Granite countertops won’t protect you in extreme weather events

Extreme Weather -- The Hot Mess Press

Are you disaster-ready this summer? Maybe running the 2020 disasters through your mind will underscore the importance of having a well-stocked hurricane survival kit and detailed preparations for extreme weather events. Last year, weather and climate disasters across the U.S. wreaked damage totaling approximately US$95 billion. Remember the record season of 30 named hurricanes?

Considerations when shopping for a home in extreme weather areas

Extreme Weather Map

More people relocate to the western coastal areas each year, and they may be wise not to lose sight of potential disasters when they shop for homes in areas at risk of storms. While safe neighborhoods, close to parks and schools, walk-in closets, and granite countertops might top their “want” lists, they might want to consider safety first. Consider things like the age of the house, how well it was constructed, and the quality of building materials used. Furthermore, the roof’s condition and shape are important, and the building codes in place at the time of construction.

By the same token, they should ask about the flood risks in the area and whether extreme weather events caused structural damage in the past. Check the presence of retrofitted wind-resistant features. Residents along the Gulf and Atlantic coast should make hurricane preparedness their way of life. Knowing whether their home is in an evacuation zone is crucial.

Weather forecasting

NOAA’s National Weather Service is forever adding new, more efficient forecasting tools. What’s more, they now link the forecasts to emergency managers, government officials and first responders. In like manner, the public and businesses receive warnings to allow timely lifesaving decisions in extreme weather events. Unfortunately, complacency and apathy put many lives in danger. The lack of public response can make the world’s best forecasts useless.

Extreme weather and wildfires

Extreme weather wildfire

Safety authorities in the Western United States expect a wildfire season as severe as in 2020. Last year, August thunderstorms in Washington, Oregon and California ignited many wildfires. Then, in September, more ignitions occurred throughout the West Coast. The Emergency Management Office of Oregon urged residents to be proactive and have their bags packed for emergency evacuations.

Flooding can occur across the country

Flood aftermath

Hazardous flooding conditions can occur in any state, and life-threatening risks can develop quickly. As recently as mid-May this year, flash floods occurred in Louisiana that left many cars completely submerged. It followed more than 12 inches of rain in one day. NOAA urges people to avoid driving and walking when floods occur and take heed of the “Turn Around Don’t Drown” safety campaign.

Tornado readiness is crucial

Tornado aftermath

Summer has barely started, and lives have already been lost in 2021 twisters in North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas. Safety authorities say people should identify the safest room, typically on the lowest floor and without windows. Moreover, people should tune in to the NOAA Weather Radio for the latest information about severe weather.

Severe weather and electricity

Extreme weather Texas Deep Freeze

The deep freeze that hit Texas in February this year is a perfect example of the vulnerability of electricity services in severe weather events. Having access to flashlights (and batteries) is crucial. When extended power outages occur, portable generators can be a great help. However, running them indoors could cause deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

On a final note, always keep an eye over neighbors who might be elderly or in poor health and unable to help themselves. You might want to support local churches or nonprofits that help with needy community members’ transportation or financial needs.

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