Thursday, June 22, 2017

A fictional story — not for the faint of heart — you’ve been warned.

This is no joke.

At the end of this blog post is a question about a very serious topic: our water here in Palm Beach County. And the issue is also about science and what exactly is science?

If you’ve been following the debate about whether or not to construct another reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, former Lake Worth City Commissioner Chris McVoy, PhD (an expert on Everglades restoration) said, “this whole thing is part science and part what you can get politically.”

On this very subject, State Senator Jeff Clemens wrote, “the push for southern storage has become more political than science-driven.” The editor(s) at The Palm Beach Post have their fingers in the air — checking which way the political winds are blowing — and reminding us we should all trust science (but just the scientists the Post thinks are believable).

This would all be a silly sideshow were it not for TWO BILLION DOLLARS at stake, give or take a few million.

Prepare yourself. Below is a fictional story. Not for the faint of heart.

There was a real Hurricane Otto in 2016. But the story below is from August 2013 about a fictional hurricane named “Otto” and what’s called a “Black Swan event”.

“The Day the Dike Breaks” by Dan Reynolds in Risk & Insurance.

“A Cat 5 hurricane strike of Lake Okeechobee would inundate much of South Florida.”

Use this link to read the entire “Black Swan” story by Dan Reynolds. Here are the opening paragraphs:

Hurricane Otto, a Category 5 hurricane, makes landfall at 3 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2014, just north of Fort Lauderdale. The storm travels northwestward across the state, maintaining Category 4 strength as it touches the southwest reaches of Lake Okeechobee, the 10th largest lake in the United States and the largest lake in the South. The driving rains cause the water levels on the lake to rise, which creates a breach in the lake’s protective barrier, the Herbert Hoover Dike, in the vicinity of Clewiston. Tornados spawned by the hurricane also touch down on the dike, causing two more breaches, near the towns of Pahokee and Belle Glade.
     The lake, at 730 square miles and an average depth of only 10 feet, begins to flood the surrounding communities.
     Eventually, much of South Florida will be inundated.
     U.S. highways 441 and 98, and state roads 715 and 80 are destroyed by the slow-moving water.
     Geographically, there is nothing to stop the wall of water as it spreads out from Lake Okeechobee toward the Atlantic Ocean. It will be weeks before the flood waters recede.
     Evacuations began in heavily populated Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties when the hurricane’s landfall became a certainty.
     But there wasn’t much time.
     Once the dike is breached, the more than 640,000 evacuees in Broward have less than 14 hours to move. Miami-Dade’s more than 936,000 evacuees have less than 13 hours to get out. In Palm Beach County, the window is less than 16 hours and more than 448,000 people need to leave.

What do you think?

Should the focus be on fortifying the Herbert Hoover Dike or spending $2B± on a new reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee?

The “Black Swan” story above is not a theory and it’s not “part science” either. It’s historical record. It happened before.

Did you know there is a mass grave in West Palm Beach? Read about that in the following blog post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It may be an ignorant question but why not lower the lake to its natural level of ten feet or so which the dike can easily handle? I get that they're using it as a water reservoir but at what long term catastrophic cost?