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Thread: Sandy

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    While Paul, Don and others have some good points- it's really good to have a plan.
    Here in the East, the infrastructure is old and the population density is high. If you compile all that with the expectations that "someone else" will clean up after you...your gonna' need a lot of patience.
    Another example is from Indianapolis. "They" say they don't know what caused it...I know what fueled it.
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/11/us/ind...ode/index.html
    RIP to the fatalities, everybody- be careful and aware. OM
    That has to be a heck of a plan.......For some of these folks, their house and neighborhoods are gone and on Monday they need to be at work to keep some money coming in.
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  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    While Paul, Don and others have some good points- it's really good to have a plan.
    Here in the East, the infrastructure is old and the population density is high. If you compile all that with the expectations that "someone else" will clean up after you...your gonna' need a lot of patience.
    Certainly everybody should have a plan and some basic supplies for a short term emergency. Some food, batteries, water, warm clothes, maybe a catalytic heater, and for some maybe a generator. But two million little generators will soon run out of gas when widespread power goes off long term.

    Most folks are not likely to have a bucket truck to clear trees and damaged wires, or a bulldozer or loader to scoop debris, or a dump truck to haul it away, or a big hole in the ground to put it in. Many folks lack even the physical ability to scoop and haul debris even to the curb. That is what collective help is for. When you are up to your armpits in crap and crud it often doesn't matter if that help comes from the City, the County, the State, the Red Cross, the church, the neighbors, or the Feds. You just need help. At times it is the human condition. And sometimes the immensity of the problem is greater than even the best prepared reasonable human can cope with.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewmeister View Post
    My brother is returning back home after 2 1/2 weeks putting wires back up. He never heard such wining about no power considering how much damage was done to the power infrastructure.Most people have no idea how dangerous it is doing a job such as a lineman.Bitching is a american right but they still don't have a clue as for the grave danger it takes these guys to put wires back up and clear trees from wires.I have been in contact with my brother daily as he doses his dangerous life threatning job,yet the bitching goes on. Why did these folks be so dumb building in a danger zone like this?It makes no sense to me.He was harased and yelled at for doing his job to the best of his ability while working 16 hour shifts.Most of the poles he put back up are from the 1950's!!This IS first hand info no BS.
    The pole issue goes right back to the third paragraph of my post #43 on page 3 of this thread.

    The whining. Well, I sat here in calm dry Texas when Katrina hit and watched half the nation belittle the poor people on the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans. Much of that nastiness came from the far superior, wealthier, more urbane and sophisticated parts of the nation than the poor shrimp catching gulf coast.

    What "post tropical cyclone Sandy" - not a Hurricane - proves is that disaster can hit and help can be needed anywhere. Ask anybody from Joplin.

    By the way, has anybody noticed in the news that the much higher deductibles (up to 15% or 20% of full value instead of lower dollar amounts) in insurance policies for hurricanes compared to windstorms cannot apply after Sandy because it wasn't classified a hurricane when it came on shore.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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    This takes you full circle back to PGs note re municipal authorities with no common sense and Don's re some things that can be done to improve the situation.

    I am familiar with the stupid building on the Jersey shore- I was born in NJ and have seen areas wiped out by 50s and 60s storms repaired and rebuilt more than once in my lifetime.
    So I've got little to no sympathy for the folks living in those places- at some point my patience for stupid just runs out. The photos of much of the Toms River damages show many, possibly most of the damaged properties were recently built or rebuilt- the typical beach McMansions and second homes built with funny money that fueled the greed of local developers who usually either control or heavily influence city govts in such places. Its striking that none of these newer ones were built elevated which would have prevented complete destruction by minor flooding. Building elevated has been SOP in many coastal regions of the US for decades and while not a guaranteed way to survive major surges, does mitigate or eliminate damage in smaller ones. Here in NC, more than one of my friends has described watching storms wreck docks and flood their property, but not flood or destroy the house simply because they either built it raised or raised their existing older one from its former low foundation.

    When I was a kid, most folks second place at the beach, if they had one, was minimalist and wouldn't ruin them economically if it got destroyed. Somehow, we morphed from that into the mini-hotels folks build today- a fact made possible by the "no equity" requirements for financing that created a lot of the 2008 crash...

