Are Florida Property Owners In Danger From Hurricane Isaac?

January 9, 2013

Hurricanes are striking Florida harder and more often. Hurricane Isaac seems to be headed right for Tampa Bay. They say Sarasota and Tampa area are usually spared the full weight of the weather, but not this year. They were already hit harder than they’re used, and Hurricane Isaac seems to be bearing down on them and gathering strength and organization as he goes.

Since the natural storm breaks of mangrove forests and outer sandbank islands are depleted by more and more beachside construction, the hurricanes hit with more and more force. Florida property owners are in tremendous danger from Hurricane Isaac, as they are of all further storms. Moreover, the storms are occurring more frequently. The temperature has already risen one degree Celsius over the last hundred years, and continues to rise ever more sharply. Although there is some question as to how much the ocean will rise, we have already seen that this has an effect on the weather. The higher temperature means that the atmosphere is more active, and slightly thicker. This means that it can hold slightly more water, so storms can be bigger. They estimate that the water above the ocean can hold 5% more water than it could a hundred years ago. So hurricanes are getting gradually heavier and heavier. Although the increase is small, it is constant. When you are dealing with something as big and destructive as a hurricane, even one percent bigger is a lot. Remember that it is not only the property itself that will be damaged, but there will be one percent more erosion of the beaches, which have lost their protective mangrove forest, and so move slowly inland. None of these factors are dangerous of themselves. But as the ocean rises ever so slightly and the hurricane cuts in ever so much deeper into a land that is just a little bit less protected by sandbars and mangrove forests, sooner or later it adds up to a real threat to property.

The state of Florida is a sand bar that gathered atop the bones of an ancient mountain range, and it does not rise very high above the ocean. The long-term prognosis for Florida real estate is not good. It is difficult to exaggerate the gloominess of the future. Although hurricanes have run across Florida for millennia, in the last century the climate has changed. There is not much to be done about it, as it has already occurred. It is nearly certain that any Florida home has been hurricane-proofed as much as it can be already. Much of the damage that hurricanes can do to trees has already been done. Although it is always prudent to board up windows, every house in Florida is built on sand. If it is not this hurricane, it will be the next one.

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