Hurricanes are probably one of the most common disasters that preppers will face. They can destroy homes, cut off utilities, hinder essential services, block roads, and cause widespread panic among unprepared citizens who often strip store shelves bare before the storm arrives. One way to look at this, is that hurricanes provide a localized version of the social collapse scenarios that preppers often worry about. So if there’s a silver lining in this type of disaster, at least it gives us an opportunity to try out some of our preps in a real world disaster.
In case you haven’t noticed though, it doesn’t seem like there have been very many hurricanes lately. There have been a few small ones, sure. Aside from Hurricane Sandy however, which was a category 2 storm when it made landfall in the United States, these storms haven’t been making many headlines in recent years.
That’s because we haven’t been hit by a major hurricane in over 10 years. As shocking as it may sound, it’s been over 3900 days since a storm measuring category 3 or larger has hit the US, which is longer than any previous record by over two years. Florida hasn’t been hit by a hurricane of any size in 11 years, and America’s side of the Gulf Coast, which is notorious for hurricane activity, hasn’t been hit by anything in 3 years.
So where did all of these heavy hitting storms go? They still pop up in the Atlantic every year, but they keep losing steam before they reach our shores, and in many cases they don’t reach us at all. Scientists aren’t really sure why. As best as they can tell, we’ve just been ridiculously lucky.
Once our luck does run out however, the devastation could be far greater that what we’ve seen in previous years. Some researchers think that after more than 10 years without any major hurricanes, people living along our coastlines aren’t as prepared as they should be, and neither are their communities.
“Hurricanes are going to hit the U.S. again and people are going to be shocked by the magnitude of the disaster,” said Roger Pielke Jr., professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The Associated Press reports Florida’s coastal communities have added 1.5 million people and almost a half-million new homes since 2005, the last time there was an onslaught of storms.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects that by 2020, the U.S. coastal population will have reached 134 million people, 11 million more than in 2010.
“Hurricane damage and destruction is a direct function of how much accumulated wealth there is,” Pielke said. “We’ve put a lot of stuff along the coast. If we’re in this 10-year drought, loss potentials in some places may now be two times higher than it was a decade ago.”
On top of that, there’s the simple fact that residents living in these areas may have let their guard down, and aren’t as prepared for hurricanes as they used to be. Plus you have millions of new residents living along the coasts who may not have much experience with hurricanes. When these storms start making landfall again, there’s going to be enough damage to make up for the past 10 years.
So if you happen to be living in an area that has been spared from hurricanes, don’t neglect your preps. Get ready for the next hurricane now before it’s too late.