Nuclear North Korea. Missile Warnings. Random Thoughts.

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Edmund Burke, (1729-1797)

Bill Clinton’s administration signed a “deal” with North Korea that was supposed to ensure they didn’t get nuclear weapons. (How’s that working out?) The political class loves deals. They love to talk. Because ultimately, it means they don’t have to deal with the issues, but can kick them down the road. This is true of local politics (look at Chicago’s pension crisis as an example) as it is in geopolitics.

The video below is of Clinton. He is so sure that this deal will ensure “peace for our time.” He didn’t say that, exactly. I don’t think any politician will utter those exact words since the travesty of the Munich Agreement, when Neville Chamberlain told the Brits to “go home, and sleep quietly in your beds.” That was right before the Germans kicked off World War II. They didn’t get peace in their time. We didn’t get a nuclear-free North Korea. (And I doubt we will see a nuclear-free Iran, but that is story for another day.)

On the subject of nuclear weapons. Americans never learned the lesson of the Cold War. The US government’s position that any preparation in the face of nuclear war was pointless. Hollywood was ready to lend a hand with that myth. (Actually, I think they just wanted to spend the money in other ways.) Russia didn’t hold that idea. They had (have) substantial shelters – at least near Moscow. And the Swiss have fallout shelters for their entire population. I believe it was written into their building code sometime during the Cold War. (It isn’t tough to build fallout shelters, and not impossible to build blast shelters. Though you do need time.) The Swiss even considered relaxing the requirement for shelters (2005), but ultimately decided it was worth the cost to be prepared for war or terrorism.

In terms of being prepared. It is important – even if you don’t have a prebuilt shelter – to know what to do. The BBC, of all places, has a reasonable article on the topic. How to survive a missile attack: What’s the official advice?

Secondly, don’t try to run. You’re safer inside the closest, most protective building – below ground if possible, somewhere like a concrete basement.

The goal should be to put the maximum space between yourself and potential nuclear fallout.

Not “distance.” Matter. Concrete and earth. Books. Anything. And take some food, and water. While radiation can travel through stuff, fallout is in the form of dust. Breathing it in, or getting it in your eyes, or a cut is bad. I won’t give you info on shelters, because that info is easy enough to find with your favorite search engine. (I hope that’s not Google, but hey…)

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Prepping

If you have to bug out in a hurry, like the poor folks in California’s Wine Country. How fast could you go? (And not be stuck at the shelter in you PJs?)

OK, I get that things are bad in Puerto Rico. But why are you running low on diesel after 5 days?

There are million stories on what the storms did to Puerto Rico. But this one item caught my eye. ‘This Is Chaos’: Day 5 in Storm-Ravaged, Blacked-Out Puerto Rico – Bloomberg

A nursing home in San Juan made desperate pleas for diesel as its power generator ran low.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in the form of Ready.gov, tells EVERYONE in the US to be ready for AT LEAST 3 days on your own. Now I know, 5 days is more than 3 days, but if you live near the path of almost every hurricane every year, then MAYBE you should plan for a lot more than 3 days. Like Weeks maybe.

Folks the federal.gov has PROVEN – under both Republican and Democratic administrations – that they CANNOT save you from all circumstances. You need to do some things for yourself.

Now I actually have a lot more sympathy for the folks in Puerto Rico than say those in Houston. The folks in Houston – 80% of them or more – could have gotten in the cars and driven away on Tuesday before that storm hit the Texas coast. But the folks on Puerto Rico didn’t really have that option. (Not to mention that if the able bodied got out of the way of the Hurricane Harvey, it would have been easier to rescue those who couldn’t rescue themselves. But the elected to stay and became part of the problem.)

But back to the main point. Government can’t – and doesn’t know how – to do everything. It will be days before government – or the Cajun Navy – can get to you. What are you going to do in the meantime? What hazards are you susceptible to? Earthquakes? Mudslides? Hurricanes? Toxic waste spills? How long are you prepared to take care of yourself? (Again the .gov says AT LEAST 3 days. They also provide some documentation.)

Is It Just Me, Or Does the Media Sound Like They Want Jose to Hit the East Coast?

Tropical Storm Watches are in place for parts of the east coast, as of 11:00 PM. A Watch means that Tropical Storm Conditions are POSSIBLE within the next 48 hours. Possible, but not guaranteed.

At 1100 PM EDT (0300 UTC), the center of Hurricane Jose was located near latitude 32.2 North, longitude 71.6 West. Jose is moving toward the north near 9 mph (15 km/h) and this general motion is expected to continue through Monday night. A turn toward the north-northeast is expected on Tuesday. On the forecast track, the center of Jose is forecast to pass well offshore of the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Monday, and pass well east of the Delmarva peninsula Monday night and Tuesday.

2017 storm 12 (That location puts the center of the storm about 305 miles SE of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.)

The storm track at right is from Tropical Tidbits. Click on it for a larger view.

Tropical storm pass “well east” of the East Coast can still drop a lot of rain. 3 to 5 inches wouldn’t seem like a lot to the folks in Houston, but I’m sure it can cause havoc on Long Island.

But everywhere I look the media is drumming up fear for the east coast. I guess that is how they sell clicks.

So I guess the real question, is everyone on Long Island ready for the worst? Is anyone? Somehow I doubt it. And they should be prepared, because the forecasters can’t predict the weather…

So Are People Ready to Prepare in Advance of a Disaster?

