Wildfire in Florida Causes Highway Closures

A wildfire in Orange City, Florida next to the I-4 caused some lane closures and a huge traffic jam. There are actually three fires which are being fought by multiple fire units from surrounding areas, which were first reported at 1:43 pm. The fire is in the westbound lane causing traffic to be backed up for miles, with eastbound traffic also being affected. Officials have claimed that 350 acres have already been blackened the flames. While the fire chief from Orange City has stated that the fires have been contained, the winds have shifted. Meanwhile the Florida Traffic Patrol has released a warning saying that the fire, wind and smoke conditions are subject to sudden change which could lead to more closures and worsening traffic. The Florida Traffic Patrol advises that the roads in these areas should be avoided.

It is not uncommon for Florida to have wildfires, but the fact that this one was right next to what sounds like a major highway sounds unreal to me, as someone from Virginia. It is also frightening to think that this fire was so close to so many people who really had no way to escape or anywhere to go. What I have the hardest time imagining is driving on a highway and turning to my left to see a massive fire just roaring on the side of the road. The good news is that it sounds as though the fires are being contained, the bad news is that winds are shifting and that means the fire is going to get more unpredictable. However this report was from a couple of hours ago and nothing new has been reported or written so I am guessing that the situation is much the same as it was when this report was written. I find it interesting that this report seems to be more about the traffic jam, and closed lanes than the actual fire.

http://www.wesh.com/article/wildfire-causing-backups-and-road-closures/9280443

Tornado in Houston

On Wednesday March 29, 2017 an EF-1 tornado ripped through the Azalea Place Apartment complex in South Western Houston, Texas. This tornado was about 50 yards wide, with 90 mile per hour winds, and traveled about .27 miles in total. Regardless of its small size, the damage that it inflicted could take up to months to repair. Some of the people directly damaged include two people who were in cars, one of which was bruised by debris which crashed through the roof. One lucky baby, was a literal baby who narrowly escaped pieces of the ceiling which fell in the crib. The residents of the ground floor apartments are drying out their homes as a result of subsequent flooding from this tornado. The good news is that there were no serious injuries and the American Red Cross is on the scene to help families who have been displaced.

90 mile per hour winds sound super fast, and this tornado is only an EF-1. It is weird to think that something that fast, would be considered small. What I find the most interesting about this story is the inclusion of the flooding in the ground-level apartments. The reasons that these apartments flooded was not listed, but I can only think of two reasons for the flooding. The first is that the winds caused a nearby body of water to blow into the apartment complex- which is really only possible if the apartment complex backs a pond, a lake, or a stream. The second possibility is that they strong winds caused damage to the apartment’s pipelines causing flooding. If the flooding is the result of the first case then it proves that disasters tend to perpetrate one another. If the second possibility is the real cause of the flooding then this shows how people can make a disaster so much worse, but more importantly it shows that building for disasters is essential. If this is an area which is prone to tornadoes then there must be some way in which the pipes can be built so they do not break once exposed to intense wind, or built in a location which ensures that falling debris will not break them.

The article talks about this tornado only hitting one specific Apartment complex, which just solidifies that tornadoes are some of the most unpredictable of all storms. The good news is that there were no serious injuries and no deaths.

http://www.click2houston.com/news/ef-1-tornado-rips-through-sw-houston