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What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Sep 5, 2017 5:54 AM
       What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Sep 5, 2017 5:55 AM
       What do u think? (by David [MI]) Sep 5, 2017 6:04 AM
       What do u think? (by plenty [MO]) Sep 5, 2017 6:06 AM
       What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Sep 5, 2017 6:17 AM
       What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Sep 5, 2017 6:18 AM
       What do u think? (by David [MI]) Sep 5, 2017 6:25 AM
       What do u think? (by Richard [MI]) Sep 5, 2017 6:29 AM
       What do u think? (by Deanna [TX]) Sep 5, 2017 7:06 AM
       What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Sep 5, 2017 7:09 AM
       What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Sep 5, 2017 7:22 AM
       What do u think? (by AllyM [NJ]) Sep 5, 2017 7:45 AM
       What do u think? (by Salernitana [CA]) Sep 5, 2017 8:16 AM
       What do u think? (by Harpazo [GA]) Sep 5, 2017 9:00 AM
       What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Sep 5, 2017 9:06 AM
       What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Sep 5, 2017 9:58 AM
       What do u think? (by Lynda [TX]) Sep 5, 2017 9:59 AM
       What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Sep 5, 2017 10:53 AM
       What do u think? (by David [MI]) Sep 5, 2017 10:59 AM
       What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Sep 5, 2017 12:28 PM
       What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Sep 5, 2017 1:08 PM
       What do u think? (by BillW [NJ]) Sep 5, 2017 1:14 PM
       What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Sep 5, 2017 1:26 PM
       What do u think? (by Pmh [TX]) Sep 5, 2017 2:12 PM
       What do u think? (by Landlord ofthe Flies [TX]) Sep 5, 2017 2:18 PM
       What do u think? (by Pmh [TX]) Sep 5, 2017 2:23 PM
       What do u think? (by CDM [CA]) Sep 5, 2017 2:30 PM
       What do u think? (by Pmh [TX]) Sep 5, 2017 2:31 PM
       What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Sep 5, 2017 2:41 PM
       What do u think? (by Pmh [TX]) Sep 5, 2017 3:02 PM
       What do u think? (by pmh [TX]) Sep 5, 2017 3:04 PM
       What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Sep 5, 2017 3:25 PM
       What do u think? (by Pmh [TX]) Sep 5, 2017 4:20 PM
       What do u think? (by Deanna [TX]) Sep 5, 2017 4:32 PM
       What do u think? (by Chris [CT]) Sep 5, 2017 4:57 PM
       What do u think? (by Pmh [TX]) Sep 5, 2017 5:00 PM
       What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Sep 5, 2017 5:19 PM
       What do u think? (by MikeA [TX]) Sep 5, 2017 7:15 PM
       What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Sep 6, 2017 8:52 AM
       What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Sep 6, 2017 12:03 PM
       What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Sep 6, 2017 12:11 PM
       What do u think? (by Wilma [PA]) Sep 6, 2017 4:53 PM
       What do u think? (by nc investor [NC]) Sep 9, 2017 10:06 AM
       What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Sep 9, 2017 10:17 AM

What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 5:54 AM

This is semi-OT and semi-political (isn't everything?)...so be aware you've been warned.

Huston has me thinking a bit. I started thinking about stuff like this after Katrina.

First, I'm terribly sad to hear about the suffering and loss. I don't get my jollies watching folks lose their homes and be displaced.

Second, I'm finding more information daily about how Huston was built on a wetland and in the words of some municipal engineers who understand things like draining and paving over lands like these with concrete that towns like Houston "Shouldn't be here" or should be much smaller and/or planned better because disasters like Harvey are not a question of "If" but rather "When" they will come.

I remember the scene in the movie "Stand by Me" when the boys are walking over the rail road bridge. Sure, it's RARE that trains cross that bridge any given moment, and sure you'll HEAR them coming...so it only sucks if you are somewhere close to the middle of the bridge when you hear it coming. Well....sometimes you're in the middle.

So kinda left with that hindsight is 20/20 feeling I had with Katrina. I hear about how everything was built below sea level: then WHOMP...the sea showed up one day and said, "HOWDY!"

I'm not an expert in any of this, but it seems like we're very content to ignore the lessons these events teach us.

