Tropical Storm Zeta is now located approximately 100 miles northeast of Asheville, North Carolina, and continues to move in a northeasterly direction at 48 miles per hour (mph). When it made landfall in southern Louisiana, Zeta was a powerful Category 2 storm; and, though it has since been downgraded to a post-tropical system, Zeta is still creating strong inland winds causing the potential for storm damage and power outages as it moves eastward towards the Atlantic Ocean. Heavy rainfall is expected in parts of the central Appalachians, Mid-Atlantic, and lower to middle Ohio Valley throughout the day. Additionally, the Carolinas and southern Virginia are at risk for tornadoes.

Tropical Storm Zeta Wind History: NHC

Over the course of this historic Atlantic Hurricane Season, Louisiana residents have been in the potential path of seven tropical systems. Currently several southern states, from Louisiana to North Carolina, are experiencing significant power outages as a result of the storm. In Georgia, more than 650,000 businesses and residents remain without power as a result of the storm. Additionally, the storm is reportedly responsible for three fatalities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia.

Rainfall forecast for Zeta: NWS Atlanta Twitter


In anticipation of damage from severe winds and flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deployed Incident Management Assistance Teams to Alabama and Mississippi on October 28. President Trump approved Emergency Declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi. This allows for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, for 25 parishes in Louisiana and 12 counties in Mississippi. Major Disaster Declarations were previously approved for hurricanes Laura, Sally, and Delta.

FEMA Guidance on What to do After a Storm: Source

FEMA provides post-storm guidance for individuals impacted by hurricanes. Individuals should heed the warnings of local authorities and remain safe as they recover from the storm. FEMA encourages individuals to stay out of damaged buildings, including homes, until the local authorities confirm safe return. Make sure to capture photographs of damaged property as soon as it is safe to return to damage homes and buildings. The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates.


Keep track of Hagerty’s coverage here:


Hurricane Zeta to bring storm surge to parts of northern Gulf Coast, while wildfires continue to grow out West


Hurricane Zeta continues to strengthen, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Hurricane Center (NHC), with life-threatening storm surge and powerful winds predicted along parts of the northern Gulf Coast starting today. Currently, the Category 1 storm is located approximately 155 miles south-southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana, moving north at 17 miles per hour (mph) with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph.  The NHC forecast the eye of Zeta will grow as it moves closer to the Gulf Coast. Zeta is anticipated to make landfall in southeastern Louisiana today with the highest storm surge inundation expected between the Mouth of the Pearl River and Dauphin Island, Alabama.

NOAA NHC prediction for Zeta storm path: Source

The NHC predicts damaging winds reaching inland across parts of southeast Mississippi and southern and central Alabama this evening. Heavy rainfall is expected for parts of the central United States (US) Gulf Coast into the Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic States, and southern to central Appalachians through Thursday, with rainfall totals of two to four inches (with isolated predictions of six inches) expected across the listed areas. The anticipated rainfall could result in flash, urban, small stream, and minor river flooding. Tornadoes are predicted over southeastern parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, southern Alabama, and the western Florida Panhandle this afternoon. Tropical Storm Warnings were put in effect for the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Walton/Bay County Line in Florida.

Meanwhile, out west, 13 separate states are battling 52 large, active fires. California’s largest fire group, the August Complex, has burned nearly 900,000 acres of northern California to date since igniting on August 16, but is showing signs of slowing down with 93 percent containment. In southern California, high winds and warm weather have created severe fire danger; Shane Sherwood, a division chief for the Orange County Fire Authority, told The New York Times approximately 90,800 residents in Irvine were put under mandatory evacuation orders due to the Silverado Fire and the Blue Ridge Fire. While the Silverado Fire has only been active for one day, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) cautioned the fire has spread across 13,354 acres in Orange County and is only 25 percent contained.

Additionally, Colorado and Oregon continue to battle their own large fires. The Cameron Peak fire in Colorado has ballooned to cover 208,663 acres and is threatening Fort Collins and the surrounding region. Meanwhile, the Lions Head Fire, which started over Labor Day weekend, continues to burn through southeast Oregon, engulfing over 200,000 acres. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a continuing Red Flag warning on October 27 indicating that strong winds, low relative humidity, and warmer temperatures are possible and that residents in high-risk fire zones should be prepared to evacuate if necessary across Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, and Utah.  

National Interagency Fire Center Interactive Wildfire Map: Source

With the continuation of a highly active wildfire season, emergency personnel are encouraging residents to stay alert about smoke advisories and air quality changes. Current smoke advisories, including information on How Smoke from Fires can Affect Your Health, can be found through the Air Now portal. In addition, useful resources for wildfire preparedness can be found at ready.gov and include packing essentials for constructing a “go-bag”, strategies for communication between family and friends, and personal safety alongside COVID-19 concerns.

