Author Topic: Florida's Babcock Ranch was built to survive a storm. Hurricane Ian was the town's first test. Incre  (Read 459 times)

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Online libertybele

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Florida's Babcock Ranch was built to survive a storm. Hurricane Ian was the town's first test. Incredibly, the community weathered the storm – emerging almost unscathed

When Hurricane Ian made landfall on the southwest Florida coast, it brought 150mph (241km/h) winds, 17 inches (43cm) of rain within 24 hours, and storm surges of up to 18ft (5.5m). It was the costliest hurricane in Florida's history, causing more than $112bn (£88bn) in damage – and at least 150 deaths.

The category four storm, which hit Florida on 28 September 2022, knocked out power to more than four million people in the state, and caused catastrophic flooding.

Amid the calamity, there was one community that weathered the storm surprisingly well: Babcock Ranch, an 18,000-acre (73 sq km) development that was sitting in the eye of the storm, on the southwest of the state, just north of Fort Myers. Built to withstand powerful storms, the town came out relatively unscathed.

And although it was not in the direct line of hurricane Idalia when it swept across the southeastern United States at the end of August, the town may yet get to prove its resilience again this year.

The 2023 hurricane season is expected to be even more severe than the one experienced in 2022. Atmospheric scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have predicted an "above normal" season, with as many as five major hurricanes – which would bring winds of 111mph and higher.

Florida is more likely to flood than any other state in the US due to its flat terrain. Despite this, only 18% of Florida homes have flood insurance – some residents even report their insurance would be more than their rent. A recent study found the cost of insurance was projected to increase by 40% in 2023. Exacerbating the issue is the explosive population growth and subsequent housing development that's taken place over the past century – much of it on the wetlands that would normally help prevent to flooding. Over the next 50 years, Florida's population is expected to increase by another 12 million people, and the proportion of land developed could jump from 18% to 28% – an increase of 3.5m acres (14,000 sq km).

Building climate-resilient communities is especially important in a state like Florida, which experiences a six month-long hurricane season. And that's exactly what Syd Kitson, developer of Babcock Ranch, hoped he'd achieved...............
Romans 12:16-21

Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly, do not claim to be wiser than you are.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.  If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all…do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.