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How Cities Can Prepare For Severe Weather


Even though no major storms made landfall during this year’s hurricane season, Super Storm Sandy made it abundantly clear last year that the threat for severe weather damage is always there and can be substantial. As a result, more cities are making contingency plans to deal with such an eventuality.

Cities that are thinking towards the future will be diligent in taking proactive steps to mitigate any coming disasters, and this is a wise move, since prevention almost always costs far less than the clean up after a major storm.  However, this does require a focused effort on the part of city leaders to formulate a disaster plan, and to make the changes necessary to implement it.

Ideally, roads should be treated as part of a comprehensive water plan, since flooding is common in cases of severe weather. The fix is to utilize porous pavement in order to facilitate water runoff as well as encouraging and incentivizing property owners to do the same.

Areas of unused land in flood prone areas of the city can also be used to control water runoff through transformations into wetlands or parks, areas designed to naturally absorb excess water.  Granted, either of these projects can be expensive, but implemented over a period of time, it may be possible to reduce the threat to the city from severe weather events such as Super Storm Sandy.

Rather than repaving all roads at once, the process could entail repaving as needed, but using porous pavement in the process. Over time, the bulk of the city’s roads will be brought up to spec with regard to flooding problems. Once a road is torn up, other companies such as broadband or electrical could be brought in to make whatever changes they need to in order to comply with disaster mitigation standards. By sharing costs among the various community systems, then the project is better funded and will save the city money in the long run.

While there is some discussion among scientists as to whether or not severe weather event are increasing in frequency and intensity, it is commonly accepted that communities should do all they can to properly prepare against the next major hurricane or other severe weather problem.

Even though this year’s hurricane season was largely uneventful, as was the several years following the very active 2005 season, weather is unpredictable and can easily turn on a dime, bringing serious damage to communities that, without proper preparation, could take years to recover from.


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