Extreme weather events and the resulting damage may be the new normal. These seemingly constant states of emergency are creating real costs for those who fail to prepare, and in some cases, these weather events are changing the ways organizations operate.
Homeland Security officials have declared that failing to prepare for extreme weather events cost the U.S. $1.15 trillion from 1980 to 2010. Two years ago, 15 states had climate protection plans, now 36 states do. Delaware, which has invested in shore protection, has noted that for every dollar it has invested, it has received $10 in value back from the investment. (USA Today) Electric grid, water management, transportation system upgrade and shore protection all seem to be slated for increased funding over the next several years.
Additionally, the conditions across the United States have caused numerous school cancellations and are creating challenges for schools to meet state class-time requirements. Under a new Ohio law that took effect this year, districts that max out on “calamity” days can use up to three “e-learning days” to meet state class-time requirements and avoid having to add extra days on to the end of a school year.
To implement e-learning days, the state requires district teachers to post lessons and assignments online for students to complete during the snow day. At Grandville High School in Michigan, an AP calculus teacher uses online technology for snow days to assign lessons and provides videos of herself teaching the lesson and working out sample problems, that way she doesn’t have to rush through lessons with fewer school days. (Education Week)
These events have also created planning and budget issues for many schools and has pushed teachers to explore new ways of connecting with their students. Out of these storms may come some helpful operational changes. As just one example, the AP calculus teacher in Michigan now tapes most of her classes as it provides another connection for kids that are absent, or who just want to hear the lesson again.