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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How Hurricane Isaias Affected South Florida Businesses

8/18/2020 (Permalink)

Much anticipation was felt in West Palm Beach during Hurricane Isaias. The storm was expected to hit Florida’s eastern edge with heavy rainfall and powerful winds. As with all storms and their potential to change direction, Isaias spared West Palm Beach from storm surges, power outages, flash floods, and property damage. Why did the storm slow down and how did Isaias affect South Florida businesses?

The change in speed and course of a hurricane can be explained by its size. Smaller storms can quickly weaken from changes in the surrounding environment as they contain less mass. Wind shear, dry air, and land interaction are all affecting factors. During Isaias, Southern United States was still feeling remnants of the Saharan Dust Cloud. Mixed with the dry Saharan air and upper-level wind shear the storm dragged over the Bahamas and missed most of Florida.  Had Isaias occurred in September, which is the second month of peak season, West Palm Beach and surrounding areas could have faced a much bleaker outcome.

The realization that Isaias could have been extremely damaging has forced the local economy to re-examine their business plans. Prior to Isaias changing course, many businesses were still forced to close, challenging an already fragile local economy. This need to close doors for a few days and amidst a pandemic, shed light on the number of business owners who feel and may be extremely unprepared. With a few more months left of hurricane season, being unprepared is a risk many cannot afford to take.

In an annual hurricane survey, lack of proper insurance to protect against business interruption is a big problem many face. The inability to operate after a hurricane can quickly lead to a bill that many businesses cannot foot. Property damage especially is one of the costlier disruptions in business flow. Business interruption insurance can range from actual hurricane coverage to having a plan in place in the case of a disaster. As many as 50% of businesses close after suffering storm damage; this number does not account for those that have suffered economic impacts due to the pandemic. 

The fact remains that there is a large chance that another tropical storm or hurricane will soon form and possibly hit South Florida. However, there is still time for business owners in West Palm Beach to prepare for a hurricane. Understanding your insurance policy, ensuring you have the proper coverage and having an emergency plan in place for your business can all abate the stress of a tropical storm or hurricane.

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