Saturday, October 20, 2012

Edna Buchanan takes a swipe at environmentalists, greedy developers and the Miami Herald

UPDATED at 12:05pm, Oct. 21, 2012: Miami Herald environmental reporter Curtis Morgan has responded to Edna's Facebook post.
I wrote that piece and I didn't take any bait, Edna. Of course it was a stunt and yes the tides flooded the streets. But it's not simply the moon at work here. That high tide and others are higher than they were in the past - eight inches or maybe more over the last century. That's why the city is spending $200-plus million to fix a system that handled those same seasonal tides fine 20 to 30 years ago but no longer does. Trust me, moon or not, Miami Beach's drainage system was never designed or intended to pump sea water into the streets - just ask the city's engineers and consultants. As I wrote in a story two months ago or so, the sea level rise in South Florida has compromised far more than Miami Beach's sewers. You've also got coastal drainage structures on the mainland that no longer function at certain tides but worked fine decades ago. They have and will continue to lose a large chunk of the capacity to handle flood water and it's going to take hundreds of millions of dollars to fix them. This sort of street flooding is easy to dismiss now because it doesn't amount to much more than rusty cars and signposts but, pardon the bad joke, it's just the tip of the ice berg if some future predictions hold true.

Retired Miami Herald crime reporter Edna Buchanan used Facebook on Friday to launch a broadside at an assortment of people, including some wacky environmentalists, greedy developers and (surprise!) the editors at the Herald.

I share the concerns about polar bears, penguins, baby seals and all other creatures aboard this shrinking and increasingly sweaty planet.

However, [a rally by] environmental activists at South Beach on Thursday, October 18, was contrived, disingenuous and no credit to their cause. They posed for photos, barefoot in ankle deep water, as one cried: "Nowhere else is the reality of climate change more visible than right here, right now ..." The Miami Herald bought it hook line and sinker with a story and four-column color photo splashed across today's local section, under the heading: "With Miami Beach streets flooded by sea water as a backdrop, environmentalists called on presidential campaigns to deal with the touchy topic of global warming."
Miami Herald, Oct. 19, 2012 - page 1B

Shame on them.

They lied. It's not global warming. Look up for heaven's sake. What do you see? It's the moon! South Beach floods each and every October when the moon is at perigee. It always has. Always will. The moon was at perigee on Wednesday October, 17. The rally was clearly planned to coincide with that date. They think we're stupid.

The path of the moon around the earth is an ellipse with a closest approach, perigee, and farthest point apogee. The additional increase in lunar gravitational force on the earth at perigee can lead to higher tides than would normally occur. Especially in a sea level city built on a mangrove swamp surrounded by water. Happens every fall. Without fail.

Back in the sixties, I had to wear fireman's boots to make it to the back door of Epicure and the West Avenue Post Office every October at perigee. 2012, as my husband drove off to Publix Wednesday, I warned him to watch out for the flooding on West Avenue. I'm not psychic. It happens like clockwork every October.

I was born on the full moon, grew up fascinated by the night sky. It comes in handy to know when the full moon is about to rise. It certainly did when I covered crime for the Herald. Seriously. The moon controls the tides, imagine the effect it has on human bodies, which are sixty percent water.

Miami Beach did nothing as the city grew from a small town to a concrete canyon. Its infrastructure is crumbling, outdated, overwhelmed and way overdue for upgrading. I'm glad they're doing some of that now, but the city will always have moon-related flooding in October.

I am not saying global warming doesn't exist. I'm just saying that it's definitely not responsible for this week's flooding. We may even have more on the full moon, Monday the 29th. But it looks like the worst is over for this fall.

The city, of course, is far hotter than it has ever been, but that's not global warming either. It's the greedy developers who overbuilt, (with the eager cooperation of our city fathers and mothers) cut down all the shade trees and replaced them with skinny palms, paved over almost every green space, and blocked all the sea breezes with their concrete canyons. Thanks to them, a resort city where temperatures never rose above 86 degrees year-round is now 110 degrees in the shade -- in October.

Keep looking up.

Edna B.

From July 16, 2012: Edna Buchanan is pissed!

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