    The folks in most of NYC and elsewhere are a very different story- much of that hasn't suffered any similar damage in a long time if ever so wasn't built in an era when such risks were understood. Got sympathy for them - some no doubt getting their first lesson about the complete dependency and vulnerability of living in an urban environment. Basic survival when infrastructure is obliterated is a lot simpler in rural situations. Water, fuel and food are all going to be more readily available and one doesn't have to hike 10 stories up and down just to go anywhere.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    What "post tropical cyclone Sandy" - not a Hurricane - proves is that disaster can hit and help can be needed anywhere. Ask anybody from Joplin.
    A few weeks ago, I was watching a PBS documentary on the Presidency Of Herbert Hoover. Interestlingly, Hoover's two primary achievements outside of the his mining career were in disaster relief for Belgium in WW1 (he had business contacts with Belgium thru his African mining efforts) and the Mississppi Flood of 1927. In 1932, Hoover established the Reconstruction Finance Corporation was responsible to dispense federal dollars for flood relief. In the following decades, many federal agencies provided a piecemeal patchwork of disaster relief efforts and flood/waterway control. FEMA was created by executive order in 1978.

    As such, disaster relief is fairly new part of our federal government and, as we know, many folks want less government. The future of agencies like FEMA will be interesting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
    This takes you full circle back to PGs note re municipal authorities with no - a fact made possible by the "no equity" requirements for financing that created a lot of the 2008 crash...
    They were no risk mortgages bundled with other no-risk mortgages and sold by banks to brokerages with insurance from AIG. It was the market doing what the market does.........providing a product and allowing the consumer to buy at an agreeable price. Everyone was making a profit, just like with the S&L bust in the 1980's.

    Everything is good, intil it isn't
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  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Certainly everybody should have a plan and some basic supplies for a short term emergency. Some food, batteries, water, warm clothes, maybe a catalytic heater, and for some maybe a generator. But two million little generators will soon run out of gas when widespread power goes off long term.

    Most folks are not likely to have a bucket truck to clear trees and damaged wires, or a bulldozer or loader to scoop debris, or a dump truck to haul it away, or a big hole in the ground to put it in. Many folks lack even the physical ability to scoop and haul debris even to the curb. That is what collective help is for. When you are up to your armpits in crap and crud it often doesn't matter if that help comes from the City, the County, the State, the Red Cross, the church, the neighbors, or the Feds. You just need help. At times it is the human condition. And sometimes the immensity of the problem is greater than even the best prepared reasonable human can cope with.
    That, along with a number of other things, is part of a plan that will get you through a mess- whether it's Mother Nature or an infrastructure snafu.
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  8. #68
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    Just a quick note regarding rebuilding. Some anti-stupid is built into Federal law. This country does not have private insurance companies willing to free-market insure against floods. So we have a system of National Flood Insurance. If you own a home constructed prior to the identification of a flood hazard area (typically 1974) there is a subsidized premium rate for insurance. If you own a home built after the area was identified as prone to flooding you pay a much higher unsubsidized rate.

    The kicker comes that as urbanization and impervious surfaces occupy more and more drainage area, areas subject to flooding grow larger. As sea level rises and coastal wetlands get destroyed the same thing happens. Many people who live in designated areas don't get insurance. But lots of folks get flooded for the very first time ever in areas not yet designated as subject to flooding. The former are stupid. The latter are unlucky or misled.

    As for rebuilding, the Feds have addressed that too. There are "model" regulations for localities to adopt. If they don't adopt regulations that meet these minimum standards the entire jurisdiction is ineligible to purchase flood insurance. There are almost no such places.

    One of the minimum standards addresses rebuilding. If a structure is "substantially damaged", defined as damage equal to 50% of its pre-damage value the owner has three choices: elevate the structure above the defined flood level, flood proof the structure so it won't be damaged in a future flood, or tear it down. If a locality does not adopt and enforce this standard the entire jurisdiction is ineligible for flood insurance.

    You might (or might not) be amazed at how many flood victims fight the insurance company to get their damage reduced to 48% or 49% instead of a much higher value the insurance company originally determined the loss to be.

