Hurricanes can be immensely damaging, as Katrina, Isaac and Sandy have shown us in recent years. When a hurricane strikes a highly populated area, the destruction is both immediate and intense.
Flooding, flying debris, and collapsed roofs contribute to the scenes of loss that we see on the evening news. But the damage that goes homes and cars â?? and often, the types of damage we don’t hear about from the media are the farthest-reaching and the longest-lasting.
So what are the long term effects of a hurricane? Here are three problems that persist for months, even years after the power has been restored.
1. Business interruptions. Obviously, businesses close when the streets are flooded. But can they reopen their doors right away? The answer is: it depends. The interruptions to business can go far beyond just damage to the building. If personnel have moved away temporarily or long term, finding skilled replacements can be tough. Damage to inventory can completely ruin a retail business. And if computers, servers and data storage devices were damaged, crucial customer data and business records could be lost or need to be reconstructed. Many businesses prepare by investing in disaster recovery solutions that will mitigate or prevent these problems, but without such a plan in place many businesses struggle to reopen â?? or never do at all.
2. Long commutes. Hurricanes wrack infrastructure, and clearing the roads of debris is only the very first step toward getting cars and trucks moving again. Strong rains and flooding can undercut roads and hillsides, leading to whole segments of crucial highway that need to be rebuilt before they can be driven on. And debris can easily destroy bridges. Repair crews have to triage, meaning some commonly used roads won’t be open for a very long time.
3. Car-lessness. Almost everybody has insurance on their car, so replacing it after the hurricane won’t be a problem, right? Well, getting your insurance check is one thing, but finding a car to buy is another. After a hurricane, huge numbers of people have seen their cars damaged or destroyed, leading to a run on new and used car lots to replace them. At the same time, car lots’ own inventory is frequently damaged in such storms. It can be hard to find so much as a beater, at any price, following a hurricane.
These are just a few of the ways that major storms continue to affect lives long after the initial event. While businesses can buy disaster recover solutionsÂ and families can buy insurance, many forms of damage linger on. Have you ever been in a hurricane? What was it like after?
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Eric Regan has written for blogs covering numerous aspects of the tech world. His main interests are business and computers