If Frances hits FL
, it will just go towards boosting my theory... that the 1920s were not a fluke, and that the last 20 years have seen a boom in Florida without respect for its natural history.
Here's the essay I shared with my weather aficionados on Yahoo! Ohio Weather Group:
To one and all - this is my soapbox statement for the time being...
Florida should have known better.
Over the last couple of years, people have been talking about unusual
weather -- El Nino, exceptional dryness in the southwest, drought in
the western half of the grain belt, and recurrent hurricanes along the
Unusual? Not in my mind.
Whether or not you believe in global warming, we seem to be seeing an
increase in dangerous weather events here in the U.S. But how much of
it is our own fault? We have built in the desert on speculation that
the current rainfall amounts, irrigation and aqueducts will be enough
to sustain growth. But we forget that there's a reason why it is
called the "desert." We have built on floodplains and called recent
events "hundred year floods," forgetting that there's a reason why
they're called "floodplains." We have built on low-lying coastal areas
around the Everglades, forgetting that the Everglades were always a
swamp. Even here in Cleveland, we've built in areas that used to be
wetlands, and now people are up in arms because their basements have
We have been blessed with "good" weather for so long that we forget
what "bad" really is. In my opinion, what we've seen is a swing back
towards the normal, which is becoming increasingly inconvenient as
we've taken advantage of abnormally calm and predictable scenarios.
Global warming? I don't know. We don't have enough records to really
determine the long-term cycles on this earth. What I would do, though,
is look at the history we do know - for example, that Florida was
regularly hit by hurricanes well before the buildup of coastal areas.
We forget about the 1920s hurricanes that killed hundreds of people in
Miami and around Lake Okeechobee. Other histories tell us about
cyclical droughts in the Midwest, and a southwestern U.S. that was
uninhabitable except in tiny enclaves nestled atop mesas or in canyons.
We've come to expect that weather will be predictable. What seems more
predictable to me is our own belief that we can tame nature for our own
use. A healthy respect would be more wise.