Just as Hurricane Beryl was downgraded to a tropical storm over the weekend, here comes Chris. The third named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season formed off the coast of North Carolina on Sunday, and forecasters warned beach goers of potentially dangerous surf in the days ahead.
From Debby and Nadine to Michael and William, weather experts have already dropped names on this year’s potential storm threats if, and when, they ever form off the Atlantic coast. The first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, subtropical storm Alberto, failed to reach hurricane status.
Even though new storm-warning technology has decreased the average error in forecasting models, Alberto still led to several fatalities and an estimated $50 million in damage, primarily in Florida, Mississippi and Alabama. As these states take a collective deep breath, vast swarths of the country continue to focus on efforts to recover from $202.6 billion in damage levied by last year’s hurricane season, the most expensive ever.
In the aftermath, Congress passed several pieces of legislation to provide disaster relief to U.S. states and territories affected by such a devastating season. In September, President Trump signed another $15.25 billion aid package and later committed an additional $36.5 million in relief.
Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, said identifying federally funded grants and disaster relief programs does not have to be arduous. GrantWatch features an ongoing list of grants that local municipalities and government agencies, small business owners and U.S. citizens can pursue to rebuild homes, repair buildings and restore infrastructure left in the wake of natural disasters.
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Hurricane recovery continues long after headlines disappear. Texas, hit hardest by Hurricane Harvey last August, learned only last week that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will dispense $5 billion in federal housing grants to help state residents recover. Some $2.3 billion will be directed to Houston and Harris County — the area most affected — while the remaining $2.7 billion will fund land office programs to aid other parts of Texas devastated by the storm 10 months ago.
The largest portion of the grant — just more than $1 billion — will help homeowners with rehabilitation and reconstruction. Another $100 million will reimburse homeowners for up to $50,000 of repairs. The grant also includes $275 million for homeowners to sell their homes to the government.
Although researchers continue to debate whether there will be more or fewer hurricanes this season and thereafter, most believe future storms will be stronger. Hurricanes in the next few years are also expected to be wetter and slower-moving over whatever areas they hit. If these conclusions hold true, communities hit by hurricanes will be at greater risk for coastal flooding.
Municipalities, local government agencies, small businesses, nonprofits, community-based groups, and citizens frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants that provide relief from natural disasters including hurricanes can identify funding opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at GrantWatch.com. Sign-up to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.
About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch.com