Case Study- Hurricane Floyd – Blake

Hurricane Floyd was a  category 4 hurricane that threatened the East Coast of the United States in September 1999. Floyd did not make landfall until it was a Category 2 hurricane and impacted Eastern North Carolina on September 16th, 1999. Eastern North Carolina was significantly impacted by flooding as Floyd passed through, dropping up more than 12 to 16 inches of rain to an already saturated areas.

Public Awareness: The citizens of Eastern North Carolina are no strangers to Hurricanes. Between 1851-2015, 290 hurricanes of different categories have impacted the Eastern United States from Texas to Maine. Eastern North Carolina has extensive evacuation routes throughout the area and prepare by boarding up homes to prevent damage and placing sandbags for flooding. The sense of urgency was significant throughout the east coast with a record amount of evacuees, however, the sense of the residences in Eastern North Carolina was the “ride it out” mentality. The hardest hit areas of Eastern North Carolina have a 21% poverty rate, with 46% of private residences lacking home insurance.

Emergency Phase: Numerous rivers throughout the area exceeded the 500-yeah flood state impacting 2.1 million people. The death toll from Floyd, primarily due to flooding, was 52 causalities with more than 1,400 swift-water evacuations performed by the US Coast Guard, other military aide, and North Carolina Marine Fisheries. More than 20,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and a rough estimate of 12,000 businesses were recorded as well.

Restoration Phase: Following Floyd’s destruction, sources show that even up to a  year after Floyd, restoration was still occurring. Flooding was the primary cause of deaths and damage to this area. Roads and bridges were washed out, and some dams were damaged, needing minor restoration. This area is primarily used for agriculture and livestock, which is the main source of income for the citizens. The total damage amount for agriculture and livestock loss was $812.6 million. Local water ways and drinking water were polluted from runoff and deceased animals. There is no clear timeline of the restoration phase, however, a map shows flooding still affecting the area up to 13 days later. Roughly 75% of the restoration income came from FEMA for debris removal and emergency response.

Reconstruction: Nearly 1,500 applications were submitted for disaster unemployment, totally $1.9 million. The total disaster cost announced by FEMA  a year later was $6.9 billion. Reconstruction was first focused on the road ways and demolishing unstable infrastructure. Until the flood waters subsided, local polluted drinking water that impacted much of lower-income residence was a primary focus. Population maps throughout this area show different increase and decrease in amount following 1999 into 2000. This is unclear if the changes were a primary factor post Floyd.

Awareness Post Hurricane Floyd: As stated above, this area is prone to hurricanes and have regular threats from this type of disaster. Enhanced mitigation efforts on a state and local community level were researched and conducted following Floyd’s devastation. Education was used to educate the citizens on how to prevent damage and to understand even a “minor” threat could have tremendous impacts socially and economically. My research that I conducted however did not include much new preparation for another event just how mitigation tactics through education and rebuilding was being conducted.


Silverton earthquake preparedness event set April 27

The realization that natural disasters is a global fact occurred to the people of Silver Falls State Park after a magnitude 2.5 earthquake struck on December 21st. No damage happened following this earthquake. But this event rose the question, what if it had been stronger?

“Answers to such questions will be coming to Silverton as a legion of public-safety entities team with the American Red Cross in “Prepare Out Loud,” an earthquake and disaster-preparedness presentation fair set for 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at Silverton High School, 1456 Pine St.”

This event is free to the public and is helping raise awareness on how to prepare for such an event. The seismic activity that can occur along the Cascadia Subduction Zone is the prime focus on how to prepare for and how to recovery from a major earthquake that is prone to the area.

This is a great example of how this community is being proactive and preparing for a disaster to strike. This awareness and preparation could save lives and hopefully help for efficient recovery.

Cyclone Cook: rain-soaked New Zealand braces for ‘worst storm in decades’

Cyclone Cook is expected to take a direct hit on New Zealand by Thursday evening. The Bay of Plenty area in Auckland is already experiencing heavy flooded due to Cyclone Debbie that impacted the area last week. Two state of emergency’s have been declared for the Bay of Plenty and Thames-Coromandel districts, however, other areas are delaying a state of emergency declaration until they better know the severity of the storm. This is said to be the worst storm New Zealand has seen in decades and there are concerns that the people are not taking this threat as serious as needed. Power outages, storm surge, and extensive flooding are expected with winds up to 150 kph. Evacuations are already in place in low-lying areas on the East Coast of New Zealand.

Carolinas bracing for next round of severe weather

Update of Severe Weather outbreak in the South April 6th, 2017

The Carolinas are bracing themselves for severe weather that has crossed the southern portion of the US leaving damage from tornadoes and flooding. The first round of severe weather produced snow, hail, and heavy rains that lead to flooding in areas. Coastal areas are to be on the lookout for waterspouts and high storm surge.

The NWS is asking residents to keep radios and cell phones with them ahead of these storms to get immediate warnings and updates. Schools have delayed opening to avoid students traveling during until the storms have passed.

Luckily throughout the southeast there have been limited death and injury reports follow these storms. However, residents are without power and the damage from possible, and known, tornadoes is significant.

The image below shows flooding in Atlanta from the storm that is bound for the Carolinas. Severe flooding is a factor in these severe storms.

