The Pricks

Blog Post 7

Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico 2017


Hurricane Maria was a tropical cyclone that turned deadly when it came in contact with the Dominica and Puerto Rico. It is said to be the worst natural disaster since 2004 in this area. Hurricane Maria was a category 5 hurricane and was the worst of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The damage caused by Maria mostly in Puerto Rico is estimated above $91.61 billion. Maria was a hurricane for 10 days from September 18-28th before reducing back into a tropical storm. The storm was gone by October 3 leaving only wreckage behind. Maria caused an island wide blackout and killed an estimated 3 thousand people. The storm brought the issue of flooding which caused much of the property damage. Maria wreaked Puerto Rico’s power grid and people that had houses to go back to were left without electricity. The agriculture of Dominica was destroyed because of the storm and there was much worry about food shortages.


Hurricane Maria took down the power grid leading to limited communications. Families couldn’t get in touch with each other even if they were both on the island of Porto Rico. Telephone lines were down and people didn’t have power. One of the only forms of communication was radio. The stations would broadcast nonstop just so that the people could have a connection to something. For a long time the death count was listed in the teens, but after investigation thousands more were discovered. The lack of connection on the island led to massive amounts of misinformation, which intern, underestimated the amount of external help that was required. People had to survive on their own using what they had, so by nature those that were more prepared suffered less. Those that had generators were much more successful than those without and gas became that of huge necessity. It took a while for communications to be restored, but as soon as it was, what was required could be truly assessed and provided. sept 25 2017 sept 24 2017 sept 26 2017



Hurricane Maria was especially devastating to the Caribbean due to the fact that the area had just been hit by Hurricane Irma a couple weeks prior and were still in recovery. Before the hurricane, Puerto Rico was in poor financial standing. Around 2015, Puerto Rico was in massive debt to the US government, and the governor announced the island could not pay any of its debt. The markets crashed, savings were gone, and pensions dissolved. The corrupt and mismanaged government was largely at fault for why Hurricane Maria was such a catastrophic disaster. The area was already on its way to a humanitarian crisis before the hurricane. With the island in financial ruin, they began to close down hospitals and neglect infrastructure. Roads, bridges, water treatment plants, dams, and other important features of the country had already been in poor shape for years before the storm. Electrical grids were outdated and in need of service. This explains why some communities in Puerto Rico were without power for nearly a year after the hurricane.


Future Improvements

Three strategies for individuals and communities to be better prepared and protected from future hazards and events. Being an island country these strategies can be hard to obtain or achieve.

  1. Resource supply. Individuals should greatly consider having an emergency back pack filled with an extra pair of clothing, food, water and if possible invest in a generator if they live in an area with less risk of losing their home or keeping a supply of generators available at a community building for public use if the use is ever needed. Puerto Rico’s weak electric grid was lost and many were without power for as long as eight months. Not enough people or institutions had generators to use as a backup. Not only was their not a backup plan, which there should be one implemented for different situations, but local stores did not have adequate amounts of emergency supplies, even the government warehouses were no prepared. To be able to lessen the disaster people and communities needs to be prepared for anything and everything. Being an Island, its not easy to obtain all the necessities unless they receive help and aid.
  2. Before the hurricane hit, Puerto Rico wasn’t in the greatest position structure wise. The electric grid was vulnerable, homes were not stable and even hospitals could have been in better shape. Since the hurricane, power has been restored and roads have been fixed and the hospitals were as the were before, but housing still remains an issue. In the long run, better building will help to prevent major damage. When rebuilding, people need to take into consideration where to rebuild. Areas prone to less damage would be better for housing and making vulnerable areas safer but not for residential use. Priority needs to be given to the most desperate places because the most vulnerable are the least likely to recover..
  3. Get creative. Many resort owners and developers will want to rebuild in area with diminished property values. Rebuilding with the wrong intentions can jeopardize the culture and reap economic damage to the people who once lived there. Although tourism can greatly help the economy, the citizens of affected area in tropical climates need to be wary and smart about what can happen to their community. Discover Puerto Rico is a non-profit to help being back tourism and help aid in recovery. Another huge issue is government. The government needs to be a much better job putting the people first in these situations. Puerto Rico a colony of the US and it gets taken advantage of and pushed aside and that cannot happen.  Puerto Rico’s economy is suffering and as a result of that and the hurricane, they are losing citizen to the mainland, and with less people there are less to keep supporting the economy and culture.

Recovery strategies are not always possible due to lack of aid, money and other resources. Strategies like these are much easier said than done. If more people, especially the government care more, recovery would be a much easier path than what it currently is.



The most important part will have a plan. After the Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, there was the shortage for the resource supply, but the supply arrives on the island too late with the enormous amount that it became out of control in the area. Those supply impacts on the economy of Puerto Rico to restart the market in the area. If there is a plan for the Hurricane, the supply will come faster, with the right amount. To prevent in the future, the information and education of the Hurricane with how to pack the emergency backpack will be necessary for the area. After the Hurricane Maria, some of the places in the islands are out of electric more than eight months. To have better access to the infrastructure, there needs to be the improvement of the Electric Power Authority. Before the Hurricane Maria hits the island, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority was not working well in the area. Have better Electric Power Authority in the safe places in the island will be important. The many of power lines are temporally in the island so there need be ongoing construction for the powerlines.


Blog 7: Disaster Planning (Finding Houses)

1. Overview:

Hurricane Irma was a hurricane that happened in 2017.  The path of the hurricane was straight through the gulf side of Florida. The impacts of the storm were significant. The storm caused $64.78 Billion worth of damage with 134 fatalities across multiple countries. It was the 5th-costliest hurricane on record. It was the first Category 5 hurricane to ever hit the Leeward Islands, and its path went straight through the Floridian peninsula. The hurricane began on August 26 as a wave off of the African Coast. It was classified as a tropical storm starting on August 30 and by September 5th, it had intensified to a category 5 hurricane. It was the second-longest category 5 status hurricane ever, only behind the 1932 Cuba hurricane, lasting for 60 hours as a category 5. The hurricane’s rain and wind finally subsided on September 12th after traveling all the way to Missouri.