    Some localities refuse to play this game and require independent third-party estimates in order to get a building permit if the value is close. Those jurisdictions then have nasty "bureaucrats" and awful regulations when the name calling starts. Some employees actually survive the calls for their firing when the elected officials get involved.
    Last edited by PGlaves; 11-12-2012 at 11:09 PM.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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    Water, fuel & food are easier for me in a rural area in time of disaster. Hmmm. I've had the power off a couple of times, once for a long time & I can assure you that due to the low density of population it makes little news for others. My nephew was out of power for over 6 weeks & I promise not one of you knew about it & he tried real hard to get the attention of the power company for a long time.
    Until I got on city water 2-3 years ago I was elec. power dependent as the pump was electric. My food comes on a truck like everybody else in the USA other than our being heavily into a freezer full of food from our gardening-it spoils when there's no power. Whats a bigger deal-me/my family out of food on my farm or an apt. building out of food? Fuel such as wood is handy & as long as I have a stick of wood we'll never be cold but AC takes electric for me same as the urban crowd. Again I'm here in my lonesome on this hill & We'll never make the news based on weather. The story is too small & logically so.
    I really think my point is that we are all dependent on the power company & the urban areas are simply harder to clean up based on population density. Plus , mass transit is diff. than me & my truck kinda notion. My road is private & the rock,maintenance & so on is on me. Was the same when I had 58 trees on my road too. In the city you wait for the "other guy to come with a saw", logically so. Then again, nobody has ever come to my rescue in spite of several bad ice storms and a tornado this summer-excepting the linemen that restored our lines in the ice storms it's been, as they say "me, myself & I". FEMA was all for the ones with no insurance near me, my money came from my policies. Fact is we are very lucky as our home has been quite livable in spite of some hard times-I sure do feel for those that have a pile of rubble where their home used to stand. Now that's when you need a boost.

  10. #70
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Yes and no. Urban America has more interdependancies than rural and small town America. Rural folk hop in their car or truck or motorcycle seat and go someplace. There are few others involved. Maybe the guy at the gas station. In parts of urban America folk depend on the cab driver, then the conductor and other subway or railroad folk. If the power goes out rural folk can still drive somewhere. If the traffic signal at a major (12 lane combined) intersection goes out drivers have a problem. That is likely to require a police officer, a signal technician, and maybe an electrician. Hopefully not, but all too often an ambulance or wrecker too. In the country, when the old familiar stop sign blows down most folk just stop anyway. A few of us would call the county guy to let him know.

    For 12 years I lived in the service area of a certain Rural Electric Cooperative that had far more than its share of power outages. I gave up setting the digital clocks or VCR or microwave because it was a rare day I could come home not to find them blinking zeros at me. Most were brief, but after any ice storm power was at risk, maybe for a long time. That is when and where I bought my generator to keep the furnace and refrigerator running when we didn't have power in and after an ice storm. When we moved to Texas and made some minor improvements here, I went out of my way to ensure that the house would stay warm with or without electricity. Dark we can handle. Cold is harder to deal with.

    The nearest real grocery store is 53 miles from our house. We don't run to the store daily, or even weekly. While I would not claim that we have stockpiled food, like most folks a long way from the store, we tend to keep a lot, and a variety on hand. We probably won't go back for a couple of weeks. Purely by accident we could go a month or so and not run out of food.

    The house is 25 miles one direction and 53 miles the other direction from the nearest gas pump. We always fill up before heading home regardless of what is in the tank. People sometimes miscalculate at the most inopportune times. Some, after a bit of a walk, wind up knocking looking for gas. I keep about 10 gallons on hand and refill when I am down to 5 gallons. That won't run my generator for a lot of total hours, but I can periodically fire it up and run the refrigerator for a time and shut it back off. It stays cold for many hours without needing to run. While it is running we can hit the internet to see what is happening out in the rest of the world. Since we have three cars and about 7 motorcycles on the premises, I could usually find a lot of gas if I had to.

    We work off the top half or so of our propane tank. If it hits much below half we get it filled. A service interruption of even a few months wouldn't shut off the heat or the stove. We usually use the electric coffee maker, but still have the old enamel percolator to use on the stove if needed.

    My nearest neighbor could have a sizable pile of garbage and I wouldn't know it - and vice versa. But in a dense urban area the accumulation of uncollected garbage in the alley or at the curb rapidly becomes a human health hazard. I have to deal with getting my garbage to the landfill. But in dense urban areas folks have no real choice but to depend on the sanitation workers to remove their garbage.

    My water system relies on stockpiling rain water. When full I have more than a year's supply. That isn't for survivalist reasons, it is just the way water catchment works. You get it when it rains, you store it, you treat it, and you use it. Given the vagaries of rain in the desert, you catch and store all you reasonably can, when you can.

    Where we live it is unlikely to flood the top of the hill in the desert. If it does I'm going to thumb a ride with Noah. We could be wiped out by a tornado, but even a wide three mile swath a huge 20 miles long might only hit less than a dozen properties. Finding shelter with friends would be simple. In contrast, in dense areas even a small disaster hits a huge number of people.

