1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

Oso devastation.

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Ripleysbaby, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. Ripleysbaby

    Ripleysbaby supernatural anesthetist

    Sep 9, 2011
    Cumbria UK
    Garry
    The awful event in Osa has brought back memories of a similar tragedy in Aberfan ,Wales in 1966. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all those affected.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
  3. Dewi Sant

    Dewi Sant SC Veteran

    364
    Dec 20, 2013
    Lancashire, England
    Guess?
    Heard about this as the news broke here in the UK but just seen the pics for the first time, absolutely dreadful. As you say BB, no words to describe how awful it must be for the familes. And yes, vivid memories of Aberfan spring to mind
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    Awful, just awful. The question is begged... why did they build in that area when it was already known that at some time, a slide would happen... sometimes you just have to wonder...
     
  5. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Sue, at times like this I often ask the same questions. How can people live on the fault line in San Francisco? Why in the world do people live in New Orleans (and yes.....why do they just keep rebuilding in the same place after every hurricane!)? Why do people live the in the flood plains of the Mississippi river? The entire chain of Hawaiian islands is part of a group of active volcanos.....people must be crazy to live there. Here in the Midwest of the US, we know that every year we'll see around 20-30 tornados pass through the area and just hope it doesn't affect us.

    I don;t think there exists a place that is foolproof against Mother Nature, but if there is, I'm sure there are other issues.

    I saw a clip on the news this morning of a dog being pulled from a bank of mud. He shook off some extra dirt and then took a really long pee. I smiled a bit, but then wondered if his family is still around to care for him. A lot of missing (and presumed dead)..... a lot of heartache.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I used to live in the Seattle area and spent a fair amount of time up in that area, cutting trees for a cabin a friend of mine and his brother were building on Camano Island, just west of Arlington. There are a lot of folks who live(d) up there and if you'd told them they COULDN'T build, they'd have showed up at the County Courthouse with guns and axes and come after your ass... Like the people who elected to stay in their homes near Mt. St. Helens when they KNEW that was gonna blow, some folks are just gonna do what they're gonna do. And in this case, it appears that there was very little building ON the hill that collapsed - the damage was to people who built in the relatively safer areas near the base of the hill. That's a very tough thing to regulate because these sorts of slides are REALLY tough to predict (except in retrospect, when everyone's an expert). And there's no way you're gonna limit building in every location that could be victimized if the whole hillside above it were to come down. Almost none of the cities or towns in the Pacific Northwest could exist if held to that standard. You try to limit construction ON the steepest parts of the hills so you don't make this sort of collapse more likely, but beyond a small geological buffer at the base, you can't really tell people they can't build below a hill that MIGHT eventually slide down on them.

    I worked in land use planning in the Puget Sound region for many years and the hilliness of the area combined with the very wet climate meant that regulating uses on steep slopes was ALWAYS a hot issue. People wanted to build - public officials were obligated to minimize risk. As with everything, we wrote ordinances to outlaw building in the absolute highest risk areas. Which is why the vast majority of landslides DON'T result in homes being destroyed and fatalities. But not EVERY landslide happens in the areas of highest risk (there was a whole formula dealing with degree of slope, soil type, geology at the base of the hill, etc) and occasionally building will be allowed in an area of some (but not the highest) risk and there will be a terrible incident where lives and property DO come into play. Like everything, public officials try to mitigate the highest risks, but people ultimately assume some risk for their actions in some of those marginal areas where regulations don't quite reach but there's still some risk of disaster. And the odds are that a rural area like Snohomish County is gonna be a lot more lax in their regulations than the City of Seattle and it's suburban cities (which is where I was working). It's a political reality - those folks are less likely to want government "telling them what to do" so they elect people who won't regulate as stringently and they don't. And things like this are more likely to happen. And again, these were mostly people living near the base of the hill - not building ON the hill, so it's a much tougher situation to have anticipated or tried to regulate.

    It's a terrible shame, but these things are, frankly, inevitable. But fortunately quite rare, which is why it's such a big story when it happens...

