3 Things to Keep an Eye on During Hurricane Season

The Resilient Enterprise | The riskmethods Blog
hurrricane-season

August 13, 2019

Another year, another hurricane season, another predictable and mitigable risk that not enough businesses are addressing proactively. Get a leg up on the competition by being prepared for the storms. In this blog, we tell you the three things you should have your…eye…on.

by Dorota Szaszko and Krzysztof Wilczek

Hurricane season is upon us once again, and every year it’s the same: Businesses know that there’s a good chance of being hit by a storm, but still think of it as something that they just have to deal with on an ad-hoc basis.

Past years have shown that hurricanes have a potentially devastating effect on the ability of a business to keep running, even if that business is only indirectly affected (for example, by a supplier being put out of commission). We dove into riskmethods data from the last five years to look at the top 3 hurricanes we sent the most alerts on, and the results weren’t surprising: Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria topped the charts. All together, these three storms resulted in the sending of 133 riskmethods alert to dozens of companies from a variety of industries. (How did we identify exactly what to send, and to what companies? Learn more about riskmethods Risk Intelligence™.)

Even if businesses have weathered hurricanes without a coordinated plan in the past, here’s the facts: It’s getting worse. Based on climate research from MIT, the number of storms with wind speeds over 250 km/hr has tripled since 1980 (more about climate change and risk). Maybe an ad-hoc plan worked before, but as companies become more global and major storms become more common, the most resilient businesses are ones that take a more proactive approach to hurricane risk.

So what are the top 3 things you should be thinking about when you make plans to keep your business afloat during hurricane season? Here’s the breakdown.

warehouse

#1: Warehouses that your business relies on.

Warehouses are often located on low land near port terminals, making them particularly vulnerable to hurricanes. Whether the warehouses are your own or those of a key supplier, if they’re housing something that’s important to keep your company running, major damage to them could cause major damage to you. You should be aware when these kinds of assets are located in hurricane-prone areas, so that you can have mitigation plans already laid out when it suddenly becomes necessary to take action.

supply-path

#2: Supply paths to and from your business.

One of the devastating effects of hurricanes is their ability to take out major infrastructure. Hurricane Harvey, for example, resulted in the flooding of one-third of the city of Houston (in fact, according to a California geophysicist, the weight of all this water caused the city to sink by two centimeters for a short time period!). This type of damage can result in washed-out roads and bridges that might be instrumental in getting your goods where they need to go—or getting you the goods that you need to keep going. Make sure you know where hurricanes are headed, so you can plan for alternate routes if necessary.

cargo-port

#3: Major ports.

Obviously, ports are especially vulnerable to hurricanes, which are formed over water. There’s no way to fix this problem, of course, but it’s still essential to keep an eye on the issue. With modern weather technology, hurricanes are predictable days in advance, and these predictions come complete with projected paths. This means that it’s entirely possible to know in advance if a port that you use is going to be affected—and then take action to mitigate that.

Want more information about natural disaster risk—which comes in all forms, not just hurricanes? Check out our guide to the topic.

Hurricanes cause destruction for everyone, not just businesses, and there’s a lot of reasons that we hope for a quiet season in 2019. No matter what, though, riskmethods Risk Intelligence™ will be keeping close watch.

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