    I could bore most of you with many more examples that make rural and urban America different. I won't.

    So, my take is that things really are different in rural areas from what they are in dense urban areas. Not per se better or worse, but certainly different. We have many friends who couldn't stand to live where we live. And we couldn't stand to live where some of them do either. Rural folk put up with inconveniences, but other things seem to make it worth it.

    And I was a City Planner / Community Development Director in urban areas for 32 years. Look where I moved when I retired.
    Last edited by PGlaves; 11-13-2012 at 01:23 AM.
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  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewmeister View Post
    Ya I know what you mean about city vs country living Paul.I left the Milwaukee area nearly 20 years ago and now live in a small,16,000 population city. We are blessed with the wisconsin river a block from my house with 10 dams streached out over 70 miles of the river which drops about 160 feet over the 70 or so miles which produces lots of polution free electricity. I can catch nice walleyes or white bass to eat right out side my door if I so choose.I've a generator too but here we have the lowest power rates in the state.I keep a still around to make distilled water if I need to and my own brewery so I'm set for most anything.A small lathe,drill press and a milling machine and welder helps fixing things.My 10 years on the fire dept. helps me in disaster situations.Wood is plentifull up here afterall this IS wood county.I never looked back or missed the big city ever!I've been a prepper for years before it ever came in style on TV.
    10 dams in 70-miles with a 160-ft total head drop producing free electricity?

    Do you know that in today's world, that infrastructure would be wildly expensive and the only way to produce the electricity at market viable rates would be to expand an existing coal burning powerplant?. I would suggest that your "free electricity" is actually pretty expensive and, in reality, is now pretty much a flood control system that uses electricity production to defray some costs.

    Based on that reality, any new hydro-electric project proposal is pretty much DOA since the mid 1980's. It's an industry that relies on a period of dam construction that stopped at the end of the New Deal era. That's a fairly long time ago.

    BTW - the original turbines for those dams were likely built down in West Allis at the old Allis Chalmers Company. In the late 50's or early 60's, AC purchased S Morgan Smith in York, PA and became the largest US manufacturer of hydro-electric turbine systems. AC dissolved in the mid 1980's and the AC name was purchased by various companies a slapped on many other products.
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    Paul G. your "preaching to the choir"! I grew up in town & agree with your yes's & no's. Was just making the point that my rural "dependencies are there too in amy rural lifestyle, just diff. now. You guys need to ride more what with all these "term paper length" Sandy writings!

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewmeister View Post
    Yes they were at allis chalmers,I served my machinist aprentiship back in 1975-79,These dams were put in back in the 1920's and mostly power the paper mills but they can be/are put into the power grid.The dams are about 16 foot high.I have no idea how much they had cost back when they were built.The 54 foot boring mill I ran at AC machined segments of generators for replacements at the dams at the TVA in tennisee.You should have seen the 55,000 HP mairine desels we machined on back then.150 ft long inline 12 cylinder slide block desiel with 3 foot pistons,4 stories tall, I spent many hours die grinding on the intake//exaust ports to specs.Hot dirty job with breathing aparatise.No fossil fuel to run the generators .Time on line must have brought down the cost over all these years and its still pollution free no matter the cost.
    I did several designs for similar low head turbines on the Connecticut river and up in Maine in places like East Millinocket. These turn of the century, and earlier plants, powered textile and paper mills. The paper mill in Maine was so old, the turbines were wound for 50-hz......

    If I'm not mistaken, some of the TVA projects you worked on are visible from the "tail of the dragon" in GA.
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  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    Paul G. your "preaching to the choir"! I grew up in town & agree with your yes's & no's. Was just making the point that my rural "dependencies are there too in amy rural lifestyle, just diff. now. You guys need to ride more what with all these "term paper length" Sandy writings!
    No kidding. But we just had a cold front come in. It got down into the 40s the last couple of nights and has barely hit the mid 60s by noon. This is January weather for around here. Since it will be a lot warmer in the next few days, I've been doing "projects" around the place. I need a break from "projects" so wax philosophical on the keyboard from time to time.

