Author: Robbie Berg

It’s Just a Matter of Time

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The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.

— White Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)


How did it get so late so soon?

— Dr. Seuss

 

 

 

Pressed for Time

Have you ever procrastinated on something for so long that the stress you feel from hurrying at the last minute makes you feel like you’re more and more behind?  We have to factor time into a lot of decisions we make in life, but like the White Rabbit and Dr. Seuss, we often feel as though we didn’t leave ourselves enough time to get everything done before a deadline.

Traffic on Interstate 5 on a rainy day in Seattle, Washington (Wonderlane, flickr)

Imagine this scenario:  you wake up at 7 AM on a Monday morning, and you have a critically important meeting you MUST attend at the office at 9 AM.  If you miss the meeting, it could hurt your career opportunities.  You open your window blinds, and you see it’s raining cats and dogs outside.  On a good day, it takes you 30 minutes to drive from home to work.  “Shoot,” you think to yourself.  “I probably should leave a little early to give myself enough time in case traffic is bad.”  You hurriedly shower, get dressed, eat some breakfast, and arrange for your significant other to get the kids to school on time.  Rushing out the door with your coffee at around 8:15 AM, you pull up your favorite navigation app on your smartphone, select your office as your destination, and dread consumes you.  Estimated arrival:  9:15 AM.  The rain has caused so many accidents and traffic jams on your route to work that it’s going to take at least an hour to get there.  There’s no way you’re going to make it there before the meeting starts.

Now imagine another scenario:  you wake up at 8 AM on a beautiful Saturday morning, and you and your family decide that you’re going to spend the day at the beach.  In no real rush, you get up, eat some breakfast, pack some food and drinks, and gather your towels, chairs, and beach umbrella.  The kids are in even less of a hurry, but you finally get them all in the car.  It normally takes you 30 minutes to drive from home to the beach, although you figure that the nice weather will probably mean a lot of other people will have the same idea today, and traffic could be a little heavy.  You pull up your navigation app on your smartphone, select your favorite beach, and you’re suddenly a bit annoyed.  It’s going to take almost 45 minutes to get there.  “Oh well,” you think.  “We’re in no particular hurry, and the beach will still be there when we get there.”  Forty-five minutes later, you’ve arrived at the beach, you plop yourself on the sand, and time melts away.

As you can imagine, you’d probably approach these two scenarios very differently, and you’d probably have vastly different emotional reactions to the things that make travel time uncertain.  The question is how risky are you willing to be while planning when to leave.  How bad will it be if you don’t get to your destination at the time you want to get there?  Fortunately, navigation programs and apps allow us to account for time uncertainty depending on our tolerance for risk.

Let’s say I will be driving from Miami to Orlando, and my goal is to arrive at 3 PM.  When I get directions from my navigation app, the program allows me to select an “Arrive by” time, telling me it will take between 3 hours 10 minutes and 4 hours to get there by 3 PM.  The program is trying to account for the typical drive time and the uncertainties (like traffic or road construction) that could make that time longer.  So now I have to decide how much risk I want to take on.  If I have a high risk tolerance (it’s not the end of the world if I don’t arrive exactly by 3 PM), then I’ll probably decide to go with the low end of the time range (3 hours 10 minutes) and leave at 11:50 AM.  If, on the other hand, I have a low tolerance of risk and must be in Orlando by 3 PM, then I’ll probably give myself the full 4 hours and leave Miami at 11 AM.  If traffic on Florida’s Turnpike turns out to be light (ha!) and I get there early, no harm, no foul.  I’ve avoided undue stress and may have even left myself some time to grab a coffee before my 3 PM appointment.

Driving directions and estimated driving times from Miami to Orlando, Florida, according to a popular online navigation program.

When Will the Winds Start?

Things aren’t much different when it comes to the arrival or onset of winds associated with a hurricane or tropical storm.  When we make a forecast for a hurricane’s future track and size, we can derive a time at which tropical-storm-force winds would begin in a city, based on that specific forecast.  We call that a deterministic approach because it in no way accounts for uncertainty in the hurricane’s future track or size.  (We attacked the issue of deterministic forecasts in a previous blog post about storm surge forecasting).  It’s like assuming we won’t hit any extra traffic that will slow us down when driving from Point A to Point B.  But what if the storm moves faster than we’re forecasting?  Then the winds will arrive in the city sooner.  What if the storm gets bigger than we’re forecasting?  That, too, will cause the winds to begin in the city earlier than forecast.