The Ready Campaign: Source

FEMA provides guidance to individuals preparing for, experiencing, or affected by hurricanes. Hurricane Zeta brings the potential for life-threatening storm surge to many coastal communities. Individuals should heed the warnings of local authorities and prepare for hurricane and severe weather conditions. 

Additionally, NOAA provides information on Storm Surge Warnings and Storm Surge Watch. If you are under a warning or watch, make sure to seek higher ground. Storm surge can pose a life-threatening danger from rising water filled with debris.

Wildfire Safety Infographics: Weather.gov

FEMA encourages individuals to prepare and plan for wildfires as these events can develop rapidly. Therefore, it is never too soon to prepare for a wildfire event. Individuals should follow the guidance of local authorities and remain safe as most of the fires remain largely uncontained across the US. The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation, visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.


  • Remember, Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for Wildfire and how to keep you and your family safe.
  • The Los Angeles Times regularly updated tracking of California Wildfires: California Wildfires Map.
  • The National Fire Protection Association provides wildfire preparedness tips: link
  • Marin County provides a wildfire evacuation checklist: link
  • FEMA provides an information video about how to be prepared for Wildfires: link
  • Understanding the meaning of hurricane maps – a NY Times Opinion Piece: Those Hurricane Maps Don’t Mean What You Think They Meancu

The Future of Connected Devices: Building Resilience Against Catastrophic Impacts

Over the course of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), Hagerty’s cyber team has discussed ways that individuals and organizations can enhance their cyber preparedness and resilience. As the month draws to a close, we look toward the future of connected devices and discuss a critical element of cyber resilience: protecting against the risk of sophisticated cyber-attacks causing catastrophic impacts to lifeline infrastructure. This post provides an overview of emerging cyber threats and the steps you or your organization can take to bolster cyber resilience and protect your infrastructure against them.

Internet of things and IT/OT Vulnerabilities

The connected devices we are increasingly integrating into our everyday lives provide countless benefits, but also create additional cyber risks. The rapid proliferation of internet-connected devices known as the Internet of Things (IoT) is creating economic efficiencies, reducing environmental impacts, and offering added functionality and convenience, from smart homes to entire smart cities. However, this proliferation broadens potential attack surfaces and introduces new cyber vulnerabilities.

This trend of connectivity is also occurring in the lifeline infrastructure sectors we rely on to sustain public health and safety, the economy, and national security. The industrial and operational technology (OT) systems that are fundamental to the operation of our power grids, water and wastewater systems, communications networks, and other lifeline infrastructure are increasingly connected to information technology (IT) networks. As with consumer and business applications, this IT/OT convergence provides greater efficiency, along with improved situational awareness and remote operation capabilities; however, this connectivity also increases OT systems’ cyber vulnerabilities. More specifically, adversaries could leverage this connectivity to gain access to industrial networks, disrupt infrastructure operations, and even cause physical damage.

The Threat Landscape

The ability to penetrate and mis-operate OT systems is a key step in the evolution of cyber-attacks against lifeline infrastructure. Adversaries are developing sophisticated cyber capabilities to leverage these vulnerabilities with the goal of disrupting industrial processes and systems to cause outages – and in some cases, physical damage. The following trends and emerging attack vectors highlight the growing potential for destructive cyber-attacks on infrastructure systems that result in cascading failures:

  • Threats to the United States (US) Homeland: A summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy warns that the US homeland is “no longer a sanctuary,” and that we should anticipate attacks on lifeline infrastructure in future conflicts. US intelligence agencies believe that our near-peer adversaries in the cyber realm (e.g., Russia and China) already have the ability to cause localized infrastructure disruptions and are continually improving their cyber-attack capabilities. Those adversaries likely have incentives to hold their most disruptive capabilities in reserve to avoid the identification of countermeasures.
  • Industrial Control System (ICS) Attacks: Adversaries are increasingly designing malware that targets ICS and other OT assets that organizations use to operate their infrastructure. Recent high-profile incidents have hinted at the potential impacts of major cyberattacks on infrastructure systems. The 2015 and 2016 attacks on Ukraine’s power grid caused brief but relatively widespread outages, demonstrating capabilities that could be employed for increasingly destructive attacks in the future. In the years since, ICS attacks have grown more frequent and more severe.
  • Compromising Infrastructure Supply Chains: Adversaries are seeking to corrupt the supply chains for hardware, software, and firmware components in all lifeline sectors. Nearly all infrastructure systems rely on similar ICS hardware and software components produced by a small number of vendors. Compromising just one of those vendors could introduce vulnerabilities in a wide range of organizations. Cyberattacks that leverage corrupted ICS supply chains could affect a great number of infrastructure systems in multiple sectors across the nation simultaneously.
  • Re-Attacks During Restoration: Unlike a hurricane or other natural disasters, the end of the hazardous condition means the end of new first-order impacts on infrastructure systems. However, if adversaries can use cyber-attacks to cause infrastructure outages, they will likely have the access and capabilities to conduct follow-on attacks that disrupt restoration efforts. These disruptions can be particularly problematic in the electric industry; as power outages persist, other lifeline systems that depend on grid-provided electricity may exhaust their backup power capabilities, causing catastrophic cascading failures.
  • Opportunistic Cyberattacks: Similar concerns exist in the aftermath of natural disasters. While an adversary is unlikely to attack US lifeline infrastructure – risking severe US retaliation – in the wake of just any natural hazard, if a major earthquake or hurricane struck US systems in the midst of a regional geopolitical conflict, adversaries could greatly exacerbate the impacts of that event by conducting attacks on lifeline systems as restoration progresses.
  • Cascading, Cross-Sector Outages: One major issue that crosses all potential risks and threats is the growing interdependency between infrastructure sectors. These sectors and the lifeline infrastructure they serve are increasingly interdependent and vulnerable to cascading failures. For example, while nearly all critical systems rely on power to operate, the electric industry also requires fuel for power generation (i.e., natural gas), water, transportation, and other services to function. Without power, these sectors will not be able to provide the services that grid operators need to produce power.

