San Francisco’s Big Seismic Gamble

From the NYTimes: San Francisco’s Big Seismic Gamble

San Francisco lives with the certainty that the Big One will come. But the city is also putting up taller and taller buildings clustered closer and closer together because of the state’s severe housing shortage. Now those competing pressures have prompted an anxious rethinking of building regulations. Experts are sending this message: The building code does not protect cities from earthquakes nearly as much as you might think.

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New NFIP Report is Praised

From the Union of concerned Scientists: New FEMA Study Wisely Details Ways to Make Flood Insurance Affordable. Here is the direct link to the 111-page report titled An Affordability Framework for the NFIP.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a report today detailing how Congress can modify the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) making insurance more affordable for low-income households and limiting their future risk. Some of the possible policy options include: sharing premium costs with FEMA, assisting those already spending significantly on other housing expenses, and providing grants or loans for mitigation actions that reduce flood risk.

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FEMA’s Plan for PR Criticized

From Politico: FEMA’s plan underestimated Puerto Rican hurricane. In preparing for the storm, the disaster agency failed to anticipate the level of damage or extent of federal involvement required.

The federal government significantly underestimated the potential damage to Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria and relied too heavily on local officials and private-sector entities to handle the cleanup, according to a POLITICO review of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s plan for the disaster.

The plan, which was developed by a FEMA contractor in 2014 in anticipation of a catastrophic storm and utilized by FEMA when Maria hit last September, prepared for a Category 4 hurricane and projected that the island would shift from response to recovery mode after roughly 30 days. In fact, Hurricane Maria was a “high-end” Category 4 storm with different locations on the island experiencing Category 5 winds. More than six months after Maria made landfall, the island is just beginning to shift to recovery mode.

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Puerto Rico Blackout Is Record Setting

Puerto Rico’s blackout is now the second largest on record worldwide. Thousands are still without power across the island months after Hurricane Maria struck.

A new report from the Rhodium Group on Puerto Rico’s ongoing blackout has found that Hurricane Maria has spawned the second-largest power outage in the world on record. The only blackout that has lasted longer was caused by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the largest tropical storms ever to make landfall and the deadliest storm ever to hit the Philippines:

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Surprising Facts about H. Maria

From the Weather Channel this report re Hurricane Maria.10 Jaw Dropping Findings from the NHC’s Final Hurricane Maria Report.  The focus is on the meteorology aspects, but the finding are indeed scary.

Thanks to Ian McLean for the citation.

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Using the Search Function

This blog contains 7 years of postings, and most of them have key descriptors attached. The search box, in the right hand column of the home page, allows you to look for older content.  For the major hurricanes in 2017, use the name of the disaster event (e.g., Hurricane Harvey) rather than the place impacted (Houston) for best results.

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“FEMA Praises Houston’s New Floodplain Regulations”

It is not too often that both FEMA and Houston get some praise. See this article from the Houston Chronicle: FEMA praises Houston’s new floodplain regulations.

All new construction in the city’s floodplains will have to be built two feet above the projected water level in a 500-year storm throughout the 500-year floodplain, the area at risk of inundation in a storm with a 0.2 percent chance of happening in any given year. The rules will take effect Sept. 1.

“This is the type of proactive solution that will help Houston lead the way in preparing for potential crises,” said Kevin Hannes, federal coordinating officer for FEMA’s Texas recovery. “Keeping residents safe and creating resilient communities requires forward-thinking to lessen the impact of inevitable future weather events.”

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