With the 2017 Hurricane season officially starting on June 1, preparation is key to protecting communities. Hurricanes can cause severe property damage and personal injury due to the combined threats of flooding, high winds, and power outages. Oftentimes, the enormous damage done by hurricanes is caused by a lack of preparedness.
In the US, these communities were the most greatly affected by severe tropical weather:
Hurricane Katrina – August 2005
The category five hurricane that devastated the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and southeast Florida, is the costliest hurricane in U.S. history. Damages reached over $105 billion and approximately 1,800 lives lost. Katrina exposed many flaws in the country’s natural disaster preparedness, from low income families’ inability to travel to FEMA’s slow response to establish operations for support. Many areas never recovered from the damages, making this disaster a long-lasting tragedy in American history.
Hurricane Andrew – August 1992
Hurricane Andrew, hitting the shores of Florida and Louisiana in August of 1992, cost over $45 billion in damages. While previously being reported as a category 4, later analysis determined winds reaching 165 miles per hour and the hurricane is now considered a category 5. Hurricane Andrew was the strongest hurricane to hit Florida in 30 years.
Hurricane Ike – September 2008
While only reaching a category 2 ranking, Hurricane Ike managed to cost over $27 billion in damages and left over . Gaining strength after moving into the southern Gulf of Mexico, Texas especially suffered a great deal of flooding, power outages, and coastal devastation.
Hurricane Wilma – October 2005
Hurricane Wilma mostly affected the Florida Peninsula over a 4 1/2 hour time span. Even though the storm passed over quickly, the damages cost around $20 billion. Six million people lost electricity. Agricultural and urban infrastructure was damaged from the high winds and flooding.
Hurricane Ivan – September 2004
Before 2005, Hurricane Ivan was the most costly hurricane in U.S. History with damages around $19 billion. Alabama recorded extensive amount of property damage including the wipe-out of two 5-story steel-reinforced condos. Pensacola, FL however was hit the hardest with many roads remaining closed until 2007, nearly three years after the storm made landfall. This system also spawned over 115 tornadoes across the U.S.
Some tips for how to prepare have been shared through #HurricanePrep during National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Gathering disaster supplies, practicing an evacuation plan, and fortifying structures in the community are some of top tasks to get started on. Learn from the past – now is the time to prepare, before the storms begin.