8358743_sBesides where you are when an interruption occurs, can you predict the most likely 3-5 events that you should plan for?  For most of us, I would estimate that 75% of the likely events we might face are weather-related.  I would reserve 25% for the outlier events that are difficult if not impossible to predict.   Since the majority is weather-related, let’s follow the rule: Fool me once, your fault; fool me twice, my fault.

I don’t think any of us could have predicted Hurricane Sandy would strike New York and New Jersey.  It just wasn’t something that happened.  However, now that it has happened, everyone in those areas should have a plan.   On the other hand, the magnitude of flash flooding this year in Colorado was twice as great as ever previously encountered.   Even those not living on a flood plain were tremendously affected.

I do not give the same leniency of consideration to the devastation of New Orleans from Katrina.  When you live below sea level, on a coast, on a fault line, or in tornado alley, there is a much higher likelihood you will face a flood, hurricane, tsunami, F5 tornado, or similar disaster.  These are known threats.  Likewise, if you live near a chemical plant, refinery, or nuclear reactor, you should incorporate those potential events into your event planning.

Additionally, let us take the season of the year into consideration.  Most weather patterns follow the seasons, so as more extreme weather is predicted common sense should be our guide.  Heavy rains and wind can cause flooding and bring power outages.  Heavy snows and sleet can bring commuting to a standstill and also down power lines.

During winter, the water going out could be further complicated by burst pipes based on the temperature and weather.  Likewise, heavy winds, rain, sleet and snow can create power outages on both the local and regional level.  While a power outage due to transformer destruction or over-capacity might take 12-48 hours to fix, down lines combined with inclement weather can be harder to track and repair.

We will continue this discussion in Part 3, “All Circuits Are Down” and Event Duration Discussion

 

Matt S
Matt is a former infantry officer in the US Army with a degree in systems engineering from West Point. He currently works as an engineering consultant integrating hardware and software into new applications. He is a graduate of Airborne School, Air Assault School, and SERE-High Risk (Level C) at JFKSWCS.

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