The remnants of Hurricane Florence making for some wet going on Maple Street last month:
From my experience news outlets don’t distinguish sharply between urban, suburban, and rural areas while covering the aftermath of disasters but, for obvious reasons, I try to parse the news reports in exactly those ways. I do this because both fictional and prepper narratives do make sharp distinctions in that area, almost always perpetuating the idea that cities will be the worst of all hellscapes and that an idyllic Jeffersonian agricultural hinterland will represent the only possible end point for human civilization.
Last year’s disasters from fire, wind, and rain seemed to tell a different story as urban locations from San Juan to San Francisco seemed to better weather the impacts of severe weather than their surrounding suburbs, wild lands, and agricultural communities. The fallout from hurricanes in the Carolinas and Florida’s panhandle have created another opportunity to witness how well urbanized areas bounce back after disasters, and just how serious problems like looting and general disorder are relative to the focus more heavily populated areas receive from emergency services providers.
From my experiences here with three disasters, two natural and one man-made, the closer to the center the better. After one tornado, one too-early snowstorm, and an East Coast blackout, downtown Springfield has been completely immune to power outages, received emergency services the most quickly, and had the most immediate access to shelters. To detail those claims: Before I was able to get to my house after learning of the 2011 tornado from my then fiancé’s apartment 45 minutes away my daughters were already at a shelter which had been opened and staffed a 5 minute walk away; After the following year’s “Snowmaggeddon” Halloween our house was unaffected while 5 people from two households sheltered here as their homes were without utilities for a week and a half.
So far it would make sense to say that a thoroughgoing prepper might want to be as far away as possible from anyone who might interfere with or usurp his finely tuned preparations, but the less capable among us might do well to balance our private preparedness with an awareness of the public institutions available to assist us.
These excerpts from articles about the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Michael also hint at the wisdom of that analysis. In Panama City volunteers have already begun providing support:
Whereas very little, even the news that very little help is forthcoming, is spreading to the exurbs: