Oct 12, 2008

If...

In this article on the Southeast Texas Political Review, Philip R. Klein writes:

Lots of talk this past week in the back rooms of the City of Beaumont. Sources tell the Review that there is "major" concern regarding the proposed downtown water way gig!

The "concern?"

If the same storm surge would have come post the building of the waterway system in Downtown Beaumont - it would have put the downtown business area and three subdivisions including most of old town under water.

Readers may wonder how Philip is privy to discussions in the "back rooms of the City of Beaumont."  The answer is simple - it's another of Philip's "anonymous sources:"

A source from the Jefferson County Drainage District tells the Review that they are "very concerned" that plans for the waterway ignored the possibility of "storm surge" to the magnitude that was seen during the most recent hurricane.

"Look - we live on the coast. The storm surge this time actually moved the Neches and Sabine from north to south - to south to north. The water changed direction and moved into many low areas. If Beaumont had that waterway built - the natural barrier would have been gone. That water would have flowed into the city of Beaumont at rates that could not have been handled. The way we see it is that old town could have been under water," said the source.

I loved that "north to south" reference, which shows that Philip and his "source " have no clue about storm surges. Changing the direction of water flow isn't unusual; rather, it's a normal phenomenon. Neither did Klein's purported "source" explain how a 12-foot storm surge would affect points that are over 30 feet above sea level.  If Klein's source is factually correct, then areas  around the LNVA Canal would have flooded during the storm surge. Instead, only 37 homes on Pine Street actually flooded. 

Philip documents his own confusion:

The Review did some searches for photos of similar projects, like Kemah boardwalk. And frankly - it did not fare well.

The Kemah Boardwalk sits directly on the Galveston Bay at sea level - does anyone see any differences?

While many reasons exist to oppose the proposed waterway in downtown Beaumont,  an invented threat based on a confused understanding of storm dynamics is not one.

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