. I'm actually a post-Katrina New Orleanian, not a Floridian. I'd been ignoring all hurricanes up to now, out of PTSD or something, but Wilma got my attention. Sorry to hear you were right in the way of things.

      I'm awfully glad you're holding up well, and that you're lucky enough to be at a university with good funding! Good luck getting petrol in soon.

      New Orleans needs to study Florida's plans, and learn. What you've described here is so obvious, so common sense. It's not the Louisiana Way, but maybe it wasn't the Floriday way, either, until y'all got so much practice. Next year could be more of the same, so I guess it's time for my fellow citizens to get loud, and demanding.

      By Blogger Elizabeth, at Tue Oct 25, 11:42:00 pm GMT-4  

    • Victoria:

      Well. You know.

      Hang in and all that.

      My kid said he could draw you a picture or send you spare art supplies. Not practical, but sincere ... and amusing, at least for us, anyway.

      Warm regards from our hearth to yours.

      reader_iam

      By Blogger reader_iam, at Wed Oct 26, 12:33:00 am GMT-4  

    • Let me add my best wishes and thanks for letting us know you are well (Renato thank you too for the updates). The first hand account of Wilma's wrath and Florida's response is a welcome voice.

      I look forward to your return to full blogging (and your incisive commenting at the Althouse).

      In the meantime, take care - I look forward to your updates whenever you can blog.

      By Blogger Lawrence, at Wed Oct 26, 12:50:00 am GMT-4  

    • Glad to see you're OK. I be reading your blog more often

      By Blogger Adrian, at Wed Oct 26, 04:43:00 am GMT-4  

    • Vicky!!! It's so good to see your words on Sundries. If there's a will there's a way.;)

      Especially, if you can wangle yourself into your University and access their super-hidden computers since their comp labs are closed. Shh! ;)

      It's good to hear that everything seems as well as can be. How is the gas situation? Is there any way to get pumps going without electricity?

      Is there still canned/dry foods on the shelves for people who didn't prepare? Like you said, this will indeed be tricky...


      Renato, all shall be revealed in a forthcoming post!

      Thanks so much for your concern and invaluable help. :)

      Cheers,
      Victoria

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Oct 26, 04:05:00 pm GMT-4  

    • possible future cliche: "Alive and Blogging!"

      I love it! Alive and Blogging. The title of my forthcoming post-hurricane update. H/T to you, kind sir. ;)

      Cheers,
      Victoria

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Oct 26, 04:06:00 pm GMT-4  

    • Courage, the sun will dry floods and tears over Florida quickly.

      Beautifully poetic, as only a Frenchman can sound. Merci mille fois, Shussbar. :)

      Bises, ton amie,
      Victoria

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Oct 26, 04:07:00 pm GMT-4  

    • The pictures are stark and sad.

      Some people who survived Andrew, were wiped out.

      How cruel is Fate, Paul...

      Cheers,
      Victoria

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Oct 26, 04:09:00 pm GMT-4  

    • It's Elizabeth, from over at Althouse;

      Sure! I know you well. Good to hear from you.

      I'm glad you came on my blog, since you're not the only one who, perhaps, isn't totally on my side of the fennce politically, but at the very least, we share Althouse as our intermediary, yes? ;)

      wow! those are awesome photos. I'm actually a post-Katrina New Orleanian, not a Floridian. I'd been ignoring all hurricanes up to now, out of PTSD or something, but Wilma got my attention. Sorry to hear you were right in the way of things.

      Oh my darling, I am SO sorry. :(

      What you went through knows no name, so please accept my heartfelt good wishes so that you all get better soon.

      We went to PetCo just before Wilma, to get our supplies for our pooch, and I was saddened to find out, they are no longer collecting moneys for Katrina-victims.

      Tout passe...

      I'm awfully glad you're holding up well, and that you're lucky enough to be at a university with good funding! Good luck getting petrol in soon.

      Thank you! :)

      New Orleans needs to study Florida's plans, and learn. What you've described here is so obvious, so common sense. It's not the Louisiana Way, but maybe it wasn't the Floriday way, either, until y'all got so much practice. Next year could be more of the same, so I guess it's time for my fellow citizens to get loud, and demanding.

      You're spot on there, Elizabeth.

      Anything in life is trial-and-error, and the people who get really good at anythinng will always be the ones who are most proficient at what to do.

      As HL Mencken once said of FD Roosevelt:

      That man never lost anything in his life, and you don't learn by winning all the time"

      I'll tell you, I'm not sure that was true of Roosevelt, but it's certainly true of the rest of us.

      I can't wait to re-visit NOLA one day. Ya'll be back. :)

      Cheers,
      Victoria

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Oct 26, 04:15:00 pm GMT-4  

    • My kid said he could draw you a picture or send you spare art supplies. Not practical, but sincere ... and amusing, at least for us, anyway.

      If you can scan it, I'll put it on the blog with PRIDE!

      Thanks so much to you, and especially to your kid for thinking of me. :)

      Cheers,
      Victoria

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Oct 26, 04:16:00 pm GMT-4  

    • I look forward to your return to full blogging (and your incisive commenting at the Althouse).

      Lawrence, that is very kind of you.

      I recall you said something on Althouse about the Danish gov't's Poonanny Programme that I found very amusing. :)

      I hope to be back online at home soon!

      Cheers,
      Victoria

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Oct 26, 04:17:00 pm GMT-4  

    • Glad to see you're OK. I be reading your blog more often

      Adrian! My first Blogrollee ever. :)

      I'm glad you will come on over more often, only forgive anything you find too outre for your tastes.

      We may not agree all the time, but I'd like to think we can admire the way the other thinks.

      At least I do you, anyway. :)

      My love to Cathy.

      Cheers,
      Victoria (Proud Friend of Israel)

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Oct 26, 04:20:00 pm GMT-4  

    • Glad to hear you're safe - a few quick questions though:

      1) Surely the damage caused by hurricanes works on a semi-logarithmic rather than a linear scale? Hence an average Category 3 would be far worse than 3 times the destructive power of an average Category 1?

      2) Aren't raccoons a great source of fresh meat?

      3) If "everyone lost their refrigerated items in TOTO" does that mean the Wizard of Oz has half-inched them or have they been blown to Africa?

      yours as ever etc etc

      By Anonymous steve d, at Wed Oct 26, 08:46:00 pm GMT-4  

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