The US sustained over $50 billion worth of damage and 92 fatalities from this storm: the most of any country. This hurricane had devastating impacts on the areas that it hit, leaving many homes, towns, and cities utterly destroyed. Although the numbers for the United States are higher than any other country, the worst damage was actually in the different Caribbean islands that were directly hit by this storm, which took far longer to recover than the US did.

Below is a picture of the track of Hurricane Irma and two other routes it could have taken, with track A likely have cost even more deaths and damage than the path it did take.


2. Communication:

News 1: Maps: Tracking Hurricane Irma’s Path Over Florida (9.11.2017)

This news article states the damages Irma did, the power loss, where the hurricane headed, and what areas are mandatory/recommended evacuation. The whole article is stating the fact.

News 2: In Hurricane Irma, why did nursing home patients have to die? (9.21.2017)

Since Hurricane Irma knocked out power to the air conditioning, 8 patients died after being stuck in stifling heat at the nursing house. So it is obvious after the hurricane leave, people start to blame the government, the system, and other organization for not being prepared enough.

News 3: Not the Same: Florida Keys Still Struggling After Hurricane Irma 10.2.2017

The Hurricane did tremendous damage to the tourist business. After Irma leave, some business back to normal immediately while others having a hard time to rebuild. The news article starts to talking more about people.

3. Vulnerability:

Climate change brings rising sea and land temperatures and heavier rainfall leading to stronger storm surges and extreme amounts of rainfall once the storms makes landfall. Although climate change is not to blame for the hurricanes its effect cause more frequent and much stronger hurricanes that cause much more damage. Another problem that contributed to the devastating effects of Irma is the large population of senior citizens in Florida. Of the approximately 145 deaths from Irma 85 of those deaths were indirect, meaning lack of supplies and resources because of the storm caused more deaths. A lot of those deaths were due to senior citizens who died from dehydration, heat and lack of resources.

4. Future Improvements:

One strategy communities can utilize to better protect themselves from hurricanes is to have some sort of barrier for their rivers, or to build buildings higher above sea level. Being located in Tampa during the storm was very worrisome to some residents in that the river that cuts through the city was expected to flood to dangerous levels. Some of the dorm halls at the University of Tampa are located directly on this river, and if the storm surge were to have hit Tampa, the buildings would have completely flooded. This ruins many people’s belongings and living spaces. A system that would prevent this flooding from severe damage would drastically help communities from further damage. One method could be implementing flood vents, which while unattractive, can be covered with vegetation. Levees and flood gates could also aid in protection.

Another strategy that can be utilized is to better prepare resources for these situations. Living in an area that is commonly in the paths of hurricanes during hurricane season, should cause retail stores, as well as citizens to better prepare themselves for these emergencies. Those evacuating from Irma often could not find gas, as stations ran out. Water bottles were scarce, and hotels were quickly booked. While some of those things cannot be avoided, cities in these danger zones could implement a system that sets aside a certain amount of these necessary resources during these times of the year. This will aid in keeping people fed, can provide clean water, and allow those evacuating to leave. Individuals can better prepare themselves by having hurricane kits in their homes along with extra gas cans. As seen with Irma, the path of hurricanes is very unpredictable and can change at any moment. It is better to be prepared early on, than risk being left without necessary resources.

A third strategy communities can use to better prepare themselves is to utilize companies that will do hurricane checks on their homes free of charge. This resource is available in Florida and other areas, and allows residents to receive advice on how they can improve their homes from future hurricanes. These companies suggest: improving the strength of a roof deck attachment, creating a secondary water barrier to prevent water intrusion, improving the survivability of a roof covering, bracing gable-end walls, reinforcing roof-to-wall connections, and enhancing window and door protection.

5. Implementation:

The main potential barrier is money, whether for the government, companies, or the individual.

On the government side levee systems with flood gates are costly to create and then maintain. For example the New Orleans levee system costed about $14 billion to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Now this cost is pretty low for the amount of damage a good levee system can prevent but convincing the government to create and maintain a levee system for years before a hurricane hits can seem like a waste of money to some. This barrier can be minimized by showing a cost and benefit analysis of how much money a levee system in high risk areas will save in the long run. This is get more government support for levee systems / flood systems.

On the company level, the problem is the same why should companies set aside extra materials in the off case that a hurricane will happen? This question appeals to the same idea as before except companies don’t have as much of a duty to protect citizens. The best way to minimize this barrier is by giving insetables to companies that do set aside extra materials. This will allow companies to offset the money loss by having too much materials at once and will make companies have extra in the case of emergency.

Lastly on the individual level. It costs money and or time to take the necessary steps to get prepared for a hurricane. This includes understanding what steps to protect your house with flood vents, or other reinforcements as recommended by professional companies, and creating a hurricane kit including extra supplies. Both these preparation steps require people to set money aside for the hurricane in the future. This is a barrier as many people don’t want to use there hard earned money for prepping for unknown future. This barrier could be reduced in many ways. Giving reduced rates to people in high flood zones on house improvements would be one. Another would be having people remember old hurricanes and what would have been good to have in those situations. This allows people to understand the risks and gives more initiative to prep.

Overall everyone has to be convinced that prepping for a future hurricane and flood is worth their time and money now.

