So it's here. Hurricane season. New Orleans is still not rebuilt and if you don't have flood insurance, get some. The thing you need to remember when it comes to the storm season - you are pretty much on your own. Don't look for Uncle Sammy to rush to the rescue, even if Katrina did show the weaknesses of the government response.
According to the National Hurricane Center, "The outlook calls for a very active 2006 season, with 13-16 named storms, 8-10 hurricanes, and 4-6 major hurricanes. The likely range of the ACE index is 135%-205% of the median. This prediction indicates a continuation of above-normal activity that began in 1995." The ACE is the Accumulated cyclone Energy index, which accounts for the intensity and duration of Atlantic storms. If you want to read all the science stuff, click above.
As far as flood insurance goes, FEMA - you remember them from Katrina - has put all kinds of information on their website. They have this thing called "Test the Waters" which estimates what it would cost should a certain level of water enter your home. It's really funky, and scary if you live near a body of water like I do.
Also, the FEMA folks have added a tool that will allow you to assess your risk of flooding and will take you to a list of insurance agents in your area.
The whole thing should sober you up a little.
As far as emergency preparedness, you know for when it his the fan, your county has probably issued some kind of guide. I know Prince William county, Virginia has one. These things list the kind of stuff you should have in an emergency - water, flashlight, energy bars, ponchos, wind up radio, blankets, first aid kit -- all that stuff and some even have lists that you can check off when you get everything.
So hang on, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.