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Hurricane Predictions: Does It Matter?

It seems as though every single year the climate “experts” warn us that this will be a year of intense hurricane activity. And for the last several years, they’ve been pretty much wrong, at least as far as the Baltimore/DC metro region is concerned. Although the fringes of Hurricane Sandy brought extensive rain and storm surges to the area in 2012, it’s been more than a decade since we’ve sustained a direct hit from a hurricane.

There are a couple of ways to assess this: the first would be to assume that hurricanes almost never hit Baltimore or DC directly, so there’s no need to prepare. Or you could say that we are long overdue for a major hurricane and playing with house money at this point.

Which is correct? It really doesn’t matter, and here’s why:

Recent local history has shown that the greatest likelihood of trouble comes from the “micro” weather event, not massive hurricanes or tropical storms.  Look no further than Ellicott City for confirmation of this, and there have been numerous lesser events that have hit smaller areas very hard.

The bottom line is that the preparation is the same for a localized event as for a widespread one, and you need to be prepared. More than just planning for how severe weather might impact your own business, however, you need to consider how you’ll get help when every other business in the area needs it at the same time, and our experience shows that to be the case for weather events large and small.

This is why we stress the importance of having a relationship with your restoration contractor before you need it, and even better, having a Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place. An SLA is the restoration equivalent of a Fastpass at Disney World … it moves you to the front of the line when everyone wants the same thing at the same time. The initial time investment is small compared to what’s on the line when a facility can’t operate because all the qualified contractors are busy with other clients.

Will we have a major storm this year, next year, ever? I have no idea, and neither, it seems, do the professional forecasters. But it really doesn’t matter, does it? It won’t take a widespread cataclysm to put your business on the sidelines, just a local storm with good aim.

So be prepared.

Mike Popowski is President of PBI Restorations. Reach him at mike@pbirestores.com.