During the 2018 hurricane season, we here at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, and fellow forecasters at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, began producing new products called the “Arrival of Tropical-Storm-Force Winds” graphics for every tropical cyclone within our areas of responsibility.  These graphics serve as a sort of “navigation app,” giving you the times that tropical-storm-force winds are most likely to begin at different locations based on the latest official forecast, as well as “earliest reasonable” times that the winds could begin if the storm speeds up or grows in size.  The times provided by these graphics can help you decide when your preparations for a storm should be complete according to how much risk you’re willing to take that you won’t have them quite done in time.  If you have no tolerance for risk and must be completely prepared before the winds start, then you’d go with the “earliest reasonable” time.  If you have some wiggle room and can afford not to have everything done before the winds start, then maybe you’d be OK going with the “most likely” time.

Let’s look at an example from Hurricane Michael from 2018 to show how these graphics can be useful.  Here’s the first forecast issued by NHC for Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen at 4 PM CDT October 6, when the pre-Michael disturbance was located over the northwestern Caribbean Sea.

NHC Forecast Cone for Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen (Pre-Michael) Advisory 1 at 4 PM CDT, Saturday, October 6, 2018.

This first official forecast showed the center of eventual-Michael reaching the Florida Panhandle around 1 PM CDT on Wednesday.  But obviously the outer wind field from the storm would reach the coast before that time—you just can’t deduce when that will occur from this particular graphic.  Here’s what each of the “Arrival of Tropical-Storm-Force Winds” graphics showed for that particular forecast:

Most Likely Arrival Time graphic for Advisory 1 of Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen in 2018.
Earliest Reasonable Arrival Time graphic of Advisory 1 for Potential Tropical Cyclone Fourteen in 2018.

 

On the left, the Most Likely graphic shows that tropical-storm-force winds were most likely to have begun at locations along the Florida Panhandle between 8 pm Tuesday and 8 am CDT Wednesday, which would have given people about 3 to 3 ½ days to get ready.  On the other hand, the Earliest Reasonable graphic on the right shows that tropical-storm-force winds could have begun at locations along the Florida Panhandle coast as early as 8 am CDT Tuesday, lessening the preparation time to about 2 ½ days.  (Editor’s note:  You’ll note that I’ve used bold red and black coloring of the text in these scenarios to match the bold red and black titles of the two versions of the graphics above).  Not only would these times help people decide when to have their preparations done, but they also help emergency managers decide when to call evacuations, based on how much time it would take to get people out of areas vulnerable to storm surge before tropical-storm-force winds begin.

So when did sustained tropical-storm-force winds actually arrive on the coast of the Florida Panhandle?  According to the Surface Wind Field graphic, they began roughly around 4 am CDT Wednesday, which falls within the “Most Likely” range discussed above.  In the case of Michael, the track forecast turned out to be very good, and the Most Likely Arrival Time product provided an accurate onset time of tropical-storm-force winds.

Surface wind field for Hurricane Michael, Advisory 15, at 4 AM CDT, Wednesday, October 10, 2018.

Not all track forecasts are this accurate, however.  Consider Hurricane Nate, which made landfall along the Gulf Coast about a year earlier in 2017.  The first official forecast issued by NHC for Tropical Depression Sixteen at 11 am EDT Wednesday, October 4 showed the center of eventual-Nate reaching the Gulf Coast Sunday morning (see below).  The corresponding arrival time graphics showed tropical-storm-force winds most likely to begin overnight Saturday, but they could have begun as early as during the day Saturday.

NHC Forecast Cone for Tropical Depression Sixteen (Pre-Nate) Advisory 1 at 11 AM EDT, Wednesday, October 4, 2017.
Most Likely Arrival Time graphic for Advisory 1 of Tropical Depression Sixteen in 2017.
Earliest Reasonable Arrival Time graphic of Advisory 1 for Tropical Depression Sixteen in 2017.

Nate moved faster across the Gulf of Mexico and a little farther west than was originally forecast, and its tropical-storm-force winds first reached the coast during the day on Saturday.  For this particular storm, the times indicated on the Earliest Reasonable graphic (right) ended up being closer to the times when tropical-storm-force winds began in southeastern Louisiana.

