The National Hurricane Center has officially elevated Potential Tropical Cyclone Two to a Category 1 hurricane. The storm has been named Hurricane Barry and is expected to make landfall on Saturday evening.
According to a report on NOLA.com, the National Hurricane Center said this system could produce a storm surge and tropical-storm-force or hurricane-force winds across portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
This is the first of the 14 storms predicted by the Colorado State University in its latest projections for the 2019 hurricane season that began on June 1. In its forecast, the University included sub-tropical storm Andrea that had formed off the Atlantic coast prior to the start of the season. It had pegged the probability of at least one major hurricane to make landfall along the continental U.S. coastline at 54%, slightly higher than the historical average of 52%.
According to the Washington Examiner, Louisiana residents are being advised to gather emergency supplies and hunker down for the storm. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency. He has said that the state is unlocking resources to manage the storm surge and hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall across the state.
"No one should take this storm lightly. As we know all too well in Louisiana, low intensity does not necessarily mean low impact. Now is the time to check your emergency supplies and get a game plan for your family and pets. I urge the public to continue monitoring local media for weather developments and follow the directions of local officials," Edwards said in a statement. "We expect multiple parishes to declare states of emergency, and we stand ready to assist our local partners with all available resources. My office is in constant communication with FEMA, and we will continue to provide updates as necessary."
Storm surges have been known to cause damage to homes. According to Tom Jeffery, Principal, Insurance and Spatial Solutions, at CoreLogic, “Throughout history, damage from storm surge and inland flooding has shown it can far exceed the damage from wind. Superstorm Sandy, for instance, caused unprecedented levels of storm surge in New Jersey and New York.”
According to an Urban Institute report, the impact of a natural disaster such as a hurricane is felt by homeowners long after the event. To help homeowners prepare for such an eventuality and cope with the devastation they leave in their wake, U.S. Representatives from Florida Gus Bilirakis and Charlie Crist recently introduced their “Shelter Act,” a plan to offer tax credits for homeowners, families, and businesses threatened by natural disasters.
According to the Representatives, the bill will “help Americans protect their homes or businesses against hurricanes, tornados, floods, drought, and wildfires” by creating a “first-of-its-kind disaster mitigation tax credit for families and business owners in disaster-prone areas,” the Florida Daily reported.
“As Americans, we know all too well that disaster can strike when we least expect it. For working families who own homes and businesses, a natural disaster can leave their lives and livelihoods literally in pieces,” said Crist. “This bipartisan legislation puts power back into the hands of the people, rewarding small businesses and homeowners who prepare for the unexpected and invest in protecting their property from hurricanes, floods, and everything in between.”
Even as the industry and government work together to prepare for such events, natural disasters can impact investors, service providers, mortgage servicers, government agencies, legal professionals, lenders, property preservation companies, and—most importantly—homeowners. The 2019 Five Star Disaster Preparedness Symposium on July 31 in New Orleans will include critical conversations on the response, reaction, and assistance, to ensure the industry is ready to lend the proper support the next time a natural disaster strikes. Click below to register for this event.