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Hurricane preparedness

Tropical Storm Erika reminds us to prepare, no matter what

tracking - crop

Tropical Storm Erika could be a threat to South Florida come Monday – or not. No one can know for sure. That’s the way it is with weather. Florida’s Emergency Operations Center was activated, with officials acknowledging that Erika could result in anything from a rainy weekend to a category 3 hurricane.

Flood Insurance Premiums

Rainy season is here, and parts of Florida know it all too well as some areas experienced heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours – with more on the way, almost daily. And, that reminds me that my flood insurance premium is due.

Renewing flood insurance coverage should be a no-brainer for those living anywhere near a body of water.

An inside view of flood damage

You’ve probably seen numerous dramatic photos of the recent flooding in Texas. Cars underwater, buckled roads, smashed houses. The photo below is what it looks like when the water recedes and a home doesn’t wash away. If you ignore the piles of soggy carpet, limp drywall and damp possessions awaiting the trash man at the curb, the homes look fine on the outside. On the inside, it’s a mess.

I was in Houston last week, helping share information on disaster recovery. In a flooded neighborhood along one of the bayous, home after home was deep into the drying out process. It’s a shared experience none of them wanted, and several of them had been through it before. Tropical Storm Allison affected the same neighborhood in 2001. Interestingly, I saw only one home that was elevated more than a few inches. There likely were more, but this one stood out because it stood UP high and dry above the others, at least 3 feet.

Houston homeowners who had flood damage are learning about an ordinance that requires them to elevate their homes if their damage exceeds 50 percent of the structure’s market value. This is something that Floridians need to think about, too. Do you have enough insurance to rebuild after disaster, taking your local ordinances into account? Don’t wonder about it. Be sure! Call your insurance professional to ask about your law and ordinance coverage.

Business owners: Review insurance coverage before hurricane season

At the Governor’s Hurricane Conference this week, we delivered a presentation on what small-business owners need to know about insurance. It was titled “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda” because, unfortunately, that’s a lament heard after disaster. If you own a business, do everything you can now to put your business in a position to survive.

There are dozens of business insurance coverage options, and a small business probably doesn’t need them all.

Do seasonal hurricane forecasts matter? Purpose is preparedness

The pre-hurricane season forecast was released today, and it “suggests” the 2015 hurricane season will be well-below average. I used the word “suggests” because the researchers themselves say this forecast is about probability; it cannot be an exact prediction because atmospheric conditions change like (um) the weather. And, armed with information about what is likely, most people will do…nothing. Too bad.

Hurricane Center’s new storm surge map shows what can happen

Storm Surge Map

Find out today if you live in a hurricane storm surge evacuation zone. Map courtesy National Hurricane Center Storm Surge Unit.

Hurricane Season 2014 chalks up another storm-free year for the history books. Nine in a row. How lucky can we get! The unspoken question: How lucky can we stay?

With that in mind, there is a new map you should look at to learn about the risk Floridians face from storm surge. Flooding is the nation’s #1 natural disaster, and it’s not just a coastal problem. The water has to go somewhere, and it often chooses inland areas.