Source 1 Source 2 Source 3

Knowlton State Warriors | Hurricane Sandy Blog Post 7

Hurricane Sandy 


On October 22, 2012 a tropical storm named Sandy was just starting to brew in the Caribbean. It eventually became as severe as a category two hurricane and affected 24 states and multiple countries. By October 29, every state on the eastern seaboard had declared a state of emergency and Sandy made landfall on southern New Jersey. At the time of landfall Sandy was just a tropical cyclone but still had a profound impact on southern New Jersey, New York and really the whole east coast. Sandy is often called a superstorm rather than a hurricane due to the fact that it did not maintain hurricane status at all times but still affected a huge area of the country and Caribbean. Sandy caused an estimated 71 billion dollars in damage and is directly responsible for at least 147 deaths.

Future Improvements

Three simple ways cities affected by hurricane sandy can better prepare for hurricanes, would be to increase stronger infrastructure, encourage citizens to make and have viable evacuation plans, and incorporate plans of resiliency. The biggest issues with hurricane Sandy were caused from buildings notwithstanding the high winds, so increasing infrastructure able to handle the storm will help the resiliency in the cities affected. Many people did not have plans made up in the case that a hurricane was to hit their city, so educating the people on how to evacuate or better prepare is worth investing in. Other people were simply not able to evacuate, so having some sort of public plan in place to help citizens of effected cities is a must.


One of the main reasons as to why Hurricane Sandy had such a large impact on the East coast was due to its size. Prior to making landfall, this hurricane sustained 74mph winds and above. Which extended anywhere from 175 miles to 485 miles from the epicenter of the hurricane. Not only was the size what caused most of the damage but the track that it took. Normally, hurricanes that move along the east coast of the US are steered out across the Atlantic Ocean by the west to east movement of the jet stream. However, on this occasion, the jet stream was taking a more north to south track, having less of a steering effect on Sandy. This put roughly 60 million people in the path of hurricane Sandy. On the night the hurricane hit. There was a full moon, which only added to the water levels. A lot of the area where the hurricane impacted had a low shore causing record breaking heights of water up to 14ft, sending water into lower Manhattan as 

well. Wind levels in cities were also rather high. 


One day after Hurricane Sandy

CNN: Sandy wreaks havoc across Northeast; at least 11 dead (2012) reported at least 11 dead in America, with 67 dead in the Caribbean.

New York Times: After the Devastation, a Daunting Recovery (2012) reported about 40 lives claimed.

One week after Hurricane Sandy:

Forbes: One Week Later, The Cost of Hurricane Sandy (2012) reported $30-50 billion in estimated damage cost and over 100 people confirmed dead along with about one million people without power.

One year after Hurricane Sandy:

Weather-bug: Hurricane Sandy, One Year Later (2013) estimated 147 people dead from the storm and 87 dead from indirect causes. $50 billion was the estimated damage cost.


The process of implementation would be very long and tedious but in the long run it would help the area immensely. Improving infrastructure to withstand the hurricane conditions would be the first thing to tackle. Backing and lobbying fro policy that would provide funding for the improvements should be done as well as applying for grants through foundations that are aimed at helping communities that endure hurricanes quite often. Once funding is acquired, which is easier said than done, the actual improvement can be done. Implementing plans for your citizens can also have a profound effect on survival rates during hurricanes. Making it a law that if the government issues a mandatory evacuation everyone must leave, but the government should provide stable housing and transportation for the evacuees in the meantime. Implementing a plan of resiliency would require the communities involvement, not just the local government mandating that everyone be educated in hurricane evacuation, aiding people in rescue, and other preparedness material. The government will have to fund classes, make sure the lower class people know about and attend the classes, and making sure materials and resources are available for emergency packs for residents. All in all, the implementation relies on funding from organizations and the local government as well as cooperation from the residents so that they take their own safety and preparedness into their own hands. The big barriers are funding and access to information and I believe determined groups can succeed in lobbying for funding that will help implement and spread information. 

Disaster Planning – Drought of 2012 (Pineapple Express)

Leading up to the drought of 2012, two main climate factors were at play: a drier-than-normal winter and a hotter- and drier-than-normal spring. By September of 2012, almost two-thirds of the continental United States were suffering from drought conditions. These conditions caused severe agricultural losses; corn, soybean, and sorghum yields all plummeted from pre-drought estimations.

In addition to agricultural losses, there were human impacts. Dust storms were more common, especially in the American Southwest. There were more cases of Valley Fever, a disease caused by a fungus in the Southwest whose presence increases when there is a drought. And the rising cost of crops caused prices to rise for consumers all over the market. Gas cost more because there was doubt over the supply of ethanol, meat cost more because there was less to feed them.

As time progressed past the drought of 2012, the amount of information that different publications had greatly increased. The best example of this is the change in how bad we knew the drought to be over time. early reports in late August 2012 from publications like The Atlantic and Climate Central estimated the severity of the 2012 drought as being behind that of 1988 and the 1930s. However, by April 2013, another Climate Central article had moved the rating up to be worse than the dust bowl and the worst drought since 1895. By April 2013 the cause of the drought was also figured out to be due to natural changes in wind patterns and humidity that combined with the warming climate to create the “perfect storm.”

Firstly, the drop in the strength of the wind coming up from the Gulf of Mexico, combined with the unusually low humidity over the area produced the Drought of 2012. Moreover, the difference in land use and farming practices made it harder for scientists to predict the drought. Finally, many critics argue the reports of scientists failed to say anything about the observed soil moisture conditions, snow cover, and snow pack during the winter prior to the event in spite of the fact that snow pack was at record low levels in the winter and spring.

One improvement that could be made is to repair all leaky pipes. Leaks, although seemingly tiny, add up and can waste thousands of gallons of water a year. A second improvement is conserving water: take shorter showers, flush less, don’t leave the faucet on when brushing your teeth, and only wash full loads. A third improvement that could be made is to reuse and recycle water. Install rain barrels to collect water for watering rather than using the hose or tap and install technologies in the home that use greywater (such as dishwasher and shower run-off) for irrigations or other purposes.

