Hurricane Matthew Preliminary Numbers and Lessons

Hurricane Matthew has come and gone and left a trail of damage in its wake stretching from the Caribbean through Virginia. Every storm leaves its own statistical imprint as Matthew did. Here are some of the numbers worth mentioning.

  • 13.6 trillion – The number of gallons of rainwater dumped on the affected states
  • 163,000 – The number of times the Rose Bowl would have been filled with rain water from the downpour
  • 17.49 Inches –Heaviest rainfall which occurred in Savannah, Georgia
  • 8.8 billion – Estimated insured losses of which up to $2 billion is for damage to islands in the Caribbean and up to $6.8 billion is for damage occurred in the U.S.
  • 107 MPH – top wind gust in U.S. which occurred at Cape Canaveral
  • 119 MPH – top sustained wind speed recorded at Exuma International Airport in the Bahamas with recorded gusts up to 144 MPH
  • 9.88 – Highest storm surge from the storm which occurred at Fernandina Beach, Florida
  • 1,000 and rising – The death toll in Haiti
  • 43 – The number of people killed in the U.S.
  • 5 – States that recorded deaths from the storm
  • 19, 2, 9, and 5 – The percent of homeowners in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina respectively who have flood insurance

Initial estimates from insurance companies pegged the insured losses at 90% due to wind damage and 10% due to storm surge. These numbers will change as claims are filed and worked by a host of adjusters. This doesn’t take into account flood claims from North Carolina and the other states due to rivers overflowing their banks from the rainfall.

I believe there are a number of lessons we can learn from Hurricane Matthew, which apply to Texans for any type of disaster.

  • If you can evacuate, do so before the storm arrives, not at the last minute. Take the storm warnings seriously even when they turn out to be wrong.
  • Attempting to leave during the middle of the storm is highly dangerous.
  • Stocking up food in a refrigerator is pointless as it will spoil if you lose electricity. You need a week’s worth of dried or canned food & water (1 gallon of water per person per day).
  • Have back up lighting and enough batteries to last a week.
  • An emergency radio with weather bands is a good investment.
  • Have a small amount of cash on hand as ATM’s and card readers don’t work without electricity.
  • Gas pumps also require electricity to work so fill up your vehicles and generators before the storm arrives.
  • Have a predetermined plan on where you’ll go or meet if you are separated from each other.
  • Have a backup method of communication established. Cell phone batteries need to be recharged.
  • Evaluate flood insurance even if you’re not in a mandatory flood zone. Most of the North Carolina flood victims didn’t have flood insurance.

Doing all of these things does not help you avoid being impacted by the storm or event. It simply provides you with the means and tools to survive and plan your response as opposed to reacting. What are your thoughts or questions? Post them below or on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!

Evie Wise
Evie Wise


Evie Wise
Evie Wise

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