Rebuilding After Disaster: A Painstaking Process

FEMA releases history of natural disaster info

The New Year has just begun and hurricane season is still five months away, but if the past is any guide, chances are that Hays County will experience at least one natural disaster during 2020.

According to FEMA, the state has seen 266 natural disasters since 1953 – 161 fires, 40 floods, 21 hurricanes, 20 severe storms, 15 tornadoes, one extended deep freeze and one devastating drought. In Hays County, in the same time period, there have been seven fires, five floods, four severe storms, three hurricanes, one tornado and one drought.

Historically April is the month most Hays County disasters have occurred, followed by September, June, August and January.

Retroactively over the past 10 years, the year 2018 saw four major disasters. Hurricane Imelda was one; others included severe storms and flooding over various parts of the state and the Copper Breaks fire near Quanah; in 2017 much of the state experienced Hurricane Harvey…


Rebuilding After Disaster: A Painstaking Process

Wildfire aftermath and a sign for residents of the Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa, Calif.| Photo: U.S. Army photo by Edward Coffey, USACE SPD PAO

Builders are mostly confident that newer codes are making the structural survivability of houses after natural disasters more viable. “There’s no reason not to build if you’re above the flood plain,” says Scott Frankel, co-president and principal of Frankel Building Group, in Houston.

Besides, many homeowners don’t want to leave where they live, despite future risk. Dan Freeman, owner of Lenox Homes, in Lafayette, Calif., says the residents there have strong roots in the community that have translated into their willingness to rebuild.

Robert Carroll, owner of Carroll Construction, in Clinton, La., says many homeowners in Baton Rouge who got washed out by the 2016 flood have come back, although he’s also seen some house flipping and a shift to rentals…

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