Though unfortunate, most emergency planning professionals would probably say the latter since 2017 has been such a doozy for natural disasters. And, with a couple of days still left on the calendar, it’s not over yet. Catastrophic weather events like the ones below remind us all of Mother Nature’s fury and the need to be diligent in our emergency preparedness efforts.

  • The Thomas Fire, today considered the largest-ever wildfire in California history, is still burning across Santa Barbara and Ventura counties; it’s currently 89 percent contained. The blaze, fueled by the Santa Ana winds, has scorched well over 281,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 structures. Sadly, the Thomas Fire also claimed the life of one brave California firefighter.
  • Thousands of people remain without power and other essentials (now three months later) in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. And, according to a December 22 report by NPR, this may remain the case for another six months to come.
  • Restoration is slow and tourism continues to flounder in the Florida Keys following the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma.  
  •  Hurricane Harvey has gone down in the record books as the costliest tropical cyclone in history, inflicting nearly $200 billion in damage; the city of Houston, Texas, was particularly hard hit by flooding.

Natural disasters such as these are only the top of the iceberg (no pun intended). Hundreds of other, oftentimes smaller-scale weather events impact the lives of people every day. Among them, and based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)