I've never understood putting a concrete jungle right next to a large body of water at risk of violent, large-scale, damaging storms. Flood insurance is impossible to get unless backed by the Govt (i.e. tax payers). And even with relatively cheaper (subsidized) insurance, a lot of people still didn't have insurance and are now upset that they "lost everything." Well....yeah. That's what happens when you build in the path of storms and the storm shows up.

I live in the Mid-West. We don't have hurricanes but we do have tornadoes. LOTS of tornadoes. But the difference is although tornadoes are very destructive, we don't have the aftermath of flooding. They affect a relatively small area and they don't linger for weeks like rains and flood water. So there are private companies that sell relatively inexpensively priced insurance to cover those events. Still, some folks here don't have insurance, and when disaster hits...they expect everyone else to chip in and fix their lives. Why? Because they didn't chip in when the time for chipping in was available.

I don't get it. I would guess that less than half my tenants have renter's insurance, in spite of the fact that in our lease there are two paragraphs with BOLD FACE, underlined statements of how important it is to have and that we "highly recommend it."

So what do we do?

My family has sent some $$$ to hurricane relief via Convoy of Hope, a Springfield MO based organization that specializes in disaster relief. That's not to brag, but rather to show that we do care for these folks in spite of the many unwise decisions that contributed to the scope of this disaster.

And yet...will people rebuild Houston? No doubt. Will it take a very long time and cost a lot of money? No doubt. Will people take the lessons this terrible disruption of their lives should teach them and in the future...BUY SOME INSURANCE?

That's where I have doubts.

I am a fervent believer in free markets. I believe that people are best left to their own devices and should be free to make their own choices. I do not like the way we falsely give people the impression that cities like Houston and New Orleans are a "safe bet" because of low (subsidized) insurance rates. I don't believe anyone should be forced to buy insurance, nor should the average US citizen living 500 miles inland be obliged to foot 80% of the insurance premium for someone who wants to live in a hurricane risk area. That's like me asking the citizens of Houston and New Orleans to subsidize my home owner's insurance premium. To my knowledge, that does not happen today. Someone point me toward a correction if that's not the case.

If residents and businesses actually saw the real cost of insurance in a place like these, would they rebuild, or would the invisible hand of the market "show up" visibly and make them think twice. I dunno. I doubt I'd buy a house that costs 20% of it's value to insure each year. Would businesses locate in these areas if they knew the Govt wasn't going to show up with a bail out? My guess is some that are highly profitable and that depend on proximity to the Gulf would, because the rewards outweigh the potential losses. But others would stay away, which again would serve as a warning and also as a factor to mitigate the size and sprawl of the city, which in turn would restore some of the natural drainage area that has been lost and also limit the scope of affected people to tens of thousands vs. hundreds of thousands or more. Maybe that would be the best way to encourage future wise planning.

What do you think? --173.19.xx.xxx

What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 5:55 AM

Houston...not Huston. Tiny keys! --173.19.xx.xxx

What do u think? (by David [MI]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 6:04 AM

The businesses and residents of houston took a gamble, similar to how investors here do everyday, that the financial benefits of working and living in Houston and texas would be offset by the significantly higher risk of natural disasters.

That and the go it alone policies enacted in their state tells me they should be reliant, as many here are quick to say, on their own bootstraps and charities, not the government. The nine scariest words in the english language are, after all, we're from the govt and we're here to help.


What do u think? (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 6:06 AM

I am trying not to think. --66.87.xx.xx

What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 6:17 AM

Everything you said is correct.

However, it's also true that 4-5 FEET of rain hit Texas. That has never happened before anywhere. Areas flooded that were NEVER expected to flood, even with all of the variables about 500 years flood plains, wetlands etc.

Houston didn't get hit with a hurricane, they were hit with an actual flood from the sky.

You can't plan for that. --173.22.xx.xx

What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 6:18 AM

Having said that, this exact disaster WAS predicted several years ago. --173.22.xx.xx

What do u think? (by David [MI]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 6:25 AM

WMH, you CAN plan for that. You move elsewhere. That is what makes america great, there are so many metro areas that are great to live and work --12.156.xxx.xx

What do u think? (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 6:29 AM

There is no cure for or lack of stupidity.

When the first people got there, or anywhere, they pick the best highest places for themselves. Late comers get the flood plains because it is cheaper. There is always someone who will build in a river bottom, in a brush fire zone, etc. My opinion is that if they take the risk and lose, don't come crying to me to pay for it. And don't pretend you did not know.

That said, it is always the government that winds up using bajillions of taxpayer dollars to deal with it so they won't be criticized. If they don't the media will immediately jump on them as "uncaring" and worse.