Adversaries are likely to target these interdependencies in an attempt to create widespread, long-lasting, and mutually reinforcing outages. Unlike natural hazards, adversaries can carry out attacks that strategically impact single points of failure or attack multiple sectors simultaneously to exploit interdependencies. Simultaneous disruptions in multiple sectors have the potential to pose enormous challenges for infrastructure owners and operators.

As potential cyber vulnerabilities and impacts grow in line with offensive cyber capabilities, cyber-attacks on lifeline infrastructure that cause cascading failures are increasingly possible. However, it is important not to overstate current threats. While daunting, achieving the complex attack scenarios described above would require extreme sophistication. Therefore, while these ‘worst-case’ scenarios are theoretically plausible, a successful attack of this scale and magnitude is currently unlikely.

Building Cyber Resilience

While the threat of catastrophic impacts from a cyber-attack is significant, infrastructure owners and operators, government agencies, and the people they serve can take steps to bolster their resilience against sophisticated cyber threats. Resilience is not the ability to stop all disruptions before they occur; while system hardening and other protections are crucial, no cyber defenses are perfect. Hagerty defines resilience as:

A community’s ability to withstand, recover from, adapt to and/or advance despite acute shocks and long-term stressors.

To build resilience, the whole community must engage in efforts to secure their systems and work across sectors to protect against and mitigate catastrophic impacts. Communities can take the following steps to build their cyber resilience:

  • Securing connected devices: Rather than attempting to reverse the trend of increasing internet connectivity, individuals, product developers, and infrastructure organizations should work to ensure the security of those devices. At an individual level, keeping internet-connected devices updated with the latest software and avoiding phishing scams that may provide network access to attackers can help reduce potential vulnerabilities. The companies developing IoT devices should ensure they are designed and developed with security in mind. For infrastructure owners and operators, accounting for the increased risks to OT systems in cybersecurity plans and capabilities can help protect the lifeline infrastructure that sustains communities.
  • Engage in cross-sector planning and prioritization: When catastrophe strikes, no organization will be able to manage the crisis alone. Communities need to be aware of the functional interdependencies that exist and requirements for cross-sector support. In some sectors, multi-sector planning is taking place to understand these interdependencies and their implications in a disaster. For example, senior leaders from the electricity, communications, and finance industries convene in a Tri-Sector Executive Working Group to manage collective risks and build incident response playbooks. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also created Emergency Support Function (ESF) #14 – Cross-Sector Business and Infrastructure to support cross-sector operations and manage competing priorities for scarce resources across sectors. Detailed pre-planning and coordination across all sectors will be necessary to improve our collective preparedness against major hazards and protect communities across the nation from the most severe impacts in future catastrophes.
  • Ensure supply chain integrity: While a great number of cyber threat vectors exist for lifeline infrastructure systems, a successful supply chain-based attack on ICS components in multiple interdependent sectors could lead to widespread cascading failures. Industry and government organizations have begun to set standards, create regulatory requirements, and establish best practices to improve cyber supply chain risk management (SCRM). Given the potential impacts of a supply chain-based attack, government agencies and infrastructure companies should sustain or advance efforts to ensure the integrity of their supply chains.

The current cyber threat landscape and interconnected nature of our increasingly digital world requires that individuals, governments, and infrastructure organizations work together to protect against potential cyber-attacks and their physical impacts. In doing so, we can help create a future of connected devices that contributes to economic optimization, environmental sustainability, and overall community health while remaining secure and resilient against cyber risks.

