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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Florida the rules are different here Chapter CXLII

A controversy is brewing in Daytona Beach over tsunami warning signs. Some people feel they are necessary, some say it will scare tourists since such an event hasn't happened in Florida at least 120 years. TFM notes people are more likely to get killed driving to the beach, maybe we should put a sign up warning people about that! Don't you just love Florida.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Perri Nelson, The World According to Carl,

Visitors to Daytona Beach already get warnings about sharks, jellyfish and rip currents.

Now tourism advocates are trying to keep another hazard off that list: tsunamis.

As the county completes a National Weather Service program to develop a tsunami-disaster plan, there has been talk of putting warning signs along the beach. The signs would feature a distressed stick figure fleeing a gigantic curl of a wave and would tell beachgoers to seek higher ground if a tsunami were to strike.

But the likelihood of a tsunami is so slight -- there hasn't been one in Florida in more than a century -- that Daytona Beach Commissioner Rick Shiver said the signs could do more harm than good.

"If I'm riding through the mountains, and I see a sign that says, 'Caution: Avalanche,' I'm looking for an avalanche to occur," he said. "If I see a sign on the beach that says 'Tsunami Hazard Zone,' I'm assuming we're going to have a tsunami. That would be critically bad for our tourism."

Signs have already been made, but they may never see the Daytona sun.

Volusia County Emergency Management Director James Ryan said he brought up the idea of signs recently to local officials and businesses. After such a negative reaction, County Manager James Dinneen said he and the County Council are unlikely to support the signs. Without their support, the signs can't be used.

Although Volusia County already participates in the National Weather Service's StormReady program, the TsunamiReady title will be another preparedness feather in the county's cap. If a tsunami were to swell over Daytona Beach, the county would likely have two to five hours of advance notice to get people off the beach and onto higher ground.

There are more than 40 TsunamiReady sites in the country, most on the West Coast and in Hawaii. The only Florida site is Indian Harbour Beach in Brevard County. One of the other East Coast sites is Myrtle Beach, S.C., where tsunami signs were placed on the shore with no protest.

"I don't think that thought entered our minds," said Mark Kruea, spokesman for the city of Myrtle Beach. "I think our visitors are sophisticated enough to realize that a tsunami is a long shot but take comfort in knowing that we're ready should one occur."

The signs were put up in October. Kruea said he hasn't heard anything since.

An 1886 Jacksonville wave is the only record of a tsunami in Florida, but even that report is unconfirmed, said Dennis Decker, warning-coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Melbourne. He said a potential tsunami could be caused by seismic activity in the Caribbean and could increase ocean levels 10 to 15 feet.

Despite the slim chance of a tsunami, Ryan said Volusia County will be prepared.


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