Florida is vulnerable to tornadoes; being prepared is best defense
The fierceness of natural disasters must never be taken for granted. Witness the devastation of Moore, Oklahoma. You feel deeply for those affected, while at the same time sit in awe of the power Nature wields. But we should never feel helpless.
Initial reports of fatalities for the tornado that hit on May 20 overestimated the likely deaths. To date, 24 deaths were reported, along with two additional fatalities from a tornado that struck Shawnee, Oklahoma the day before. Any loss of life is a tragedy. Yet, it could have been worse without the proactive steps people took to protect themselves. Many of them had underground safe rooms. There is a Safe Room Rebate Program in Oklahoma that uses funds from the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to pay for storm shelter construction. You probably don’t have a storm shelter, but you can consider a “safe room.” If a tornado is barreling down, where would you go? Get a plan and know what to do in case a tornado comes with the approaching hurricane season.
On a per unit area basis, Florida experiences more tornadoes than any state; most are of weak intensity. Florida’s tornadoes occur along the edge of hurricanes and, as you well know, hurricane season is on the doorstep. A recent Lloyd’s report on the rising risk of tornadoes notes that losses are increasing simply because tornadoes are affecting densely populated areas.
The U.S. experiences more tornadoes than any other country. Fortifying property against tornadoes as strong as the one hitting Moore, Oklahoma this week is probably impossible. That’s why storm shelters are lifesavers. Recovery and rebuilding will commence, as insurance claims adjusters have been on the scene since Day One, explaining coverage, writing checks and helping people who lost everything get started on the road back to home. I’m heading to Oklahoma today to be part of it. Will keep you posted.