Three Things We Can Learn From Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Three Things We Can Learn From Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
On October 7, 2017

Three Things We Can Learn From Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

The recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida have brought many things to our attention, and most poignantly, the lack of control we have over Mother Nature. As we look back in time, however, there are many lessons we can learn from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Here are just three: 

Flood insurance matters – even if you are not in a flood plain. Many of Houston’s residents learned this lesson the hard way. Typically, when we don’t live in a flood plain, flood insurance is not required by law, and we also don’t consider that we need it. However, many of Houston’s residents’ homes weren’t located in a flood plain and yet their homes were filled with as much as four feet of water before the hurricane was finished. Had they had flood insurance, obviously, their losses would have been covered. As much as we may not want to consider that massive floods like the one in Houston can happen to us, the reality is becoming much more palpable – they can happen to anyone, anywhere, regardless of where they live.

It pays to evacuate. On paper, it would have been impossible to evacuate the six million people that were affected by Hurricane Harvey. But had just the ones in mandated evacuation zones left, presumably many lives would have been saved. However, as many residents of Florida and Houston learned, there is a window in which people can leave before being stuck in a monumental traffic jam – and in the case of Florida, with no gas in sight. Knowing what this window is, and respecting it, is something that is much better to know in advance, than to learn in hindsight.

Building codes matter. Many, many of the homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed, and a strikingly large number of them were not up to current building codes. On the other hand, many homes that were built according to the current building code were unharmed. Building codes are created precisely for this reason – to reflect the current dangers that a home can face. And as many residents of the Florida Keys are now learning, they serve a very important role in keeping their homes safe.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to the many people affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and we hope that as we recover, we can learn from our experiences, and be stronger for it.


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