Friday, July 20, 2007

Population Growth in Palm Beach County vs. Hurricane Strikes

Notice that most of the indirect and direct storm strikes occurred before the great majority of population arrived in the area.

Path of BIG Un-named Storm from 1928

Windspeed 130 miles per hour, 929 millibars of pressure, category 4. Pictures below show the local Lake Worth aftermath. This is the storm that killed thousands near Lake Okeechobee.

CLICK Here for video/film of damage - fascinating!

As related by Wikipedia:

Coastal damage in Florida near the point of landfall was catastrophic. Miami, well south of the point of landfall, escaped with very little damage; Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale suffered only slight damages. Northward, from Pompano Beach to Jupiter, buildings suffered serious damage from the heavy winds and 10 ft (3 meter) storm surge, which was heaviest in the vicinity of Palm Beach; total coastal damages were estimated as "several million" dollars. Because of well-issued hurricane warnings, residents were prepared for the storm, and the loss of life in the coastal Palm Beach area was only 26.[1]

Aftermath of the hurricane in southern Florida
Aftermath of the hurricane in southern Florida

Inland, the hurricane wreaked much more widespread destruction along the more heavily populated coast of Lake Okeechobee. Residents had been warned to evacuate the low ground earlier in the day, but after the hurricane did not arrive on schedule, many thought it had missed and returned to their homes. When the worst of the storm crossed the lake — with winds measured on the ground at around 140 mph (225 km/h) — the south-blowing wind caused a storm surge to overflow the small dike that had been built at the south end of the lake. The resulting flood covered an area of hundreds of square miles with water that in some places was over 20 ft (6 m) deep. Houses were floated off of their foundations and dashed to pieces against any obstacle they encountered.[10] Most survivors and bodies were washed out into the Everglades where many of the bodies were never found. As the rear eyewall passed over the area, the flood reversed itself, breaking the dikes along the northern coast of the lake and causing a similar but smaller flood.

Approximate area of the flood
Approximate area of the flood

Floodwaters persisted for several weeks, greatly impeding attempts to clean up the devastation. Burial services were quickly overwhelmed, and many of the bodies were placed into mass graves. Around 75% of the fatalities were migrant farm workers, making identification of both dead and missing bodies very difficult; as a result of this, the count of the dead is not very accurate. The Red Cross estimated the number of fatalities as 1,836, which was taken as the official count by the National Weather Service for many years; older sources usually list 3,411 as the hurricane's total count of fatalities, including the Caribbean. However, in 2003 the U.S. death count was revised as "at least" 2,500, making the Okeechobee hurricane the second-deadliest natural disaster in United States history behind the Galveston Hurricane of 1900.

Thousands of people were left homeless in Florida; property damage was estimated at $25 million ($200 million in 2005 US dollars). It is estimated that if a storm like this were to strike in modern times (the year 2003), it would cause $18.7 billion in damages. However, a levee breach of this kind is unlikely to occur again because of the much larger Herbert Hoover Dike that now contains the waters of Lake Okeechobee.[10]

Record of All Storm Paths within 25 miles of Lake Worth

Not all of these are hurricanes - some are tropical storms and depressions - but scary none-the-less.

Hurricane History 1945 through 1950

In answer to my question in the previous post, I did a search on the NOAA website (click here). The above storm tracks are those that came within 65 miles of Lake Worth during the 1945 through 1950 period. Looks like a real barrage over that period of time. That is a real cool site, by the way. I encourage you to check it out.

Some of these storms were in the Category 4 range, but hard to determine if they were at that strength when they affected this area.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mid-Century Beach - Casino Building Pictures

I am guessing that this is from the early 1950s. Look at the filled area behind the casino building which is now a paved parking lot. State Road A-1A looks like it has been relocated to its current location, in a two lane configuration. Notice how the proportion of beach to road to building is about the same as it is today.

This is probably taken about the same time. Notice that the western extension of the building is still here. Can't miss the filled area to the north along the Lake Worth Lagoon. Still looks pretty fresh. The "update" that made the building look the way it does today dates from 1949. The picture below shows how badly the building was damaged from Hurricanes in '46 and '47. Portions of A-1A were washed out which led to the relocation of the road along with western edge of the barrier island.

Anyone know the strength and the dates of the hurricane's that caused this damage? (This picture is of demolition of the second floor in process - not the damage from the hurricane itself. The hurricane took off most of the southern half of the roof.)

This one is dated 1981 - before the addition to the south side of the building. From this distance, it still looks intact - 25+ years ago now.

By the way, these pictures come from a State of Florida website called "The Florida Memory Project". I managed to lose myself in it while retrieving these images. You can check it out yourself by clicking here.

Monday, July 16, 2007

From 1955 Lake Worth Chamber of Commerce Poster...

Below are elements to a poster that dates from 1955. The poster appears minimized here, with the elements enlarged. Funny how the messages are eerily appropriate for today. Let me know if you know any of the names or recognize anyone in the pictures.

Especially interesting are the "Star Features" that include community goals reflecting a 1955 reality. With the exception of a few, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Hope you get a kick out of these. Thanks to Nadine Burns for providing the copy!!

The "skyline" that never came to be.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Historic Districts - City Wide Map

Click link below for a large version of the historic district map.

Historic+Districts0001.jpg (image)

Reference: Lake Worth Historic District Maps

I thought you might be interested in these. The following maps show contributing and non-contributing structures in our six (6) historic districts. You will notice multiple maps for some indicating local and national districts. Requirements relating to the percentage of contributing structures are higher for national designations - as such, districts like Old Town have both local and national designation. The level of control is the same. The national designation signifies greater importance over a local designation and is really more of an honorary title.

These are apparently not available through the City's website so please feel free to access them here. Remember, by clicking on the image, you can enlarge them in another window for greater detail. By right clicking and selecting "save image", you can save them to your hard drive.