Will stupid people rebuild in the same area? YUP!

Will the govt allow it? YUP!

The next time it happens, will the taxpayers wind up paying for it? YUP! --66.188.xx.xxx

What do u think? (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 7:06 AM

Houston was founded in 1837, about a year after the founding of the Republic of Texas in 1836. Galveston Island was first charted in 1786; the first settlement was built in 1816; the Port of Galveston was built in 1825 after Mexico separated from Spain.

In 1900, Houston had a population of 44,600. Galveston had a population of 37,000. The two cities were competitors. Galveston was the port city; Houston was the rail city.

Nowadays, Galveston has a population of 50-60k, depending on how long it's been since a major storm (like Ike). Yes, its an island, so it can't sprawl like a metropolitan area, but Houston has a population of 2.3 million (6.3 million in the greater metropolitan area). So, apart from the physical limitations of building on an island vs building on the mainland, what caused Houston to flourish, while Galveston's population is still pretty comparable to what it was 120 years ago?

The Great Storm was what crushed Galveston's future. 6k-8k people-- about 20% of the island's population-- died in that storm. Their economy never recovered. Business repositioned itself 40 miles inland, to Houston. Texas (and the US) decided what they needed was an inland port. So the World Port of Houston and Buffalo Bayou was officially opened in 1914. And an incredible amount of shipping that had previously gone through Galveston now went through this safer, more inland port. And Houston's population and economy exploded.

Another thing that was happening simultaneously in the area was the oil boom. Spindletop, in 1901, completely changed the petroleum industry. Prior to Spindletop, you had Rockefeller with his oil monopoly, and Pennsylvania was the big dog as far as oilfields went. But Spindletop changed all that-- it singlehandedly produced more oil in one day than the rest of the world's oilfields combined. Oil had been at $2/barrel previously. After Spindletop, it dropped to less than 25 cents/barrel. So, all of a sudden, Texas becomes a major player in the petroleum industry as well.

So-- a giant part of the reason why Houston exists in the way that it does was because they *were* looking for a safe place to relocate homes and industry. I don't disagree that there's a whole lot of building that's gone on in places that shouldn't have been built up. But we might as well shut down the entire Atlantic seaboard if we're going to worry about things like the Hugos and the Sandys and the Wilmas and the Andrews of the world. :) Boston, Newark, Philadelphia, New York, Providence, Savannah, Charleston, Miami--- close them all. :) --96.46.xxx.xx

What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 7:09 AM

Good comments so far...the lively kind of discussion I was hoping for.

WMH, you are correct that this was a flood of unprecedented power and scope. I agree probably the wisest engineers and climatologists didn't foresee it. But now we've had it. Now there is a precedent. It doesn't help to play, woulda, shoulda, coulda games so I am not choosing to play those. It's done.

My question is: will they build there again and in the same manner as before?

I think now that the cat is metaphorically out of the bag, we need to think long and hard about rebuilding this city in the manner and to the scale with which it was built. Unfortunately, I think Richard is correct to some extent that there's a "we will rise again" mentality that basically says to heck with it...I want to live next to the ocean so I'm going to do it.

I'm fine with that choice as long as people are willing to PAY for that privilege and accept the risk that when the stuff hits the fan...yeah. Otherwise, consider moving to Missouri and take your chances with a twister. Around here we chase them for fun.

A wise investor once said, "The low probability of total disaster is not a risk mitigation strategy. You don't buy a one-year fire insurance policy because you think your house is likely to burn down this year. You buy it because on the 1/2% chance it DOES burn down, you'd lose more than you can afford to and there's a cheap way to insurance against it."

I think my tenants don't buy renter's policies because they figure nothing bad will happen to them because it never has before. They're probably correct nothing bad will happen to them. But when that 1 in 200 event happens...we see stories in the paper about how the family lost everything in the fire and "had no insurance." How many folks did they say lived in Houston and "had no insurance?"

I think the reason these folks didn't have insurance is a) they're lazy/cheap or b) the Govt artificially lowered the price on insurance, and when folks saw how cheap it was figured Houston was a "safe" city.

