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Baroclinic Zone

Hurricane Irma Local Impacts/Evacuations

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On 9/11/2017 at 7:52 AM, MillvilleWx said:

This is incredible damage on Big Pine. 

Our friend's in-laws condo is on the left at 3:08.  I wish I could get a better look at their building...I know they're worried sick about it but haven't gotten much information yet

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I'm having trouble getting an overall sense of how serious Irma's impact was. On the one hand I feel like some people have been downplaying it because expectations were so extreme. Even though those expectations weren't fully realized, FEMA estimates that 25% of buildings in the Florida Keys were destroyed, and 90% of houses there saw some damage, not to mention the geographic area affected was so large; also, I've seen preliminary economic losses to Florida of somewhere around 50 billion dollars. On the other hand, that number seems higher than I'd expect based on what I've seen of the damage outside the Keys, and based on the storm's intensity and track. Are such estimates realistic? 

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22 minutes ago, gallopinggertie said:

I'm having trouble getting an overall sense of how serious Irma's impact was. On the one hand I feel like some people have been downplaying it because expectations were so extreme. Even though those expectations weren't fully realized, FEMA estimates that 25% of buildings in the Florida Keys were destroyed, and 90% of houses there saw some damage, not to mention the geographic area affected was so large; also, I've seen preliminary economic losses to Florida of somewhere around 50 billion dollars. On the other hand, that number seems higher than I'd expect based on what I've seen of the damage outside the Keys, and based on the storm's intensity and track. Are such estimates realistic? 

First, the NHC's tropical cyclone reports and ranking system only list total damage. It's a more recent phenomenon for other firms and agencies to be sending to the media "economic loss" figures, which include all the other economic effects of grinding a region to a halt for a period of time. Those numbers are of course going to be substantially higher than just the damage total.

As for final word on total damage, we always have to just wait until the TCR comes out for the NHC's damage estimate. It can be quite different than the initial private firm estimates. For example, most initial estimates of Irene's damage were less than $10 billion total (insured + uninsured). The "official" value from the NHC is $15.8 billion, not accounting for inflation. It's actually the hurricanes that are accompanied by "dodged a bullet" phrasing that tend to be more unpredictable for the final total. 

Is $50 billion in just damage-- not total economic loss-- realistic for Irma? A useful comparison hurricane is Wilma. Both made landfall on the southwest coast and had a large wind field. Wilma's path, though, meant its greatest impacts stayed over SE parts of the state. As a result, much more locations in FL had hurricane force gusts in Irma. The big population centers of Orlando and Jacksonville (3rd and 4th in the state) had much, much stronger winds in Irma than in Wilma. The vast majority of damage from Wilma was because of the wind. Irma had major damage from other sources. For example, the neighborhoods in Jacksonville that required water rescues of more than 300 people were most damaged by the water. Jacksonville saw record storm surge. River flooding in Irma across the state was also much more significant than in Wilma, as extreme rain totals were more widespread. 

A counterpoint in Wilma's favor for damage is that Wilma's winds in the Ft. Lauderdale to West Palm Beach stretch were higher, especially in the sustained wind. That's a very densely populated area to have undergone legit Category 1 sustained winds, with a few spots of Category 2. Wilma caused $21 billion damage unadjusted. With all the above, it's plausible that Irma's total would be more than double Wilma's. It's still too early to make bombastically confident statements about the damage, though, as some posters have done in the main thread. 

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On 9/14/2017 at 8:05 PM, gymengineer said:

First, the NHC's tropical cyclone reports and ranking system only list total damage. It's a more recent phenomenon for other firms and agencies to be sending to the media "economic loss" figures, which include all the other economic effects of grinding a region to a halt for a period of time. Those numbers are of course going to be substantially higher than just the damage total.

As for final word on total damage, we always have to just wait until the TCR comes out for the NHC's damage estimate. It can be quite different than the initial private firm estimates. For example, most initial estimates of Irene's damage were less than $10 billion total (insured + uninsured). The "official" value from the NHC is $15.8 billion, not accounting for inflation. It's actually the hurricanes that are accompanied by "dodged a bullet" phrasing that tend to be more unpredictable for the final total. 

Is $50 billion in just damage-- not total economic loss-- realistic for Irma? A useful comparison hurricane is Wilma. Both made landfall on the southwest coast and had a large wind field. Wilma's path, though, meant its greatest impacts stayed over SE parts of the state. As a result, much more locations in FL had hurricane force gusts in Irma. The big population centers of Orlando and Jacksonville (3rd and 4th in the state) had much, much stronger winds in Irma than in Wilma. The vast majority of damage from Wilma was because of the wind. Irma had major damage from other sources. For example, the neighborhoods in Jacksonville that required water rescues of more than 300 people were most damaged by the water. Jacksonville saw record storm surge. River flooding in Irma across the state was also much more significant than in Wilma, as extreme rain totals were more widespread. 

A counterpoint in Wilma's favor for damage is that Wilma's winds in the Ft. Lauderdale to West Palm Beach stretch were higher, especially in the sustained wind. That's a very densely populated area to have undergone legit Category 1 sustained winds, with a few spots of Category 2. Wilma caused $21 billion damage unadjusted. With all the above, it's plausible that Irma's total would be more than double Wilma's. It's still too early to make bombastically confident statements about the damage, though, as some posters have done in the main thread. 

For the west coast of Florida another analog to Irma could be Charley- the main difference being the much smaller size of Charley. Orlando had 106 mph gusts in Charley, so it also impacted the center of the state.

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I think this is the best thread to drop this on... if you are looking for a way to help out with the immediate relief efforts in USVI, my cousin who lives and works down there on Water Island, has set up a fund for the 175-200 residents of the island (including herself). While they wait for the federal aid (which are spread plenty thin in larger more needy areas), they are working hard to clean up their own island, feed themselves, keep the mosquitoes off them, etc... there is one store that is reachable on St Thomas that is cash only. So they are able to ferry over and purchase food. the gofundme site gives them access to cash for fuel for the generators and hygiene products. She is flying home to the mainland next week to purchase more generators and other necessities. The airline is not going to charge her extra baggage fees since the equipment is going down to help the island. She said that after a hurricane, the mosquitoes are really really bad. They literally have to bathe in deet... she said she has blood on her shorts from killing them and having nothing else to wipe her hands on.. ha...  She had Zika back in the spring. So she definitely doesnt want that again.... but I digress...   Im spreading the word of the fund in hopes that others feel generous to give. She will be updating on the site with what the money is being spent on so that there is visible accountability. The residents of the island are a tight knit community. 

Maria is coming Tuesday night and although she still has a roof today, they are concerned that it has been weakened enough that Maria could easily cause more problems. 

Thanks to everyone here, this board provides a lot of good information.  Here's the link:  https://www.gofundme.com/millies-water-island-relief/

 

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