LESSONS FROM SANDY, HURRICANE ANDREW & THE JOPLIN TORNADO

Halloween is done and over, however I keep thinking of something scarier than ghost and goblins-Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and Storms Oh My! Although there is nothing more important to an architect than providing shelter which is weatherproof and structurally stable, once in awhile we get reminders that when the big bad wolf of mother nature comes huffing and puffing, there is no building or man that stands a chance. Events such as this week's storm take me back to that uncompleted item on the to-do list (the one that gets pushed back every year).  But wait!  Before I tell you that item, I'd like to scare the C#$5 out of you-just to place more emphasis on the importance of prevention...

3 Lessons Learned by Mother Nature's Worst Disasters:

  1. I was 10 when Hurricane Andrew hit southern Florida. We took shelter from the storm in a bathtub along with a mattress over our heads (not sure how that would’ve saved us but oh well).  Our apartment had extensive damage and the ceiling drywall caved causing our entire place to flood.  It was scary nonetheless, nothing like hearing those rushing winds come howling through the windows and hearing glass shatter everywhere.  Lesson learned from the event?  Although Floridians are masters of hurricane prep work,  it was Hurricanes such as Andrew that taught them that tape isn't going to protect their windows and a tropical depression can become a Category 5 hurricane in no time-and of course the most important when authorities say evacuate...YOU HAUL A#$ AND EVACUATE!
  2. After a decade of living in tornado alley, nothing shook me up more than The Joplin Tornado- with 160 killed and more than 1,000 injured.  This event definitely made me think twice about ignoring Tornado Sirens. Due to it's close proximity to my college stomping grounds, not to mention being the workplace and hometown of some of our dearest friends, the Joplin tornado was a sound reminder that it could happen to you as long as you lived in Middle America.  The images of flattened neighborhoods made me appreciate the importance of having our concrete bunker in the basement.  Lesson learned: if you are buying property in an area that tornadoes can occur, please don't overlook the importance of an underground storm shelter.
  3. Sandy halted the most powerful city in the world.  The water surge from the storm will likely make it amongst the most expensive natural disaster of all times, if not the most.  However, even after  order is restored and all power is returned, the memories and family heirlooms of all those families affected will have been washed away and destroyed.  This brings me to today's unveiling of my most procrastinated item on the to-list... Backing up all important documents to the Cloud or external hard drive, such as family photos, legal documents, and records of all valuables for insurance purposes.

Well Guys, I hope my  to-do reminds you of  something you've been procrastinating. You never know when mother nature might come knocking on your door.  As for me, I'm trying not to think of my new threat "California Earthquakes" as for the only thing learned by my childhood run-ins with tremors in Central America is that they don't warn, and there is no running away.  Bottom line, if you can prevent heartache and loss please do, and stay safe!