MoonDawg's Den: And the winds fell upon them...

MoonDawg's Den

Thursday, June 01, 2006

And the winds fell upon them...

The last time a major (Category 3 or higher) hurricane hit Georgia was over a century ago in 1893, when the "Sea Islands Hurricane" smashed into coastal Georgia near Savannah with a 16-foot storm surge and at least 120mph winds. The storm then moved up into South Carolina and left parts of Charleston under as much as ten feet of water. Thousands were left dead and homeless by the hurricane, according to an 1894 article in Scribner's Magazine:
Savannah was more directly in the path of the storm, and the Sea Islands, that lie between that city and Charleston, were exposed to the full fury of the tempest. And the winds fell upon them as if trying to tear the earth asunder, and the rains beat upon them as if to wash them away, and the tide rose and swept over them twelve feet above high-water mark. Pitiable as the story is, it may be condensed into a few words: near three thousand people drowned, between twenty and thirty thousand human beings without means of subsistence, their homes destroyed, their little crops ruined, and their boats blown away.
Unfortunately, Georgia is long overdue for a repeat of the above cataclysm. Certainly today's technology and infrastructure will permit coastal Georgia to better prepare for such an event, but one wonders if a century of good luck will lull area residents into complacency. Such a thing is hard to imagine after a disaster like a Katrina happens, but one never knows.

The Weather Research Center's Orbital Cyclone Strike Index predicts a 90% chance of Georgia and the Carolinas experiencing a tropical storm or hurricane landfall during the 2006 season, which begins today. Georgians (and everyone else on the Gulf Coast and the Eastern Seaboard) should start preparing now.


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