Hurricane Florence has rapidly expanded in Category 4 hurricane, with a strike expected to make landfall on Thursday. How can those in the path of the storm prepare?
If you’re like me, you are always a little skeptical of meteorological reporting. With that said, I live in California and have never experienced truly catastrophic weather, so I’m not a good “barometer” for the appropriate response. I would likely be the person on top of my house because I didn’t listen to the warnings — and, for that, I apologize in advance to search and rescue for my foolishness.
Do not let that happen to you!
The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season is upon us. According to several reports, there are a few hurricanes brewing in the Atlantic Ocean. The one to be aware of at this moment, is Hurricane Florence. The Weather Channel has excellent coverage for those who may be in the path of the storm.
As of this writing, The Weather Channel is advising citizens to Prepare Now: Florence Explodes from Cat. 2 to Cat. 4 in Just Hours. This post did not mince words. It warns that as of today, Florence is massive and dangerous, stating “Hurricane Florence has rapidly intensified into a Category 4 major hurricane southeast of Bermuda and is likely to lash the East Coast later this week with life-threatening storm surge, destructive winds and massive inland rainfall flooding in one of the strongest strikes on this part of the East Coast on record.”
It is true, that this may change and the storm may turn and remain at sea. From everything I read this morning, now is the time to prepare and anticipate Florence making landfall, rather than count on it remaining at sea.
As we have done before, I have contacted Experts.com members and asked them for some preparation input for those facing the storm. Forgive the brevity of some of these answers, but both of these members are on the East Coast and busy preparing for the impending hurricane.
General Contractor & Construction Expert Witness – John Minor
John G. Minor, President of Complete General Contractors, is a third-generation Contractor and licensed instructor certified by the North Carolina Department of Insurance. He is a recognized expert on the costs and applications necessary to repair buildings damaged by manufacturer, builder liability, water damage or intrusion, mold, or asbestos. Mr. Minor will be on the ground with the University of Florida Hurricane Research team. You can learn more about his practice at teamcomplete.com.
My questions to Mr. Minor were as follows:
Nick: What steps should property owners take to prepare for the landfall of Hurricane Florence?
Mr. Minor: Understand that if they choose to shelter in place they must have a strong residence or shelter that will not flood. Sage advice is to hide from the wind run from the flood.
Nick: What are the most common types of property damage from a hurricane?
Mr. Minor: Wind and flood damage from this storm. As a strong cat 3 or easy 4, residential shingle damage (see Saffir–Simpson scale). If the storm lingers and pulls Atlantic waters into the Carolinas, major flooding for the Tar and Cape Fear Rivers in an already swollen river system. Know your floodplain.
Nick: Is there anything homeowner’s can do to limit property damage from wind, rains, storm surge?
Mr. Minor: Remove potential projectiles and board up your home. Understand safe generator use.
Nick: Are there any preparations one should take that will benefit them in the case of a future insurance claim? For example, should a homeowner take pictures or video before leaving their home?
Mr. Minor: Document roof interior, exterior, and contents, including contents in an off site storage, with pictures and video.
Nick: What are your top recommendations to help property owners prepare for a hurricane?
Mr. Minor: TADD (Turn Around, Don’t Drown). There will be a lot of desire to move around the area after the storm. Flooding is a dangerous thing.
I had to look up the TADD acronym submitted by Mr. Minor. Take a look at this video from the NOAA and National Weather Service.
Meteorology & Weather Expert Witness – Michael Mogil
H. Michael Mogil is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist (M.S. Meteorology) with over 40 years of experience, nearly 30 of them with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In addition to working for the National Weather Service as a forecaster, researcher, and severe storm program manager, he also provided satellite training to many governmental agencies and hundreds of TV meteorologists. To learn more about his practice visit: weatherworks.com.
Here are the questions and answers from our meteorology expert:
Nick: Today’s reports putting Hurricane Florence at a Category 4, what type of weather should be expected if it makes landfall as a Category 4 hurricane?
Mr. Mogil: Based on coastal angle of attack, huge storm surge and water push ashore to the north of the storm’s track. To the south of the storm, with winds coming from land to water, water levels will actually drop.
Obviously, heavy to excessive rainfall in advance of landfall, with rain continuing across large parts of the Carolinas and southern Virginia at least through Sunday night (and likely into early next week).
Nick: In your experience, what are the most common types of property damage experienced with a Category 4 hurricane?
Mr. Mogil: From winds, depending upon the type and quality of construction, anything from the loss of many roof tiles or shingles to the actual loss of the roof. Poorly constructed building will be damaged the most. Windows or patio doors, not boarded up, could easily be damaged by flying debris or suffer water intrusion as water is pushed under tracks.
From flying debris (of any type), window or building damage.
Falling trees (due to wind and water-logged soil) a high probability.
Nick: For those in the path of the storm, what do you recommend they do to prepare for the potential landfall?
Mr. Mogil: Listen to instructions of local officials. If one lives near the coast in storm surge inundation area, LEAVE!!!!!!!!! (yes, all those exclamation marks). If one lives in a mobile home or other weakly constructed structure, LEAVE!!!!!!! (more exclamation marks).
Nick: Some reports have indicated the storm may turn and remain at sea as it climbs up the East Coast. Should a citizen still be prepared to evacuate?
Mr. Mogil: Yes, those reports, as of now, are not correct. National Hurricane Center forecasts are the ones to follow. Reliable media sources will convey the NHC forecasts.
Nick: From a meteorological perspective, is there anything you think the public must know as the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season heats up?
Mr. Mogil: Today (9/10) is peak day of the season. There are 3 Atlantic storms right now, and only one seems likely to strike the U.S. Treat each storm as its own entity.
Nick: Please feel free to share anything additional that is not covered by the questions…
Mr. Mogil: I’d also say that if people do leave, package important papers (insurance policies, birth certificates, passports) in sealable plastic bags (Glad, Ziplock) and take these as they evacuate or go to shelter.
- Charge appliances (cell phones, etc) and get gas before leaving.
- Let loved ones in other places know what you are doing.
- After the storm, deal with insurance quickly…get an attorney (and have the attorney get one or more experts onboard, if a lawsuit or mediation seems necessary).
There you go! Listen to the experts. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Be safe!