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Thread: Is it always smart to rebuild storm areas?

  1. #11
    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    I love St. Augustine. And it is the oldest city by the Culture that matters, dominant Europeans. So there.

    And now I will pick apart another item in OP's post (poor OP!) and it is that most climatologists have not made correlation between hurricanes and global warming. This is surprising to me, but something I learned from the editorial below from the ultra liberal St. Louis Post Dispatch editorial board in which they skewer Rish Limbaugh. This fact is not their main point, but it was containted in the editorial.

    http://www.stltoday.com/opinion/edit...604c3c54b.html


    which says



    "...In fact, most serious climate scientists acknowledge little linkage between climate change and hurricanes in the past century. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, in dry, technical language and numbers — science — concludes that correlation with today’s weather is difficult. NOAA scientists do say that global warming will contribute to greater weather extremes and that future hurricanes are likely “to be more intense globally and have higher rainfall rates than present-day hurricanes.”

    I repeat, i was very surprised to learn this, assuming the Post Dispatch is correct.

    Of course, that doesnt negate rising sea levels as a problem, as OP points out.

    But no, it isn't "smart" to rebuild storm areas, always and everywhere.
    i don't mind if you disagree. There may not be a correlation between global warming and hurricanes, who really knows, but sea levels have risen and it does make for more flooding.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Cypress's Avatar
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    But I'm fine with people who get flooded out every year and who choose to rebuild in place -- so long as they're not doing it on my dime. There are numbers of properties in Minnesota and the border states perilously close to rivers which flood during every spring thaw; insurers finally are getting smart and refusing to insure them, which means lenders won't issue mortgages on them either. I understand not wanting to leave where one has roots and I understand the economic issues it presents to sell property that is worth less without an occupyable structure on it. But at some point nature and economics have to -- umm, trump -- where we live.

    There was a This Old House series focused on New Jersey and rebuilding after Super Storm Sandy. I watched it carefully and thought I learned a lot about the storm and how it affected residents. One homeowner got selected to demonstrate what happens when a resident does decide to stay and rebuild. This was somewhere in coastal NJ and the house went up, up about one story above the ground. Sort of on stilts. It was well designed and other residents had done similar builds or rebuilds in the same area. The program was fascinating, but I wondered about their choice. I believe the program staff did discuss moving out but I forget why they stayed in the same place. Unless costs were not a factor, I would have cashed out and moved inland 10 miles. This Old House used to include dollars and cents in the programming. They stopped giving real numbers a few years ago. It would have been interesting to hear about all the costs, paperwork and red tape they went through to claim the loss and rebuild.
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  3. #13
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Many of you know I have a son in Houston, he’s a newlywed and six weeks before Harvey hit he bought a beautiful home in which his wife and himself planned to launch their lives together and perhaps a family. The house was located to his knowledge in a 500 year flood plain. But during Harvey it took on 15 inches of water. The estimate from several contractors after my son and friends did all the demolition and mold remediation themselves was about 20-25% of the mortgage on the house. Both cars in the garage were destroyed. Auto insurance paid $18,000. They found two serviceable vehicles as replacements but the inventory was sketchy.

    The home owners insurance paid 0 dollars. They have received about $10,000 in family and private donations and FEMA just awarded them enough to cover 1/5 of the cost of remodeling. There is going to be enough of a shortfall that they will have to exhaust emergency savings. And they still are living outside the home.

    Seems like this should be enough punishment for them to reconsider living in Houston but good jobs are hard to find and both of them have that. So I can’t sit in judgement on their predicament. Not as a father anyway.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by flowerseverywhere View Post
    In the news you see people and even the president vowing "we will rebuild and be stronger than ever."

    Whether or not you you believe in Global Warming, it seems like that might not always be the best case. Many areas of the Keys have no electricity, water or sewer a week later, and in future hurricanes, no matter how strong they build the houses they will likely suffer much devastation after a hurricane. Houston has revealed many problems with building houses on prior drainage basins. Here in Florida, they are warning some rivers continue to rise a week after Irma passed and those on the banks are being evacuated as our normal PM thundershowers routine continues to dump rain. The outer banks of the Carolinas, Malibu Coast, areas hit by Hurricane Sandy. So many places that are subject to severe flooding, beach erosion and structure destruction perhaps it is time to rethink the structure of our vulnerable cities.

    Sea ear levels are higher than what they were. Miami always has raised some streets.

