After a major hurricane or a similar natural disaster, RMS routinely sends modelers and engineers into the affected region to survey the destruction. This field reconnaissance in the immediate aftermath of an event serves several purposes:
- Provides an indication of the most prevalent type of damage (e.g. shingle loss, structural failures, flooded contents, etc.)
- Provides an indication of the general frequency (e.g. one in five homes have shingle loss) and severity (e.g. 20 percent of shingles missing) of the damage.
- Helps to understand the full geographic extent of the event including the subperils (e.g. wind, surge, inland flood, etc.). As part of this effort, RMS will measure flood depths (based on visible watermarks) that help provide a sanity check for the surge and flood modelers developing the event footprints.
- Talking with locals (both homeowners and businesses) provides a better understanding of the severity of the storm and the conditions immediately after an event that may have already been cleaned up before our team arrived.
Of course, RMS is always concerned about the safety of its personnel and waits until it is safe to send anyone to the disaster areas. We also have to make sure that we can travel to the different areas affected by the disaster without too much difficulty.