People living on the Gulf Coast and further down the Eastern seaboard have long accepted hurricanes as a fact of life—one that brings with it torrential rain, howling winds and devastating hailstorms. New Jersey has been hit with a few big storms over the past two centuries—some of which caused major damage and even death—but historically, most of us haven't considered ourselves to be residents of 'hurricane country.' That nonchalance changed in 2012 with the impact of Superstorm Sandy, the second-costliest storm in U.S History (2005’s Hurricane Katrina is number one).
With billions of dollars in property damage, thousands of displaced residents, power outages affecting hundreds of thousands for days on end and loss of human life, that weather event was unlike anything most New Jersey natives had ever experienced.
“I never thought I’d see what I saw today. Ever,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie lamented during an October 30, 2012 briefing on the storm's impact. A few of those sights included homes moved off of their foundation into the middle of Route 35, Jersey Shore amusement rides washed into the ocean, and seaside rail lines swept off the map.
With all indicators pointing to the likelihood of more and bigger storms in the coming years, it's crucial for managers, boards and residents of multifamily buildings to take steps to keep both people and property as safe as possible when the inevitable strikes. Property managers and boards must develop and implement intelligent, workable storm preparation and evacuation strategies, and residents must be aware of those strategies.
The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season is June 1st and with Accuweather.com’s long range team predicting 16 named tropical storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, with three making landfall, it’s a good idea to begin preparations now.