Seriously, who would move to an area where flood insurance would cost $20,000 a year on starter SFH? But if it's only $1500/year? Eh...must not be too risky here... Maybe I give people too much credit for thinking analytically. --173.19.xx.xxx

What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 7:22 AM

Deanna, your post came in while I was responding. Thank you for the history lesson: I am a fan of history because I believe it teaches us. Did Galveston teach us something about the risks of sea business? Yes, I would say it did. Did it teach us everything we needed to know? Probably not. Will Houston teach us some lessons...I hope so. That has been my hope since the original post. That next time around we do things wiser.

A 40 mile inland buffer is better than an island. But is "better" good enough? Obviously, the answer was, "We thought so but no it was not." Hurricanes are 200 mile wide storms. A 40 mile buffer is insufficient. Private insurance companies know this to be true and have known it for decades. Why else would they not offer flood policies in those markets?

The more I think about it, the less able I am to accept the argument, "No one knew this was a possibility." Yep, some people knew. Some very SMART people. Who? Actuaries at insurance companies. THEY, not the Govt engineers or climatologists, gave us all a clear warning that this was too risky. The result was no private flood policies. Richard's argument is making more sense.

Should we shutter all port cities? No, probably not. Should we build them differently and price them appropriately? Yep, I think we should. Pricing them properly is going to be the only way to mitigate the risk as much as it can be mitigated. As we have all noticed, some folks won't respond to common sense: so we "wallet train" them.

Can't get rid of ALL the risk, but how many risks could we mitigate? Could we build in a higher area? Less concreting over everything? Less sprawl? More natural drainage? Structures built with ground floor materials that are water proof? Structures build on piers? Some folks won't change behaviors unless the hit to the pocketbook is hard enough to make them acknowledge the message the private insurance companies sent them. --173.19.xx.xxx

What do u think? (by AllyM [NJ]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 7:45 AM

The previous president ordered that any new buildings, infrastructure, be built higher or elsewhere. Current president nixed that but is now taking another look.

People forget about the last disaster. Look at all the folks who moved back to Florida over the past ten years and now a freight train is bearing down on them.

The State of NJ bought up a lot of land from homeowners after floods and it's parkland now. You can see people rebuild at the beaches hit by Hurricane Sandy and those are million dollar homes but they are up on pilings and that's the new building code.

People always built near water because there are fish to eat and water to drink and you put your canoe in and can go somewhere. Sometimes it's a problem.

Around here there are beautiful old homes down by the Delaware River and the rich folks moved out after the 1955 flood and poor folk moved in. They were flooded about 11 years ago during the last sunspot minimum.

Sunspots generate heat and warm the air around us so much that it expands all the way up to where satellites orbit and it creates drag to slow them down. When the sunspots leave the sun, like now and the next five years, that giant envelope of air collapses and loses all the water it is holding and so we get something like Harvey and now Irma.

Just make a big calendar with 11 to 12 year intervals on it and remember what happens and your live will be easier. People make money on this with futures in grain and other commodities and their families have done that for years. We really need the weather people to get into the 12 year cycle reporting because they are not doing their job or maybe that's another discipline more like climatology. Go to SpeaceWeather website and keep yourself informed since no one else is doing it. --73.33.xxx.xxx

What do u think? (by Salernitana [CA]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 8:16 AM

S i d, thank you very much for this OT post, and indeed, the comments are thoughtful with good information. I too am very sorry for everyone who is affected by Harvey or any natural disaster.

I too am a fan of history. However, I once listened to Dave Emory who quoted a Chinese saying that what man learns from history is that man doesn't learn anything from history. Perhaps it echoes what Ally wrote about rebuilding in Florida.

For rebuilding, it would be good to be very creative in design and planning, knowing risks better at this point as the insurance companies did like you noted.

I feel that some climatologists have been on target, and a search on van Heerden and palast can bring up a short and perhaps interesting read if you might be curious. --172.219.xx.xx

What do u think? (by Harpazo [GA]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 9:00 AM

WMH "4-5 FEET of rain hit Texas. That has never happened before anywhere."

Editorial Correction - It did once. --76.97.x.x

What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 9:06 AM

Actually, people DID learn from the great disasters.

California has earthquake building codes these days.

After Andrew, Florida building codes changed drastically and to be built to "Dade County" standards is a big deal. Can they withstand another Cat 5? Unfortunately, I think we will soon see. :(

In coastal NC, especially here on the Outer Banks, where flooding can occur from both sides (sea and sound) the houses are very elevated, windows and doors must be wind-rated, roofs and walls are tied down with hurricane straps, essential systems are elevated above base flood, etc. No living areas on the ground floor in flood zones. Also the land: you can only cover so much of any building plot with structure, and permeable ground cover is a big deal. If you pave too many driveways, you might cause a flood. Since we don't deal with plowing snow, our driveways are crushed stone to absorb water.

