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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

If Winds Don't Cause Storm Surges, Where Do Storm Surges Come From? Or, Why I Refuse To Call It 'Superstorm Sandy'

I have recoiled since the media and government began calling Hurricane Sandy 'Superstorm Sandy.' Living in a world controlled by legalese, I waited for the day when insurance companies and the government would walk away from claims because they were prepared to cover damage from a hurricane, not an unprecedented 'super storm.'

Even though what follows is not exactly proof that my fears are warranted, if after reading this piece you still scoff at the idea, you're not paying attention to the world you live in:

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Ten months after Hurricane Sandy destroyed most of Union Beach, and great chunks of the Jersey Shore in general, the owners of Jakeabob's Bay, a popular beachfront restaurant and bar were informed that their insurance carrier had determined the building had sustained $9,657.14 in wind damage.

According to Lloyd's of London, this building sustained $9,657.14 in wind damage.
I took this picture on 11-27-12, 1 month after the storm.

Of course, the game the insurance carrier is playing is to parse 'wind damage' from 'water damage.' It's important to note that the owner's deductible is $10,000, so the adjuster's conclusion means the insurance company owes the people who purchased insurance from them will get absolutely nothing in return. The owner's are responsible for the wind damage, and presumably the rest of the damage. I'm sure they're not concerned about wind or water, they just know their business is destroyed.

There's no word yet on how much under the owner's water damage deductible will be. 

I'm interested in the formula the adjuster used to arrive at the $9657.14 figure. If I was a heartless thief, I might look at this building and say the only (wind) damage I see is a few shingles missing off the roof. Unfortunately for me, I am a human being.


Two Questions


  1. How was the adjuster able to determine what was wind damage and what was solely water damage?
  2. Why is the damage from the water caused by the wind-driven storm surge not considered wind damage? After all, if the wind wasn't blowing like it was, the 14' storm surge wouldn't have piled up and took the building down. 

If you are not feeling a lump of anger in your throat, you're either a government official, government employee, an insurance adjuster, or you have completely stopped thinking.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, people are being screwed in every possible way, every single day, but what Miley Cyrus does on a cable show no one really watches is the only thing we want to talk about.

We have willingly put our lives in the hands of fools who are not capable of keeping their word or doing the right thing. We have allowed a political and corporate system to develop around us that has one purpose: maintaining power at the expense of the people they claim to serve.

It's time to restructure the political and corporate system. It's time for us to rediscover our principles and to live our lives by them. It's past time for us all to understand that bad things don't just happen to 'them' anymore, they are happening to 'us' on a regular basis.

To me, Hurricane Sandy has become symbolic of the struggle this country faces as it tries to preserve its core values and personal independence. If we struggle through this storm and find ourselves unchanged as the sun breaks out, well then, shame on us.

So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn't get in, and walk through it, step by step. There's no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That's the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine. 
And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You'll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.
And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about." - Haruki Murakami, Kafka On the Shore


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