Fascinating, Flooding, Ferocious Storms: Summer Hazard Series Spotlight on Hurricanes

Blog_HeaderHere at REM4, those of us in the disaster/emergency field are likely to stay abreast of the latest storm formations on the www.nhc.noaa.gov  site and look for brooding tropical storms in the gulf, and carefully pay attention to whether a circle of clouds is showing hints of becoming a spiral, and wait with baited breath during the hot months for a potential hurricane.

In the Atlantic, hurricane season starts June 1, while in the Pacific it starts May 15. Both end on November 30. Mid-August is considered the beginning of the peak of the season—so here we are!

If you and your business are in a hurricane-prone area, then you have probably seen it happen time and time again. When hurricanes hit, communities may experience devastation, yet many choose to prepare to rebuild. More and more, due to climate change and sea level rise, this has become a hot topic: To rebuild or not to rebuild? Home is where you live, you work, where your community is, where your family and friends are, and dedication to sense of place is something that should be heavily considered when choosing recovery strategies. 

Hurricanes are called different names depending upon where they form. In fact, a hurricane is what the storm is called in the Atlantic Ocean. In the northwest Pacific Ocean, it’s called a typhoon. In the South Pacific and Indian oceans, it’s called a cyclone. The scientific name that’s acceptable for these storms across the world is “tropical cyclone.”

These storms aren’t going to get any easier. Here are some things you may not have the answers to that you should consider:

“Of small businesses that close because of a disaster, at least one in four will not reopen,” according to a previous statement from Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute.

What’s insurance for? Aren’t I supposed to be covered?

Insurance may not cover everything and counting on FEMA and insurance to bail you out of a hurricane doesn’t cover your full loss and expenditures unless you’re already paying a high premium on flood insurance. Other damage that occurs may be out-of-pocket, and if your community or business damage costs are high, you may be out of money for months or even years. Mitigation is another aspect to consider—windows leaking, old roof systems, computer damage, etc. all need to be taken into account for a business continuity plan.

When customers and clients are counting on you, what response and recovery plans do you have in order to assure they are tended to while you take care of personal costs at home and at your place of work? Business loss insurance coverage usually begins after a waiting period of about 72 hours and claims can take weeks for companies to estimate. $10,000/day in losses the first three days of waiting can come straight out of your business. Ouch.

There is business interruption coverage, which will help a business relocate and continue operating if its building is physically damaged, and contingent business interruption coverage, which can help a business if its major supplier or supply chain is damaged by the disaster. (courtesy of newspress.com: http://tiny.cc/z9pr1w)

At home: The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has an online tool that helps calculate a rough estimate of how much flooding, by height of water, could cost a household. A home that spans 1,000 square feet with six inches of flooding could have total losses of $20,150. Those costs, which vary by state and by type of home, average $1,000 in cleaning, $150 for electrical and plumbing, $7,900 in wood and carpet repair, thousands of dollars more in appliance and furniture replacement, and $1,100 in repairing doors, base trim and windows. (courtesy of http://abcnews.go.com/Business/top-things-flooding-sandy/story?id=17616519)

Want to know your updated flood risk? Visit FEMA’s website at http://www.fema.gov/risk-analysis-helping-communities-know-their-natural-hazard-risk