Hurricane Isaias is on the same track as Hurricane Dorian – What can we expect?

05 Aug

Hurricane Isaias is on roughly the same track as Hurricane Dorian and is the first hurricane to hit the Bahamas since Dorian stalled over the islands as a Category 5 monster killing dozens of people and causing massive destruction. 

Here is a quick overview of both storms as well as a few tips on how to protect your home during hurricane season.

Hurricane Dorian: This category 5 Atlantic Hurricane was the most intense tropical cyclone on record to hit the Bahamas and is still regarded as the worst natural disaster to hit the country.  Dorian was also one of the most powerful hurricanes recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, ever. It’s 1-minute sustained winds peaked at 185 mph as gusts topped 220 mph.  Dorian moved passed Hurricane Irma to become the most powerful hurricane on record in the open Atlantic region.

Dorian was the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the Bahamas. While the losses are still being tallied, insured losses in the Caribbean have be estimated at $2 billion. 

After hammering the Caribbean, Dorian moved into Florida’s east coast, bringing storm surge, flooding and beach erosion. If pounded South and North Carolina as a Category 1, eventually moving onto Virginia and up the East Coast. RMS, a leading global risk modeling and analytics firm, estimates that the total losses of Dorian will end up being between $4 and $8.5 billion. 

The human toll was devastating, Hurricane Dorian stalled over Grand Bahama with unrelenting winds for at least 24 hours. It flattened most structures on the island and killed at least 77 people. As of April of 2020, there were still 245 people missing so the complete death toll may never be known. Dorian ended up being the costliest disaster in Bahamian history, estimated to have caused at least $3.4 billion in damage.

Hurricane Isaias

While following roughly the same path, Hurricane Isaias has been much less damaging than Dorian.

Hurricane Isaias started as a tropical storm on July 30th when one-minute sustained winds reached 60 mph (95 km/h). Despite hitting the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, it continued to gain strength and hit Category 1 status with winds of 80 mph. Isaias killed two people in the Dominican Republic and destroyed some homes, knocked down trees and caused widespread flooding.

Isaias made landfall in the Bahamas with winds of 80 mph making it much less devastating than Dorian. In most cases, the damage was limited to damaged roofs and downed trees. Due to the fact that many people are still living in temporary shelters while rebuilding after Dorian, the government did evacuate some residents directly in its path. 

Isaias then moved towards Southeast Florida, moving up the coast with winds hitting roughly 65-70 miles per hour as it moved onto the Georgia coast. On August 4th, it regained its hurricane status and made landfall near Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina. It has killed at least one person in North Carolina. 

In Brunswick County, North Carolina there were numerous calls for water rescues as well as structural fires and collapsed houses and buildings.  

As the storm continues its march up the East Coast, it is spawning tornadoes, currently there are 30 million people under a tornado watch due to Isaias. Resident of Delaware, eastern Maryland and coastal Virginia have reported multiple tornadoes and tornado watches have been issued for several major Northeastern cities, including New York City and Philadelphia.

According to CNN, the following cities can expect damage from torrential rainfall and storm surges. 

Virginia Beach, Virginia:  Expect drenching rain and a storm surge of about 2 to 4 feet.

Washington, DC: 4 to 6 inches of rain are expected. 

Philadelphia: Expect wind gusts of up to 65 mph and about 3 to 5 inches of rain.

New York City: Expect storm surge of 1 to 3 feet, as well as 2 to 3 inches of rain and wind gusts of up to 70 mph. 

Virginia and Maryland have seen numerous tornadoes spawned which has resulted in power losses to more than 400,000 customers. 

While it is impossible to determine the extent of the damage at this early hour, it is likely that Isaias will be significant, but not in the same category as Dorian when it comes to damage. However, significant storm surge and rain can lead to lots of flood damage which can be very expensive to repair.

A Few Tips for Hurricane Season

Hurricanes can be devasting to both your home and your finances if you are not properly insured. Here are a few tips to keep your home and family safe and protected during hurricane season:

Get Flood Insurance Now: If you live in a hurricane prone area you should absolutely have a flood policy in place. Standard homeowner policies do not cover flood damage which includes flooding from storm surge. Policies can be purchased from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or by private insurance companies. 

Flood insurance comes with a waiting period of 30 days in most cases, so it is necessary to put it in place prior to a storm heading your way. Once a storm is named insurers stop selling coverage so getting a flood insurance policy in place prior to hurricane season is a must.

Plan an evacuation route: If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes and evacuations, be sure to have an evacuation plan in place so you know where to go. In addition, have a meeting place set up and make sure all family members know where to meet in the event that an evacuation takes place when family members are not at home or get separated. 

Keep non-perishable emergency supplies in the house: According the Insurance Information Institute you should consider keeping these supplies on hand during hurricane season: 

  • Extra batteries
  • Candles or lamps with fuel
  • Matches (keep these dry)
  • Materials and tools for emergency home repairs–such as heavy plastic sheeting, plywood, a hammer, etc.
  • Prescription drugs
  • A three-day supply of drinking water
  • Food that you don’t have to refrigerate or cook
  • First aid supplies
  • A portable NOAA weather radio
  • A wrench and other basic tools
  • A flashlight

Upgrade Your Home: Upgrading your home to be a bit more hurricane proof can help prevent damage as well as result in a discount on your insurance premium.

  • Replace Your Roof: While it may not make sense to replace a fairly new roof, if you are replacing an old roof, use wind resistant shingles. This can strengthen your roof as well as lower your insurance premium.
  • Install Storm Shutters: Install storm shutters to protect your windows from breakage. You can also fit plywood panels to your windows, which can be nailed to window frames when a storm approaches.
  • Hurricane Proof Doors: Replace exterior doors with ones that are hurricane proof and have at least three hinges and a dead bolt lock.

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