Leave Florida Now, Before It’s Too Late

Hurricane Ian was your last warning

Leave Florida Now, Before It’s Too Late
Photo by NASA / Unsplash

I know a thing or two about hurricanes. My state of New Jersey likes to attract them, just like Florida and the Caribbean. We usually get glancing blows, then we had a direct hit from Hurricane Sandy. Then I watched the devastation of Hurricane Ian and my heart sank.

I feel for the Floridians dealing with Ian’s aftermath. I know what they’re up against and I think it’s time for you to get out. Instead of rebuilding, it’s time to relocate. Take all the tax money I pay into government coffers and relocate people to higher ground. Leave Florida now, before it’s too late.

I love Florida. I love the beaches and the abundant nature. My partner and I rented a convertible from Miami and drove down to Key West for our 10-year anniversary. I’ve snorkeled off the Keys and drank the best mojito in South Beach. I even visited the Hemingway House! Florida is such a wonderful and delicate state. I once considered moving there.

Of course, its location relative to Hurricane Alley always presented a problem in the latter half of the year, but Floridians are a tough bunch. They made it work and rebuilt Florida as needed. Of course, we northern donor states, paid our taxes to the Federal government so they could allocate money for rebuilding Florida’s destroyed infrastructure.

We all opened up our tax funds and helped out our fellow Americans because it was the right and honorable thing to do. When the Tri-State area needed help to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, some Congressmen voted NO. They decided to make the wrong choice and embrace dishonor.

Florida Congressman Ron Desantis and Marco Rubio voted against Hurricane Sandy Relief back in 2012.

I was aghast.

How could this be? The collective “we” was there for Florida when Hurricane Andrew hit. We were there for Florida when Hurricane Irma hit.

Why vote against fellow States in their time of need?

Simple, they’re spoiled obnoxious brats. They just wanted to “own the libs” and didn’t care that people on my street were without power and heat for 10 days. They didn’t care that my friend, Old Man Gene, was stuck in his house for days and needed his medicine.

They didn’t care because it's only a real emergency if it happens to them.

Guess what? I want my Congressmen and Congresswomen to vote no for sending aid to Florida, not out of spite but out of compassion. It’s time to throw in the towel for Florida and cut our losses.

As a former Civil Engineer, the term climate change began to circulate in my professional circles around 2007. There was chatter about how the stormwater runoff models might be shifting. We relied on these models to estimate rainfall-runoff; recent observations indicated those models might be too conservative. We might be underestimating the volumes of rainfall.

How does that happen? It’s quite simple. Warming air temperatures tend to retain more moisture. When it does rain the storms become violent outbursts and you end up having high-intensity but short-duration storms.

Those storms are the worst because they trigger flooding as existing systems and infrastructure are overwhelmed. There’s a lot of erosion and destabilization of existing waterways and local destruction.

That happened in the New York City area back in 2007 which knocked out subway service throughout the city. I ended up working on a project to mitigate future flooding for the subways and “harden” existing infrastructure.

But people were still scared to say what was causing it. When the word climate change came up they either said it was a “liberal plot” or not real.

They said that the weather changes all the time. Who are we to play God?

They didn’t see the fallacy here, weather and climate change are related but not the same. Just because it snows more doesn’t mean climate change isn’t real, it just means that the warming earth lets storms hold more moisture and become more fierce.

That’s exactly what happened in NYC back in 2007 and what happened with Hurricane Ian. Warming waters and temperatures retain more moisture. That leads to more violent storms and more destruction.

On a side note, when Rick Scott was governor of Florida he halted the hardening work of the previous administration — that believed in science — and banned the word “climate change.”

Many people don’t want climate change to be real because it crimps their style. It hurts their pocketbook. They want to be frugal and financially conservative until a disaster befalls them. Then they want a big payout to “rebuild.”

It’s always the same schtick. It doesn’t exist until it happens to me. It’s always about ME!

Here’s my controversial take, don’t rebuild Florida. Instead, deploy my taxes to relocate people. Insurance companies are already leaving Florida, they know what’s up. They know they’ll go bankrupt if they have to pay out for all future disasters.

Move people to higher ground before it’s too late, because not only will the storms get worse but the sea level will rise.

Don’t believe me? Then look at these simulations by NOAA.

Here’s what Florida looks like now when there’s mean highest high water (MHHW). That’s the highest the water gets at the highest tide. See all the flood inundation?


Now this image shows what Florida would look like with a 1-foot sea level rise at MHHW. My beloved Keys will be toast.


Here’s a 3-foot sea level rise at MHHW. Miami is toast.


Don’t believe me? Go to NOAA and search your shoreline area with the simulator.

Don’t believe NOAA? Write your paper and back up your research and I’ll read it, but until then I’ll trust the NOAA scientists.

It’s time we take a hardline stance and stop rewarding bad behavior. Why do we continue to rebuild in disaster-prone areas if we’re responsible for making the disasters more dangerous?

That’s like giving an alcoholic the keys to a Lamborghini when we should’ve called him (or her) an Uber.

I have friends all over Florida and I feel for them. Some got hit hard and lost just about everything. Others got by with a bit of damage. Above all, my friends came out alive but 77 (and rising) people didn’t.

Let’s do the right thing and NOT REBUILD. Let’s RELOCATE and move people out of harm’s way. Let our human migration begin to the safer ground while we still have control.