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BigW
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 How Washington Made Harvey Worse
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How Washington Made Harvey Worse:

Hurricane Harvey was a disaster foretold.

Nearly two decades before the storm's historic assault on homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast of Texas this week, the National Wildlife Federation released a groundbreaking report about the United States government’s dysfunctional flood insurance program, demonstrating how it was making catastrophes worse by encouraging Americans to build and rebuild in flood-prone areas. The report, titled “Higher Ground,” crunched federal data to show that just 2 percent of the program’s insured properties were receiving 40 percent of its damage claims. The most egregious example was a home that had flooded 16 times in 18 years, netting its owners more than $800,000 even though it was valued at less than $115,000.

That home was located in Houston, along with more than half of America’s worst “repetitive loss properties” identified in the report. There was one other city with more repetitive losses overall, but Houston is where the federation went to announce its Higher Ground findings in July 1998, to try to build a national case for reform.


“Houston, we have a problem,” declared the report’s author, David Conrad. The repetitive losses from even modest floods, he warned, were a harbinger of a costly and potentially deadly future. “We haven’t seen the worst of this yet,” Conrad said.

Houston’s problem was runaway development in flood-prone areas, accelerated by heavily subsidized federal flood insurance. Now that Hurricane Harvey has turned Conrad’s warnings into reality, it’s worth noting that Houston’s problem was in part a Washington problem, a slow-motion disaster that was easy to predict but politically impossible to prevent. Congress often discusses fixing flood insurance to stop encouraging Americans to build in harm’s way, but the National Flood Insurance Program is still almost as dysfunctional as it was 19 years ago. It is now nearly $25 billion in the red, piling debt onto the national credit card. Meanwhile, cities like Houston—as well as New Orleans, which Higher Ground identified as the national leader in repetitive losses eight years before Hurricane Katrina—continue to sprawl into their vulnerable floodplains, aided by the availability of inexpensive federally supported insurance.


Hurricane Harvey is not the first costly flood to hit Houston since that 1998 report. In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison dumped more than two feet of rain on the city, causing about $5 billion in damages. Two relatively modest storms that hit Houston in 2015 and 2016—so small they didn't get names—did so much property damage they made the list of the 15 highest-priced floods in U.S. history. But Houston’s low-lying flatlands keep booming, as sprawling subdivisions and parking lots pave over the wetlands and pastures that used to soak up the area’s excess rainfall, which is how Houston managed to host three “500-year floods” in the past three years.

“This was inevitable,” says Conrad, who is now a consultant for the Association of State Floodplain Managers. “We never learn.”


http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/29/a-storm-made-in-washington-215549

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Post 08/30/17 10:44am
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AWM
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I think the same thing is going on with the barrier islands around the coasts as well. If the free market would be allowed to function without government interference, the rates would be high enough to discourage all this construction.

Classic case of the gubmint fucking up everything it touches

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Post 08/30/17 11:57am
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Dmonix
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They do this everywhere, people with "money" don't care about when or if their homes will be swallowed by the ocean or rolled down a hill.

IN Vancouver, in the cities "North side" they've wiped out all the trees holding together the mountain side and during heavy storms there's already been slides that have taken out properties and homes. When the big quiake hits the West Coast and the ground shudders for over 5 minutes and liquifies those hillsides, there will be hundred if not thousands of homes that will slide down the hill into the valley below... I just always looked at that area and laughed because it's so obvious what they've done.
Insurance companies don't care until you're asking for a claim or suing them... It's the way of the World. People seem to throw safety to the wind to live on the edge of cliffs and right along oceans.

It's believed that many of the ancient pre-flood civilizations, like ourselves, built their massive cities by the ocean sides. Thousands of years ago, the water levels were much much lower than today and then when the meteor smashed the icecaps of North America around the Younger Dryas period, the ocean levels rose high and very quickly... A lesson that should have been learnt by now.. But it's not... It's why I spell 'Humans' / 'Huemahns' because we're too fukin stupid to be worth the correct spelling

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Post 08/30/17 02:59pm
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AWM
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quote:
Originally posted by Dmonix
They do this everywhere, people with "money" don't care about when or if their homes will be swallowed by the ocean or rolled down a hill.

IN Vancouver, in the cities "North side" they've wiped out all the trees holding together the mountain side and during heavy storms there's already been slides that have taken out properties and homes. When the big quiake hits the West Coast and the ground shudders for over 5 minutes and liquifies those hillsides, there will be hundred if not thousands of homes that will slide down the hill into the valley below... I just always looked at that area and laughed because it's so obvious what they've done.
Insurance companies don't care until you're asking for a claim or suing them... It's the way of the World. People seem to throw safety to the wind to live on the edge of cliffs and right along oceans.

It's believed that many of the ancient pre-flood civilizations, like ourselves, built their massive cities by the ocean sides. Thousands of years ago, the water levels were much much lower than today and then when the meteor smashed the icecaps of North America around the Younger Dryas period, the ocean levels rose high and very quickly... A lesson that should have been learnt by now.. But it's not... It's why I spell 'Humans' / 'Huemahns' because we're too fukin stupid to be worth the correct spelling


I don't know about Canada, but here in the US insurers fled the market for flood insurance way back in the 70's. The stupid government stepped in, as usual. If the gubmint wasn't providing insurance at such a cheap level, a for-profit company would come in and charge the proper amount for the risk entailed. 20 storms causing a billion or more in damage have hit the US since 2010 - it's not due to there being more or worse storms, it's because there is so much more building along the coast.

Now the government program is completely underwater with losses. People also know that even if they don't carry the proper amount of insurance, they can cry on TV and FEMA will likely drop money on them. When you subsidize risky or foolish behavior.............you get more of it.

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Post 08/30/17 04:06pm
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BigW
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I agree with you guys on this issue.The govmint should not be funding stupid people.If they have the monies to be near the shore,then they can damn well replace their home themselves.And since these storms and/or floods might become more prevalent in the future,fuck them if they cannot go to "High Ground".
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Post 08/30/17 06:31pm
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