Surface wind field for Hurricane Nate, Advisory 14, at 4 PM CDT, Saturday, October 7, 2017.

The problem is that we can never nail arrival times exactly because we can’t know beforehand if a storm will follow the official forecast or deviate in some way that affects when winds will first reach the coast.  That’s why it’s probably prudent to consult both versions of the product and consider what types of decisions you must make before a storm arrives.  But if you want to be sure that you’ll be prepared before the winds start, it’s advisable to go with the “earliest reasonable” version of the graphic.

There’s one caveat to think about:  just because a location is covered by times in the graphics, it doesn’t mean that tropical-storm-force winds will definitely occur at that site.  NHC also provides versions of the graphics that show the arrival times overlaid on top of the overall probability of a location receiving sustained tropical-storm-force winds during the next 5 days.  So, in reality, the arrival times should be thought of as conditional.  They are the possible times that tropical-storm-force winds could begin, assuming that tropical-storm-force winds occur at all.  As an example, look at the Most Likely Arrival Time graphic issued for Hurricane Florence, Advisory 50, at 5 pm Atlantic Standard Time (AST), Tuesday, September 11.  This graphic shows that locations along the southern coast of North Carolina have a near certainty (>90% chance as indicated by the purple shading) of receiving sustained tropical-storm-force winds, which would most likely begin Thursday morning.  Farther north, locations along the coast of Delaware only had a 20-30% chance (as indicated by green shading) of sustained tropical-storm-force winds, but if they happened to occur, they would most likely begin Friday morning.

Most Likely Arrival Time graphic for Advisory 50 of Hurricane Florence issued at 5 PM AST, Tuesday, September 11, 2018. This version of the graphic also includes the cumulative 5-day probability of locations receiving sustained tropical-storm-force winds (colors).

With that, the time has probably arrived to end this particular blog post.  Some may have wanted it to end earlier, which is reasonable, but most likely you are craving more information.  In a second blog post, we’ll cover how the arrival times are derived from the official forecast, how the earliest reasonable and most likely times are calculated, and some of the social science research that went into developing the graphics.  Stay tuned!

— Robbie Berg

 

 

Complete Your Written Hurricane Plan

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Get a Plan!

Bryan Koon
Director, Florida Division of Emergency Management
@BKoonFDEM / @FLSERT

bryankoonSERTlogo

 

 

 

 

A lot of the advice you hear in advance of hurricane season includes some variation on “Get a Plan”.  And you may have thought, “Why?  How difficult can it be?”  The truth is, it’s really not difficult.  Most of the things that I want you to consider when dealing with a natural disaster such as a hurricane are basic, common-sense issues that you deal with every day of your life.  The problem is that when a hurricane or other severe weather is bearing down on you and your family, the things that you normally take for granted may be in short supply, and you’ve got to get a lot done in a very short period of time.  In those circumstances, having gone through the planning process with your loved ones, and developing a written plan to help guide your actions, could save your life.

Hurricane_Prepare_Day 7Simply considering developing a plan is a very good first step.  It will help you think about the hazards where you live.  Are you close to the ocean and potentially in a storm surge zone?  Do you live in a flood plain?  Do you live in a house likely to be damaged in high winds?  Are the roads you rely on to get to the grocery store or the pharmacy prone to flooding?  Knowing how a storm can affect you will help determine what kind of plan you should develop.

Once you know how a hurricane will affect your physical environment, consider what that means for your loved ones.  Do you care for young children or elderly relatives?  Do you have pets or livestock that you need to care for?  Think about how a prolonged period without power or water will affect them.  What would you do if you couldn’t get to the grocery store for a few days, or if the gas station ran out of fuel?

Once you’ve thought about these issues, though, take the next step and write down your answers.  When a hurricane is coming, having a written plan will help ensure that you’re taking care of the most important things.  And by going through the planning process together, you and your family will be more confident that you’ll be able to survive the storm and get your life back to normal as quickly as possible.  Having a guide to make sure you’ve taken care of the essentials will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on keeping your family safe.

Will everything go exactly as you planned it?  Probably not.  There are so many variables in a hurricane and so many unknown factors that you’ll likely have to improvise.  But it’s much easier to deviate from a well-considered plan than it is to try to develop a course of action from scratch during the middle of the event.