Potential barriers to these problems include cost of repairs and improvements, as well as attitude and lifestyle opposition to these changes. The cost of repairing damaged or leaky pipes can be very costly, and people in low-income situations may not be able to afford these repairs. One way to help with this is create programs that provide funding through the government or through nonprofits that help people update infrastructure. While it is incredibly difficult to change attitudes and behavior with water conservation, continuing to educate people and being diligent about providing facts can help the community realize their impact on issues like natural disasters, specifically droughts.

Katrina Vulnerability Research

Back Corner Design Team

Jonny Latsko, Joey Muha, Miles Ollee, Kyle Parker, Jairran Brothers



The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 consisted of about 1,800 deaths. It was the most costly hurricane in U.S. dollars which was nearly 106 billion. New Orleans on the U.S. Gulf Coast was the most damaged as the flooding was widespread throughout the city during the landfall of the hurricane. It was a category 5 hurricane, the worst it could be. Katrina forced 1.2 million people to leave the city the day before the storm started.


At the beginning of Katrina, reporting was very material-oriented. They began publishing in August of 2005, when the disaster struck. For instance this headline from the start of the issue in the New York Times Entitled: HURRICANE KATRINA (August 20th, 2005) highlights that a lot of the information was based upon statistical summaries and logistics. It is not a humanitarian view but instead an economic forecast of the crisis. This perhaps downplayed the true disaster that was likely to come.

September 1st, however, much of this changed. For instance there was this article in the NYT as well, Entitled: Hurricane Katrina Where to Help (September 1st, 2005). This article highlights people’s desires to help and shows the humanitarian crisis that begins. While other articles at the time began to show Bush’s actions for housing this one does a good job of capturing a sense of hope and outsources the responsibility of helping to the community. This is on some hands positive, but also highlights that the system was not resilient as it requires outside lending hands from the American community in outer to solve the greater issue

What Made Katrina So Devastating

    The high level of destruction in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina was largely due to three main vulnerabilities. First, and perhaps the biggest reason, was the failure of the man-made levee system that was designed to prevent seawater and floodwaters from entering the city. There were more than 50 breaches to the levee system because the levees were inadequately reinforced and built on unstable land. This meant that the rising floodwaters flowed through the levees instead of over them, which was supposed to happen by the way that they were designed. The natural levees along the Mississippi River, however, were largely intact after the storm. Secondly, New Orleans’ topography contributed heavily to the extensive flooding of the city. On average, New Orleans sits six feet below sea level, which made it easy for water to rush into the city when the levees failed. In fact, much of the city lies below the surrounding bodies of water, essentially making New Orleans a “bowl” for floodwater. In addition to this, many of the city’s water pumps, which were designed to pump rainwater out of the city, were disabled by Katrina. Because of this and New Orleans’ low elevation, the floodwaters were unable to be drained. Lastly, poverty was a large contributing factor in the destruction Katrina caused. In 2005, 28% of New Orleans residents lived below the poverty line. Many of the poorest victims, especially Black New Orleanians, did not have access to a vehicle and were unable to escape. 59% of poor Black families did not own a car prior to Hurricane Katrina, according to an International Business Times report.


Three future improvements that could be made to disaster planning and safety response following in the wake of Hurricane Katrina are the construction of better levees, better communication involving “storm awareness” by government agencies, and faster emergency response teams. With the construction of better levees, it would be vital to incorporate city planners for the city of New Orleans/future coastal cities in order to mitigate the effects of the disaster with natural barriers and well-designed cities. In order to save lives and further mitigate damage, there would also need to be an improvement to the national emergency alert system. One of the big lessons from Katrina is that it is important to issue mandatory evacuations. Finally, the last improvement that could be made is to establish more national emergency response teams across the nation in order to speed up the vital responses that are required  during/after a disaster.


While these are all great strategies to help minimize potential threat from natural disasters, there still stand a few barriers that would/could make implementation difficult. The first and probably most obvious is money. Many cities/states often don’t have the funds to redesign//reinforce levees and other structures important for disaster mitigation. Thus this money would most frequently come from the federal government which could be even more a hassle. The best way around this though would be the the use of comprehensive data and statistics comparing cities with better funding and protection to cities without the funding/protection, specifically showing the cost of destruction from natural disasters both monetarily and personally for the people affected. Next, the primary problem with an emergency response team is their response timing. First responders’ most important job is to reach the affected area as soon as possible and to help save as many people as possible. This isn’t alway the case though. First responders often face difficulties in reaching people in danger, most likely because of a lack of manpower. If people were give more incentive to join first response teams, such as tax relief or even payment for their temporary service, this problem would be mostly if not entirely dissipated. Which means the response teams would be able to cover larger areas, thus making their work more efficient.


Blog 7: Disaster Planning, CRP4A

Hurricane Katrina




Katrina was a deadly category 5 hurricane that devastated the US in August 2005. Katrina is also among the top 5 deadliest hurricanes to ever hit the US. Deaths caused by the devastating disaster totaled 1,833. The estimated cost of Katrina is around $108 billion. Hurricane Katrina is known for being the costliest hurricane ever hitting the US.




One of the areas most affected by Katrina was New Orleans 9th Ward. The reason that this area suffered some of the worst aftermaths of the hurricane is because many of the residents living here were low-income people who lacked insurance. It is also argued that many of the damages caused by the storm were due to human engineering mistakes. New Orleans has a levee and a floodwall system to protect the city. However, these structures were poorly designed and maintained.




