Today is not only the last day of November, it is the official end of this year's Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season.
Although I no longer live very near a coastline, tropical systems do a whole lot of damage beyond their landfalls. We've endured the effects of Tropical Storm Hermine in 2010 and Hurricane Harvey in 2017 (what is it with H storms and Austin?) that hit the Texas coast.
This year the Lone Star state escaped Hurricane Ida. She stayed east of us and definitely did a lot of damage when she came ashore as a Category 4 'cane near Port Fourchon, Louisiana on Aug. 29. Her sustained 150 mile per hour winds devastated the nearby town of Grand Isle.
But Ida didn't stop in the Pelican State. As she moved northeast across the United States, she continued to wreak havoc in states from neighboring Mississippi all the way up to the Eastern Seaboard.
Federal disaster relief: The subsequent Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) major disaster declarations were followed by Internal Revenue Service decisions to grant various types of tax relief to numerous Ida-affected states.
In addition to all residents of Louisiana and Mississippi, the IRS delayed deadlines for some individual and business taxpayers in, moving west to east, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.
The IRS' online disaster relief page has details on these and other catastrophic situations where tax relief has been granted.
Be ready any time: But the point of today's post is not to relive Ida or celebrate the official end of the 2022 hurricane season. It's also to remind us all that disasters strike year-round.
In fact, Mother Nature tends to laugh at our human calendars, producing hurricanes earlier than the June 1 season start, tornadoes well before the typical spring severe thunderstorm season, and sending unexpectedly cold blasts that shock even folks used to winter weather. Add in lightning strikes — or careless humans — and you end up with wildfires any time of the year.
So we need to be prepared for the worst at any time. OK, that is a pretty gloomy outlook. How about, we need to pay attention to what's happening around us weather wise. You don't have to be a Weather Channel addict like me, but do note when your local forecaster puts out a warning.
If you live along any coast, it's a good idea to prepare in advance of hurricane season. If you're in Tornado Alley, which has been shifting eastward of late, the same goes when spring nears or any time you see clouds building.
It's not that hard to prepare, both physically and financially. Here are some prior posts that can help.
- 6 hurricane prep tips for businesses
- Considerations in making a major disaster tax claim
- Reconstructing tax & other records after a natural disaster
- IRS and other government resources can help you deal with a natural disaster
There also are the ol' blog's special Storm Warnings pages. This multi-page collection of blog posts has tips on preparing for, recovering from, and helping those dealing with natural disasters.
Helping out those dealing with disasters: Finally, since today also is Giving Tuesday, you might want to peruse the disaster donations section for ideas on how your gifts to disaster relief agencies can help victims as well as potentially lower your tax bill.
I hope you never have to use any of these disaster tax-and-beyond tips. But chances are Mother Nature will turn into Mommy Dearest near you one day.
Be ready and stay safe.