There are a lot of resources to help you.  In Florida, try www.flgetaplan.com.  In South Carolina go to http://www.scemd.org/planandprepare/preparedness/famdiasterplan, and in Texas a good resource is http://www.texasprepares.org/.  Other great sites include The Red Cross and FEMA’s Ready.gov site.  And there are many more; simply search “disaster plan” on the internet and you’ll find plenty of options.  All of them are very good, and any one of them will help you accomplish your goal of getting you ready. Kids can even get involved by helping their parents fill out a family communication plan.

kids plan

Hurricanes are a fact of life, and their impacts can be catastrophic.  If you are well prepared for them however, the likelihood that you will survive and be able to recover quickly are tremendously improved.  That preparation starts with developing a plan to guide you through the situation.  An hour or two spent now on writing your plan could save your life!

Identify Your Trusted Sources of Information

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Identifying Trusted Sources for a Hurricane Event

Dr. Gina Eosco
Senior Social Scientist/Risk Communication Specialist, Eastern Research Group
@WxComm / @ERGupdate

Gina EoscoERG logo

 

 

 

 

Hurricanes are dangerous! Extreme winds, storm surge, inland flooding from heavy rains, and tornadoes can all be life threatening. Understanding your risk from these threats is important—and a trusted, credible source for hurricane information can help.

Hurricane_INFO_4-4-16When a storm is threatening your area, there are many places to go for information to determine if you are at risk….

But, are all sources of weather information the same? Are all sources trustworthy?

To answer that question, you first have to define what is meant by “trustworthy.” As it turns out, several factors contribute to people’s perceptions of trust, including the source’s knowledge and expertise, openness and honesty, and concern and care.[i]  Using these factors of trust, here are some tips to identify trusted sources of hurricane information:

Does your source have hurricane knowledge and expertise? Knowledge and expertise are gained through a combination of study and practical experience. Does your source hire staff with degrees in meteorology? In addition to formal degrees, the American Meteorological Society certifies individuals who have “achieved a high level of competency in communicating complex weather.” The National Weather Association also offers a certification program. These certifications and corresponding logos are shown on TV next to a broadcaster’s name, online, or in someone’s biography.

Of equal importance is how many years of experience does your source have? Hurricanes are like fingerprints. No two storms are the same. Forecasters must observe, collect, and analyze complex data to determine the hurricane track, intensity, and potential impacts, like storm surge. It stands to reason that the more experience a source has with different storms, the more knowledge and expertise that individual has gained over time.

Determining if a source is open and honest is a bit more subjective. Here are a few guiding thoughts.

Key Messages on Hurricane JoaquinDoes your source convey what he or she knows and doesn’t know? There is always some uncertainty with a storm. Communicating uncertainty is vital to an open dialogue about the risk of hurricanes. For example, during Hurricane Joaquin in September and October of 2015, the National Hurricane Center issued a new “key messages” section in their Tropical Cyclone Discussion and also sent it out on Twitter, at one point stating, “Because landfall, if it occurs, is still more than three days away, it’s too early to talk about specific wind, rain or surge impacts from Joaquin in the United States.” NHC openly shared what it did and did not know about the storm.

The last factor that leads to trust is perceiving that a source has concern and care for you. You might get the impression that a source feels concern and care by his or her tone of voice or word choice—but how do you really know? One way to gauge concern and care is by understanding the source’s mission. For instance, the National Hurricane Center explicitly states that its mission is

 “To save lives, mitigate property loss, and improve economic efficiency by issuing the best watches, warnings, forecasts and analyses of hazardous tropical weather, and by increasing understanding of these hazards.”

Hurricanes can be fearful experiences to live through, and evacuation decisions can be equally as stressful. Hurricane risk information from a trusted source can calm those fears and provide the details you need to make an informed decision that is right for you.

Hurricanes may vary in their strength, but with trusted sources by your side, you can always remain #HurricaneStrong.


Reference:

[i] Peters, R. G., Covello, V. T., & McCallum, D. B. (1997). The determinants of trust and credibility in environmental risk communication: An empirical study. Risk analysis17(1), 43-54.

