Nature’s Rhythm

Nature’s Rhythm and what we can do to prepare for hurricane season

Hurricane season starts on June 1st of every year and runs until November 30th.  While we are aware of hurricanes, the magnitude of their impact can escape some of us.  This leaves us vulnerable when strong winds start. The reality is that nature has a rhythm.  We understand hurricanes because of the destruction we experience during and after they occur. Heavy rain that leads to flooding, wind gusts so strong they lift roofs and shatter our property, losing internet connection for days all bring our daily routines to a halt.

Over the years, hurricanes have become stronger and stronger. The impact has also lasted longer. The opportunity rests with us to acknowledge the presence of nature and prepare for it. 

What is a hurricane?

“Hurricanes, known generically as tropical cyclones are low-pressure systems with organized thunderstorm activity that form over tropical or subtropical waters. They gain their energy from warm ocean waters”. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

Before a hurricane, we receive warnings of a tropical disturbance and as the wind speed increases, the disturbance grows to a tropical depression which can lead to a storm and then a hurricane.

Does nature have a pattern?

As an architect, I want to build structures that last.  Over the years, with the increase in hurricanes, I have had to rethink the way I design and construct buildings. Nature’s pattern needs to be taken into consideration.

The US Virgin Islands began experiencing hurricanes regularly, beginning in 1989 with Hurricane Hugo.  It was a category 4 hurricane and completely devastated the islands.  In 1995, we experienced Hurricane Marilyn, which was a category 5 and by this time, we recognized that this was becoming our new normal.

Fast forward to September 2021,  12 hurricanes already occurred including the US Virgin Islands’ first multi event with simultaneous category 5 hurricanes. Hurricanes Irma and Maria respectively destroyed homes and workplaces, damaging communication towers and water services and the hurricanes struck approximately two weeks apart.

The aftermath was complete destruction and forces us to reconsider our lifestyle contribution to these natural occurrences. But first let’s learn to prepare and protect ourselves.

Prepare Now

Before a hurricane, preparation is key. Our lifestyle should reflect its importance because we never know if it could mean our survival.  Here are some first steps to take to prepare:

  • Gather necessary medication. Think of the medication you need in the next month but also check for the items you may need in the future but cannot leave home to buy if shelter in place orders are issued.
  • Stock your pantry. Purchase extra non-perishable food on your grocery runs and save it. This includes having a supply of water that can last for approximately two weeks.
  • Ensure you have the right batteries to power devices if the electricity is interrupted.
  • Clear your property of any items that could move with strong winds; for example, your outdoor dog house or trash cans.  Items such as these, fly through windows and can harm us.
  • If possible, purchase gas for generators and portable power banks that can charge phones and other devices without the need for a wall outlet.

In the next blog, I will share with you, areas our lifestyle affects climate change and how we can make a difference in small ways.

What’s your rhythm? If you have any tips to add, please share in the comments below.

One response to “Nature’s Rhythm”

  1. Lee E. Martin, AIA Avatar
    Lee E. Martin, AIA

    Having experienced a number of hurricanes, tropical storms, and tornadoes in S. FL following Andrew in 1992, I can attest to the value of the advice in Ms. Bourne’s article. We become lax when storms do not occur, or go somewhere else for a long period of time, then when one hits we are often caught off-guard. As an architect, I was surprised to learn that in many instances, roofs are lost because a wall opening is breached and wind pressurizes the building from inside, not because the wind blows the roof over directly. The value of storm shutters for window and door openings, and tie-down straps to keep roof rafters in place during high winds, are very cost-effective measures for most home owners.

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