In a 2005 report from the National Weather Service titled “Extremely Powerful Hurricane Katrina Leaves a Historic Mark on the Northern Gulf Coast,” Hurricane Katrina was described as “the costliest hurricane to ever hit the United States.” They also wrote that it was in the top five deadliest hurricanes ever to hit the United States. They estimated about 1,833 deaths and $108 billion in damages. They also reported that the highest wind speeds reached up to 140 mph and 9 tornadoes spawned as a result of the hurricane. More recent articles have slightly higher numbers than the initial reports from the National Weather Service. In Weather Nation’s 2018 article titled “13 Years Later: Looking back at Hurricane Katrina,” the estimates are at 2000 deaths and over $150 billion in damage. In general, the numbers are pretty consistent with their initial reports. Every article portrays Hurricane Katrina as one of the deadliest and most severe hurricanes ever to touch the United States with devastating impacts on the region it went over. It is interesting to note that there are some articles such as one published in 2015 titled “We Still Don’t Know How Many People Died Because of Katrina,” that claim there is a degree of inconsistency in the numbers. The article claims that many of the death numbers reported by individual states were changed at later dates and that many states, such as Louisiana, eventually just stopped counting the dead. The article claims that the estimates and coverage for deaths did not receive as much attention as something like the 9/11 terrorist attacks did and so coming to a clear consensus on the numbers may be difficult.


Future Improvements

Disaster preparedness Plan for the City – The local government would set the plan and ensure that everyone is aware so that there is not chaos. The plan would include specifics like where food for those living in shelters will come from, how sanitation will be maintained through the disaster and what medical services will be provided.

Shelters – Special buildings for hurricane shelters are a common practice in developing countries but it is a much less common practice in the US. Having engineers design shelters specific to a city’s “common” disasters would be beneficial in the long term. If an area typically experiences flooding the engineers could come up with a design for a shelter that can withstand high levels of flooding.

Disaster Preparedness in Schools – If we really want to see a change in how people view disaster preparedness I think it will have to start at  a young age. There should be greater focus on teaching kids about survival kits and the impacts of disaster. Children living near coastal areas should know the importance of knowing how to swim. As the kids grow up hopefully they will make disaster preparedness more of a priority.



Disaster preparedness Plan for the City – Some potential barriers for implementing a Disaster Preparedness Plan for the city would be ensuring it was accessible to all members of the municipality. It would be necessary to educate the citizens on the information available within the Plan, and reaching that wide an audience could pose some problems. Additionally, actually having the funds to implement the Plan, such as creating shelters and having food stores would also be a potential barrier. In order to combat these, the city could use multiple forms of communication to get across the information– texts, signage, and posters in public places such as grocery stores, parks, libraries, and schools could be used to make sure it reaches the most people.

Shelters – Much like many strategies, a large barrier for implementing shelters would be cost. Additionally, space for these shelters, if they need to be new structures, could pose a problem. Hiring people to adapt existing buildings that are accessible and have high capacities could be a potential solution to these problems.

Disaster Preparedness in Schools – A potential barrier for implementing Disaster Preparedness in schools would be that it is time-consuming, and some kids may not be present on the day(s) that the disaster prep takes place. In addition to having time set aside to teaching the kids about how to handle disaster situations, much like the disaster preparedness for the city, posters could be placed around the school to make kids aware of things in case they missed the day when it was talked about in class.

Blog 7: Disaster Planning

CRPeppers: Jack Barron, Sam Jallaq, Haley Jaynes, Gabrielle Smith & John Smith  


Hurricane Ike tormented the USA from September 1st 14th in 2008. It was considered a Category 4 at its peak over the Atlantic, but it shrunk to a Category 2 when it made landfall. The majority of the hurricane hit Texas and Louisiana, with winds of 110 mph and 22 ft storm surges covering large portions of the coast and destroying vegetation and uprooting trees. The flooding went as far as 10 miles inland, and was exasperated by 20 in of rainfall in 2 days. The hurricane destruction wasn’t limited to only the coasts however as its winds spawned 29 tornados and the hurricane turned into a Tropical storm over the Midwest and continued to wreak havoc.  In Ohio specifically, 2.6 million people lost electricity from Cincinnati to Columbus. Overall, the hurricane caused 112 deaths directly, but an additional 64 people perished from indirect deaths from electrocution, carbon monoxide poisoning, etc In monetary terms, there was $33.3 billion in damage, $12.5 billion in  Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, not including flood damage. The hurricane destroyed homes, left people stranded on their homes, forcing some to carry sick relatives up through their attics, and forced relocations to football stadiums to avoid flooding. Many rescuers spent a significant amount of time helping those encompassed by the flood water. Overall, Hurricane Ike cause an immense amount of damage and took many human lives in the span of 14 days



I Found a hurricane Ike archive page, it is an archive of “the Official Page for the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management Announcements”. During Hurricane Ike and the aftermath, the stories change tone and frequency.  On September seventh (2008) to the tenth there were eight updates warning about a storm approaching and not recommending evacuation. On September 11th there were greater than ten postings talking about evacuation and preparation. Then on September 12th mandatory evacuation was ordered. Over ten stories were about preparation and visiting politicians. September 13th to 15th there were over ten stories talking about damages and many interviews politicians and school superintendents. On September 15th there were stories about power being restored and a mandatory curfew. Things seem to be fragile at this point, but improvements are steadily being made. More power is being restored but some water is not safe to drink. September 16th to 17th has many stories about power, road openings, and debris pickup. September 18 the stories shift to trying to return to normalcy. With stories like “Dickinson Municipal Court has advised those with payments or tickets due during the wake of Hurricane Ike contact the court immediately”, “Houston Mayor Bill White today announced that he has established a relief fund for victims of Hurricane Ike”, “The City of West University Place has lifted its Boil Water Notice” and “The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County today announced that its Park and Ride service has returned to operating on its normal schedule”.  On September 21st There are many stories detailing aid services and resources like the red cross. On the 22nd there are still a lot of stories they seem to be more positive “The City of Friendswood has issued an update on its recovery process and announced that less than 10 percent of Friendswood is without power”. From September 23rd to the 26th there is still and high influx of postings. They talk of funding and supplies to people before the focus was cleaning up storm damage. After the 25th only five more stories are posted the final update is given on October 31st.

