Hurricane Michael missed us. Fortunately. All we got was a lot of high wind, rain, and frayed nerves. People well east of us… were not so lucky.
They’re going to be picking up the pieces for months over in Mexico City and nearby. Likely longer. Storm surge does not screw around; it just goes in and wrecks things.
I was looking at some of the news photos, thinking just that, and picking out other ways places had been damaged… and it occurred to me that I’ve been through enough of these dratted things that I can identify just how something got itself smashed up.
Flattened tatters of thin metal, nearby lumps in the concrete with metal lids? That was a gas station, taken out by wind damage.
Flattened but slightly corrugated and thicker metal on top of the debris? Siding and/or roof, peeled off by winds.
Same metal but in the pile of debris, stacked up against objects in corners, with insulation still clinging on? Probably wind and storm surge, and some poor schmuck is missing their house.
Pool of standing water with traces of seaweed? Storm surge. Similar pool but higher elevation and mosquitoes already swarming it? Rainwater. And determining the difference is important, because insurance companies may pay out for wind, and sometimes rain, but storm surge is covered by flood insurance, if it’s covered at all, meaning most people are up the proverbial creek.
Note that a boat on someone’s lawn (in someone’s garage, lodged in their house, wrapped around a power pole, etc.) could be wind or water. Depends on how big the boat is. Rowboat? Pfft, a strong breeze could do that. Tugboat? Most likely storm surge.
Oh, and someone needs to bap FEMA over the head with, do not tell people to evacuate just before the hurricane hits. By then it’s too late. You will be caught on the road, and your chances of survival go down significantly. The time to evacuate is the day before. Or earlier.
(Seriously, if you’re near a disaster or disaster-to-be, tune in to local stations and get their advice. They’re the ones who will know which evacuation routes will be hopelessly clogged in hours, because they’ve seen it before.)
Anyway. Just… considering the fact that when we look at RL or worldbuilding, people with experience are going to see a lot of details where a newcomer sees a lot of chaos.