The recent spate of hurricanes hitting Houston, the Western part of the Florida peninsula and Puerto Rico have given many of us an opportunity to rethink our prepping plans.
That’s as it should be, as we should always be looking to improve, and one of the best tools we have for that is to analyze the disasters that happen, looking for lessons to be learned.
I’ve lived through hurricanes before, as my home is in a hurricane zone, but never as severe as these three have been. More than anything, the big difference that I noticed from these three hurricanes, was the amount of flooding they caused. That made the ones I lived through seem rather minor indeed.
What these hurricanes made me rethink was, not surprisingly, my stockpile. But not what’s in it, rather how protected is it from damage.
Our country has been plastered by hurricanes lately.
First there was Hurricane Harvey, which turned much of Houston, Texas into a lake, along with Corpus Christi, Rockport and the surrounding area. Then there was Hurricane Irma, which brushed by Puerto Rico and then tried to devour the Florida Peninsula. Finally, the third villain in this story was Hurricane Maria, which demolished Puerto Rico.
While Hurricane Maria was the “weakest” of the three, only a Category IV hurricane, it probably did the most damage. That damage is exacerbated by the fact that Puerto Rico is an island, making it harder to get relief workers and supplies in. Unlike Houston, access to Puerto Rico is limited to a few ports and airports, both of which were damaged by the storm.
The problem with dealing with hurricanes, tropical storms, or other storm systems that bring a lot of rain in a little time is that you’re not just dealing with the storms. Though that’s certainly bad enough, sometimes it’s what comes after that does more damage than the actual storm.
What am I talking about? Flooding. I live in a hurricane zone, and we have a saying: hide from the winds, but run from the water. That’s because there usually very few lives lost due to damage from the high winds; most lives are lost to flooding.
On top of that, much of the extensive damage is also caused by flooding. How do you deal with the remains?
In the last three weeks, we’ve seen two of the worst hurricanes in history strike our shores, with Hurricane Harvey hitting Houston and the surrounding area, and Hurricane Irma hitting all of Florida.
While the 6.5 million inhabitants of the Houston metro weren’t told to evacuate, Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a statewide evacuation order, telling 5.6 million people to move out of the state for the duration.
Considering that only 1.2 million people live in the New Orleans area, either of these hurricanes dwarf the number of people who were affected by Hurricane Katrina, the costliest hurricane in US history.
The total dollars of damage from these two hurricanes is far from being discovered, but it will clearly put a major dent in our national economy.