All’s been relatively quiet on the hurricane front in recent years. In fact, a major hurricane hasn’t made landfall in the U.S. for over 10 years now.
But the shutout could be coming to a grinding halt this year, as forecasters believe 2016 could feature several substantial storms before the season concludes in late November, making disaster recovery planning a top priority for business owners.
10-16 named storms to develop
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting with 70 percent certainty that the Atlantic hurricane season will be “near normal” this time around. To the casually informed, normal may not seem like anything to be worried about. It’s a different story in the world of natural disaster, though. Because in the typical year, a normal hurricane season brings a dozen storms with sustained wind speeds of at least 39 miles per hour or higher. This year, NOAA believes there will be between 10 and 16 named storms, eight of which could become hurricanes. By definition, storms reach hurricane capacity when wind gusts are clocked at 74 mph.
Furthermore, the 11-year major hurricane drought could come to an end this year, as the NOAA predicted between two and four hurricanes will reach major status.
Of course, predictions are just that, so there’s no knowing for sure how many will develop. At the same time, though, all it takes is one significant storm to bring a business to its knees.
— NOAA Digital Coast (@NOAADigCoast) June 1, 2016
Many business owners are well aware of this fact. According to polling data from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, nearly one-third of small businesses have had to close their doors for a day or longer in the past three years due to the effects of weather-related catastrophes. Additionally, 1 in 5 companies have lost electricity for 24 hours or longer in the past three years.
Business continuity planning is key
No one can control the forces of nature, but there are plenty of things business owners can do to remain up and running – or as close to that as possible – when Mother Nature throws a curveball. This starts with establishing the proper business continuity plan and testing its sustainability.
As noted by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, a good starting point is to have the building inspected by a trained professional. Inspectors can flag any issues that may need to be addressed and what reinforcements can be implemented.
Employees play a key role in business continuity planning as well. Whether on a quarterly or bi-annual basis, management should coordinate with staff to ensure that they know what the protocol is for communication procedures or what electrical systems should be powered down in the event of flooding, as an example.
Checking on generators, whether custom-installed or portable, can also go a long way toward strengthening a business owner’s continuity plan management.
Additionally, if roads are impassable, workers may need to hunker down and ride out the storm until climate conditions settle down. Business owners who have maintained food storage should be sure to check the expiration dates on canned foods and replace them as necessary.
As the old saying goes, a failure to plan is a plan to fail. Regardless of what Mother Nature churns up during the Atlantic hurricane season, business continuity planning can keep business owners one step ahead.