Strengthen Your Home

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Leslie Chapman-Henderson
President and CEO, Federal Alliance For Safe Homes (FLASH)©
@LCHenderson / @FederalAlliance

Leslie ChapmanFLASH logo

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been following along with us this National Hurricane Preparedness Week and joining us to get #HurricaneStrong, you’ve already moved through the first four steps on your path to the ultimate state of readiness. You’ve determined your risk, developed an evacuation plan for your family, secured an insurance check-up, and assembled your disaster supplies.

Hurricane_StrengthenHome_4-4-16So, now it’s time to focus on our message for Day Five–Strengthen Your Home. This may be the most challenging of the critical steps to preparedness, but it is also one of the most rewarding. Having a strong home will give you the peace of mind that comes with feeling safe and sound.

If you have a strong home, and reside outside of a storm surge evacuation zone, you should be able to take shelter in your home. This will keep you, your family, and your pets together, off the roads, and out of the shelters. This is especially important as shelter space is limited, and should be reserved for those that must evacuate.

Also, if a hurricane strikes, your strong home can be the key ingredient for a swift recovery after the storm because strong, high-performing homes resist the wind and water that come with a hurricane. They suffer less damage, save you money, and reduce or eliminate repair time.

So how can you get a strong home?

First, it is important to understand the different ways that hurricanes can damage a home.

Hurricanes can cause damage to buildings and homes in a variety of ways:

  1. High winds put pressure on the home and its connections
  2. Windborne debris batters and breaks windows, doors and garage doors
  3. Wind-driven rain enters through openings like windows and doors
  4. Rising waters flood inside homes, damaging appliances, electrical systems, flooring, and more
  5. Waves and storm surge batter a home, causing it to break apart or even wash away

High winds exert extreme pressure on your home, and cause four types of building failure. Uplift occurs when the wind moves over the structure pulling upward, especially on the roof. Racking happens when horizontal pressure causes the house to tilt. Sliding occurs when the horizontal wind pressure pushes a house off its foundation. And, overturning occurs when a house resists horizontal pressure, and won’t rack or slide.
upliftrackingslidingoverturning

 

load path

 

 

These high wind failures can be prevented or effectively lessened when a home is well-connected with the right amount of nails and metal connectors. The key connections to reinforce include the roof-to-upper story; upper story to first floor; and house to foundation. When you make these connections the right way, you will have a continuous load path that ties your home together from the roof to the foundation.

If you are getting ready to build a new home, remember, it is possible to build a hurricane-resistant home from a variety of materials, including wood, engineered wood, and concrete products like concrete block, insulated concrete forms, cast-in-place concrete, and more.  Many materials provide the additional benefits of durability, energy savings, and sustainability, so it’s important to research all of your options before you begin.

windborne debrisWindborne debris batters and breaks windows, doors, and garage doors, but this can be prevented by using impact-resistant windows and doors, or tested and approved hurricane shutters. Shutters can be permanently installed, or temporarily. Even the proper thickness of 5/8” plywood cut to fit each window and opening is effective if properly mounted with the right fasteners. Click here to view our videos about hurricane shutters, impact-resistant windows, and how to make temporary, emergency panels.

Wind-driven rain can be kept out of your home if you refresh the caulk around your windows and the flashing around doors at least once per year. Hurricane shutters will also help prevent this damage.

cost of floodingRising waters flood inside homes, damaging appliances, electrical systems, flooring, and more. Click here to use this calculator and see the potential damage to your home from flooding. What you’ll learn is that only four inches of water can cause nearly $30,000 in damage.

The best financial protection from flood damage is flood insurance, but you must purchase a separate policy as it is not part of your homeowner’s insurance coverage. Also, flood policies carry a 30-day waiting period, so it is important to secure your protection now before the hurricane season begins.

In addition to flood insurance, there are many steps you can take to minimize flood damage. This animation provides a comprehensive overview, and here are some examples:

  • Elevate electrical outlets
  • Anchor fuel tanks
  • Install a floating drain
  • Elevate appliances inside and outside

It is also important to keep your gutters and downspouts around the home clear of debris, so they can carry the water away from your foundation.

If flooding is imminent, you should secure sandbags. If they are properly filled, placed, and maintained, sandbags can redirect storm water and debris flows away from a home and other structures. Follow the guidance below to make sure you use and then dispose of them correctly.

Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA
Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

Filling:

  • Fill sandbags one-half full.
  • Use sand if readily available, otherwise use local soil.
  • Fold top of sandbag down and rest bag on its folded top.

Placing:

  • Take care in stacking sandbags.
  • Limit placement to three layers unless a building is used as a backing or sandbags are placed in a pyramid.
  • Tamp each sandbag into place, completing each layer prior to starting the next layer.
  • Clear a path between buildings for debris flow.
  • Lay a plastic sheet in between the building and the bags to control the flow and prevent water from seeping through openings like sliding glass doors.

Limitations:

  • Sandbags will not seal out water.
  • Sandbags deteriorate when exposed to continued wetting and drying for several months. If bags are placed too early, they may be ineffective when needed.
  • Sandbags are for small water flow protection up to two feet. Protection from larger flow requires a more permanent flood prevention system.
  • Wet sandbags are very heavy and caution should be used to avoid injury.

It is important to consult your local environmental protection department before disposing of used sandbags. Sandbags exposed to contaminated floodwaters may pose an environmental hazard and require special handling.

Storm surge and waves are often the most destructive threats to homes in the path of a hurricane. So, whether you live near the coast where storm surge is possible, or you are inland where rising waters from heavy rains threaten, it is best to build or buy a home that is elevated above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) or the expected level of flooding established by the FEMA flood maps.

No matter where you live, the best protection from hurricanes or any natural disaster is to ensure that your home is constructed to meet or exceed current building codes. Post-disaster investigations have proven again and again that homes built to code have the best chance of surviving. And when you have a strong home that survives the wind and the water from hurricanes, you will become resilient in the face of the storm.

Secure an Insurance Check-Up

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Put an Insurance Review on Your Hurricane Prep To-do List

Jeanne M. Salvatore
Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, Insurance Information Institute
@JeanneSalvatore / @iiiorg

Jeanne_Salvatore_hiIII_logo-BW

 

 

 

 

Most people don’t put insurance on their hurricane preparedness checklist. But they should! Having the right amount and type of insurance is a crucial component of disaster preparedness.  And the good news is that it only takes one simple step – a call to your insurance professional.

Making sure you understand all your insurance options and updating insurance coverage should be as routine as an annual physical. Think of it as a way to maintain a healthy financial future if a natural disaster were to strike.

Hurricane_Insurance_4-4-16Prior to a conversation with your insurance professional, take a few minutes to write down all of your insurance questions. Or even better, pull out and read your current insurance policy. This is bound to lead you to more questions, and that’s a good thing.

An important partner in hurricane preparedness is an insurance agent or company representative who is willing to answer all of your questions and clearly explain what is covered and what is not.  If he or she can’t answer questions to your satisfaction, find another insurance professional.  Insurance is a very competitive business, and there are many insurers who would like to deliver top-notch service to you and your family.

Know which disasters are covered in a homeowners policy and which are not.  Wind damage is covered, no matter if the cause is a tornado, catastrophic hurricane or just a summer storm. When a wind blows, it is going to be covered by standard home and business insurance policies. Keep in mind that in most coastal states there is both a standard deductible and a hurricane deductible. The former is a flat dollar amount, such as $1,000, while the latter is typically a percentage of the insured value of your home.

The one big hurricane-related disaster that is not covered by standard policies is flooding.  Fortunately, flood insurance is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from a few private insurance companies.

NFIP_LogoDid you know that 90 percent of all natural disasters involve some form of flooding? That is reason enough for everyone to consider flood insurance.  And don’t be lulled into the false notion that only areas bordering large bodies of water get flooded. Floods can occur wherever it rains, and at least 20 percent of flood claims are paid to people who live in low- to moderate-risk flood zones. In general, the lower your flood risk, the less you pay for protection. Learn more about your risk of flooding and the estimated cost of an NFIP flood insurance policy by going to www.floodsmart.gov.

I always remind people that in addition to the right kind of coverage, they also need the right amount of insurance. What that means is having enough insurance to completely rebuild your home and replace all its contents. Rebuilding costs are often a lot higher than a home’s real estate or market value, because the costs of building materials and labor continue to rise.

Be smart. Be ready. Ask questions. Give yourself confidence that your insurance is up to date and ready to protect your financial future – before hurricane season starts.   For more information on insurance, visit the Insurance Information Institute’s website at www.iii.org.