Summer may be winding down, but Mother Nature - apparently - is not. Predictions for the Atlantic Coast hurricane season (June 1 through Nov. 30) from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there could be 12 to 16 named tropical storms before all wind is blown and gone - and this includes two to five major hurricanes. Just recently, Tropical Storm Fay wreaked havoc on residents living in Florida.

It’s just another reason for contractors to be on the alert - and, just as important, prepared - for that next natural disaster, which may be, unexpectedly, blowing, twisting, or shaking its way around the corner of one’s place of business. The summer of 2008 definitely set a torrid pace, with damaging flooding in the middle of the country, including a few surprising earthquakes; an increase in destructive tornados overall; thunderstorms on the rise; and more wildfires burning across California. In Iowa alone, 80 of its 99 counties were declared Federal Disaster Areas due to flooding.

Every report of these natural disasters can create nervousness, but can also result in contractors redoubling efforts to do everything possible to mitigate damage to their business, ensure the safety of their employees, and be able to rapidly respond to the needs of their customers. In the end, trade associations, industry consultants, and many contractors agree upon and preach the need for being prepared. However, not many contractors have a written natural disaster plan on record, nor have practiced for a potential weather-related hazard.

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