That is how coastal NJ is rebuilding, too. Coastal NC is now the gold standard for coastal dwellings, we were told.

What did Houston learn? They have learned about the value of the wetlands that they covered over with concrete. Will rebuilding take that into account? I most sincerely believe so! --173.22.xx.xx

What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 9:58 AM

WMH, you continue to bring good information to think about, so please don't take this as a criticism, but rather an honest question that comes to mind now that we've thrashed out some theories & facts.

You've told us Coastal NC is now the gold standard for coastal building. Okay, fair enough. I don't know enough to comment intelligently. But I do know enough to ask: Do private insurance companies offer flood/hurricane policies there?

If the answer is YES: then I believe we have learned the lessons well enough and this gold standard is sufficient.

If the answer is NO: then I believe we have failed to take into account all of the lessons. This is a bold warning from people who have their money on the line (i.e. insurance companies) that while the gold standard may be BETTER than before it is still not sufficient.

I'll wait for your answer before commenting further. --173.19.xx.xxx

What do u think? (by Lynda [TX]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 9:59 AM

I agree with everything Deanna said--great history lesson-thanks. One of the Houston problems, and this goes for any city on a coast, is that the land developers can buy and put up structures faster than he city govmt can push thru ordinances against. You've heard the axiom "build it and they will come?" Well its true. Once the homes& neighborhoods are developed, they are sold off fast and the buyers are WARNED (or not) to buy flood insurance--but opt not too. Developer says that's not their fault. They also say there was no bar to buying the land and constructing homes there. That it is the city's fault that the area was not controlled. The cities only push ordinances thru the govmt backlog and red tape AFTER the disaster happens. Meanwhile the developers are long gone with the money in their pockets, leaving the poor buyers ruined and the cities and insurance companies holding the bag. Responsible land management is a city responsibility. When no one controls the developers, bad things happen. We have government that is always too little-too late. --108.87.xx.xxx

What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 10:53 AM

No, Sid, they don't, at least not to my knowledge. They also don't offer WIND policies either - those are through a state pool. However, that doesn't mean quite as much as you might think.

An insurer has to look at total risk of the AREA not the individual building. They can't pick and choose right down to street address if they offer insurance at all to an area. They can only offer a better rate to a better-built space.

So given the fact that the coast - all coasts - are at higher risk of flooding and wind-driven events - insurers don't take that risk, period.

Now you can say all taxpayers are paying for those of us who live on the coast - but you must also take into account how much the coastal economy provides to a state's overall economy! It has a huge impact. The tax dollars that Dare County alone provides to the entire state of NC is enormous. And I'm sure that's true all up and down the coast.

As noted before, Texas is 1/10th of our country's total economy, and Houston is 1/4th of Texas'. It's not that all taxpayers are supporting Houston. Houston is helping to support the rest of the country. --173.22.xx.xx

What do u think? (by David [MI]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 10:59 AM

WMH, perhaps Houston and Texas economy does so well because they don't pay the true market price of insuring against hurricanes? --12.156.xxx.xx

What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 12:28 PM

Thank you again, WMH. Yes, I am aware of how insurance providers work at area risk management. My uncle used to work for ERC, a reinsurance division of GE that smaller insurance companies buy their insurance from in case the SHTF and they don't have the liquid assets available to cover a major loss. The stories he told helped me better understand the role of insurance and re-insurance in the market.

I also have considered the point about the value Texas provides. I am not saying screw Texas because they don't provide value: I am saying that the true "cost" of that value is hidden via subsidized premiums and the ability to obtain any insurance at all. How many businesses would go to an area where they could not obtain insurance at all? My guess is fewer. It would come down to self-insurance: you'd have to have the capital to rebuild from scratch and still be profitable.

Here's one stat I found alarming: USA Today reported 80% of Houston homeowners didn't have flood insurance. I don't know if those numbers are correct, preliminary, bunk, etc but yikes! It probably mirrors my pool of renters. Govt provided flood insurance is (relatively) cheap! So is renter's insurance. Why don't people buy it? My guess is they think "this could happen but it won't happen to me."

