Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Making a Prediction

I am not an alarmist. I don’t get off on imagining a large-scale crisis, mass destruction, warfare, government conspiracy theories, terrorism in any of its forms or natural disasters.

But, I do believe in being practical and prepared.

That being said, I represent no companies, have ties with no major organizations and won’t benefit monetarily if I’m wrong. I do possibly stand to experience some embarrassment if I’m wrong (the amount depending entirely on how many people read this.)

I think the east coast is in for another major hurricane.

I have no idea if it will be kinder or worse than Hurricane Isabel that came through here in September 2003. But going strictly upon my own observations of the similarity of the weather THAT year and THIS year, I think it would be prudent to consider it a strong possibility.

The top 10 worst Atlantic Hurricanes were:

1961 (Esther #9)
1966 (Faith #1)
1971 (Unnamed #3)
1972 (Betty#10)
1975 (Doris #6)
1978 (Ella #7)
1982 (Debby #8)
1988 (Gilbert, tied for #4)
1989 (Gabrielle #2)
2003 (Isabel, tied for #4)

Aside from the entire 1990’s which enjoyed a vacation from anything major enough to be record breaking, the regularity of costly hurricanes averaged 4-5 years. Even factoring in an usual 13 Hurricane-free years, the mettle of the East Coast hasn’t been tested in 7 years. Let’s face it: we’re due for another big one.

Hurricane Isabel
started as a storm off the coast of Africa. It struck first the Outer Banks of North Carolina and made its way up the coastline dissipating only after reaching Michigan (USA) and Ontario (Canada).

While around 10 states felt the effects of this particular storm, Virginia (specifically Hampton Roads area) sustained the most deaths and damage.

The grand total of damage from Isabel was $3.6 billion and 35 directly and indirectly related human deaths. (I don’t think there are any statistics done on the deaths of pets, livestock and wildlife as a result of a major disaster, but certainly their deaths have an impact of some kind.)

16 million people were without electricity for up to a week. That in an of itself proved to be significant for even those who were not simultaneously dealing with leaking roofs, indoor flooding, fallen trees on their car or home or health related issues.

No electricity means: No lights. No refrigeration. No hot water. No washing machine or dishwasher capabilities. No toaster ovens, microwaves, or electrical stove cooking. You get the idea.

I’m not advocating anyone panic, but taking measures to ready for something even minor this year, wouldn’t be a bad idea.

While this caution may seem specific to the East coastline, and from where I sit the Hampton Roads (because well, that IS where I am living) this bit of advice to take stock of what could conceivably happen and how to best prepare for a natural disaster should it strike, is not limited to the Eastern part of America.

I think what makes this year’s propensity for a major storm significant, is the oil spill.

As I did some research for this epiphany I woke up with this morning, I discovered that I was far from alone in realizing this concern. Others have been stating their similar concerns.

Galveston, Texas in the Gulf of Mexico has the highest rate of hurricane activity than anywhere else in the USA. The Gulf area reports more hurricane activity than any other part of the US.

Weather forecasters are predicting 18-21 storms this year
(an usually high number), expecting around 8 to have an impact and two or three hurricanes to make “major” landfalls in this 2010 hurricane season.

It may be that instead of just electrical outages, structural damages, flooding and businesses being closed, there will be oil related issues. Who can really say what THAT might entail. One can only guess it would be dangerous and costly.

Either way, again, it wouldn’t hurt to keep an emergency preparedness plan in mind while going about other less stressful summer activities.

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