Do You Now Understand Why You Need To Prepare For Emergencies? This Has Been The Worst Year For Natural Disasters In U.S. History

There has been a natural disaster that has caused at least a billion dollars of damage inside the United States every single month so far this year.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there have been 10 major disasters in the United States this year.  On average, usually there are only about 3 major disasters a year.  At this point, disasters are happening inside the United States so frequently that there seems to be no gap between them.  We just seem to go from one major disaster to the next.  Last year, FEMA declared an all-time record of 81 disasters inside the United States.  This year, we are on pace for well over 100.  We just got done dealing with Hurricane Irene, and now we are dealing with historic wildfires in Texas and unprecedented flooding up in the northeast part of the country.  This has been the worst year for natural disasters in U.S. history, and we still have nearly four months left to go.  Hopefully after everything that has happened this year it has become abundantly clear to all of us why we need to prepare for emergencies.  The world is becoming an increasingly unstable place, and you never know what is going to happen next.

Thankfully, the U.S. has not experienced a disaster on the level of Hurricane Katrina so far this year, but what makes this year different is that we have never seen so many major disasters happen so rapidly.  Since the beginning of the year we have had to deal with record-setting winter storms, nightmarish tornadoes, “once in a century” earthquakes, historic flooding all over the country, severe drought and some of the worst wildfires the U.S. has ever experienced.

Is there a reason why the United States is being hit by major disaster after major disaster or is all of this just a really unfortunately coincidence?  The following are just a few of the nightmarish natural disasters that the U.S. has had to deal with so far this year…..

Texas Wildfires

At this point, the state of Texas has been on fire for nearly 300  consecutive days.  This has been the worst wildfire season that Texas has ever experienced.

So far, an astounding 3.6 million acres has been burned.  Vast stretches of Texas have been transformed into desolate wastelands.

Over the past week alone, the Texas Forest Service has responded to more than 180 new fires.  The incredibly dry weather and the scorching temperatures have combined to turn the state of Texas into a tinderbox.

One massive wildfire near Austin, Texas has burned approximately 1,400 homes and continues to spread.  The state desperately needs rain and it needs it now.

To get an idea of just how fast the fires in Texas are spreading, just watch this video.

Historic Drought

Right now, approximately 81 percent of the state of Texas is experiencing “exceptional drought” conditions.  Not only has this created an ideal environment for wildfires, it is also absolutely crippling ranchers and farmers.

Farmers in Texas have lost over half of the cotton crop so far.  This is likely to cause clothing prices to rise substantially in the months ahead.

Ranchers in Texas have been forced to slaughter huge numbers of cattle because the drought has made it incredibly difficult to feed them.  Sadly, the number of U.S. cattle is now down to its lowest level since 1963.

You might want to stock up on beef.  In the coming months the price of beef is likely to go significantly higher.

It is hard to describe just how bad things are down in Texas right now.  Overall, it is estimated that the drought has caused  more than $5 billion in damage to the agricultural industry so far.

But wait, there is more bad news.  In fact, if things don’t improve soon we could see massive problems with winter wheat.  Just check out what an article recently posted on Yahoo news had to say….

The bad news does not stop there. Winter-wheat-planting season runs from September through October and rain is vital to germination. Texas and Oklahoma produce almost a third of winter wheat in the U.S. – the hard wheat used in bread products. This week, Bloomberg financial news quoted wheat economists predicting a 50% jump in winter-wheat prices. If the dearth of rain continues and there is no moisture in the soil to germinate the wheat, prices could climb higher still.

Flooding In The Northeast

We just got done with Hurricane Irene, and now Tropical Storm Lee is dumping huge amounts of rain all over the northeast United States.  In fact, there has been so much rain up in Pennsylvania that more than 100,000 people were evacuated from the Wilkes-Barre area on Thursday because of rising waters on the Susquehanna River.

Rivers and creeks all over Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey are flooding.  The region desperately needs a break from rain, but it does not look like that is going to happen quite yet.

The big problem is that many of these areas had already been hit really hard by Hurricane Irene.  As a result of Hurricane Irene, millions of people lost power and dozens of people lost their lives.  Hurricane Irene caused the worst flooding that Vermont had experienced since 1927, and the total economic damage from Irene could reach as high as $16 billion.

Now there are three more storms in the Atlantic that we will have to keep an eye on.  Hopefully Tropical Storm Nate, Tropical Storm Maria and Hurricane Katia will not cause major problems, but with the way this year has been going you never know what is going to happen.

Disturbing Earthquakes

As I have written about previously, the number of major earthquakes around the globe is significantly increasing.  Back in 2001, the world had 1361 earthquakes of magnitude-5.0 or greater.  This year, we are on pace to have over 2800, which would be the highest number this decade by far.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the U.S. experienced two of the weirdest earthquakes that it has seen in ages.  The earthquake in Virginia that made headlines all over the nation is being called a “once a century” earthquake.  The east coast very rarely sees anything like this happen.

The earthquake in Virginia was felt all the way down in Georgia  and it was felt all the way up in Ottawa, Canada.  It was felt as far west as Cleveland, Ohio.