Maybe that's another lesson this teaches us: the majority of people are speculators that hope they can get in and out before the disaster hits and takes them with it. 6 million people and 80% without flood insurance = 4.8 million people who made what I consider an unfathomable choice. At least the folks who bought the insurance were SMART! Subsidized, no doubt, but SMART!

I'm not wanting these places to cease to exist. But I cringe whenever I hear, "We didn't know this could happen." At least part of the blame for that lies with under-priced insurance. The other part perhaps lies with our human nature thinking bad things only happen to other people who take risks...often called the "teenager's disease."

Does that make sense? --173.19.xx.xxx

What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 1:08 PM

When two of our houses flooded during Irene, we didn't claim insurance, we just fixed it out of pocket. Flood insurance on one house would have been $5k per year. Fixing the apartment cost us about $5k. So wouldn't that house have to flood EVERY year for the flood insurance to be worth it? And of course there are always deductibles too.

The other cottage, only the floor in one room was damaged. Tore it up, repaired the subfloor, new Allure and done. Flood insurance on that house would have been, I think, $1700 per year? Repairs were a few hundred. So again, the house would have to flood ALL THE TIME to make carrying the insurance worth it.

Multiply those amounts by the number of units we have, which have not yet ever flooded. Flood insurance *is* expensive.

That said, I don't think the government should be in the insurance business, so I totally agree with you on that one.

Personally we are far more likely to need the Wind insurance, which is just as expensive, but that we do carry, on every place. But when the four studios lost their roofs during Matthew, we just paid out of pocket. Because during a named storm, the deductibles double - making the cost of the deductible more than it actually cost us to replace the little roofs. --173.22.xx.xx

What do u think? (by BillW [NJ]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 1:14 PM

A big part of politics is: "I'll save you, if you vote for me. I'll just make the evil rich pay for it". It doesn't matter to the politician if he is saving someone from their bad decision, or from something that doesn't exist. They want to get elected, and are willing to trade the country's long term health, for their short term goal of getting elected. National flood insurance falls into this category, IMHO. --68.83.xx.xxx

What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 1:26 PM

John Stossel has railed against flood insurance for years. A lot of people who own houses on the coast are rich, right? Starting in Maine with the Bushes but on down the Eastern Seaboard: all old money. Out west, it's Hollywood money. So they can lobby for that ridiculous insurance subsidy...and get it.

In the smaller coastal communities (like the Outer Banks) there are a lot of poorer people - fishermen and such - who have lived for generations in these risky conditions. They don't have flood insurance because they can't afford it for their little shacks, and when a flood or hurricane comes, they just wait until the next day and then start rebuilding. Many houses here have been re-built many times, and I guarantee it's not flood insurance money that is doing it - it happens too fast.

It's the upper middle-class that get really hit. Because their homes are EXPENSIVE, but they themselves are not wealthy and can't bear the cost of rebuilding. THEY are the ones who need the insurance. --173.22.xx.xx

What do u think? (by Pmh [TX]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 2:12 PM

What I object to is my tax $ subsidizing insurance for those who build in flood prone areas. most ins. cos do offer flood ins and it is priced accordingly. --104.218.xxx.xx

What do u think? (by Landlord ofthe Flies [TX]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 2:18 PM

Yes, Houston grew at a rapid pace and probably needed to get better control over the expansion. However, the paving of wetlands isn't the reason Houston flooded. Furthermore, only 1 out of 10 houses flooded so it was isolated to specific areas.

50 inches of rain would have devastated any city. Even with the loss of wetlands due to overdevelopment from 1992 to 2010 accounted for about 4 billion gallons of lost capacity to absorb storm water. Harvey dropped over 15 trillion gallons.

Nothing was going to save Houston so don't believe all the articles that follow the narrative that had Houston been environmentally correct, they would have survived or had far less damage. Subtracting 4 billion from 15 trillion doesn't even make a dent in it. --108.69.xxx.xxx

What do u think? (by Pmh [TX]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 2:23 PM

ally. sun spots don't leave the sun. nor do they affect local weather conditions on earth. sun spots happen every (earth) day. i suppose you could find correlations if you try hard enough...but correlations are not cause & effect.... --104.218.xxx.xx

What do u think? (by CDM [CA]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 2:30 PM

The situation in Houston (and before that, in the low-lying areas affected by Hurricanes Sandy, Katrina, and many others), is a good argument for fact- and science-based government regulation. If building was prohibited in the highest-risk areas, a lot of people would be much better off right now. And the rest of us would not be on the hook to pay for the greed-driven decision by developers to build anywhere, regardless of the risk. --12.245.xxx.xxx

