Hurricane Risk Assessment of Miami, Term Paper Example

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Term Paper

Category 5 Hurricane in Miami-Dade County

Recently, hurricane forecasters believe that the next few decades during hurricane season will be even extremely severe for the Florida area.   Within the past 30 years, the East Coast of the United States, as well as Florida have adapted to low-level hurricane activity throughout the years.  However, within the next few decades, residents and visitors of Florida, especially Miami, should be prepared for a major and severe hurricane coming their way.

This Executive Briefing paper will serve to summarize significant research from hurricane experts, and will identify all affected communities within the hurricane zones.  Also, the Executive Briefing paper will explain the emergency actions and disaster preparedness for residents of Miami, Florida, as well as the rest of Florida State.

Florida is known as the most popular hurricane affected state within the United States, which is solely because more hurricane storms have hit Florida than any other state within the United States.  Hurricane forecasters believe that hurricane activity within two or three decades will have severe impact on Southeast Florida, which major cities include Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach:

“Research expert Bert Sperling says recent hurricane activity is having an impact. “In spite of a devastating 2004 season, coastal areas still had tremendous appeal. But this year’s new wave of hurricane activity has caused some people to have second thoughts. If the hurricane activity continues at this pace, it will have a significant impact on where people choose to live or if they will rebuild in the same location (Sperling 2011).”

Hurricane forecasters believe that coastal areas, such as Miami, will be soon be affected catastrophically within the upcoming decades.  It is assumed that the upcoming catastrophic hurricane(s) will cause several disasters throughout the Miami area.  The hurricane(s) are expected to demonstrated intensified winds of 200 mph or greater.  Hurricane forecasters even believe that the strong winds will even cause “the ocean itself [to] be driven inland by the winds, creating a ‘storm surge,’ a wall of water up to 20 feet high (Sperling 2011).”

Generally, hurricanes of a Category 3 or greater are expected to hit the Southeast Florida area at least once every ten years.  However, the most recent Category 3 or greater hurricane to hit within the Southeast Florida area was Hurricane Andrew, which was in 1992. Hurricane Andrew produced a 17 feet high storm surge throughout the Florida state, and caused massive damage throughout Miami-Dade County.  However, since the Category 5 hurricane happened in 1992, “Miami is several years overdue for a major hit (Sperling 2011).” Though other hurricanes have hit the area within the past few decades, the hurricanes weren’t classified as a Category 3 or greater; therefore hurricane forecasters don’t recognize them within the statistic ratings. Therefore, residents within the Southeast Florida area, especially Miami-Dade County must be prepared and do their research for the upcoming hurricane(s) that will hit the area within the upcoming hurricane seasons. Sperling suggests that, “a little work now may save your home and possessions, and your lives (2011).” All residents of Miami-Dade County must be prepared and take proper precautions for theupcoming hurricanes attacks.

Though, it may be difficult to predict any great accuracy of where exactly such a storm will land, the hurricane pattern for a Category 5 occurrence is about once every three years.  Estimates of potential damage costs vary widely from 70 to 250 billion dollars.  If hurricane experts studies are correct, the Category 5 hurricane, which is expected to hit Miami-Dade County within the next two or three decades, making a direct hit on Miami and turning north toward Orlando could cause insured losses of more than $130 billion.  Nevertheless the chance of a category 5 hurricane, once every three years, remains a strong possibility and it is more a question of when the next event will occur. Climate change is certainly contributing towards more ferocious storm events.

