Last year the country saw three of the most damaging and costliest hurricanes of all time — it’s time for government officials to start preparing for what’s to come in 2018 and beyond.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced this week that hurricanes Maria, Harvey, and Irma are now three of the five costliest hurricanes in American history. These three storms ravaged Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Though Hurricane Katrina sits atop the costliest storm on record, costing the U.S. over $160 billion, the 2017 hurricanes weren’t that far off.
Hurricane Irma is currently ranked as the fifth costliest storm of all time ($50 billion); Maria ranks third ($90 billion); and coming in just under 2005’s Katrina, Harvey ranks second with damage costs of approximately $125 billion.
During the 20th century, 158 hurricanes struck the United States, with the majority of them hitting Florida (57) and Texas (26). These states and all their residents, after years of sustained damage, need to be on high alert at all times to prepare for storms like Katrina, Irma, Maria, Harvey, as well as the likes that have never been seen before.
Under normal circumstances, it’s best to have a roof professionally inspected at least once or twice a year, but it certain parts of the country where hurricanes are prevalent, professional inspections should occur much more frequently.
According to NWF Daily News and Emergency Management, officials in Texas and Florida are seeking assistance in order to prepare for the upcoming 2018 hurricane season — so the damage sustained in 2017 isn’t repeated.
Officials from Okaloosa County, Florida gathered at the Emergency Operations Center to go over hurricane and emergency training programs.
“It’s good to do this every so often just to refresh everyone,” said Alvin Henderson, director of public safety for Okaloosa County. “There are new people here and we want to get everyone re-acclimated with our various emergency plans, it’s part of an ongoing process..
In Texas communities, from Fulton to Victoria, government leaders admitted to not having a place for residents and first respondents to take shelter during and immediately following hurricane Harvey.
“I’m really scared for a lot of our communities along the coast that are already in the hole,” said State Rep. Armando Walle.
In Fulton, those who lost their homes have yet to be administered temporary housing. Mayor Jimmy Kendrick hopes that efforts to rebuild permanent housing will be more successful and homes will be built and secured by the time 2018 hurricane season is in full swing.
“All it takes is one more hurricane, and Fulton, Texas will be destroyed again,” added Mayor Kendrick.
Texas and Florida communities alike, as well as virtually every city along the path of potential hurricanes, need to be fully prepared for storms similar to what we’ve seen and those that are even worse.
“We always want to prepare for the worst, and hope for the best,” Henderson added.