What do u think? (by Pmh [TX]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 2:31 PM

exactly LL Flies. It was the rains that followed that caused such huge flooding. no city anywhere else has until now experienced such a huge amount of precipitation in such a short period of time. We don't need northern state & ca liberals lecturing us... --104.218.xxx.xx

What do u think? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 2:41 PM

This has been a good discussion today filled with lots of information, some opinions, and lots of vigor. I think we're all fairly well on board with the fact that flood insurance is probably not a) affordable nor b) the Govt's responsibility to provide. I think we also agree that we'll do what we as charitable individuals can do to help those who were hurt.

Again, my intention here isn't to beat up on anyone who has ever been affected by a flood. Nor is it to deny the value of coastal communities. My thought is to see whether or not the risks of building in those areas has been camouflaged to the point where many folks "never knew" this could happen. I too wonder if we'll grasp and recall all the lessons this event has taught us in the coming years as communities rebuild.

I close out with a story: the first time my parents' house flooded, we were surprised and shocked. It sat at the bottom of a saddle between two hills and a municipal storm drain ran under the street thru a 4 foot high culvert. Turns out over the years the culvert had bent low under the weight of cement to where it was only about 60% open, and we were young enough then not to know to check such things. There was debris that lodged in the pipe and caught a whole bunch of leaves, stems, etc...and when it all piled up the water just came over the road and went straight thru our basement. Lost everything pretty much out of the lower level, including most of our family pictures, etc that could not be replaced. I was in 3rd grade at the time. Scary to wake up at 2:30 AM and see a large creed running thru your house.

I learned a lesson that day: never buy next to the creek at the bottom of the hill. Even though we were the only house that flooded that day and insurance was still readily available afterwards, I'm very cautious when it comes to flooding of any kind. Another flood visited us again a few years later, and it was then my folks decided to brick up their garage entry and build a retaining wall to divert the water around our house. It worked, but they've definitely rebuilt and spent more money on that house than they'll ever see back out of it, most likely. And this was small scale. Not even a blip on the map compared to what just happened. But I do know a little about floods, enough to know I won't risk living in a low area near water. I was part of the National Guard relief effort back in May when much of SE Missouri and Northern Arkansas flooded. Met too many people who lost everything. --173.19.xx.xxx

What do u think? (by Pmh [TX]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 3:02 PM

so cdm, we should relocate SF & LA, or probably all of CA based on the scientific evidence that CA is very prone to earthquakes...again & again.... --104.218.xxx.xx

What do u think? (by pmh [TX]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 3:04 PM

But b4 we move CA west...we should chop down all rhe trees there so no worries about wildfires also. --104.218.xxx.xx

What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 3:25 PM

The flooding of Houston was not, as stated several times here, because of the paving of the wetlands. The 5 feet of rain *highlighted* why that was not a good idea in some neighborhoods, but it's not the reason Houston flooded.

I would venture to suggest that if *your* town (regardless of who "you" are) was hit with five FEET of rain (the mind boggles) it would flood. --173.22.xx.xx

What do u think? (by Pmh [TX]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 4:20 PM

good thing we not in CA...the flood areas would be now considered wet lands by the CA nimbys.... --166.137.xxx.xx

What do u think? (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 4:32 PM

My parents' house flooded with 8" of water, not because of the bayou down the street, but because the rain fell faster than it could drain away. And they're on acres and acres of undeveloped land. :) Harvey gave them a year's worth of rain in a couple of days' period. It's incredibly difficult for the land to deal with that kind of a deluge.

After I hit post, I was reminded of plenty of instances of inland US flooding... like the St. Louis floods on 1993. Or all the North Texas flooding in May, 2015, when we got half a year's worth of rainfall in a month. As disasters hit us, we learn from them and change the way we go about doing things-- like after the famous Mississippi River floods of 1927, or Galveston's Great Storm of 1900. And it works really well, until the next learning experience... :)

My old undergrad university had a creek that cut through campus. It had some cute little bridges that went over it, maybe 15 or 20 feet over the creek. You think, "Why do you need such a high bridge for such a teeny little thing!"

But about once or twice a year, you'd get amazing torrential downpours, and that teeny little creek would rise up all the way to the bridge. It really gave me a respect for flash flood situations. --96.46.xxx.xx

What do u think? (by Chris [CT]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 4:57 PM

Flood insurance works fine, I deal with it all the time. They charge the stink out of houses that don't comply with modern flood regs and very reasonable amounts for those that do.