Irma

NHC Forecast for Sept. 8, 2017 at 2AM EDT

The cynic in me says, “Probably not.”

As I mentioned during the aftermath of Harvey, while the good people of Houston and environs were being rescued by the Cajun Navy, and shelters were running short on food about how both FEMA and the Red Cross were overwhelmed after a disaster. This isn’t new. They were overwhelmed after Andrew 25 years ago, and they were overwhelmed after Katrina.

I also mentioned that FEMA recommends you be prepared with AT LEAST 72 hours of food and water, medicines and anything else you need. (They even provide a website that tells you what to put in your disaster kit.)

It is probably too late for the people in South Florida to do much that they haven’t already done. But folks in northern Florida, or Georgia have some time to get ready. As do the people in both North and South Carolina.

Did anyone learn the lessons of Harvey? (Or Katrina? Or Andrew?)

As I write this, at 2 AM on Friday, Hurricane Irma is 535 miles ESE of Miami. Irma is moving WNW at 16 MPH, but is expected to slow some. Click the image above for a larger view of the forecast track.

Water Storage In Advance of a Disaster

I always wonder about why people don’t store water ahead of an emergency. You can go for days or weeks without food. But you can’t go very long without water.

you KNOW a storm is coming, you’re told to put water in the tub. But this fixes things for the squeamish. The WaterBOB holds 100 gallons of water in a state ready for drinking. In your bathtub. Just fill it the day before the storm. (Hat tip Instapundit) 25 bucks for peace of mind? Well worth it to folks in Hurricane Country.

But you can’t carry your bathtub with you if you do need to bug out. The Life Straw will let you drink most sources of water – use your head – without getting sick. It is 15 bucks. (one per family member?) Up to 1000 gallons.

Or the Sawyer products filter – more expensive, but arguably better filtration.

The other way to store water ahead of an emergency is in food-grade barrels or drums. This kit has a 55 gallon barrel, a pump, everything you need – provided you have the room to store it in a garage or somewhere. Additional drums are cheaper. (Most homes in hurricane country don’t have basements.)

Smaller containers are also available.

The standard filter for being in one place is the Big Berkey. This filter has been around for a long time. put the questionable water in the top, and the filtered water is drawn out the bottom.

If you live somewhere like coastal Texas, or Florida, or earthquake country, where you might be facing a regional emergency, then you need to do something besides hope that Walmart has cases of plastic-bottled water AFTER the emergency.

FEMA and Red Cross – once again – are overwhelmed.

This point needs to be upfront. FEMA – the federal .gov – tells you IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that you need to be able to take care of yourself in the event of a disaster. They are telling you to PREPARE ahead of time. Too bad most people don’t listen to them, and instead expect them to do things they say they cannot do. (Links are below)

FEMA was overwhelmed by Hurricane Andrew and by Hurricane Katrina and now it is overwhelmed by Hurricane Harvey. You can hope that a bunch of bureaucrats can take care of everyone in the next disaster OR you can follow the advice that they give and be prepared to take care of yourself and your family. Be prepared with AT LEAST 72 hours of food, water, medicine, etc. Shelters overwhelmed by the number of Harvey victims seeking it – Houston Chronicle

First, they don’t have the food needed for this disaster.

By Monday morning, more than 2,000 flood victims had taken refuge there, and the Red Cross was rationing food. No one between the ages of 10 and 75 who wasn’t sick or pregnant could get a meal.

One of the refugees they portray – who had to change shelters at least once – passed out on either Sunday or Monday (it doesn’t say) due to dehydration. Considering the amount of rain that has fallen on Houston in the past few days, that just seems wrong on several levels.

Cots are in short supply at some shelters. Other shelters are cut off from everything by flood waters. (The Red Cross and FEMA apparently don’t have access to any boats for delivering those supplies.) Supplies at central depots don’t do much good right now, though they will help by the end of he week I’m sure.

So what does FEMA say you are supposed to do? Build A Kit. All in all it is a good list considering how short it is. Don’t want to overwhelm people! But the first 2 items are worth repeating here.

• Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
• Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

This info is somewhat buried on the Ready.gov website, but it is there. Which is a bit amazing to me. The federal .gov is telling you that you can’t rely on them to save your ass. For AT LEAST 3 days. (Just when you thought you would never see honesty in government!) It is beyond 3 days in Houston, and I would say that they still have a way to go.

Since I am prepared to bug out, and I don’t fancy the idea of carrying gallons of water in a backpack, I have water filtration straws I can carry. I also have fairly industrial-grade water filters if I can stay home. In a hurricane you can catch rain water (which is usually drinkable) with a clean tarp and a clean container to hold the water and some rope or something to suspend the tarp. When metric tons of water have just been dropped on you, there is no reason that anyone should be dealing with dehydration.

Now maybe you can’t stay in your home. Due to flooding in Texas or wildfires in California or whatever. That doesn’t change your responsibility to take care of yourself and your family. But it does require you do a little preparation ahead of time. A backpack. Decent shoes or hiking boots. Supplies of food and source of water. Clothes. Medicine. Whatever.

And yes, I know that not everyone is physically able to walk out of a disaster area. If all the able-bodied people took care of themselves, it would be a lot less work for the city, the state and the feds to deal with who was left. If you look at the Houston Chronicle article, there are the required photos of the elderly and infirm, but if you view the entire gallery there are a lot of able-bodied folks who apparently think it is not their responsibility to take care of themselves in any way. And this just plain wrong.