(Management, Galveston County Office of Emergency. “Hurricane Ike Archive.” Guidry News, )



Over 1.5 million people still didn’t have power on the 16th of September

Evacuation flights were suspended as airports were out of power and there were high winds

Highways were jammed and gas stations were out of service for weeks

Oil boats were stuck in a harbor and destroyed — they crashed into each other

Fires were started with destroyed machinery

There were many mandatory evacuations, but more than 100,000 people in Texas did not

Places in the Midwest weren’t prepared for the high winds and lost power for as long as a week

FEMA aid was late to many people who applied for loans and trailers

Hospitals were impacted and remained closed, so people were sick and many were unable to be treated


Future improvements

Strategies communities can use to prepare/protect themselves from future hazards like Ike are:

1. More storm drains

2. Making buildings and cities above sea level

3. Seawall

4. Reduce wetland degradation

5. Green infrastructure: walls, levees, and pumps

6. Making buildings resistant to high winds


The main barrier to many of the proposed strategies is funding, which is determined by the government. The only way to minimize this barrier is to petition the government to look at the past cost in damages and show them it would be much more cost effective to increase funding now and prevent those costly damages. Another barrier would be that the existing infrastructure sometimes prevents more storm drains, leeves, etc. This also calls back to the funding, because it could be done if there was enough funding. The only way to minimize this would be to increase funding and dedicate more manpower to get it done before another disaster makes all the work useless.

The Upper Classmen: Blog 7

  1. Hurricane Sandy affected 24 states and the entire eastern seaboard. It was the fourth-costliest US storm, costing an estimated $71 billion. Sandy is directly responsible for at least 147 deaths in the Northeast United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Sandy made first landfall in Jamaica on October 24th. After leaving that island, the storm gained strength over open water and became a Category 2. The storm hit Cuba early October 25th, then weakened to a Category 1. On Oct. 26th, it swept across the Bahamas. Sandy weakened to a tropical storm on October 27th, then gained strength again to become a Category 1 hurricane while turning north toward the U.S. coast. Hurricane Sandy hit the United States about 8 p.m. on October 29th striking near Atlantic City, N.J., with winds of 80 mph. A full moon made high tides 20 percent higher than normal and amplified Sandy’s storm surge. On October 30th, Sandy moves away from New York, toward Pennsylvania, but is still drenching the Northeast. On October 31st, Sandy finally dissipates over western Pennsylvania. At one point, Sandy’s hurricane-force winds extended up to 175 miles from its center and tropical storm-force winds out to 485 miles. Sandy’s strength and angle of approach produced a record storm surge of water into New York City. The surge level topped 13.88 feet, surpassing the 10.02 feet record water level set by Hurricane Donna in 1960. Along the Jersey shore, people were left stranded in their homes and waited for rescue teams in boats to rescue them. More than 80 homes were destroyed in one fire in Queens. About twenty other fires were started throughout the New York metro area. Hurricane Sandy combined an end-of-season Category 1 hurricane with a cold front and a second storm, turning rain into snow. More than 8 million people were without power, as stations flooded and trees fell on power lines. More than 15,000 flights into East Coast airports were canceled. As of the Tuesday following the storm, all three New York airports were closed. New York subways were flooded with seawater and remained closed until the following Wednesday. (This was the worst damage in its 108-year history.) Limited bus service was restored Tuesday afternoon. Service was fully reactivated by the following Wednesday. Bridges and roadways were closed in Manhattan, but the East River bridges opened the following Tuesday.
  2. Hurricane Sandy is portrayed in articles following the disaster as full of fury as well as displaying damages in the city. In One such article, titled, “Hurricane Sandy Hits New York in 2012” is explains how the hurricane whipped around a crane that did much damage to many of the buildings around the city. Years later, the hurricane is still affecting people. An article that was written in 2017 titled “How to hurricane Proof your house” explains the measures one should take after the damages done by Hurricane Sandy and how to take protective measures for your family. As readers can see, the articles immediately following the disaster report on the damages done and the impact that the hurricane had on the civilian population, and then following that later articles are written for preventative measures in order to prepare people living around sites of natural disasters for the worst that could happen. Some articles that are in the middle of this time period talk about tracking the storm as it travels across certain states, so these articles are written to keep people updated on the path and trajectory of the hurricane in order to warn people that are in the path to evacuate to safety as well as a way of recording history as it happens.   
  3. There were multiple problems that contributed to the devastating human and material impacts following Hurricane Sandy. One was that much of the infrastructure, buildings, and shore houses in New York and New Jersey were not constructed with the proper materials that can withstand flooding and high wind speeds. Second is the scarce amount of resources following the storm. For example, New Jerseyans had to wait every other day in order to buy gas for their cars and power generators due to the limited amount of gasoline.
  4. There are multiple strategies communities can use to protect themselves from future hazard events such as Hurricane Sandy. One is to build flood walls near rivers, bays, and shorelines along the New York and New Jersey coastline. Second is to rebuild and/or renovate buildings that contain boilers, electrical systems, or vital resources for human life with more durable equipment. This equipment includes includes doors made with Kevlar curtains and prohibiting resources to be kept on ground level floors. Third is to have shoreline houses elevated safely from ground level. These shoreline houses can be composed of concrete and steel or other robust materials that can withstand significant flooding and high wind speeds.
  5. One potential barrier that can affect this strategy is the cost to renovate and/or rebuild the shoreline houses, buildings, and floodwalls is the total cost. This barrier can be minimized by arguing that it is important to spend this money now and be prepared for another disaster rather than take risks and potentially deal with another horrific aftermath similar to Hurricane Sandy. A second barrier is the argument that New York and New Jersey have not experienced another storm such as Hurricane Sandy in the past six years, highlighting that a storm of this significance happens on occasion. This barrier can be minimized by arguing that research is showing how weather has become more severe over the last couple of decades, correlating with the effects of climate change. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for this extreme weather, as data insists that these types of severe storms are going to continue overtime as a result of climate change.

