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August 30, 2010 / Dave Gorham

Lifestyle Changes Impact Hurricane Planning

Last Monday I was thinking that because of the recent lull in tropical activity perhaps people weren’t taking this tropical storm season seriously.  Most of my experience is anecdotal and personal and therefore statistically invalid but many people I had spoken to outside of our offices seemed to think that this was going to be a quiet season similar to last year and not the very busy one that ImpactWeather and many other prediction centers have called for over the last several months.   By now, with the formation of Danielle, Earl and probably Fiona, I’m not quite as concerned.  At least not about whether people are paying attention.  They are, at least to a greater extent than last month.

What’s different from last season?  In my own circle, I know two married couples, friends from many years ago, who’ve moved back to this coastal region after respective and prolonged stints much farther inland.  We were talking about how hot this summer has been and one of them actually joked, “Oh yeah, I forgot . . . hurricanes.  I guess we can sell the snowshoes.”   Yet two other couples I know both have newborns (welcome, Fiona – seriously – and Michael!), the first kids in both families.  Think those peoples’ priorities have changed a bit in the last few weeks?

Michael was born Thursday and I was talking yesterday to his dad, who’s still flush with elation and anxiety about the birth of his first son.  He told me what a difference it’s made given that “before” they never planned or stocked up on supplies or considered a week or more without electricity because he and his wife would just “throw a backpack in the car and go to Dallas or Austin for a few days.”  But the risks are greater now and the decisions have to be made and plans put in place to make sure the family as a whole is prepared with the best response to a threat.  (In their case, I convinced him – I think – that given exactly where they live, i.e., not in an evacuation zone, they should do what I do:  hunker down, hide from the wind and wait until after the storm passes before deciding whether they need to go find air-conditioning and refrigeration.)

Hurricane Danielle as seen from the ISS on Friday. Photo: NASA

Take a moment to think about what might have changed in your life since last season.  What changed at your company?  Did the change leave any holes in your emergency response plan, both at home or at work?  Both Earl and Fiona – the tropical storm, not the baby girl – pose potential threats to the East Coast.  It might be too late to make major adjustments to your response plans, but take a look anyway.  Better to mull a backup now than the day before there’s an impact on your new situation.

For more information about life at ImpactWeather, read one of our first entries here.  For more about preparing in general: here and here.  And don’t forget our 20-minute free webinar tomorrow at 10:30CDT hosted by yours truly – the August 31st update to our season forecast.

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