After Historic Flooding, Gulf Coast Faces Busy Hurricane Season; Small Businesses at Risk

The threat of hurricanes and flooding is well-known to coastal region residents, but the situation may be getting worse. On Monday, April 18, Houston received more rainfall in a single day than any time in recorded history.

That’s more rain than ever came with any hurricane ever.

Houstonians woke up to the 14 inches of rain that came in just 12 hours overnight. If it seems like the rain is getting harder and lasting longer, it is. Houston has seen a 167 percent increase in the heaviest downpours since the 1950s. That’s one of the fastest rates of increase in the country, and experts chalk it up to a warming climate.

According to Climate Central, an independent organization of scientists and journalists, “a warming atmosphere becomes more saturated with water vapor and is capable of previously unimagined downpours.”

Unfortunately, the heavy rains could be followed by a busier than usual hurricane season. Experts are predicting more storms than usual in 2016 with as many as 18 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and three to five major storms.

For many the storms are disastrous. However, even those experiencing minimal property damage can face weeks of recovery. For small businesses, the effects of severe weather events can be catastrophic.

According to FEMA, just a few inches of water can cause major damage. Almost 40 percent of businesses impacted by a natural disaster do not reopen.

Almost a third of respondents to a 2012 survey of U.S. small business owners said it would take more than two weeks to recover- and nearly half of those put the time at more than one month. Nearly 40 percent of respondents were unsure how long it would take.

Conducted in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, that survey found 74 percent of small businesses do not have any disaster plan, and 84 percent do not have disaster insurance.

FEMA notes that flood insurance offers the best protection from financial loss.

FEMA offers many tips about assessing disaster-related risk. Experts at Dallas-based Wholesale Broker and MGA LevelFirst are available to provide an overview of small business coverages available. Call 800-366-4428 or visit LevelFirst.com