In Washington D.C., the earthquake caused quite a bit of panic.  Congressional buildings were evacuated and so was the Pentagon.  The earthquake actually cracked the Washington Monument and it also caused significant damage to the U.S. Treasury building.

That exact same day, there was another very “unusual” earthquake in another area of the United States.  A magnitude-5.3 earthquake shook the area along the Colorado/New Mexico border.  That was the largest earthquake that region had experienced in more than 40 years.

Sadly, it is not just the U.S. that has been hit by significant earthquakes this year.  Just check out what a recent article in the Guardian had to say about what has been going on around the globe so far this year….

6.2 or above earthquakes have hit New Zealand, the Philippines, Japan, the Fox Islands, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Indonesia, Fiji, Thailand, Burma, Vanuatu, Argentina, Chile and Iran in the first six months of 2011.

Tornadoes

With all of the other natural disasters that we have had recently, it is easy to forget that we just went through one of the worst tornado seasons of all time.

In a recent article, I discussed the incredible damage that some of these monstrous tornadoes did….

The United States experienced a truly bizarre tornado season this year.  In April, there were approximately 600 tornadoes all across America.  That is the most tornadoes that have ever been recorded in a single month inside the United States.  Usually, we only have about 1,200 tornadoes for the entire year.

The massive tornado outbreak in the southeast at the end of April is being called the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina.  One F5 tornado that ripped through the Tuscaloosa, Alabama region was reportedly a mile wide and some scientists estimated that it had winds that exceeded 260 miles an hour. By the time it passed, Tuscaloosa resembled a war zone.

The tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri a few months ago is being called the deadliest single tornado in more than 60 years.  It ripped a path of destruction more than a mile wide and more than 6 miles long directly through the city.  One British newspaper has some amazing before and after pictures of Joplin that you can view right here.

After viewing pictures such as those, what else is there to say?

Sadly, there were a lot of other major disasters this year that deserve be discussed as well.

For example, I have not even mentioned the nightmarish flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.  River systems all over the central part of the country experienced “hundred year floods” this year.

So why is all of this happening?  Is there a reason for all of this chaos, or has it just been one of those years?

Whatever your opinion is, what we all should be able to learn from this year is that it is imperative that we all get prepared ahead of time for emergencies.

Natural disasters can strike at any time.  Whether it is a hurricane, a tornado, a flood, an earthquake, a volcano or a wildfire, if you wait until the disaster strikes to prepare then you are going to be too late.

But most natural disasters are only temporary.  Even more frightening is what an economic collapse, a war, a deadly plague, a nuclear disaster, an EMP strike or a weapon of mass destruction could mean.

As we have seen during so many disasters in the past, when something really bad happens food and supplies vanish from store shelves almost immediately.  If transportation is cut off, you could be on your own for an extended period of time.

Our world is becoming a highly unstable place.  If someone had told you all of the crazy things that were going to happen this year, would you have believed them?

It seems like with each passing year things are getting crazier and crazier.  Yes, we can all hope that things will return to “normal”, but we would be foolish if we also did not take precautions.

As I have written about before, the global economy is starting to collapse, the fabric of society is coming apart and the earth itself seems to be going crazy.

We certainly do live in interesting times.  The years ahead promise to be some of the most exciting in human history.  But those that are unprepared could end up going through a massive amount of pain.

So please prepare while there is still time.  You will not always be able to run out to Wal-Mart and buy up all of the cheap stuff that you need.

Anyone with half a brain can see the dark storm clouds gathering on the horizon.  Very, very difficult times are coming, and you do not want to enter them unprepared.

12 Things That We Can Learn From Hurricane Irene About How To Prepare For Disasters And Emergencies

Whenever a major disaster or emergency strikes, millions of lives can be turned upside down in an instant.  Fortunately Hurricane Irene was not as catastrophic as originally projected, but millions of people did lose power and at least 35 people lost their lives.  Large numbers of homes were destroyed and the economic damage from Hurricane Irene is going to be in the billions of dollars.  Now that Hurricane Irene has passed, this is a good opportunity for all of us to look back and learn some important lessons about how to prepare for disasters and emergencies.  The reality is that a major disaster or emergency has happened somewhere in the United States almost every single month so far this year, and it is only a matter of time before you and your family will be faced with another disaster or emergency.

No plan is perfect, but if you have a plan you are going to be far better off than if you do not have a plan.  September is “National Preparedness Month“, so now is a great time to focus on preparing your family for the future disasters and emergencies that are inevitably coming.

The following are 12 things that we can learn from Hurricane Irene about how to prepare for disasters and emergencies….

#1 Disasters And Emergencies Are Inherently Unpredictable

When a disaster or an emergency strikes, you never know what is going to happen.  Even a storm such as Hurricane Irene that was tracked for weeks can end up being highly unpredictable.

For example, while a tremendous amount of attention was paid to New York City, the reality is that some of the worst damage ended up being caused in Vermont.  Hurricane Irene actually caused the worst flooding that Vermont has seen since 1927.

