Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cash-strapped Floridian homeowners aren't hurricane-ready

Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: Raquel Pacheco says she is well aware of a hurricane's destructive force, yet she has done little to prepare her Miami Beach home against the potential ravages of the powerful storms which frequently batter the region. Despite hurricane season having already started, Pacheco said storm-proofing measures like steel shutters or new windows just aren't in the budget this year….

With the US economy near recession, Pacheco isn't alone in her decision to forego spending money on hurricane protection this year because of financial constraints. Besides the pressure on homeowners of mortgage costs in one of the regions most devastated by the US real estate collapse, many Floridians as well have been lulled into a false sense of security because no hurricane has made landfall here since 2005.

According to a recent survey by the Mason-Dixon polling firm, more than half of Floridians and those living in Atlantic and Gulf Coast states do not have a disaster plan, while 88 percent said they haven't taken any steps in the last year to strengthen their homes against hurricane damage. … [B]uilding contractors that specialize in hurricane shutters and other storm-proofing said no amount of pleading from state officials is going to convince some Floridians to spend the money needed to make their homes hurricane-safe….

Florida hurricane tracks, pre-1900, NASA and the National Hurricane Center, Wikimedia Commons

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