Since more than 2.2 million people reside within the Miami-Dade County, it is important that all residents are aware for disaster preparedness for a Category 3 or greater hurricane. A significant key to surviving any Category 3 or greater hurricane is determined by the adequate preparation. Shortly after announcement of the hurricane, residents of the Miami-Dade County area should contact their local emergency office and/or department, where they can learn about any and all emergency plans for their local area.  Also, the local emergency office will also provide evacuation routes for all residents to familiarize with, in case of any immediate and mandatory evacuations.“Remember that a Hurricane Watch means the onset of hurricane conditions is possible within 36 hours; a Hurricane Warning means the onset of hurricane conditions is likely within 24 hours (FEMA 2011).”  Residents of Miami-Dade County should consider investing within flood insurance.  It is important to assemble a disaster kit, which contains “food, water, medical supplies, battery-powered radio and NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, batteries, flashlights and other items that will allow you to get by for (FEMA 2011)” several days after a hurricane hits.  Also, it may be important to consider storing important documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, social security cards, passports, wills, deeds, and financial and insurance records (FEMA 2011), in a flood safe location.  In case of any sudden evacuations, make sure every family member carries his/her identification with them at all times.

In most cases, when a Category 5 hurricane is announced residents are advised to evacuate the area.  This is mainly due to the widespread damage and flooding that may occur in the area during such an event.  The morbidity rate for those in adequate shelters is extremely high.  In addition you may become trapped because of air and road closures and as such place yourself in a life-threatening situation after the event has struck.  Therefore, it is significant for residents to protect their properties.  Residents of Miami-Dade County should focus on the safety of their home and other properties.  It is essential that all properties are well boarded up and prepared for strong wind and rains.

Hurricane-force winds can easily destroy poorly constructed buildings and mobile homes. Debris such as signs, roofing material, and small items left outside become flying missiles in hurricanes. Extensive damage to trees, towers, water and underground utility lines (from uprooted trees), and fallen poles cause considerable disruption (National Hurricane Centre. (2011).

Therefore, residents should consider removing any branches from nearby trees that could break or fall and cause severe damage. “Secure or bring inside such outdoor items as patio furniture, kids’ slides, and power mowers (FEMA 2011).”

Immediately after a hazardous storm has occurred, it is important for residents to understand particular precautions that could occur within the area.  For example, after a storm has ended, residents should be extremely cautious when leaving out of any doors.  Residents must “be alert for downed power lines, broken glass, and damage to building foundations, streets and bridges, and coastal or hillside erosion (FEMA 2011).”  Also, it is important to continue listening to the television, radio or NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, which will inform every individual of any precautions they must consider.  Residents should be aware of any closed roads, and residents should also stay clear of any barricades or flooded roads.  It is significant for residents to safeguard their properties by taking several precautions.  For example, when the storm has completely finished, it is important for residents to inspect their properties of any damages that may have occurred.  However, while inspecting the resident’s property, the resident should never use candles, lighters or any other open flames indoor.  Only a flashlight should be used to inspect the property from any damages, solely because electrical wires could be loose and unrestricted, which can cause danger to the individual.  “Stay on firm ground. Moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from power lines (FEMA 2011).” Residents should never drink tap water without authorities indicating its safety.

In essence, on average a Category 5 hurricane will hit the United States of America every 3 years.  Furthermore, a Category 3 or greater is expected to hit the Miami-Dade County once every ten years.  Since the Southeast Florida area hasn’t experienced a Category 3 or greater hurricane since Hurricane Andrew, which occurred in 1992.  The future concept of a Category 5 hurricane hitting Miami would prove to be a catastrophic event and potentially far more costly that the event that struck New Orleans.  Therefore, Miami-Dade County residents should take all precautions to prepare for the hurricane that will soon hit the area.

References

FEMA. (2011). Hurricanes. Retrieved 9 26, 2011, from Fema:             <http://www.fema.gov/hazard/hurricane/index.shtm>.

National Hurricane Centre. (2011). Hurricane Preparedness. Retrieved 9 26, 2011, from National Hurricane Centre:<http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/high_winds.shtml>.

Sperlings. (2011). Hurricane Hotspots. Retrieved 9 26, 2011, from Sperlings:             <http://www.bestplaces.net/docs/studies/hurricane_hotspots.aspx>.

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