    Don't even get me started on floodplain regs and the whole Federal Flood Insurance program that basically encouraged people to build in the most vulnerable areas (barrier islands off of New Jersey, for example, that took the brunt of the damage from Hurricane Sandy) and then pays for the repairs when the predictable worst occasionally happens. Oy Vey!

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 3
  7. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I see people build houses on flood plains all the time. The land is cheap and it's all they can afford. In the 27 years I've been in this part of VA, I've seen two floods that were serious enough to take out houses. Some moved on and some rebuilt. This is the same drive that let our species settle new continents.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    In areas with little enough development, it usually isn't a problem. In areas with more development, the development creates the problem for downstream properties, which we also encourage to be built upon. You know what the frequency of the mythical 100 year storm is in lots of exurban and suburban areas? About once every five years or so in a lot of locations. And barrier islands are specifically designed by nature/god (your choice) to protect mainland areas - they're mean to MOVE, not to stay forever in one place. And building on them is beyond asking for trouble - it's INSISTING on trouble.

    Regardless, it's one thing if people want to build in a floodplain and assume all the risk. But when the federal government encourages them to build there by insuring them against damages, I've got a real problem with that. And I'm a pretty far left liberal on a lot of things, so I'm not an anti-government person on many issues - but that's just stupid government IMHO...

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Just a reminder that discussions of a political nature are not allowed on the website.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    Here in Albuquerque the city has grown deeply into the foothills of the Sandia mountains that border us on the east. The mountains themselves were in part formed when a huge and still existing fault along the Rio Grande pushed them up some 10,000 ft; you can see the diagonal of the geological layers on the mountains. It's very interesting. But eventually -- who knows when? -- there will be a major earthquake in Albuquerque, and those huge boulders already perched precariously on the eastern slope wlll come rumbling down, crushing anything in their path, including some very nice homes of friends of mine, assuming that they are not long gone already.

    In this case, no one can be sure when the event will occur, and it could be eons from now, or it could be soon. Meantime, this is prime real estate, with a view of the rocky slopes of the Sandias practically in your backyard, and, to the west, a great view of the entire city and sunsets that can be spectacular. My own dream house would be a nice old abode structure in the valley, but then, if Cochiti dam to the north, an army corps of engineers project, were ever to fail, I'd be swept away in a flood. The control of the river is causing the Bosque to die, but pictures from the 1930's show flooding well into residential areas even then. We like to feel like we are safe in between the mountains and the river, but during very heavy summer rains, cars have been swept into arroyos, and not just by having been driven heedlessly through deep, flowing water. Sometimes it finds you.

    We close our doors and we all feel safe, but natural events can find us out anywhere. I live in a pretty big mobile home, and though tornadoes are rare around here, they are not unheard of. Call me dead meat if one pops up in the neighborhood. Not to mention the statistics about lightning strikes in New Mexico. And Boston, where I grew up, is ripe for a tsunami, according to some: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/04/19/study-boston-new-england-at-greatest-tsunami-risk-in-us


    All I'm saying is I weep for those people who felt safe in their houses and who nonetheless perished. It's a more wide-spread possibility than any of us would like to acknowledge. Be safe.
     
  11. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Absolutely, very bad things can happen to anyone at anytime. But you play the odds and try to minimize the chances. And, frankly, the chance those poor folks took was probably lesser than the ones a LOT of people - rich, poor, and in-between - take every day in terms of where their homes are located - locating homes there was probably a lot more prudent than locating them in a LOT of places that they're located in much greater densities. Except, of course, in retrospect. I'm quite sure every time each of us gets in a car and goes out playing in traffic our odds of survival are much worse than almost anyone anywhere sitting in their home, but most of us do it pretty close to every day. So you pay your money and you take your chances. These poor souls in Snohomish County were just really damned unlucky.

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    I've lived in "Dixie Alley" now for 15 years. 3 years ago we had a big EF5 rumble about 5 miles north of the apartment and then an EF1 just half a mile north. We can always build basements and the warning systems have gotten much better over the years.

    I'm not sure what one does for mudslides like this. Thoughts and prayers are with those folks.
     
    • Like Like x 1