Saturday, January 06, 2007

Not what I wanted to read

on a relaxing Saturday morning, while enjoying the balmy, sticky, humid crappy 85 degree weather and sipping on a nice cup of tea.

I like Max Mayfield, he's a fine fellow, very smart and knows his stuff. So it troubles me that he would leave us with this parting gift, an editorial from The Hearld Tribune, Saturday January 6, 2007.

Now Max Mayfield is a lucky dude! He retired one day and the very next day went offshore fishing and landed a 200 pound grouper. Unbelievable and lucky I might add. Now Max didn't keep the giant grouper, he did practice the catch and release as he released the monster to slide back into the ocean where he belongs.

Funny a previously retired Hurricane guru went fishing after his retirement, not ocean fishing but backcountry and with Captain Norm. Guess they are drawn to the ocean and gulf.

Max alert

National Hurricane Center's ex-chief departs with a dire warning
Floridians shouldn't let the mild storm season of 2006 lull them into believing that the predictions of an era of more and stronger hurricanes may have been wrong, warns Max Mayfield. Be afraid, he says. Be very afraid.

Mayfield is a 58-year-old scientist with a manner as mild as the recent mornings along our stretch of the Gulf of Mexico.But there was gloom and doom in what Mayfield said when interviewed by the Los Angeles Times for a story published Wednesday, the day after he retired as director of the National Hurricane Center."We're eventually going to get a strong enough storm in a densely populated area to have a major disaster," he said."I know people don't want to hear this, and I'm generally a very positive person, but we're setting ourselves up for a major disaster."Southeast is vulnerableThousands could be killed, he said. Millions could be homeless.The chances of that happening in the Southeast sometime in the next 20 years are high, Mayfield said, unless preventive action is taken by government, the construction industry and homeowners.A hurricane of monstrous proportions could come as early as this year, of course. So we urge Mayfield to keep sounding the alarm -- no matter how frustrated he gets at the general lack of preparedness.In his comments to the Times, Mayfield pointed out that South Florida has 7 million residents. Yet, new homes still go up along the Florida coastline and in inland areas prone to flooding from storm surges.Political will lackingThe entire Southeast is vulnerable, he said, because elected officials generally lack the political will to factor hurricanes into land-use and zoning decisions.Mayfield noted that Florida did toughen its construction codes after Hurricane Andrew slammed into the state's southeastern coast in 1992.Strong building codes, better evacuation planning and, in general, better community planning are needed, Mayfield said. (For information on how to better fortify existing buildings, go to: ibhs.org and flash.org.)Mayfield mentioned another idea that should be pursued: a natural disaster assessment service that could go into an area following a hurricane to find out what lessons could be learned to help other communities prepare for hurricanes.Max Mayfield, keep talking.

1 comment:

KF said...

Max is right on the money and we could use a man like him at http://www.evacuationhelp.com as we are all about preparedness.