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Ike: Why People on the Coast Stayed


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Not sure if this is the right place for this, but I have a co-worker who owns a home, with her husband, somewhere on Galveston. She was complaining about the damage and this and that.

I guess if you're rich enough to have 2nd and 3rd home, you ought to have really good insurance. Also, if you're foolish enough to own something in a prone disaster area, why should you be crying when it gets washed away.

Am I wrong for feeling not the least bit of sorrow over that? I mean, it wasn't her primary residence (which would have been terrible, and no one was killed or hurt).

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"About 60 of the missing lived on the Bolivar Peninsula, stripped bare by the storm surge that felled beach houses like a bomb. More than 200 were listed as missing on Galveston Island itself, according to a city-by-city analysis of the data conducted for the Houston Chronicle by Bob Walcutt, executive director of the recovery center in Friendswood."

No. Bombs and rising water are not similar.

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I have a basic understanding of Newtonian physics. That is enough.

(Disclaimer: I claim no knowledge about anything Newtonian.)

Buuuuut, does not a storm surge flow outward from the center of the hurricane much like the air or shockwave from the center of a bomb blast. I'm just sayin'. ;)

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(Disclaimer: I claim no knowledge about anything Newtonian.)

Buuuuut, does not a storm surge flow outward from the center of the hurricane much like the air or shockwave from the center of a bomb blast. I'm just sayin'. ;)

No, that comparison really doesn't make any sense.

The fact that they call it a surge should tell you that the water doesn't just simply rise.

Really? What does the word tell you? That the hurricane has swept up a derelict barge full of energy drinks left over from the late 90's?

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Just rising water?

They don't call it a windstorm for nothing. A structure must withstand sustained high winds and repeated extreme wind gusts for hours on end. That has the potential to be more punishing, in some ways, than a single extraordinarily high burst of pressure such as would accompany a bomb...although such a statement is of course subject to variables such as the bomb's explosive's velocity, density of air, its distance from the subject building, whether it is an air burst or a ground-level burst, the shape of the shock wave, and whether it is designed to carry shrapnel.

Couple that with wave action, a direct result of the wind, which pushes around the surface water in swells, and you have a situation where buildings that are up on stilts actually can be as severely damaged from the crests of waves striking the underside of the structure as from the wind. If the storm surge is sufficiently high, then the effect of wave action upon the side of a building is that the waves crash into it with as much force as you saw from the seawall on the afternoon before Ike came ashore. Again, rather than a single extraordinarily high burst of pressure, as from a bomb, a structure is subject to repeated impacts and over the course of many hours. The portion of a structure that is submerged is actually pretty well anchored during the height of the storm surge because the water beneath the surface does not have a very strong current associated with it. Houses ended up in marshes when they were knocked from their pilings and floated on the surface, their high profiles pushed around by wind, their mass surfing along the downward-sloping parts of waves. In contrast, cattle mostly just bobbed up and down in one place, eventually coming to rest back on land because they rode low in the water and were aerodynamic. This brings up another point: had it been a bomb, the cattle, the lion, and the tiger all would've been injured by concussive force and possibly shrapnel.

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The confirmed death toll is at 32; two unidentified bodies were discovered along a shore in Galveston County and a Port Neches man was found dead in Orange County.

40 people reported missing have been found alive. The hotline collecting information about Ike statistics got 16 new cases of missing people; as of writing 365 people are still missing. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/hotstories/6029478.html - "Ike death toll increases as three bodies found" - September 29, 2008 - Diane Schiller

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