Weather risks include extreme temperatures, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts, and other natural disasters. The cost of these events can be devastating for both households and businesses.
But with strategic planning and early preparation, you can reduce the risk of weather-related losses. It all starts with a solid understanding of essential weather risk management tools.
This article will help you better understand the various weather risk management tools and their uses.
What is Weather Risk Management?
Weather Risk Management (WRM) is an umbrella term that refers to any combination of strategies used to protect against the impact of weather on business operations. WRM includes everything from developing contingency plans to managing customer expectations.
The key to successful WRM is understanding how weather impacts businesses and what steps can be taken to mitigate those effects. For example, if you’re in the logistics business, you need to know about the most common weather hazards and how they could impact your customers. If you own or manage real estate, you should know about the potential damage caused by flooding and the best ways to prepare for such events.
Why is Weather Risk Management Important?
In today’s world, extreme weather events have become more frequent and severe. The impact on human lives and property has been significant. According to the Insurance Information Institute, weather-related claims hit USD$42 billion in just the first half of 2021.
Climate change is a leading cause of these extreme weather events, and different tools, such as weather sensors, would be required to monitor the changes in climate patterns. There are many reasons why weather risk management is important. Some of them are listed below:
- To protect against life & property loss
- To improve business continuity
- To ensure the safety of workers
- To avoid legal liability
- To save money
- To provide emergency services
It’s without a doubt that weather risk management is vital for every business. But it’s not always easy to implement. That’s why tools are needed to help make informed decisions and take appropriate actions.
Here are some essential tools for weather risk management that every organization should know about:
1. Storm Surge Protection System
The most common type of natural disaster is a storm surge. A storm surge occurs when large amounts of water move into coastal areas during heavy rainstorms. When this happens, high tides cause the sea level to rise, which can flood low-lying land and buildings.
Storm surge protection systems are designed to prevent this kind of damage. One of the main components of a storm surge system is a berm. A berm is a wall made up of sandbags or concrete blocks. These walls act like barriers between the ocean and the shoreline. They also absorb the energy of the waves, keeping them from breaking over the beach.
2. Weather Station Sensors
A weather station sensor measures temperature, humidity, wind speed, precipitation, pressure, etc. It’s usually placed at strategic locations within the building where it will collect data.
These devices are beneficial because they allow you to measure the conditions outside your building. You can use the data to predict future weather conditions and plan accordingly. For example, you can see whether there will be a lot of rain the next day and decide whether you’ll need to close down operations.
3. Flood Warning and Mitigation Systems
Flooding is another common hazard faced by people near rivers, lakes, streams, and other bodies of water. Flooding can occur due to natural disasters (like hurricanes) or manmade activities (like construction).
When floods happen, it’s hazardous for people who live nearby. If you’re caught in a flood, your chances of survival decrease significantly if you aren’t prepared.
One way to prepare for flooding is by installing a warning system. These systems alert you whenever there’s an imminent threat of flooding.
In cases of severe flooding, mitigation systems may be used. These systems are designed to reduce the impact of flooding on your home or business. The most common types of mitigation systems include:
- Sandbag Walls: These are built from sandbags filled with soil. They are meant to hold back the flow of water until it recedes.
- Dikes: These are constructed using reinforced concrete. They are meant to keep out the water completely.
- Levees: These are built using earth and rock. They are intended to protect against overflow from rivers and creeks.
- Pumps: They drain out excess water from the ground and are usually located near drains and sewers so the water can flow directly into them.
4. Drought Monitoring Devices
Droughts are also very common in certain parts of the world. Farmers often struggle to get enough water to grow crops during droughts, leading to lower crop yields and higher food prices.
Drought monitoring devices can help identify drought conditions early before they turn into a disaster. They do this by measuring soil moisture levels and analyzing satellite data.
5. Wind Prediction Systems
The wind is another major factor that contributes to extreme weather events. It can cause damage to structures and power lines. In addition, wind can blow debris around, causing further problems.
Severe wind prediction systems predict the direction and speed of strong winds. They can also determine whether a tornado is approaching.
6. Heat Wave Warning Systems
Heat waves are extremely dangerous because they can affect people who aren’t prepared. People in hot climates are more vulnerable to heat waves than those in cooler regions.
Heatwave warning systems are designed to warn people about impending heat waves. They measure temperature and humidity levels to determine if a heat wave is coming.
7. Rain Gauges
Rain gauges are essential for tracking how much rain has fallen over time. They’re especially useful for identifying trends in precipitation patterns.
For businesses, knowing how much rain falls on their property is necessary. The amount of rain determines how many customers they’ll have at different times of the day.
8. Emergency Operations Plan
Finally, an emergency operations plan (EOP) is a document that outlines how your company will respond to emergencies, such as fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and storms. In addition to these events, you might want to consider preparing for terrorist attacks, chemical spills, and pandemics.
The purpose of an EOP is to ensure that everyone knows what to do in an emergency. It should also contain procedures for contacting local authorities, notifying customers, and evacuating the premises.
Extreme weather events continuously increase as climate change progresses. To protect themselves against these disasters, people need to be aware of what’s happening with the weather. These eight tools might assist you in keeping track of everything that could go wrong. You never know when you’ll require any one of them.