First Harvey, Now Heavy Rainfall – Texas Battles Significant Flooding for the Second Year
Flooding occurs in every U.S. state and territory and kills more people per year than tornadoes, hurricanes or lightening. The average flood claim amounted to nearly $42,000 from 2010 to 2014, and total flood insurance claims averaged more than $3.5 billion per year between 2005 and 2014.
A current flood-stricken area is Central Texas, including Austin, which lies in the heart of Flash Flood Valley. The recent rains have led to heavy flooding of lakes and rivers, including the Llano River that nearly set a record flood level and washed away the FM 2900 bridge. Rain totaling 13 inches in some areas has prompted road closures, school cancelations and evacuations. Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, declared 18 counties disaster areas. A ban on recreational activity in waterways was implemented, including closure of the tourist attractions of Barton Springs Pool, the Barton Creek Greenbelt and the Ann and Roy Butler Hike.
Rain is expected to continue through the end of the week.
— CBS Austin (@cbsaustin) October 16, 2018
Business Continuity Impacts
Historically, we have viewed floods as temporary. Here today, gone tomorrow. Yes, the impacts could last longer, but the water receded quickly … not now. These floods will be here for months. Land will be lost for productive use for the remainder of the year. The record-breaking flooding of Hurricane Harvey, with rainfall exceeding 60 inches, was detrimental to businesses and individuals alike:
The damage caused by Harvey’s flooding was catastrophic over a large area of southeastern Texas. Over 300,000 structures in that region were flooded, with up to 500,000 cars reported flooded as well. About 336,000 customers lost power during the hurricane. An estimated 40,000 flood victims were evacuated to or took refuge in shelters across Texas or Louisiana. FEMA reported that about 30,000 water rescues were conducted during Harvey. (National Hurricane Center Tropical Cyclone Report for Hurricane Harvey)
During a 2016 flood in West Virginia, a total of 25 deaths were reported due to flooding between June 23 and June 27. More than 58,000 homes and buildings were without power and the West Virginia Division of Highways reported over 60 road closures.
Can your business survive without income for months or more? … Most can’t.
Understanding the impacts natural disasters can have on businesses, schools, and homes is imperative to preparedness. The number, types, and severity of natural disasters have increased overtime; last year the NOAA determined 2017 was the costliest year to date in terms of natural disaster destruction.
We’re witnessing disasters strike new geographies with highly populated locations. Populations in the Northeast are not equipped to handle severe hurricanes and communities in the South are not prepared to handle winter storms; yet we are seeing like disasters strike these areas. Now, more than ever, we must be prepared for every type of disaster.
Firestorm co-founder and Novume President, Harry Rhulen reiterated the important learning lessons from past natural disasters. Proper disaster preparedness and response means planning for multiple disasters, not just one. “It’s one of the most important things to account for – when you are doing business continuity and disaster planning, in general, you should assume multiple events.”
The impact of a crisis (like the flooding after Hurricane Harvey in Houston – less than 175 miles East of Austin – for example), can lower an organization’s ability to handle secondary crises (the spread of illnesses through the contaminated flood water). Identifying vulnerabilities, in addition to secondary crises before a disaster strikes, is essential to survival and recovery.
The Time to Plan is NOT When a Disaster is Occurring
Natural disasters are usually unexpected, and we have very little warning. The time to prepare and plan is before an event. Organization leaders should not only think about their employees, but also their employees’ families. This level of caring and compassion resonates with employees and creates loyalty to the organization itself. Being prepared provides employee confidence and reduces anxiety. This becomes very important in times of disaster. Learn more about preparing your organization for disaster.
Action needed NOW
Download our free eBook, Disaster Ready People for a Disaster Ready America to learn how to prepare at home and work for crisis events.
Recognition of the problem is the first step.
- When did you update your hazard matrix?
- Do you take an all-hazards approach?
- Are your plans current?
- Do you have an effective monitoring plan?
Business continuity programs are living documents, not binders on a shelf.
- Is your plan current?
- Are your people trained?
- Are your suppliers prepared?
- Are you sure?
- How do you know?
Reviewing and updating a business continuity plan can become overwhelming. It takes time, coordination and thought-leadership. Contact us if you need assistance, we’re the experts.