Tag Archives: Hazard Mitigation

A MUST-READ: Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment


If you live in a hurricane vulnerable region this book ‘Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment’ is a must-read. Get it NOW at 20% off the publisher’s price shipping and handling included! Read on for more information about this book and how to order it!

Over the past few days millions of people have been monitoring the progress of monster hurricane MATTHEW, which reached category 5 intensity for a few hours on 1 October,  worrying  about the damage and other adverse consequences that will be caused by the impact of this storm on buildings, houses, infrastructure and the beaches and local environment.  Residents of the Windward Islands, northern Venezuela and Colombia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Central America, Belize, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Florida, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the USA Atlantic coastal regions beyond, have been and are worried about devastation and human suffering that will be wrought by MATTHEW’s passage.

Against the possibility of damaging impact from Hurricane Matthew or any other future hurricane, in this one of the most hurricane vulnerable regions anywhere, it would be fair to ask if you, as a homeowner, or building manager, or hospital administrator, or public official  sworn to guard the welfare of the people, or just as a resident or visitor to hurricane vulnerable communities, have confidence in how your building or house will perform under hurricane impact? Do you know what design criteria was used to build your building? Do you consider your building to be hurricane-resistant? Is your building protected against the impact of storm surge and breaking waves, in addition to wind?  How is sea-level rise affecting the structural integrity of your building?

Are you confident you have specific answers to these and many other similar questions regarding the performance of your building or house under expected impacts from hurricanes? Or how such expected impacts are being exacerbated by sea level rise and global warming?

Do you know what to do to improve the design of a new building or an existing one, to improve performance and reduce the potential for damage under expected hurricane impacts?

This book ‘Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment’  based on actual field work, years of experience assessing building damage caused by hurricanes, and practicing hurricane mitigation, by Ricardo A. Alvarez, will help you answer these questions and clearly understand the issues involved.

Following is a comment by someone who has read the book:

“I just finished reading Hurricane Mitigation for the Built Environment and realize I need to immediately run to our roof to see what shape it is in and how our equipment is anchored. Alvarez writes with such great clarity that the book is an easy read. I just ordered a second copy to share with our condominium’s board of directors and maintenance staff!”
—Bernard Horowitz, Ph.D., Co-Founder, V.I. Technologies, Inc.; Board Member, The Cleo Institute

Key features of the book include the following:

  • Focuses on the impact of hurricanes in coastal regions
  • Demonstrates the capabilities of reducing potential damages through hazard mitigation
  • Includes detailed figures, photos, and charts that give concrete examples of hazard mitigation and its purpose
  • Uses plain language to make technical issues easy to understand
  • Emphasizes the protection of life and property through the design and construction of hurricane- and climate-resistant buildings
  • Addresses long-term issues such as beach erosion and struggling tourism economies caused by hurricanes

You can now get this invaluable resource at 20% off the publisher’s price including shipping and handling. To order online please visit http://www.crcpress.com.  Use the search box on the upper right of the page and search for K25318. This will bring-up the book and you can put it in your shopping cart. Use the code LFO20 to get your 20% discount!

2 September 2016: Eleven years later!

It was 2005 when Florida was last hit by a hurricane. In fact 2005 was an Atlantic hurricane season for the record books when a total of thirty (30) tropical cyclones were generated throughout the Atlantic basin (See map of tropical cyclone tracks in 2005, below).

Map of tracks of the 30 tropical cyclones of the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The last time Florida was hit by a hurricane prior to HERMINE's landfall earlier this morning.

In 2005 Florida got hit by four named storms, Dennis, Katrina, Tammy and Wilma. But it has been mostly quiet since then, to the point that  close to 4.0 million residents of the Sunshine State may have never experienced the impact of a hurricane except on TV.

All of this changed a couple of weeks ago when a tropical wave emerged from Equatorial Africa and started moving westward along ‘hurricane alley’ , to then move close to the major Antilles islands of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba before continuing west into the southern Gulf of Mexico. On Wednesday 31 August the system reached tropical storm strength and was christened HERMINE, the 8th named tropical cyclone of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season.