Elephants – blog 7

Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season. It was also the second costliest hurricane on record in the United States until surpassed by Hurricane Harvey and Maria in 2017. Sandy was a category 3 storm when it reached its peak when hitting landfall in Cuba, overall killing 159 and injuring many, many more while destroying over 650,000 homes and putting 8 million American customers out of power.

Of the articles we’ve read, the theme throughout is hopeless. The statistics from Hurricane Sandy are intimidating and the losses sustained are disastrous. The Atlantic wrote on November 1st (‘Hurricane Sandy: The Aftermath’, 2012) of the number of lives lost, the estimated costs in damages, along with various blurbs of what life is like throughout the city post-storm. There is little mention of positive action being taken, and the outlook looks rather grim. Another article, written by The Guardian is written in 2018 (‘Hurricane Sandy, Five Years Later: “No one was ready for what happened after.’’), analyzing the city five years after the storm. This article takes a much more personal theme, drawing from individuals’ stories of their experience during and after the storm and shares some perspectives on the storm itself, the aftermath, and what’s being done in response. There is little positive throughout this story as well. Damages are still not fixed, and many are wary of the lack of action to prevent further storms from occurring.

The tone of the two articles is eerily similar for being written so far apart. While I’m sure the positive work that came after Hurricane Sandy is being biasedly ignored for the situational exposure the two articles are hoping to achieve, it is still important to note how both articles have a feeling of shock, doom, and tense nervousness to them. Both exert feelings of scared awe in the face of such destructive storms, even with a five-year gap.

Many of the storms attributes such as flooding and heavy winds had devastating impacts on the infrastructures of the cities affected in the mid-Atlantic. Densely populated areas such as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut were affected by the brunt of the storm.  An article written by the Huffington Post, “Hurricane Sandy Deals Infrastructure a Devastating Blow” describes the excess water to be a major problem for the electrical grid.  The hurricane had, “cut off power to at least 8 million customers” (Sledge Zeller). In New York City, a major electricity provider known as ConEd had left, “780,000 customers without power” after severe flooding damaged many power plants components. Flooding had also impacted public service areas such as a hospital that was temporality without power after their backup generator failed. On Long Island, “83 percent of Long Island Power Authority customers were without power” which took ten days to restore electricity to all 950,000-people affected. Access to work on the grid was limited as the water from the floods prevented repair to the damaged sites. Public transportation methods were also victim to flooding, such as the New York Subway system that had temporality closed because of the storm surge. Poor water runoff from heavy rains contributed to the brutality of the storm.

As of now a lot of new construction currently going on around the city. Many new glass structures are being built by the water, and, as of now, almost none of them have storm proof windows installed. A big factor while dealing with hurricane winds are the aspect of broken glass. To be more prepared for future storms many houses near the water should have some form of protection from strong winds. It’s easier to board up windows on a house but it’s really hard to board up windows on a high rise. So, to protect exterior glass damage and the people in these newer high rises these structures should have these windows installed.

Also having the cities investing in watergates/levees would be a huge factor. Installing these could keep a large amount of rising water out of certain areas prone to flooding. Doing this would make successful flood protection zones around these cities. With these new wall structures, they need to have new sewage systems or tanks that are meant to hold large amounts of water, so the streets don’t flood as much as before.

Updating certain power plants for storms like Sandy would be a huge help. Installing stronger power lines and putting most of the power lines underground will prevent them from getting knocked over by winds or trees. Also, making the plants strong in the way of withstanding high-velocity winds would make the odds of losing a large amount of power much lower.

Even though these storms don’t come a lot, certain communities should really push evacuations when needed. As seen in previous hurricanes, people don’t listen to the evacuation notices and thought they could just wait out the storm. This is a huge factor in safety issues because when you know something is coming you should leave as early as possible. Also, just like how you talk to your family about the scenario of “if there’s a fire in your house” certain communities should have guidelines to what to do when a storm this size is coming. Having a plan ready before a storm hits will make an overall better community recovery.

The most prominent obstacle to implementing any of these precautions would be financing. Reinforced windows and construction of levees would be a cost that the towns hit hardest could not afford. When faced with destruction from a hurricane, reconstruction takes priority over improvement. These costs could be mitigated by community fundraisers. Across the island, communities have been hosting charity events in order to raise money to repair and hopefully reinforce what was lost to Sandy. Communities that weren’t left as damaged could also help out towns that were devastated by the hurricane. Having those who were fortunate help those who weren’t as lucky allow for the revitalization of a community hit with a natural disaster.

        Also, the blackout across Long Island had caused the residents to realize how weak the electric grid truly was. Spending money on strengthening the power grid wasn’t the top priority until Governor Cuomo passed the LIPA Reform Act to requires companies to do so. The legislation was passed quickly after Hurricane Sandy and required companies strengthen power lines to prevent another power loss as severe as it was. This legislation was highly effective as there hasn’t been another outage even remotely as severe as there had been. The laws passed creating storm-focused regulations for Long Island’s power grid forced electric companies LIPA and PSEG Long Island to take new precautions with the power supply.

