September 26, 2017

Dropping the Ball?

The situation in Puerto Rico is BAD.

It's not getting much better as the electrical grid on the island is completely destroyed and emergency generators are running out of fuel.  6 days after the storm there is still no word from over half the towns on the island!

It is not that no attention is being paid, it is. Rather there are logistical problems here that weren't present with the other storms that hit the U.S..

Cdr Salamander has thoughts on this here, and makes some interesting comparisons to Connecticut, roughly the same shape, size and population. Also, from his comments section, comes this link, where NOAA is putting up an interactive map of post hurricane aerial photos of the island. These are mostly limited as I type this to the north coast east of Arecibo, but they are pretty scary.

It looks like a nuclear test site. 

Those of you who've been in the Southeast in August in the week after a hurricane hits have a very small taste of what it's like in Puerto Rico with no AC, no water and no refrigeration. The mosquitoes are something I don't want to think about. Dengue, Malaria and Zikka are coming if more is not done in the spraying department. 

Everything has to get in via ship or plane, so the 'roadtrip for relief' operations that have been so effective in the southeastern CONUS won't work.   A lot is actually being done, and theArmy and Navy are bypassing the demolished port facilities with amphibious landing craft. But time is running out and this could turn unspeakably horrible real quick. 

One final note, while Puerto Rico's electrical infrastructure was pretty decrepit before the storm, it was not nearly as old as much of the grid is in the northeast. There are challenges in getting replacement transformers and other equipment there due to it being an island, but these are probably comparable to what our great eastern cities would face if the entire northeast were shut down by a Carrington event or NEMP attack. As for the difficulty getting around to fix things and save people, the damage to the trees and structures is consistent with a 1-5 psi blast wave. What Puerto Rico is facing now is the equivalent in damage to a nuclear attack, minus the fires and radiation. It also lacks the sub freezing temperatures that an attack on the northeast in winter would entail. 

So don't be smug about out fellow citizens in the islands. How we respond to this will be telling. 

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 06:26 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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