As I’m writing this article, Hurricane Florence is about two days away from making landfall in the Carolinas. According to CNN, if Florence stays the course, it will be the furthest north on the East Coast that a Category 4 storm has ever made landfall. Currently, the storm is nearly 550 miles wide, making it larger than the State of Michigan. More than 20 million people are in her path.

East Coast Landfall

While it is always difficult to tell just how bad the destruction may be from a storm like Florence, there are some things to know about why a hurricane making landfall on the East Coast is so different from a storm like Hurricane Harvey making landfall in the Gulf Coast. According to The Atlantic, Florence is expected to hit the brakes as she moves inland, “thanks to high-pressure air bands to the north and east of the storm that will prevent it from taking the usual hurricane track off the Eastern Seaboard. The article calls the atmospheric setup “usual” and “extreme.” Plus, as opposed to the pooling water the Southeast – especially Texas – saw after Harvey, the East Coast is very prone to flash floods due to mountainous terrain, valleys, and ravines. Essentially, the mountains will have the ability to wring even more rain from the storm.

Mobilizing Your Restoration Company

A short time ago, I spoke with a restoration company in the heart of where Hurricane Florence will make landfall. Having been through Hurricane Matthew two years ago, this owner has learned a lot about catastrophe loss dos, and don’ts. She created a blog post for her local community to prepare for the storm, but much of the advice rings true for restorers too.

  1. Stay or Go? Make the decision of whether to stay or go. If this storm isn’t hitting your local area, please do some serious planning before choosing to mobilize to somewhere outside your service area. Remember, while there is money to be made during catastrophe losses, there is also a great deal of money that can be lost – both from traveling, or simply from choosing to leave behind losses on your home turf.
  2. Logistics. Do you know where your team will stay? Will you have enough fuel to get from A to Z? What will you do in the days, and even weeks, that some roadways are impassable and customers unreachable? Do you have all the equipment you need?
  3. Getting Paid. Every time there is a CAT event, like Hurricane Florence, restorers flock to the region hoping to restore some homes and make a quick buck. However, many companies also go out of business after chasing a storm because they didn’t know what jobs to accept – and which ones to turn away. Do you understand FEMA, the National Flood Insurance Program, and how to read homeowners’ insurance policies? It’s wise to know how and when you’ll be paid before getting work orders signed.

The R&R website, and special InfoCenter on Rental Equipment from Sunbelt, both hold a wealth of knowledge on Catastrophe Loss Response! Do a quick search for “Disaster Restoration” to find articles and videos on estimating, legal issues, logistics, rental equipment, case studies, and SO much more!