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Looking Back at the 2017 Hurricane Season: Making Improvements in 2018

We saw an extremely active hurricane season in 2017 with 10 hurricanes in the Atlantic.

In fact, it was the first time in more than a decade that the US had two continental hurricanes of epic proportions with Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. This year plan ahead now and review the way(s) you alert residents before, during and after a storm.

Overwhelming Cost of Hurricanes

Irma, Jose, and Maria may have been the most powerful hurricanes of 2017 with an accumulated cyclone energy exceeding 40. Maria was the strongest hurricane of all with wind speeds reaching 175 mph. Yet hurricanes Harvey, Ophelia, and Lee were in the category three and four range with wind speeds ranging from 111 to 156 mph. In total, the hurricane season that spanned from April 19 to November 9 had a price tag of at least $282.16 billion. It was the most expensive hurricane season ever recorded and was more than $100 billion greater than 2005, which was the year of Hurricane Katrina.

Financial loss is only one detriment of the hurricane season. Anywhere from 416 to 1,437 people lost their lives during a hurricane or tropical storm in 2017. Hurricane Harvey alone created unprecedented flooding that killed more than 30 people in Houston. In Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria created a humanitarian crisis that the island still has yet to recover from. In reality, the death toll is likely even higher.

Need for Emergency Plan

While we cannot prevent hurricanes from happening there are procedures that can be enacted to save lives and reduce damage. With the implementation of an emergency response plan, mass notification can help residents get the information they need quickly. This can make the difference between implementing timely safety precautions and falling in the path of a hurricane unprepared for the storm.

In November 2017, the end of the most costly hurricane season to date, Timothy Gallaudet, Ph.D., a Navy Rear Adm. who is currently acting as the NOAA administrator, said, “In six short months, the next hurricane season will be upon us. This is a good time to review and strengthen your preparedness plans at home as we continue to build a Weather-Ready Nation.” Here we are six months later in the direct eye of a new hurricane season and preparation deadlines are imminent.

Benefits of Mass Notifications

If your organization is behind in response plan development, there is no better time than the present to get to work. With proper communication using mass notification systems, your community is able to get the information they need throughout a storm. This includes preparation steps in the case of an evacuation or sheltering before the hurricane hits.

Mass notification also enables easy alerting during the storm when victims are in desperate need of accurate news. A mass notification system does not shut down when a storm blows over. Instead, notifications are enacted to keep search-and-rescue teams and victims in continuous communication.

Choosing OnSolve

When you choose a critical event management and mass notification system by OnSolve, you gain the tools your organization needs to reach your community during hurricane season. The CodeRED from OnSolve solution is the tool your community can rely on for disaster preparedness and recovery communications this hurricane season.

If you wait until severe weather strikes to develop an emergency notification system, you are far too late. Get the tools in place to protect your community now before hurricane season 2018 proves to worse than last year’s.