Mother Nature Strikes "Preliminary figures indicate 1998 losses due to storms, floods, droughts and fires are 48% greater than 1996, the previous record year." —World Watch Institute [/url] Source: National Climatic Data Center But this is only part of the picture. Not shown in the data above are the costs incurred long after the event has passed. Just one example is the flooding of the cities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, North Dakota, in April 1997. Reported damages from this event totaled $3 billion. And this total, as large as it is, does not include the lost employment or the reduced city, county, and state tax base. One year later, 150 businesses had yet to reopen, and those that did carried significantly larger debt.  Of particular importance is the loss of electric power. The effects of weather-related disasters vary by region and by the type of event, but when a storm hits, the area frequently loses power. Although the outages may not last long, they can be widespread. For example, when Hurricane Fran struck North Carolina in September 1996, 1.7 million North Carolina utility customers and an additional 400,000 Virginia customers lost power. During the January 1998 snow and ice storm in the Northeast, more than 500,000 utility customers went without power, and 80% of Maine's population lost electrical service. Southeastern Canada reported more than 3 million customers without power.  These are a few examples illustrating the need for action to prepare for natural disasters to better survive these events, as well as to improve safety and the ability to continue functioning after the disaster.
It is also important to be stocked up for when you return after a storm as well. Many of the problems still exist even after people are cleared for reentry (provided that the left). Remember to keep bottled water and survival food *such as MREs on hand at all times. This is in addition to all the other pertinent kit of course.
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