The following is how the governor of Vermont described the devastation that was caused in his state by this storm….

“It’s just devastating,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said Monday. “Whole communities under water, businesses, homes, obviously roads and bridges, rail transportation infrastructure. We’ve lost farmers’ crops,” he said. “We’re tough folks up here but Irene … really hit us hard.”

#2 During A Major Disaster Store Shelves Become Empty Very Rapidly

What do we see happen every single time there is even a minor disaster or emergency?

Every single time, food and other emergency supplies disappear from store shelves in a matter of hours.

If you do not have at least a couple weeks of food stored up you are being totally foolish.

In fact, considering how unstable the world has become, it is amazing that only a small percentage of the population has enough food stored up to be able to last for at least six months.

If an economic apocalypse happens, a major war breaks out, an EMP attack takes place, a huge comet strikes the planet or weapons of mass destruction are used in this country, you may not have access to mass quantities of very cheap food any longer.

Get prepared while you still can.

#3 Always Have A “Go Bag” Ready

When disaster strikes, you may only have a couple of minutes before you have to race out the door.

Your “go bag” should contain some food, some water, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, some cash, copies of your most important documents and any medicine that you may need.

#4 Know Your Escape Routes And Always Have Maps Of The Area In Your Vehicle

Have a plan and know where you are going to be heading in the event of an emergency.

If you don’t have a plan or if you don’t give yourself enough time, you could end up dead.  A number of people died during Hurricane Irene while they were in their cars.  The following is one example that was noted in a recent CNN article….

A 64-year-old woman was found dead Sunday by Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania, police after her family grew concerned when she did not show up for work. Her body was found a half-mile from where her car was abandoned in a deluged creek, police said.

#5 During A Major Disaster Or Emergency There Is A Good Chance That You Will Lose Power For An Extended Period Of Time

During Hurricane Irene, more than 5 million people lost power.  That is why it is crucial to have a battery-powered radio, a battery-powered (or solar) flashlight and extra batteries in your home.

Know what you are going to do once the power goes out.  Anyone that has been through an extended power outage knows how life can change almost instantly once the power goes down.

#6 Have Enough Water Stored Up

What was one of the biggest problems in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?

It turned out that one of the most critical problems was a very serious shortage of bottled water.

Yes, even after Katrina dumped unprecedented amounts of water on New Orleans one of the biggest problems was still a lack of water.

If you do not have clean water to drink, you can die within just a few days.

So when planning for disasters and emergencies, please be sure to store up enough water.

#7 During A Natural Disaster, Major Transportation Routes May Be Shut Down

A lot of people were horrified to find roads closed or washed out during Hurricane Irene.  Just because you are used to traveling on certain roads it is not safe to assume that they will always be available during disasters and emergencies.

#8 Have Respect For The Sheer Power Of Natural Disasters

We live at a time when people like to make a joke out of anything, but major natural disasters are not to be trifled with.

If you do not respect nature, you can end up dead.  Amazingly, some people were actually out boating and canoeing during Hurricane Irene.  According to one CNN article, one 53-year-old man that tried boating during Hurricane Irene was later found dead….

One man in Croton, New York, died Sunday while boating along with four others down the Croton River, said Lt. Russell Haper, a spokesman for the Croton police. The boat overturned in the strong rapids. The 53-year-old man was found dead after a three-hour rescue effort. The other men were pulled safely from the water.

#9 Living Near Water Can Be Very Dangerous

If you live near the ocean or near a major river, you need to understand that the potential for danger is always there.

Even if you live a good bit in from the coast, the danger for substantial flooding is always there.  The following is how one CNN article described the situation in Philadelphia at the height of Hurricane Irene….

Outside Philadelphia, waters had already climbed to street-sign levels in Darby, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said, with the water sending “couches, furniture, all kinds of stuff floating down the street.”

#10 During A Major Disaster Bring In All Objects From Outside

During any disaster that involves high winds, anything that is left outside can quickly become a very dangerous projectile.  The last thing that you want is for the wind to pick up heavy objects and send them crashing into your home or the home of a neighbor.  If you know that a major storm is coming, please bring in everything that you can from outside.

#11 Have A Plan But Be Flexible

Your best chance of making it through a disaster or emergency is to have a plan.  But that doesn’t mean that you should always stick with that plan.  Disasters and emergencies are inherently unpredictable, so it will be very important to be as flexible as possible.

#12 If You Wait Until Disaster Strikes To Prepare It Is Too Late

Right now is the time to prepare for the next disaster or emergency.  If you wait until an emergency happens, you will be out of luck.  You need to develop a disaster plan for yourself and your family if you do not have one already.

If you plan on storing up food, water, medicine and other emergency supplies, you need to do it ahead of time.  Victory belongs to the prepared, and if you think that you will never wind up in the middle of a major disaster you are just being foolish.

Hurricane Irene was a terrible storm, but fortunately it was not nearly as bad as it could have been.

Hopefully this storm will serve as a wake up call for many of us.

The next time that a disaster strikes, we may not be let off the hook so easily.

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