Friday, September 08, 2017

A Dry Run For A Collapse

Unless you have been under a rock for the last week, you will have been following the progress of Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida - perhaps made all the more real in that, almost a day to two weeks ago, Hurricane Harvey plowed into the Texas Coast.

Perhaps what makes Irma even more striking is the fact that it (currently) is a Category Five storm headed straight for a major city (Miami).  From the Wikipedia page:

"Cataclysmic damage will occur
Category 5 is the highest category of the Saffir–Simpson scale. These storms cause complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings, and some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Collapse of many wide-span roofs and walls, especially those with no interior supports, is common. Very heavy and irreparable damage to many wood frame structures and total destruction to mobile/manufactured homes is prevalent. Only a few types of structures are capable of surviving intact, and only if located at least 3 to 5 miles (5 to 8 km) inland. They include office, condominium and apartment buildings and hotels that are of solid concrete or steel frame construction, public multi-story concrete parking garages, and residences that are made of either reinforced brick or concrete/cement block and have hipped roofs with slopes of no less than 35 degrees from horizontal and no overhangs of any kind, and if the windows are either made of hurricane-resistant safety glass or covered with shutters. Unless all of these requirements are met, the absolute destruction of a structure is certain.[5]
The storm's flooding causes major damage to the lower floors of all structures near the shoreline, and many coastal structures can be completely flattened or washed away by the storm surge. Virtually all trees are uprooted or snapped and some may be debarked, isolating most affected communities. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required if the hurricane threatens populated areas. Total and extremely long-lived power outages and water losses are to be expected, possibly for up to several months.[5]"
Note the rather ominous phrase "the absolute destruction of a structure is certain" and "Total and extremely long-lived power outages and water losses are to be expected, possibly for up to several months".  
More to the immediate point, I have been reading about the evacuations.  In this case - unlike Harvey and Houston - they were called for before the Hurricane arrived.  The result?  Similar to the post-Harvey effect:  gasoline shortages, water shortages, stores sold out of every sort of thing. And this is before the storm has even arrived.
The highways are now choked, slowed to a crawl. Pushing on the back of everyone's mind is the fact that the storm is moving towards them even as they sit there, wasting valuable fuel as they slowly crawl up the Interstate, only to arrive at stations without gasoline and hotels with nowhere to stay.
In a best case situation - at least for these evacuees - the storm either turns now and heads up the Atlantic seaboard or turns after it has passed Florida (Not good news, of course, for Georgia, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle).  In what could be the worst case, it mows right of the center of the state.
Work out the aftermath of that - not in the area of destruction itself but all those who have evacuated.  Food and fuel are largely stripped.  Their jobs are tied to buildings that may no longer stand and materials that may have been washed out to sea or into the pool across the city.  Accounts drain quickly when there is no money coming in - or they drain quickly for the businesses that do not have them coming either.
I am not predicting a collapse (we do not do those sorts of projections around here).  But I think it very worthy to note that a collapse - a real, serious, societal collapse - would look an awful lot like one of these scenarios.
A worthy question is how does one prepare for such a circumstance? - yes, I know, move away from there, but that is not always possible for everyone.  Imagine you had the deepest preps in the world - and had to leave them all behind?  Or what do you take in an uncertain evacuation for an unspecified period of time to an unknown future?
I do not have good answers.  I wish I did.  Prayer, of course - but there has to be a practical aspect as well.
If ever you wanted to see a "real life" acting of an actual disaster movie, this may be the time.  Only foolish will not take note and learn.


  1. People refuse to learn from history. That is obvious.
    Shortages will begin to hit everywhere, especially if it heads to Illinois as is now predicted (they are clueless until Saturday).
    All we can do is pray. There, but for the grace of God...
    Be safe and may God bless and protect us all.

  2. Face it; most of us will be in a "populated area" when the SHTF. Pick one vehicle to be your bugout vehicle. Carry enough spare fuel in the bed or trunk to get you out of harm's way. I know; putting gas in the trunk isn't a good idea. Neither though, is getting halfway between point A and B and running out of gas. Leave the trunk lid cracked to vent any vapors... or own a pickup... Oh; and KEEP THAT VEHICLE MAINTAINED AND FUELED AT ALL TIMES!

    Carry your lodging with you; either a tent-camping setup, or a trailer. If you find a hotel room, great. If you don't, you're still sheltered at night, even if you are sitting in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

    Keep it in your head that your trying to save your life; not your stuff. Only take with you what you need to survive.

    I feel for the folks in Florida. I spent three years in Miami while in the Coast Guard. Best-case scenario, it took all day, at freeway speed, to get out of Florida. It's much bigger than it looks! God, help 'em all...

  3. Linda - That is what scares me. This is now two major metropolitan areas and parts of states that will be hit. I should think that shortages are invevitable.

  4. Pete- Yes, the fuel and fueled up is a good idea. I suspect one of the causes of our recent "shortage" was the fact that far too many people run their vehicle far too low.

    The tent camping set up is a great idea - not ideal, but at least shelter that you are not dependent on finding.

    The stuff - well, that is why I am going through my trailer exercise. I have too much to start with, let alone to evacuate.

    It is hard not to feel for the evacuees - this is the sort of event that even it if goes not all that badly, some things will irrevocably change.


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