I think a lot of you guys don't deal with coastal flood issues as often as I do. I build along the coast so its a constant thing for me.

A lot of the flooding in Houston was in the 500 and 1000 year flood zones. With an event of this magnitude your going to get some flooding of areas that are not used to it.


What do u think? (by Pmh [TX]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 5:00 PM

news today is Sacramento wants to tax robots bc concerned of loss of real persons paying payroll taxes. reminds me of when everyone saying computers would lead to less paper. guess what. power use increased bc every computer user printed everything...now wehave cloud back ups. paper use has not diminished...instead of seeing how robots will lead to more & different jobs CA reverts to Luddite mentality. I sure wish CA cos & folks will stop moving to TX. just jacking up all my property taxes....maybe cdm can explain this great movement... --166.137.xxx.xx

What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 5:19 PM

The passing of judgment on where people choose to live COULD come back to bite one's derriere at any time, Mother Nature being the b*tch that she is.

But this discussion came about because of federally subsidized flood insurance, and I so agree that is a BAD thing because anything that is subsidized, that you will get more of... --173.22.xx.xx

What do u think? (by MikeA [TX]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2017 7:15 PM

This thread has caused me to do a little reading about flood insurance. Seems it started out as a self funded program, not subsidized. But like all good Government programs the costs keep increasing but the revenue doesn't keep up with it. So, we could expand this discussion to include SSI, Healthcare, and many other programs that started for the right reason and ended up a bureaucratic nightmare.

As to rebuilding in flood-plains, part of communities participation also involves that they must adopt flood management ordinances. How many times have many of us complained about our local ordinances not fully understanding why they were put in place. Some times we are our own worst enemy when the Government tries to tell us what to do. (not that I believe there isn't a whole other bureaucratic nightmare in our ordinances). --74.196.xx.xxx

What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 6, 2017 8:52 AM

FEMA is busy re-writing the flood maps around here, taking people OUT of flood zones so that they can continue to get the flood insurance required by their mortgage companies without breaking the bank. --173.22.xx.xx

What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 6, 2017 12:03 PM

Timely Article!

w w w . obsentinel.com/news/a-flood-of-concerns/article_9c633098-923e-11e7-b91e-0b6e296e20fa.html --173.22.xx.xx

What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 6, 2017 12:11 PM

Interesting that the article states it's not coastal communities that eat up the money - it's the uninsured disasters where the flood insurance program pays anyway! --173.22.xx.xx

What do u think? (by Wilma [PA]) Posted on: Sep 6, 2017 4:53 PM

I still remember when we got 9" of rain in one day from a hurricane. We live inland, nowhere near a creek, and just outside of a small valley. Still, we had mostly impassable streets, and several inches of water in our basement. I can just imagine what 50" would have done.

But, in general, I agree that flood insurance should be pricey enough to deter people from building willy-nilly, while expecting other taxpayers to bail them out from flood disasters. --71.175.xxx.xxx

What do u think? (by nc investor [NC]) Posted on: Sep 9, 2017 10:06 AM

There is an excellent article in today's Washington Post which speaks directly to the Flood Insurance program.


It speaks specifically about the maps which are out of date regarding flood zones and desperately need to be updated. The other major issue is the failure to increase the cost of flood insurance so that the Flood Ins. program is currently $24.billion in debt.

To answer a question in one post - flood insurance is not sold by private or standard insurance but it is available to any homeowner who wishes to buy it even if they are not in a mapped floodplain.

My residence is not in a mapped floodplain but I decided to get flood insurance 2years ago when I realized that the weather is becoming more unpredictable and numerous homes near mine have had flooding issues. It costs $28,000/yr with a $60,000 deductible per claim.

My insurance agent thinks it is a waste of money but all insurance is a waste of money until you need it. As for the government constantly rebuilding homes and businesses in flood prone areas I do have a problem with that. Even if a homeowner could afford to rebuild without any gov't assistance after a certain point they would have to ask themselves if it was prudent not only financially but emotionally. --75.181.xxx.xx

What do u think? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Sep 9, 2017 10:17 AM

Their maximum payout is $250k.

According to what I've been reading it's not the coastal properties that are using up the money. It's the inland uninsureds who are being reimbursed anyway. --173.22.xx.xx

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