August 31, 2005

Unbearable Flatness

I live only an hour or so from the Pacific Ocean, but a mountain range stands between me and it. Storm surges and tsunamis aren't an issue at all. Some Oregon coastal towns are built right next to water, but many are built on top of large or small cliffs.

It's not like that at all on the Gulf Coast. Here is Marc Cooper, who was down there recently.
Just a few months ago I spent five days in Biloxi and Gulfport. As I drove the coastal highway I was jarred by the flatness of it all.

Here in Southern California the Pacific Coast Highway is almost always elevated from from the beach. Much of the coast is lined with sloping rises and even palisades that offer at least the illusion of protection.

But as I drove up and down that Mississippi strip of road the flat, gulf waters on one side of the car looked to be absolutely level with the city on the other. Only a small sliver of beach stood in between. I wondered what could keep an elevated tide from simply flooding everything and everyone in its path.

The answer, apparently, was nothing.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 31, 2005 1:51 PM

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