    I did need to fix a tire on my dirt bike - pesky thorn let the air out of the tube. That was one of the "projects". I also needed to fix the damper in the fireplace chimney after a stray cat fell down the chimney. Don't ask .... we have no idea.?
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  15. #75
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewmeister View Post
    My brother is returning back home after 2 1/2 weeks putting wires back up. He never heard such wining about no power considering how much damage was done to the power infrastructure.Most people have no idea how dangerous it is doing a job such as a lineman.Bitching is a american right but they still don't have a clue as for the grave danger it takes these guys to put wires back up and clear trees from wires.I have been in contact with my brother daily as he doses his dangerous life threatning job,yet the bitching goes on. Why did these folks be so dumb building in a danger zone like this?It makes no sense to me.He was harased and yelled at for doing his job to the best of his ability while working 16 hour shifts.Most of the poles he put back up are from the 1950's!!This IS first hand info no BS.
    A few things, since I was one of those without power for 11 days (and heat and hot water and Interwebz - living by candlelight is vastly overrated.)

    Sorry to hear the impression your brother got doing work here. In the local newspaper have been MANY letters to the editors praising the work the out of state utility workers were doing. In conversations with other out-of-power people, no one I talked to had anything but GOOD to say about the workers and how fortunate we were that they were here to help. I suppose the bad-apples and whiners always make more of an impression then people who appreciate the work, so please pass on to your brother that the great majority of people in the area he was working in really do appreciate his work here. If we had known where they were being housed (only came out a day or so ago, after they left), I'm sure they'd have been deluged with home-baked goodies by people who had their power restored.

    Some of the complaining may be due to this being a repeat of last years outages (I lost power for 7 days that time..) which the utility company claimed they were addressing. Most of the addressing was (and I'll quote the executive) "Telling the people they'll be without power for 7-10 days" - Last time they didn't tell us. This time they did - primarily on websites we couldn't access since we had no Internet (and the sites don't work on SmartPhones.) Not a big improvement IMHO. They did about nothing to address the actual infrastructure problems. I'm sure a lot of the bitching was about the local utility, not the workers trying to fix the mess.

    As far as the old infrastructure. Yup. It's a problem. It's pretty much a two-fold problem.

    - This area has been densely inhabited and had an extensive electrical grid since the early 1900's. There was also a large growth boom after WW-II when the grid was expanded more. ALL of it was on poles. There are lots of mature large trees in the area, in close proximity to the power lines (due to the density of the area, if you want green nearby, it will be fairly close to power lines.) While this storm didn't have really high winds (peaks around 80MPH, average 60MPH) - the length of time it had these winds and the area the winds were over was exceptional. This is what led to the majority of power failures.

    - The local utility has power providers and power distribution companies. You can pick a power provider (ie - where the electricity comes from), but the distribution is run as a monopoly with regulated rates. Our local monopoly (JCP&L) was just (pre-Sandy) going to apply to the state to LOWER their distribution charges to the customers. Sounds great, but in actuality, the utility is running with ancient equipment (ask your brother - mention Thomas Edison and see if he spotted anything Edison probably designed..) and has little incentive to upgrade the equipment. Given the density and problems with trees, it would make sense to start moving the infrastructure under-ground in many areas (it can be a problem close to the ocean obviously) - but aside from zoning codes requiring this for new construction, they have no incentive to do this. After this storm damage is all totaled up - the consumer is going to end up paying for the repairs eliminating any financial incentive.

    As far as the dumb people building in a danger zone like this? Well - for many, it wasn't a danger zone when they built. As Paul pointed out - runoff from building upstream has changed what were dry and safe neighborhoods into flooded and dangerous neighborhoods. We also have no storm of this immensity (as large as it was) in recorded history that hit the NJ shore dead on. Changing weather patterns are about the only way to explain that, but chicken/head/sand - people don't want to accept that.

    We in the shore area aren't the only "dumb people" building in danger zones - the New Madrid fault in the center of the US has the potential to make Sandy look like a trifle when it shifts. Think of all of the western coast of the US - a moderately large earthquake in California will cause more and worse destruction then this storm did. And a large part of NY City was also under-water in areas that have never flooded before. Their underground utility infrastructure wasn't designed with this sort of flooding in mind (engineers try to have a crystal ball, but in this case, 50-100 years ago no one foresaw the flooding we just experienced.)

    IMHO, there is almost no where in the US where you can live without some sort of risk due to weather or the environment. Volcanoes in HI and WA, sunamis in CA, WA, HI and Oregon. Mega-volcano in Yellowstone. Mudslides, massive forest fires in the west where Paul is. There are lots of us dumb people out here, being forced to live in certain areas if that's where you can find work. Life is dangerous - no one gets out alive.

    Enough I guess - please do pass along my heartfelt thanks to your brother for helping out during the crisis here, and ask him to accept my apologies on behalf of the rude people that he encountered.
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