Though humans consider themselves smarter than animals, they continue to build and rebuild in places prone to tornadoes and floods. Ferocious weather does not have any sympathy, does not give anyone a break. It has been compelled by the atmosphere for billions of years and to heck with those in its way. So why don’t people better prepare themselves with sensible solutions? Why do they buy mobile homes in the path of tornadoes or build homes on beaches susceptible to hurricanes – still?
Tornadoes love flat land, like tornado alley. If people cannot or will not move to a safer area, I suggest they build underground and the dirt excavated be turned into manmade hills that will further deter tornadoes and make them less dangerous. Maybe insurance companies and/or states could help fund these mound-home communities instead of paying to replace destroyed ones with replicas? Unlike the Big Bad Wolf, tornadoes can and do destroy stone and brick structures. Nothing above ground is safe.
The continental United States has three coastlines and myriad waterfronts from lakes, rivers, and creeks. Even in the desert there is flash flooding of ravines and dry gulches. Where there is water, flooding is inevitable. For centuries, Americans have built near water, first out of necessity and then for pleasure, and had to face the consequences. The prettiest, calmest of water areas or dry creek beds can turn turbulent and deadly with heavy rain and/or fast torrential storms. In flood plains, along the coastlines, and within close proximity to any waterfront, common sense calls for houses on stilts. Every structure built in these potential flooding areas should be on cement or steel piers. Along the Gulf of Mexico coastline, many homes are built on piers, enabling them to ride out rising hurricane tides. However, this should be mandatory for all water areas, despite the aesthetics and desires for lovely gardens. But, since necessity is the mother of invention, stilt homes can be quite innovative and beautiful gardens can be grown in pots on decks.
In June 2010, New Braunfels flooded. Overnight this RV park on the Guadalupe River was underwater, with the river swiftly rising to just a few feet below the top of these bridges.
This lone house on stilts a few hundred yards east (down river) of the RV park was the only one fully visible in the mostly posh riverfront neighborhood. Its sensible owners have every right to be proud of themselves.
With New Braunfels having two rivers, a “hundred-year flood” (ga.usgs.100yearflood) can occur every six to ten years.