Hurricane Parking


Hurricane Parking

Catastrophic hurricanes have overtaken the news these last few weeks and there is no end in sight. It’s hard to comprehend the devastation. Besides the lives and homes and businesses lost, there are many peripheral losses that make the destruction complete, but aren’t listed in the headlines.

Rightly so, cars are not much of a priority when people’s lives are at risk, but later, those cars will become a huge issue. Flooded vehicles are everywhere in Houston and the surrounding areas. Some are abandoned on roadways, others are soaking in parking structures. The insurance losses on cars alone will be enormous. They’ll have to be recovered and then repaired, replaced or scrapped. People whose homes are destroyed will also be looking for new cars. And beyond that some of these damaged cars will go back on the market and cause no end of trouble for unwitting buyers.

One writer at, Kristin Oakley, says she did everything she could think of to prepare for Hurricane Harvey – except move her car to higher ground. Oakley recommends finding a safe place for vehicles, especially for those who are on the outer reaches of the weather. It’s not practical for everyone to take their cars to higher ground, but if it’s possible, it should be done.

Experts estimate that 500,000 to 1 million cars were damaged by water from Harvey, most of which will be total losses. The same could happen in Florida when Irma lands as en even stronger hurricane.

Another suggestion Oakley offers is that in emergency situations unattended vehicle should be parked legally so they do not impede fire, police and rescue personnel. An emergency is often created by dire circumstances and lack of time, so cars will continue to be lost when nature gets extreme. Oakley’s point of view is after the fact, but still worthwhile.

Read the article here.

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John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. Being currently involved in a storm prep and evacuation scenario for the umpteenth time over the past 25+ years I can confidently state that leaving garages open for cars to escape flooding and other potential storm damage is not just a “neighborly” thing to do, it is a sound business practice. If you have the proper signage and have maintained your facility properly then the argument about liability is not really an issue, particularly if you are in an evacuation zone. Being able to provide first responders and other emergency vehicles shelter at the peak of a storm pays off in big ways in the future, and if you can’t understand how that works then I’m not going to waste time explaining. Letting customers store their vehicle out of harms way means you’ll still have paying customers after the storm passes. If thousands of vehicles are destroyed then that means there are thousands fewer potential parkers for whatever time period it takes for them to acquire a new car, which could be months since most aren’t covered by flood insurance.

    Over the years we have parked rental car fleets, delivery vans, landscape trucks and trailers, military vehicles, golf cart shuttles, cabs, limos, municipal and corporate fleet vehicles and personal vehicles during these storms. Keeping these vehicles out of harms way helps speed the recovery efforts and helps keep the economy moving.

    If you have an underground garage, or one in a location prone to flooding then of course you would lock it down or at least limit parking to floors above potential flood levels, that’s just common sense. Otherwise they should be left open for both the public good and future business opportunities.

    Right now we’re all just sitting and waiting, but I know there are several hundred people and numerous businesses who are worrying about one less thing because their vehicles are out of harms way.

    1. Thanks for your perspective! You make a lot of good points. Those of us outside the reach of these hurricanes have no idea what it’s like.

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