Storm season 2018 starts with Hurricane Aletta

The first hurricane of 2018 is rapidly increasing in intensity, going from a tropical storm off the coast of Mexico to a Category 4 event in just 24 hours.

Luckily, Hurricane Aletta is not expected to make landfall, although The Weather Channel says, “High surf will be generated, propagating first to the southern Mexican coast, then pushing northward toward the Baja Peninsula, including Los Cabos. Breaking waves and rip currents will be a threat along those beaches into next week.”

If it seems a bit early in the year for a major storm, it’s not. This is the third time in three years, according to NOAA’s historical database, that a Category 3 or higher has come up before June 10th.

2017 was a devastating year for hurricanes, featuring 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes and 6 major hurricanes, a damage total of at least $282.16 billion and as many as 5,000 fatalities (still being confirmed).

So how do you keep your community safe?

You can’t control the weather, but you can do a lot to ensure your community is prepared, and that starts with having a solid disaster plan.

It’s important to remember that natural disaster planning is a constant process. Although no disaster plan is ever perfect, local governments that regularly review and update disaster recovery policies and procedures, staffing and stakeholders’ roles, and disaster funding options are better able to manage the disaster response and recovery effort when a disaster does strike.

What does that involve?

First, get yourself familiar with the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA). There is a lot of red tape to go through. Same goes for Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program.

Other things your plan needs to include:

Mitigating the effects of natural disasters requires both holistic vision and a great attention to detail. Use the IBTS OnHAND customization tool to access resources specific to your situation.

CDBG-DR

Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program. Under the CDBG-DR program, HUD provides flexible grants to help cities, counties and states, especially in low-income areas, recover from presidentially-declared disasters. CDBG-DR funding is a main source of long-term recovery assistance to help localities fully rebuild. Communities apply for CDBG-DR after FEMA funding to help with initial recovery efforts has been distributed.