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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hurricane Dolly - Our Technology Needs Updating

Mapquest says that where I live near Houston is 375 miles from Brownsville where DOLLY is moving in - and yet we are still getting rain bands and thunderstorms from it.

AMAZING, how BIG these monsters are. We are lucky; we are on the "wet" side and are getting some much needed rain, but without the threat of any flooding. Flooding will be an issue for poor Brownsville, which may get lucky if DOLLY comes in just a few miles north of town. That would keep it on the "dry" side - where the winds come in from the land side instead of the "wet" side where they are coming in from the ocean side - with the tidal surge that goes with it.

We found out with RITA in 2005 that being a few miles on the "dry" side makes all the difference. Houston was spared major damage, and really didn't get any rain--unlike Beaumont and areas 50 to 100 miles east of here, including Louisiana, that got beaten up by it right after KATRINA did her thing.

I still see little real preparation here for a major storm. Officials are still touting old technology like plywood in an age where people could/should have 24/7 protection with (Miami-Dade certified) security window film that replaces shutters and plywood--and you don't have to be home (putting them on) for it to work. Plus it saves energy, which neither shutters nor plywood do (unless you keep them closed all the time so you can't see outside!)

But if you wait until it is too late--like today in Brownsville, and maybe next week somewhere else on the Texas/U.S. coast, then trying to nail plywood on a second story in 60 mile an hour winds is the only choice left. Try to avoid that.

Someone emailed and asked me to advertise. I told him that was the last thing I need right now--our installers are booked until the first of August--and then they have several projects that fill up August. Both commercial and residential. I don't need to have thousands of people calling me and then being frustrated because they can't get it "today."

Security window film isn't something that some Bubba can slap up on his own (and look nice). It takes trained, experienced professionals. We are going carefully so that the work is done right the first time.

Maybe DOLLY will wake up those officials that keep insisting people put a bunch of plywood in their garage. There it can sit and take up space so that the bugs can eat it -- until you try to put it on in a future storm, and end up sailing downwind on it in a stiff breeze. "Joe was last seen flying out of the neighborhood on a piece of plywood."

We live in "Space city" and high-tech America. We also live in a known hurricane zone. Let's upgrade our technology to be better prepared for future DOLLY's who come our way...

I'm riding out this storm in my condo on Clear Lake - behind Miami Dade certified Security Window Film, which is also screening out 99% of harmful UV rays and cutting my energy bill!

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