What’s really fueling these intense hurricanes in South Florida? | Opinion

Florida State Archives

I keep reading that Hurricane Ian is the most destructive in Florida history — that may be true — and that climate change is a likely culprit. Perhaps that’s true, too. However, in September 1960, Hurricane Donna followed a nearly identical trajectory from beginning to end, and the storm surge in Naples was 11 feet.

As a child, I clearly remember my father driving to Naples to assess the damage for his company. He said the storm pushed water in from the Gulf for about three blocks. The pictures would have looked exactly like the ones we’re seeing on TV today, except that few people lived in Naples at that time. It was a small town with a lot of empty beachfront. And Sanibel Island didn’t even have a bridge. I remember riding a small ferry to get there. Of course, there is much more destruction now.

Have the hurricanes themselves changed, or has development changed the region?

Let’s factor in some historical perspective.

Susan Kahn, Coral Gables

Insurance police

Our private insurance system has broken down. A federal windstorm policy should be created, not just for hurricanes in Florida and other southeastern states, but for tornadoes in the Midwest and elsewhere.

Insurance is about spreading the risk, but underwriting can disguise a monopoly. Because insurance in this country is regulated by 50 different jurisdictions, it is too easily manipulated to avoid risk when only private profit is the goal. As with antitrust laws, sometimes the government has to step in.

R. Thomas Farrar, Miami

Storm studies

The Herald’s Oct. 2 article “Historic storm surge. Record flooding. Ian’s lesson in the rising risk of hurricanes,” was enlightening. Understanding climate has been controversial; perhaps this article, based on science and expertise, will help us better comprehend the issue.

In light of Ian’s tragic devastation inflicted upon so many people and on wildlfe, it is time to focus on humanity, not politics.

H. Allen Benowitz, Miami

Car batteries

Story after story discuss the interest in electric vehicles. However, there doesn’t seem to be even a whisper about how were are going to deal with the depleted batteries in the future. These batteries are volatile.

Can they be recycled and, if so, how will that be done? Years from now, will we be reading about the pollution caused by their disposal? Will there be another giant ditch in the Arizona desert?

Is anyone really addressing this issue?

Robert J. Lynch, Davie

Devil’s advocates

In the name of freedom, apparently, Florida’s policymakers have allowed people to build properties, solid or not, anywhere for decades, while failing to devise a workable and affordable home-insurance system for our specific area. The same policymakers have either rejected acknowledging the devastating effects of human-made climate change or chosen to do nothing to mitigate the impact of this existential threat.

With this political incompetence constantly on display, Florida’s future is bleak, as the tragic consequences of powerful and rapidly intensifying hurricanes like Ian are bound to repeat themselves in the years to come.

Michel Dupagne, Miami

Thursday fumble

If the NFL and the media cared about player safety, Thursday Night Football games would be canceled, or at least scheduled for teams after their “bye week,” during which teams do not play.

Four days after a brutal Sunday game in extreme heat is not enough time to recuperate.

Juan Suarez,

Pembroke Pines

Relief funds

The day before Hurricane Ian ravaged Florida, Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, with most of Florida’s Republican congressional representatives, voted against adding ✔$18.8 billion to fund the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

When Gov. Ron DeSantis represented Florida’s Sixth Congressional District, he voted to deny aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Now, as elected officials representing a devastated Florida, they seek aid.

If we define democracy as “a freer, more humane experience, in which all share and to which all can contribute,” are Florida’s elected representatives asking for aid they refused to give?

Phil Beasley, Plantation

Trivial pursuit

Ex-President Donald Trump recently lambasted Sen. Mitch McConnell for “supporting Democratic priorities,” and the media had palpitations because Trump insulted McConnell’s wife. Barely mentioned was that the Democratic “priority” to which Trump referred was a stopgap spending bill to fund the government so it could honor its obligations.

In other words, a probable presidential candidate instructed his party to plunge the federal government into default rather than compromise with other members of Congress. Imagine what he would do with the nuclear football.

Steven M. Urdegar, Miami

Pitts retiring

In her Sept. 28 online story, “A ‘fearless’ voice: Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts retiring after 31 years,” Herald reporter Connie Ogle wrote, “His writing was furious but insightful, ironic but eloquent. It was always compulsively readable.”

Yes and yes. Pitts has never been afraid to speak truth to power. He gives his readers perspective and thoughtful insight into complex and sensitive issues. He will be sorely missed by this loyal fan.

Elizabeth Winter,

Miami Shores