Blog #7, HI-5



In 2005, an extremely destructive and deadly hurricane, Katrina, hit the Gulf Coast of the United States. It became a terrible disaster from Florida to Texas. Subsequently, the hurricane destroyed the flood banks of the city New Orleans, and the whole city became overwhelmed with flood waters. The hurricane Katrina is known as Category 5 which means destructive and devastating. According to the information reported by NHC(National Hurricane Center), there were at least 1832 people who died during the period of time when the hurricane came. The economic loss could be 125 billion US dollars due to the effects of hurricane Katrina.


  1. Communications

Article 1: New York Times: Hurricane Katrina Slams Into Gulf Coast; Dozens Are Dead

August 30th, 2005

This article was published a few days after Hurricane Katrina hit land. From the title, we can tell that the article is describing the Hurricane in a disastrous way. The writers make it very apparent that many people had died from the impacts of the hurricane. They detail Hurricane Katrina with how disastrous the winds and storms are. Roads are described as impassable and flooded with water; other description includes the destruction of homes and buildings, power outages, and over $9 billion in damages. Overall, this article is detailing the damages of the hurricane on housing, roads, other infrastructure, and human death toll.

Article 2: New York Times: Don’t Repeat the Mistakes of the Katrina Recovery

September 14th, 2017

“Don’t Repeat the Mistakes of the Katrina Recovery” was published nearly twelve years after the hurricane-impacted southern states. This article focuses more on those extremely impacted by the hurricane. Andy Horowitz, the author, writes “wind and rain alone do not define the shape of our modern disasters.” What he means is that the impacts of natural disasters do not compare to those impacts on a more social level. Hurricane Katrina was one of the most disastrous hurricanes in history; the fact articles are still published to this day speaks a big deal on how the aftermath and recovery processes were handled. The article pulls focus from the disastrous impacts of natural disasters to the impacts from federal and state government policies. From Hurricane Katrina, policies were put in place that furthered inequality of disadvantaged communities. Survivors from these communities never mentioned the storm, but the difficulty of evacuating and surviving. As a whole, this article highlights Hurricane Katrina as a disaster of inequality and vulnerability of low-income/ disadvantaged neighborhoods, rather than natural impacts.

Article one and two were published around twelve years apart. Article one highlights Hurricane Katrina’s disastrous impacts on infrastructure and affected communities. Compared to the second article, article one is more frightening than the second in terms of how the hurricane was described. The second article is more of a reflection on how communities were treated after Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. People are still impacted by the hurricane today, which is really the biggest disaster from Katrina. Policies formed by federal and state governments definitely impacted disadvantaged communities. What we can gather from the second article is that all communities should be treated equally in recovery efforts when dealing with any kind of disaster. Hurricane Katrina’s impact is still lasting today, maybe not necessarily from wind and rain, but on a community level. Decisions must be put in place that protects all communities, this is the biggest thing we can learn from natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

  1. Vulnerability

In the documentary, When the Levees Broke, there were a few vulnerabilities that were stated that created risks for the people residing in Louisiana. One vulnerability was the lack of people who actually owned their own method of transportation. While there were bus lines and streetcars available prior to Katrina, the actual method of leaving the city of New Orleans could have only been available to those who owned cars and were capable of evacuating the city themselves without the help of public transportation. Another vulnerability that was spoken of in the documentary was the city’s sea level and structural integrity of most buildings. The city of New Orleans is a staggering 6ft. below sea level. Knowing this, the entirety of the city was very prone to flooding, and with buildings that lacked structural integrity to fight back winds of about 70-140 mph, the risks speak for itself. The city of New Orleans was nowhere near ready to take on a storm such as Katrina with the vulnerabilities listed here.

  1. Future Improvements 

1) Improvements to transportation plan for evacuation:  Transportation was a huge reason so many people didn’t leave the city of NOLA. During the storm streetcars, Amtrak, the airport, and rails began shutting down the transit from the city. On top of all that, the traffic on the lower Mississippi River was at a stop. Basically, people were left stranded in the city of New Orleans with no way out.  The city needs to have better evacuation services before the storm. An emergency transit out of the city would be the best way to combat this issue and many people could take it, and the highways wouldn’t be so full.

2) Improvements to levee structures:  Another issue the city had, was the level of sea level it was at. NO sits at around 6-8 ft below sea level. The dams they had in place to hold back the floods were not built to withstand that kind of water pressure causing them to fail. The city and Army Corp of Engineers should have better prepared for this type of weather. And the nation should have invested more money in the safety of the city walls. Providing better upkeep and preservation to ease the loss of Katrina.

3) Community education campaign: The whole community of New Orleans was not prepared for the strength and devastation of Katrina. This storm was a learning experience for the nation. You need to be prepared for your home and everything you own to be gone and to be able to survive that. But with this storm, in particular, there was not much you could have done other than fleeing the area. The flood waters were too high and strong.  Yet many people felt comfortable staying because of prior experiences. Education about how and why to evacuate prior to Katrina would have helped and education in the future will ensure more people leave sooner.


  1. Implementation of strategies

To implement these three strategies requires both city and regional planning.  Regional planners should work to outline a transportation plan for evacuating coastal areas where the most vulnerable people live.  High volume vehicles (primarily buses) should be deployed from other cities once the weather service has determined that evacuation is imminent.  Those buses should be used to begin evacuating people from the most vulnerable areas first and those neighborhoods where residents are most likely to have less access to personal transport to safer areas inland.  A strategy for temporarily sheltering large numbers of people should be set up in advance of another catastrophic event in coordination with other cities in the region. Once this plan is in place, educational materials regarding risks of weather events and how to respond should be put into community facilities, groceries, other public service areas and anywhere that the most vulnerable families might receive the message.