Friday, June 20, 2008

500-Year Flood every 50 years - Isn't It Strange?

Ask almost any civil engineer why 10-year rain events seem to occur every 3 years; why 50-year rain events seem to occur every 10 years; why 100-year rain events seem to occur every 20 years and they will tell you something that makes absolutely no sense.

Isn't it strange that June's "500-year rain event" in the midwest occurs every 50 years or so? And levees designed for a 100-year storm seem to get breached every 20 years?

Could it be that the same civil engineering mindset that designs the levees also defines and establishes the flood zone categories for FEMA?

Enough of a sense of [false] security is established to lead the trusting souls who buy property to declare: "Hey, flooding over here won't occur but once in 100 years! Over there flooding won't occur but once in 500 years. Great - we don't need to get flood insurance." What special interest gains by this scenario?

Something is wrong with this picture. The only thing that makes sense to me is that there is a blatant conflict of interest when the engineers who establish the flood zones are the same ones who design the levees. Obviously this combination does not work. And who established and administers this system? FEMA. What special interest group likely controls this aspect of FEMA oversight? Civil engineers.

When we blame government for its failures, look to the private sector special interest group that often controls and manipulates that "oversight". Oh, and of course, the realtors, developers, contractors, bankers and many others who profit by the development and sale of land also lend their special interest influence on government to make sure "evil and oppressive" government standards do not interfere with their business practices and bottom line.

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