HERMINE  turned toward the north and started aiming for the Florida Gulf coast, generating copious rain from southern Florida up to the Tampa-St. Pete region and inland areas. On Thursday 1 September HERMINE gradually got stronger and better organized, continuing to generate a deluge and violent thunderstorms along the length of the state while pointing at the Big Bend area of Florida’s gulf coast.

GOES EAST infrared satellite image in the early morning of Friday 2 september 2016 showing HERMINE, now downgraded to tropical storm, over southern Georgia after making landfall near Tallahassee, Florida
GOES EAST infrared satellite image in the early morning of Friday 2 september 2016 showing HERMINE, now downgraded to tropical storm, over southern Georgia after making landfall near Tallahassee, Florida

HERMINE became a hurricane by mid-afternoon on Thursday 1 September and continued moving toward the northern Florida coast, where it made landfall in the early morning hours (around 1:30 A.M.) this Friday 2 September 2016 in the Apalachee Bay area south-southwest of Tallahassee, the state capital.

The storm has weakened to tropical storm strength as it moves through southern Georgia and aims for the Carolinas and points beyond while generating large amounts of rain over a large region from southern Florida to South Carolina and beyond.

From early reports, it is clear that this tropical cyclone, which in times past would have been categorized as “just a category 1 storm” by some TV newscaster, has been a large, wet and rather dangerous storm affecting millions of residents in at least  five or six states. It goes to show, every hurricane must be taken seriously and considered life-threatening. HERMINE is not done yet, we will have to wait until it traverses the southeastern seaboard states and eventually emerges back over the ocean and dissipates while pulling away from the U.S.A. before we assess the actual toll of its passage.

As we deal with HERMINE’s impact, we must remain alert and not lose sight of the tropics in the Atlantic and elsewhere. For example, the ‘tropical wave assembly line’ in Equatorial Africa and ‘hurricane alley’, closer to us, are populated by numerous cells of disturbed weather and thunderstorms, which are seeds for potential cyclonic activity in the near term and beyond.

Satellite image over the Central Atlantic on 2 September 2016 showing Hurricane LESTER approaching Hawaii, after the state was recently hit by Hurricane MADELINE
Satellite image over the Central Atlantic on 2 September 2016 showing Hurricane LESTER approaching Hawaii, after the state was recently hit by Hurricane MADELINE

Over in the Central Pacific, the state of Hawaii has just had the impact of Hurricane MADELINE (now downgraded to tropical depression) while it braces for the expected impact of Hurricane LESTER fast approaching from the east. It looking at satellite imagery over the past few days as MADELINE approached Hawaii it was clear the high-topped volcanoes on the big island acted as a shield obstructing its progress and disrupting its structure. We will have to wait and see what target is found by LESTER over this weekend. Meanwhile, looking toward the eastern Pacific ocean we can see numerous tropical waves and cells of stormy weather over northern South America and the waters off the coast of Panama, Central America and Southern Mexico, which may fuel potential cyclonic development in coming days.

Infrared satellite image of 2 september 2016 of the Northwest Paciific, showing Hurricane NAMTHEUM impacting Southern Japan
Infrared satellite image of 2 September 2016 of the Northwest Paciific, showing Hurricane NAMTHEUM impacting Southern Japan

Doing a 180 and looking at the opposite end of the Pacific, actually the northwest Pacific, we Hurricane NAMTHEUM impacting Southern Japan. Currently the worst consequences are on the Kyushu Islands and the region where Nagasaki and Hiroshima are located. NAMTHEUM is moving generally north by northwest while generating plenty of rain in Japan.

Worrisome as these impacts and ensuing damage and danger to life are, I would like to close this by stating that we must also view them as opportunities. Opportunities to assess damage, to evaluate building performance, to determine causality, and to draw invaluable lessons regarding the resiliency of buildings, infrastructure and entire communities. This is the time when we can gain empirical knowledge regarding the factors that have contributed to damage, and the measures that were effective in mitigating the impact of these hurricanes.

Remain alert. Be prepared. MITIGATE!