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2017...sea-level-rise

    if Irma had a direct hit there as predicted can you even imagine? St Augustine, which largely has been out of,the news has had problems from Irma as well as Jacksonville and other cities including Charlestown
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer...hurricane.html

    what is the solution? People live here, work here and uprooting is very difficult. St Augustine is the nations oldest city and families have lived there for generations.
    I would be questioning this also........and for sure if I had built in a flood zone.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Cypress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    Many of you know I have a son in Houston, he’s a newlywed and six weeks before Harvey hit he bought a beautiful home in which his wife and himself planned to launch their lives together and perhaps a family. The house was located to his knowledge in a 500 year flood plain. But during Harvey it took on 15 inches of water. The estimate from several contractors after my son and friends did all the demolition and mold remediation themselves was about 20-25% of the mortgage on the house. Both cars in the garage were destroyed. Auto insurance paid $18,000. They found two serviceable vehicles as replacements but the inventory was sketchy.

    The home owners insurance paid 0 dollars. They have received about $10,000 in family and private donations and FEMA just awarded them enough to cover 1/5 of the cost of remodeling. There is going to be enough of a shortfall that they will have to exhaust emergency savings. And they still are living outside the home.

    Seems like this should be enough punishment for them to reconsider living in Houston but good jobs are hard to find and both of them have that. So I can’t sit in judgement on their predicament. Not as a father anyway.
    Okay, thanks for putting the dollars down. I wondered how on earth you take care of the home after a flood. I thought the house was ruined. The insurance paid nothing! We had a tornado pass through my area five years ago, I don't remember how claims were settled, I remember an insurance agent went to the town and set up a trailer to help folks file claims. Most people don't buy flood insurance if they''re not in a flood area. I got a letter from my home owners insurance company a few years ago that said I was NOT in a flood plain. I can actually see a large river outside my kitchen window. It's undeveloped and lots of room for water to go if we got a huge storm. But, once in a while, I wonder if it might flood up to my back door.

    I am very sorry to hear about their struggles. Keep us informed. I cannot do much but listen and understand what it takes to get a home back together. Does the mold ever leave the house? I mean, it's a humid climate down there and mold has a way of living on in small dark spaces.
    Here is a link to my blog page http://francesannwy.wordpress.com/

  6. #16
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    I know mold was a major problem after Katrina, with very similar climate. They followed up a couple of years later and found mold in something like 73% of the houses that had been refurbished after Katrina.

  7. #17
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    One homeowner got selected to demonstrate what happens when a resident does decide to stay and rebuild. This was somewhere in coastal NJ and the house went up, up about one story above the ground. Sort of on stilts. It was well designed and other residents had done similar builds or rebuilds in the same area.
    I wonder how that build-up was viewed by the local zoning authorities. I could see neighbors (especially the ones living behind this homeowner) getting their clothing into a bundle if their view was obliterated by what effectively was a story built onto that house. The fact that other local rebuilders did it helps. Just observing that zoning sometimes is used as a weapon and not as a public safeguard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    This Old House used to include dollars and cents in the programming. They stopped giving real numbers a few years ago. It would have been interesting to hear about all the costs, paperwork and red tape they went through to claim the loss and rebuild.
    I'm not sure numbers they provided ever were all that "real". I suspect there was a lot of material and labor donated in exchange for the visibility of being on TOH. There's also the question of just how much it really would cost to find, say, a master woodworker who happened to be available for your project at just the time you needed him/her. I always found TOH an interesting show to watch and I learned a lot from it but I treated it as "house pr0n".
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  8. #18
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    Seems like this should be enough punishment for them to reconsider living in Houston but good jobs are hard to find and both of them have that. So I can’t sit in judgement on their predicament. Not as a father anyway.
    One would think buying a house in a 500-year flood plain was a relatively safe bet. However, as weather gets more extreme, I suspect many "500-year" flood plains will be reclassified to "100-year" or even shorter durations. Not sure if it will be the insurance companies pushing this as a way to avoid more losses or if local governments will have the backbone to rezone property out of insurability/mortgaging (taking tax-paying property off the rolls). It's hard to say what's "safe" anymore.

    My sympathis to your DS/DSiL -- they got dealt a bad hand. I hope they can play it well; it certainly seems they've got family and friends behind them.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  9. #19
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    I received this story in my email today (I subscribe so I know when local ones are going to be showing, soon):
    http://www.monolithic.org/news-feed/...hurricane-irma

    This shows we can do SOME things, but there is also this:
    http://www.monolithic.org/news-feed/...energy-savings
    Which shows the lower costs, but that won't help if the infrastructure goes out as in Puerto Rico.
    In the end, it is all about mitigated risk and your comfort level

  10. #20
    Senior Member dmc's Avatar
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    I'm defiantly in a hurricane zone. New houses and all homes built after 2003 had to be built to a tougher standard. I know the insurance rates are lower for newer homes. Thus any homes destroyed now would have to meet the new standards if rebuilt.

    The home built on stilts probably was required to do so to meet a current elevation requirement. Also FEMA will not keep insuring the same home if it has to many claims, they keep track. And they will only insure to $250,000.

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