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Florida’s best defense against natural disasters is nature
The highest point in all of Florida is a hill that tops out at 345 feet above sea level, just south of the Alabama border. Much of the rest of the state lies far, far below that — like, 340 feet below — a peninsula jutting into the Caribbean around the same height as the Caribbean. It’s the last place you’d pick to ride out a hurricane, given the choice.
But that’s the choice Florida’s 20 million residents had to reckon with last week, as Hurricane Irma barrelled toward the state, breaking records and flattening towns across the Caribbean. Many expected it to be the costliest disaster in U.S. history — not just because of the Irma’s towering strength.
Florida is seemingly made for disaster. Its sprawling cities have been built up quickly and extensively, at the expense of the ecosystems that act as a natural defense against the worst of a hurricane’s blow. There’s nothing to stop a hurricane like Irma from wreaking havoc wherever it goes, but dunes, wetlands, mangroves, and coral reefs can all play an important…
Florida’s floodwater is full of poop bacteria — but a marine biologist says there’s a bigger threat
Florida’s floodwater is full of bacteria.
In the wake of hurricane Irma, more than 28 million gallons of treated and untreated sewage spilled into 22 counties across the state, according to pollution reports filed with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.
To put it simply, “the sewage conveyance systems aren’t working the way they were designed to work,” Rachel Noble, a professor of marine biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told Business Insider.
Bacteria from poop can cause diarrhoea once they enter the stomach. As disgusting as that sounds, it isn’t the biggest health threat facing Floridians after the storm, Noble said.
“As long as people are not eating and drinking items that have been in floodwater and they’re following any boil advisories for municipal water sources…
People Who Abandoned Pets During Hurricane Irma Will Face Felony Charges, Authorities Say
Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control reported that amid hasty evacuations to escape the destruction of Hurricane Irma, pet owners in the area reportedly left their animals chained or tied up outside and exposed to the dangerous weather. But those owners could now face felony charges, as both Animal Care and the State Attorney’s Office are teaming up to prosecute what it’s dubbed felony animal cruelty.
“This is a prime example of animal cruelty,” Dave Aronberg, the state prosecutor for Palm Beach County, said in a statement. “We will find you, and we will prosecute you.”
As NBC-affiliate WPTV reported last week, it is against the law to leave a dog chained up when its owner is not present. But that did not stop dozens of pet owners from leaving…