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2022 Severe Weather Report: What to Expect and How to Be Prepared

By Northland Controls, Jun 22, 2022

It’s that time of year again when mother nature is making her presence known with hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, flooding, and other natural disasters.

Last year, the US saw the second highest number (20) of recorded natural disasters and the third costliest year ($145 billion) to date. And if those numbers didn't get your attention, since 2019, there has been a 40% increase in weather-related events. With communities still recovering from major events like Hurricane Ida and the Kentucky tornado, we can only anticipate what this year will bring.

In fire-prone areas, persisting drought, above-average temperatures, and multiple wind events are ready to ignite active wildfires, particularly in the Southwest and the Great Plains. Companies can anticipate power outages, disruptions to rail networks, closures of local roads, and affected travel.

For those typically affected by hurricane season, The Loop Current, a naturally occurring phenomenon in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to exacerbate what officials warn is an increasing risk of rapid intensification by storms shortly before making landfall. Coupled with warming air and sea temperatures, the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season will likely produce an above-average number of named storms and escalated activity. Once again, companies can expect a wide range of supply chain and infrastructure disruptions due to potential shutdowns of oil and gas facilities, ports, and railroad networks.

As we have seen in the past, these types of events don’t differentiate between company size or business function, leaving the corporate landscape incredibly vulnerable. As security professionals, facing another active year coupled with a lack of control can be unnerving. But, by developing, testing, and deploying emergency plans, teams can better navigate these types of events and minimize impact on life safety and business continuity.

When it comes to managing these events, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. So, whether you’re creating plans from scratch or evaluating your current plans, focus on these four components:

People – Your people are the driving factor for a successful response so set them up for success by ensuring that they understand their roles and responsibilities during a natural disaster. Keep plans updated with new hires, recent departures, and internal changes and frequently communicate changes and updates.

Processes – As your company and the environment around it continue to change, be sure to update your standard operating procedures so that they are up to date when the time comes. This can be done through tabletop exercise or simulations to make sure they are up to date, functional, and efficient before an event takes place. With COVID-19 changing where people are working, evaluate these processes and coordination for those in the office, frequent travelers, and remote workers.

Systems and software – Having the right technology during a severe weather event can avoid confusion and save time when it matters most. When possible, implementing a single, map-based software system that can give your team a common operating picture and a holistic view of the events taking place. This type of centralized system will streamline communications, activities, and tasks from the first moments through the final follow up.

Data and intelligence – The validity and extent of intelligence available during a natural disaster can give teams real-time guidance on how to best respond. When there are continuously changing environments, be sure these sources are working on updated information including accurate asset locations, distribution routes, and key personnel. Additionally, frequently auditing role-based permissions will ensure the right people have access to the right information during an event.

Responses to a critical event can be greatly enhanced when the right technology is in place. For example, teams dealing with disjointed or disparate systems often waste time pulling together the right information and personnel in a highly dynamic and sensitive environment. This type of siloed architecture can cause confusion and complicate processes that should be operationally synced.

A critical event management platform can offer holistic severe weather solutions to groups charged with natural disaster management. By operating through a centralized platform, responses are rapid and coordinated with one single source of truth. Through a unified emergency software platform, action plans, SOPs, and communications can be automated, giving teams the information they need to act quickly. After an event concludes, this type of program will also give teams access to important data to better analyze, evaluate, and adapt for future situations.

As the season for natural disasters starts to ramp up, consider what a critical event management solution can do for your response capabilities. Want to learn more? Contact us by using the form below or check out these additional resources: