Experts are carefully warning residents and businesses in Texas to brace for a long-winded, overactive Hurricane Season this year and, of course, it’s 2020.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts a 60% likelihood that this year’s hurricane season will present anywhere between 13-19 storms. We’re likely to be on the higher end of this spectrum considering that Hurricane season only officially started a few days ago and we already have THREE NAMED STORMS!
No other year in recorded history has ever seen three named storms in the Atlantic Ocean so early as the third storm in a regular hurricane season typically does not form until around mid-August.
Despite only being five months into what already feels like a whirlwind of a year, things are about to heat up – and we’re not just talking about the ocean!
The El Niño climate conditions and warmer sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic together create the perfect recipe for elevated storm activity throughout the Gulf of Mexico and dramatically increase the chances we’ll experience a Category 3 or higher storm sometime this year.
Besides being destructive, scary, and dangerous, hurricanes are incredibly expensive. According to USA Today, the cost of an average hurricane is $21.6 billion! That’s a HUGE hit to local economies and sometimes it can take many years for communities to recover from damages.
In fact, the top two costliest hurricanes of all time happened right in our own backyard, with Houston’s Hurricane Harvey costing taxpayers a whopping $130 Billion and Hurricane Katrina, which decimated New Orleans and left the region with an unforgiving $168 Billion tab. These two storms alone make up nearly one-third of all hurricane-related costs over the last 40 years!
Unfortunately for residents and businesses along the Houston-New Orleans section of the Gulf Coast Corridor, hurricanes are a fact of life and something we must learn to live with. We are by no means strangers to enduring the wrath of mighty storms and torrential flash floods, and all too often it is the premium we pay to live here.
Besides economic costs, there is also a human cost associated with severe storms. The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 is recognized as the deadliest natural disaster in United States history, as it claimed nearly 8,000 lives.
Despite heightened risks associated with the influx of severe weather events in recent years, the good news is that there are actions businesses can take bounce back fast should any adverse effects occur. Some simple actions include double checking the scope of your commercial property insurance coverage ahead of time and revising if applicable, documenting any property and business income losses after a storm, and securing your business priority status with a contractor.
All too often, businesses believe they are covered for certain losses until they find out otherwise when it is already too late. Take this time to reread your insurance policies and learn from the mistakes of others rather than experiencing them firsthand. Subpar property insurance coverage, or a lack thereof, can quickly become a death knell to even a long, established business under unfavorable circumstances. This is one item you don’t want to skimp on.
Even with insurance, it is essential to have adequate access to liquidity in the event that your business is disrupted from severe weather. Carefully consider any options for business interruption insurance and make sure your company has enough working capital to survive unforeseen catastrophes. Otherwise, having limited working capital, the inability to access emergency loans, and bad insurance is a bankruptcy waiting to happen.
Finally, ask yourself what you would do if the worst happened. Who would help you? Realistically speaking, how fast would you be able to cover a gaping hole in your roof as rain pummels down and drenches all of your computers, furniture, and inventory into a non salvageable slush? What if it is a city-wide event and there are 10,000 companies like your experiencing the same agony? What would make your situation more special? It all depends on whether you have a plan.
An alarming truth is that many companies don’t have a contingency plan in place after a suffering a severe weather event, and frequently they find themselves tripping over other establishments as they all scramble to book the next limited availability on a contractor’s long, overbooked waiting list. Make sure you know who you are going to call ahead of time in order to guarantee a swift turnaround.
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