Brothers Killed By Downed Power Lines In Fort Worth

Two brothers were electrocuted and killed by a downed power line following storms that hit Forth Worth Texas on Wednesday, March 30th. The arcs from the power line also sparked a small grass fire nearby. The storm had produced tornadoes and left damage throughout the area 12 hours prior to the deaths. The electric company stated there is no way of knowing when a specific power line is down and there were so many down throughout the area, they were not able to make it to this particular one before this tragedy occurred.

This is a sad realization that people need to be cautious following storms regardless of how much time has passed. Fallen power lines are a main hazard that follows severe storms. Children, parents and adults need to stress and understand the importance of being aware of the hazards that follow severe weather and avoid any risk.

Cyclone Debbie: police fear fatalities with extent of damage unclear

“The extent of injuries from Cyclone Debbie is yet to be determined as Queensland’s police commissioner warned people to prepare for the possibility of deaths after the category-four storm struck the eastern coast of Australia. The scale of destruction was yet to emerge on Tuesday evening amid reports of severe damage to homes and communities cut off from communications.”

The core of Cyclone Debbie hit the coast near Airlie Beach in Australia with winds up equaling 263 km/h (163mph). This slow moving cyclone has ripped roofs off of homes and has caused extreme damage to trees and plants in resident’s yards. There has also been reports of backyard grills “flying off”. There was a forced evacuation for low-lying areas on Monday prior to the storm making landfall. Of the 25,000 people told to evacuate, it is not clear how many did. “In Bowen, where much of the local housing was built before cyclone safety standards were introduced in the 1980s, the cyclone wrecked homes and caused “major environmental damage”, Whitsunday regional councillor Mike Brunker said.”  

Not only are their disaster issues on land and environmental concerns, but there are also concerns in the Great Barrier Reef.

“Fontes said he expected Cyclone Debbie would be a mixed development for the Great Barrier Reef. Local coral would be damaged but the stir of water would cool sea-surface temperatures now causing mass bleaching across the broader reef. We’ve seen cyclone damage to the reef before and it is awful,” he said. “Locally it’s a disaster but reef-wide it’s a good thing – I guess that’s the best way to look at it.”

Wildfire Near Boulder, Colorado, Prompts Evacuations

The wildfire currently in Boulder, Colorado originated in an area used by hikers and was possibly a human-caused fire. “We were already going to be under a red flag warning today anyway,” she said. “It looks like it’s going to be very hot and very dry, and potential winds up to 20 mph. Which is not good.” Gabi Boerkircher, a spokeswoman for the Boulder Office of Emergency Management. Evacuations have been done and areas have been told to stay alert and prepare to evacuate. Roughly 62 acres have been burned with only 20% of the fire contained. As of last reported, aircraft, tankers and firefighters are working together to fight the wildfire. Not only is the fire itself a risk, but according to Boulder OEM, “warns that recreation around the city of Boulder is not advised because of air quality concerns.”

Cyclone Enawo batters Madagascar as most powerful storm in 13 years

On March 7th a Cyclone named Enawo with wind speeds equal to a category 4 hurricane hit Madagascar. The wind speed estimated 145 mph and the heavy rain from this storm has caused severe flooding along the coastline. According to the GDACS this storm has a severity class 1 meaning there is a large flood event with significant damage to structures or agriculture and fatalities will occur. After researching the names of the areas impacted by this cyclone, they appear to be in very poor, undeveloped areas of Madagascar. Most of these areas have inadequate water supplies, extremely poor infrastructure and large populations which makes these areas extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, pre and post disaster.

The following description is from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System from the start of the storm and as of March 13th:

Description: Tropical Cyclone ENAWO made landfall over north-eastern Madagascar on 7 March and then moved west south-west over land and towards the southern areas, crossing the country. Severe weather, including heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge, has been affecting the country, causing casualties and damage. As of 13 March, the Bureau National de Gestion des Risques et des Catastrophes (BNGRC) of Madagascar reported that the death toll has reached at least 50 people. They also reported 20 people missing, 195 people injured, 84 660 people displaced. The most affected regions due to strong winds, heavy rain and storm surge are Sava, Analamanga, Analanjirofo and Atsinanana. The Copernicus EMS was activated on 7 March. As of 13 March, the numbers of deaths and displaced people are those attributed to all effects of Tropical Cyclon ENAWO, not only to the connected flood events.


This Is Paradise? Mauna Kea Under Blizzard Warning; Rare Severe Thunderstorm Watch Issued as Flooding Rain Pounds Hawaii

The island chains of Hawaii are experiencing strong winds, heavy rain, severe thunderstorms, and even a blizzard warning on top of Mauna Kea. Flash flooding has impacted roadways and have caused rockslides that have blocked major highways. Some areas have experienced up to 14 inches of rainfall. “If that wasn’t enough, on Wednesday morning, the NWS office issued the first severe thunderstorm watch in Hawaii since Aug. 24, 2015, for the threat of large hail and damaging winds.”  (Erdman)

Avalanches Kill At Least 119 on Afghan-Pakistani border

Heavy snowfall along the Afghan-Pakistani border triggered a deadly avalanche that killed at least 119 people. In one area, more than 2,500 acres of farmland has been destroyed due avalanches in multiple provinces. Due to the heavily snow blocked roads slowing rescue teams, the death toll could be expected to rise. The article states the United Nations has offered assistance.