Blog – Water and Storm Damage

Reviewing the 2012 Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 each year. This is when oceanic conditions are right for hurricane creation. Back in April, we reviewed scientists’ predictions that 2012 would be a calm year for hurricanes. As it turns out, 2012 was one of the most active years for hurricanes on record.

Major Storms in the 2012 Hurricane Season

May: Tropical storms Beryl and Alberto formed prior to the official start of the hurricane season – a harbinger of the active year for Atlantic storms. Indeed, 2012 marked the seventh time in recorded history that a year saw 19 named storms. Actually, this is the third year in a row that has seen this much activity.

June: This month brought tropical storm Debby and category 1 hurricane Chris. Florida was the only American state to be affected by these storms; Debbie made landfall at Steinhatchee, Fla., on June 26. The storm crossed Florida but as a weakened tropical depression, with much lower winds.

August: This is the month we saw tropical storms Florence, Helene and Joyce; category 1 hurricanes Ernesto, Isaac and Leslie; and category 2 hurricanes Gordon and Kirk. None of these storms hit the United States except for Isaac, which made landfall just over the mouth of the Mississippi river, moved back out to sea and made a second landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 28.

Most Americans will remember Isaac as the hurricane that forced the Republican national convention to delay activities for a day. However, the storm also caused Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi governors to declare a state of emergency and call for mandatory evacuations. Overall, nine deaths were attributed to Isaac, and 900,000 residents of the southeastern U.S. were left without power on Aug. 30. Total estimated damages of hurricane Isaac: $2.3 billion across the U.S., Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

September: This month included category 1 hurricanes Leslie and Nadine; category 2 hurricane Kirk; and category 3 hurricane Michael. None of these storms made landfall on U.S. shores.

October: In October we saw tropical storms Oscar, Patty and Tony; category 1 hurricanes Nadine and Rafael; and category 2 hurricane Sandy. Five tropical storms whipped up over the Atlantic basin in October; Sandy and Rafael were the only storms to achieve hurricane status. Although at one point it was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record (with a diameter of 1,100 miles!), Sandy wasn’t officially a hurricane when it made landfall, prompting newscasters to come up with names like the “Frankenstorm” and “Superstorm Sandy.” But the fact that this enormous storm had been downgraded to a tropical storm didn’t diminish its terrifying power. No less than 24 U.S. states were affected by the storm. Tens of thousands of people evacuated their homes, and 253 died. Current estimates put the damage caused by the storm at around $71 billion – the second costliest hurricane ever recorded.

Still, as experts in disaster recovery, documents specialists at our firm believe we haven’t really seen the full extent of Sandy’s wrath. Still to come: the death toll for hundreds of businesses that weren’t prepared to have all of their files damaged by flood waters. Water damaged documents can be recovered, but it does require an investment to bring in a firm that knows how to dry wet documents.

In Sandy’s wake, there’s been a spike in articles outlining disaster mitigation plans for companies. Yet very few of these plans consider what would happen if a company lost all of its most important files – from client records to employee files to contracts and banking information. Even if the physical workspace is revived, it’s nearly impossible for a company to continue without access to this basic information.

To prevent water damaged documents, we encourage every business owner to scan important documents today. Don’t wait for that next monster storm or unexpected spring flood to hit. Now is always the best time to preempt disaster recovery. Documents can be converted into digital format and then saved on a remote server, located in another state that’s removed from local disaster conditions.

If you’re wondering how to dry wet documents damaged in one of this year’s hurricane events, give us a call. We maintain the industry’s top technology for restoring documents. And if we’ve convinced you to convert your paper files into digital format, we can handle that for you. We’re experienced in scanning business files so as to protect them against nature’s awesome power.

[ Photo by: Chalky Lives, via CC License ]

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