Folks continue to rebuild after and recover from Hurricane Florence.
The hurricane, one of the wettest on record, brought not only a storm surge but also massive flooding. Rivers overflowed and entire towns, highways, and more saw severe flooding. Moody's puts the estimated damage at about $38 to $50 billion.
But we're not out of the season just yet, folks. There's another hurricane building steam in the Atlantic. And this one is set to hit Florida right in the panhandle.
As of this morning, Hurricane Michael is a category 2 hurricane and is expected to become a category 3 when it makes landfall. Florida has already declared a state of emergency for 34 counties. All of Alabama is under a state of emergency.
It's expected to hit Florida and Alabama tomorrow. Winds could exceed 100 mph. And while forecasters aren't expecting nearly as much rainfall as there was from Florence, it's enough to make conditions dangerous. If you live in areas recovering from Florence, you could see additional rain this week, too.
Residents of Florida and Alabama know the drill: Keep three days' worth of food, water, and medicine... make sure cellphone batteries and flashlights remain charged... and follow evacuation orders. Hopefully, you also know the evacuation route ahead of time.
For example, when I lived in Georgia, if I knew a hurricane was coming and it was too late to evacuate, I'd fill up my tub with water. That gave me an extra 60 gallons. I'd even start my washing machine and then turn it off once the basin filled. This added another 10-20 gallons of ready water.
But thousands of Americans who live nowhere near the ocean are still at risk of a hurricane each year...
Folks who go on vacation to the Carolinas, Florida, or the Caribbean during hurricane season need to have a plan.
In 2016, dozens of cruise ships scrambled to reroute their itineraries because of Hurricane Matthew. Cruise giant Carnival (CCL) even sent 2,000 passengers north to New York and Canada instead of south to the Caribbean. Cruise lines will often skip or change the itinerary of ports most at risk for a direct hit by the hurricane.
Of course, air travel is an even bigger issue when there's a hurricane on its way...
During last month's Hurricane Florence, thousands of flights were cancelled in the Carolinas and Virginia over several days. As of this writing, Delta and Southwest have issued warnings for potential cancellations thanks to Michael.
Here are a few ways to be ready for a crisis while you're on vacation...
1. Pay attention and have a plan. Watch the weather forecast a week ahead of time. And when you're on vacation, listen to the longtime locals. They'll have a better idea of what to expect... and where you should go if disaster hits.
Have a plan for when you'll cancel your hotel reservation or airline tickets... and make sure you have the individual hotel or airline policies close on hand. Think of this as a "stop loss" for your vacation. If the situation keeps getting worse, get out of there.
If you're unable to evacuate, close and brace all exterior doors and windows. Then, lie on the floor in an interior room or a closet on the lowest floor in the house (ground floor or basement). Brace yourself under a heavy object. The toilet fixture is helpful for this purpose. It is heavy and bolted to the floor.
2. Don't drive on flooded roads. More deaths occur due to flooding each year than any other thunderstorm- or hurricane-related hazard... According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of all flood-related drownings occur when folks drive a vehicle into flood water.
It's even more dangerous when you're driving a rental and aren't familiar with the road. Six inches of moving water can knock over an adult... while 12 inches of water can carry away a small car.
Know that it's not over until it's over. The National Hurricane Center notes that hurricanes often spawn tornadoes. Plus, some folks don't realize what the "eye of the storm" really means... As soon as the eye passes, winds will change direction and quickly return to hurricane force.
3. Train yourself for disaster-preparedness. In my book, The Doctor's Protocol Field Manual, I highlighted the Community Emergency Response Team ("CERT"). It's funded through FEMA... But it's administered by local emergency responders, like your neighborhood fire department. CERT members receive training on how to handle a wide range of crises. This includes everything from natural disasters to biological attacks to basic medical emergencies.
Remember, older folks are at greater risk during natural disasters. About 70% of the deaths caused by Hurricane Katrina were folks older than age 60. And close to half of the deaths from Hurricane Sandy were folks aged 65 or older.
Be careful out there and have a plan.
Have you been through a hurricane or recent natural disaster? Let us know by writing to us here.
What We're Reading...
- Something different: No, your Facebook hasn't been hacked (this time).
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
Sonoma Wine Country, California
October 9, 2018
P.S. We cover everything you need to survive any crisis in my book, The Doctor's Protocol Field Manual. It details how to handle real-life crises, from what to do on a crashing jetliner to how to ship your assets offshore. Use it as your go-to guide in almost any type of crucial situation.
For current Retirement Millionaire subscribers, you can read an electronic PDF of the book here for free. It might save your life.
If you're not a Retirement Millionaire subscriber, or if you want a physical copy of the book, you can get The Doctor's Protocol Field Manual by clicking here.