All storms are not equal…

I just got back from Amsterdam where Europe was having some of the nastiest weather in many years. The winds were gusting to (at least) gale force and, in some cases, such as the UK, approximately hurricane force. Heavy rain was coming at me horizontally. So, while sitting in my 16th floor hotel room on an artificial island behind the Amsterdam train station (also on a man-made island), I thought of Katrina and New Orleans. Would I have been so calm there? No one was panicing and there was absolutely no question whether Northern Holland, even further under sea level than NO, might flood. I guess that when the national, regional, and local governments are not corrupt and do care about the people, good things tend to happen. There are no inspectors being paid under the table to certify that defective seawalls are ok. There was never a question of how the residents voted in the last election. And the Dutch army was all in-country, able to help with any disaster. Of course, it helps that the government officials live below sea level, too. So, let's see: competent government, enough resources allocated, top-flight engineers with a working budget, and everyone "in the same boat" (in case of a flood) adds up to a "perfect non-storm." Maybe the "old-fashioned" Europeans do have some things to teach us, after all