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Tropical depression

It's hard to get friends and relatives Up North to understand what it means to wonder, year after year, if you're still going to have a roof left by Thanksgiving.

They just don't feel the immediacy of it. Have you ever called someone after a hurricane hit to tell them you made it through OK, and they go, "What, you had a hurricane? Ohhh, yeahhh...I remember hearing something about it on the news?" To them, it might as well have been a typhoon in Malaysia.

An embittered member of Florida's congressional delegation--it may even have been my own congressman, Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Maryland (see how smart he is to opt out of living in his home district?)--once said that the only way we're ever going to get a national catastrophe fund is if a Category 3 hurricane goes right up the Connecticut River Valley.

I think he was wrong. It would have to hit the Hudson and the Potomac as well.

Anyway, it makes you think twice and three times about remodeling the bathroom when you could be showering with a garden hose by next month. No, our northerly neighbors will never be able to truly appreciate the thrill of going mano a mano with Mother Nature.

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I'm no Floridian, but when I see the implications in this comic about the seemingly absolute predictability of these "acts of nature", I find it hard to feel pity.

I definitely don't wish harm or suffering upon anyone, but to me this is one of those things I believe people settle into willingly. They love the beautiful weather and all the tourist hotspots? Well with that comes tropical storms, and that's certainly no secret. It's just like living in "tornado valley". What do you honestly expect?

I understand that people can't "up and move" just like that, but if it's truly a problem, I would think a bit of diligence could yield an opportunity to move with time.


I'm not certain that Mr. Lowe has implied any "absolute predictability of these "acts of nature."
The Hurricane Season lasts from June 1 through
the last day of November. All Floridians recognize that anything can happen within that 6-month period.
Therein rests the dread.
Mr. Lowe's cartoon draws light on the fact that no national Catastrophe Fund exists, should a devastating storm occur.
As for people moving: I suppose if everyone found a way to move, they could avoid Hurricane Season. But who would man the rides at Disney, maintain the beaches and staff the restaurants for out-of-staters who like to visit?

We had a solution to that. Hurricane Wilma wrecked our condo. Being on the BOD, I saw all of our efforts at rehabilitation stymied by politicians and developers. So, with the money we got from selling to an investor and from the insurance company, we bought our rural dream place in Augusta, GA, and payed cash for it.

Pat, my comment about predictability was not to say that one could target a specific day and time for these events. My point was that Floridians know these risks. They know this stuff happens and they know it's only a matter of time before it hits them.

My real question is: Why should a "Catastrophe Fund" exist for this? If you're a Floridian you may not like that idea, but what about "Tornado Alley", or those idiots that shoehorn houses on the side of hills and then mudslides topple them? These people know the risks going in and accept them. Why should tax payers all over the country pay for the consequences of risks willingly taken by others?

Ryan -- Because there's not really a part of the US where you don't have the possibility of disasters?

You can get hurricanes up and down the East Coast and the Gulf Coast -- including up north (what would happen today if we had a repeat of the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635, which struck Long Island as a category 4 storm, then went up into Rhode Island and into Boston as a Category 3?). In the midwest you have tornadoes, and, depending on where you are, earthquakes. On the west coast you have earthquakes. Anywhere else you always have the possibility of flood and tornadoes. Unless we're all going to live in Arizona, I can't really think of anywhere that's more or less immune to natural disasters, can you?

If we have a national catastrophe fund it will encourage runaway development in areas we have no business building on - like flood plains.

Developers salivate and chomp at the ready to develop any low lying flood prone area and all they need is something like a catastrophe fund to aid them in their quest.

Why should the taxpayer pay for a developer's short-sightedness?

There are places in New Orleans that probably wont get redeveloped because homes build there would get destroyed if a major storm hit. There are places on the coast that have no business putting billion dollar structures - like the new proposed Bahia Mar - because they are susceptible to hurricane damage and flooding.

Say "no" to Mr. Wexler when he asks you if you want a national catastrophe fund.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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