HR Strategies is a Force of Nature
HR Strategies is joined by thousands around the country in pledging to be a “Force of Nature” and taking action to prepare for the potential negative impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms. Hurricane season began June 1 and extends through November 30, and as we saw last year with Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, severe tropical weather can impact coastal and inland areas alike.
Hurricanes and tropical storms are known for the unforgettable visuals we see on the news every year—trees bending due to high winds and heavy rains rendering TV cameras useless as they look over an abandoned beach. But in addition to these obvious effects, hurricanes and tropical storms can often disrupt life for those in coastal and inland areas through evacuations, prolonged power outages, and flooding.
Hurricane Opal 1995 –Metro Atlanta
At approximately 1645 EDT on Wednesday October 4, Hurricane Opal made landfall just west of Fort Walton Beach Florida. As Opal tracked northward, thunderstorm winds knocked down close to ten thousand trees in more than 50 Georgia counties. More than four thousand trees were knocked down within the city of Atlanta alone. These trees fell across roads, and on power lines, homes, mobile homes, and automobiles. At least eight people died between Wednesday night (October 4) and Thursday morning (October 5), most of which were crushed either in their beds or automobiles. Another seven people reportedly died during the cleanup process when trees they were trying to remove fell on them. More than a half a dozen people were injured from falling trees in the early morning hours of October 5. Nearly half a million people (410,000) were without power initially after Opal moved through. Power crews from surrounding states helped to restore power to many, however several thousand residences remained without power through the weekend. There were more than 1200 power poles knocked down and almost 5,000 power lines snapped. An 80-foot gash was torn out of Interstate 285 between Roswell Road and the Glenridge Connector in Atlanta. Schools were closed Thursday and/or Friday throughout the cities of Atlanta, Marietta, and within Fulton, Coweta, Carroll and Douglas counties. Forty-seven of 101 schools were closed in Dekalb county. Four State parks were closed after Opal, Mocassin Creek Park, Black Rock Mountain, Vogel State Park, and Fort Mountain State Park. The Department of Transportation reported 273 damage sites statewide, most of which were downed traffic signals. Agricultural experts estimated that the state Pecan crop alone suffered more than $5 million worth of damage. Flash flooding associated with Opal occurred mainly in metropolitan Atlanta and in northwest Georgia. Several rivers exceeded bankfull. The Oconee River at Penfield crested at 19 feet on the 6th, resulting in flooding between October 5th and October 9th. The Ocmulgee River at Macon exceeded bankfull on October 6th, crested near 23 feet on October 7th and returned to below bankfull on October 9th; in Abbeville, the Ocmulgee River flooded on October 13th, crested near 14-feet on the 14th and returned to bankfull on the 17th. Sweetwater Creek in Austell exceeded bankfull on October 5th, resulting in several flash flooding events through October 7th after cresting at 14 feet on the 6th. The Chattahoochee River near Whitesburg flooded on October 5th, and crested near 21 feet on the 6th before returning to bankfull on the 7th. The Etowah River in Canton exceeded bankfull for a few hours on October 6th, cresting near 17.5 feet. The Savannah River at Carlton Bridge flooded on October 5, and crested near 18 feet before dropping below floodstage on the 6th. -Courtesy NCDC
With these risks in mind, we ask that you join in being prepared for hurricane season by:
- Knowing your risk: The first step to Being a Force of Nature is to understand how hurricanes and tropical storms can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly and sign up for local alerts from emergency management officials and obtain a NOAA Weather Radio.
- Taking action: Actions can be small, simple, and quick. You can pledge to develop an emergency plan based on your local hurricane, severe storm, and flooding hazard, and practice how and where you will evacuate if instructed by your emergency management officials. Post your plan in your home or business where visitors can see it. Learn how to strengthen your home and business against hurricanes. Download FEMA’s mobile app so you can access important safety tips on what to do before, during and after a hurricane. Understand the National Hurricane Center warning and alerts.
- Being an example: Once you have taken action share your story, as we are, with your family and friends. Create a YouTube video, post your story on Facebook, comment on a blog, or send a tweet. Or you can even post the Be a Force of Nature widget on your social media profiles.
HR Strategies takes natural disasters and the impacts they have on a business seriously. In December of 2011, we finalized our Disaster Recovery Plan, and are pleased to be able to share it with you. It is our sincere hope as we prepare for not only hurricane season, but all types of weather phenomenons, that our clients will rest easy knowing that in the event of catastrophe, their company’s Human Resources will be covered.