Ship for Brains Part Trois: Mayberry on 14th Street???
To Hazard Mitigate or not? This is today’s question.
I personally took this as a bad sign because I think Allee “got it” after Katrina. And what did he get? Mainly that monster Hurricanes hit the northern Gulf Coast, specifically the Mississippi Gulf Coast on roughly 40 year cycles or just long enough for what I’ll term institutional memory of the previous monster storm to fade. Anita Lee over at the Sun Herald covered this part of the Hazard Mitigation equation way back in July, 2009. A quick quote from that old story before we get to more current links on the mismanagement over at the State Port at Gulfport (website badly out of date):
As a result, Katrina hurtled containers, trailers and paper rolls into the neighborhoods of West Gulfport and East Long Beach. They heightened the terror of residents who remained in their homes, equally unprepared for the storm’s savagery. Essentially, containers that weigh 3 1/2 tons empty to more than 26 tons loaded, along with 5,400-pound paper rolls, pounded like battering rams against structures already compromised by wind and water.
Lawsuits prompted by the damage ended badly for property owners, but their attorneys say Katrina reinforced lessons lost after the 1947 hurricane and Camille. Both of those storms forced the enormous paper rolls ashore, before containers became part of the operation.
Camille’s surge was around 20 feet at the port; Katrina’s was 22 1/2 feet.
Katrina was a major impetus for an expansion redesign that would elevate the port to 25 feet. Permits for that project, however, are years away. Meanwhile, port managers say, evacuation for hurricanes will be mandatory.
I gotta post a snippet or two from that last story because something isn’t right in Mayberry and the reason is on twitter.
Now blockhead/stowaway any intelligent thinking sounds about right. Let’s just go right ahead and forget all about what happened 7 plus years ago, click our heels and pretend everything will be OK. Problem is if the Port Authority is going to be Port managers now, they better have some good information to make their decisions and after reading the latest installment from Anita Lee it sounds like they’re not getting it. Remember folks that story from 2009 pegged the storm surge level at the Port at 22 1/2 feet? I sent in an email to Anita challenging that number in 2009 and she replied that it came straight from officialdom at the Port so 22 1/2 feet it is or will we simply revise history as the Chiquita guy has no clue?
Dole Terminal Manager Tommy Thompson said the West Pier should be elevated to at least 15 feet so evacuations would not be needed for smaller storms, such as Hurricane Issac.
Simpson wanted to know why port consultants had not informed commissioners that tenants might be able to ride out some storms with elevation.
“You didn’t ask,” Thompson said.
Chuck Graham, a manager in Gulfport for tenant Chiquita, said a Katrina-type hurricane would require evacuation even at 25 feet. Katrina’s high-water mark, just down the road at the Marriott’s Courtyard hotel, was 28 feet.
Sounds like Team Port Authority better put on their big boy thinking caps before deciding anything. Given the media coverage I imagine they’ve all been getting an earful on the wisdom of building freezers exposed to the open gulf at 10 feet above sea level from people who prefer not to act stupid on the events 7 years ago. Managing a port ain’t as easy as it looks.