Hagerty Can Help

Hagerty’s team has expertise in both cybersecurity and infrastructure resilience. Hagerty can provide planning, training, exercise, and assessment services to support you and your organization in building cyber preparedness and reaching for resilience. For more information, contact us.

Rob Denaburg is a Senior Managing Associate in Hagerty’s Preparedness Division. Rob is new to Hagerty but has worked with public and private sector clients to minimize the societal, economic, and national security impacts of infrastructure outages. In a previous role, he advised policymakers and industry leaders on how to build resilience against severe natural and manmade hazards, especially sophisticated cyber-attacks on lifeline systems.

Erin Bajema is a Managing Associate in Hagerty’s Preparedness Division. Erin is emergency management professional with experience supporting several areas of emergency preparedness as an analyst, planner, evaluator, and instructional design administrator. She has served on projects in a diverse range of subjects, including disaster recovery planning, housing, continuity of operations, hazard mitigation, active threat, evacuation, damage assessment, and cybersecurity.

Michelle Bohrson is a Managing Associate in Hagerty’s Preparedness Division. She primarily supports pre- and post-disaster recovery planning and hazard mitigation planning projects. Additionally, Michelle earned her Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) from the University of Michigan and is based out of the Austin, TX office.


As the impacts and effects of climate change are realized, the needs to reduce hazard risks in communities across the country are rapidly multiplying.  The passage of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) in October 2018 has, and will continue to have, a transformative impact on the field of emergency management. Specifically, the DRRA has had a major impact on the Federal Emergency Management Associate (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) programs through the introduction of FEMA’s new pre-disaster mitigation program, Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC). While BRIC represents an important step forward in providing a reliable source of mitigation funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments, the goal and intent of the program has exposed many underlying process and policy limits related to HMA programs.  Below we identify some mitigation challenges practitioners are facing across the country, as well as some items that FEMA may want to consider addressing as its programs continue to evolve to meet the quickly changing mitigation needs of our nation.

MISCELLANEOUS project types

As FEMA rolls out its first year of BRIC grants, state and local entities are busy developing eligible, cost-effective, feasible, and nationally competitive projects. FEMA encourages state and local entities to pursue activities that best address priorities in their community including projects that address climate change adaptation and resiliency.  At this time,  these activities are listed as miscellaneous/other in the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance (2015) and they assist communities in “adapting to new challenges posed by more powerful storms, frequent heavy precipitation, heat waves, prolonged droughts, extreme flooding, higher sea levels, and other weather events.” As our country experiences historic wildfires, an unprecedented pandemic, and a hyperactive hurricane season, the miscellaneous/other activities likely offer the best opportunity to address the evolving risks we continue to see in 2020 as well as the conditions forecasted in decades to come. As communities seek to address their mitigation needs through more innovative means than those identified in FEMA’s 2015 HMA Guidance, it has become apparent that a highly flexible, malleable project type is needed which comports with BRIC’s stated goal of finding new ways to mitigate risk to infrastructure and reducing our collective risk to all-hazards.

FEMA Eligible Activities by Program: Source

Mitigation to Migration

As the climate changes, unmitigated sea level rise, extreme weather, and drought have created a need to relocate or migrate people and assets to a new, more stable location. In some instances, communities have already sought FEMA HMA grant funding to address this need. To address these evolving conditions, projects like managed retreat, infrastructure relocation, and wildfire buyout programs may be required.

Currently, FEMA HMA Guidance includes private property buyout project options for flood and landslide hazards; however, wildfire mitigation includes projects that are limited to hazardous fuels reduction, defensible space, and ignition resistant construction, but does not include the option for private property buyout. As we have seen this year, if megafires more frequently become gigafires, there could become a need to relocate communities and infrastructure to a more sustainable and fire safe landscape within of the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). This is one example of the adaptability which will be required to mitigate anticipated hazards and changing conditions which will increase our resilience and reduce our nation’s long-term risks and exposure to these changing conditions.

All-Hazards Adaptability

During the COVID-19 pandemic, States on both the East and West coasts had to grapple with the need to open emergency shelters and surge healthcare facilities due to hurricanes and wildfires. While the FEMA HMA Guidance doesn’t allow for standalone pandemic mitigation projects, FEMA acknowledges in its recent Guide to Expanding Mitigation that public health co-benefits can be identified in structural mitigation projects. Given this guidance, projects with co-benefits or ancillary benefits related to a pandemic, but outside of the project’s primary risk reduction objective, could be included in the project’s scope. As outlined in the BRIC Qualitative Scoring other ancillary benefits include: “water/air quality, habitat creation, energy efficiency, economic opportunity, reduced social vulnerability, cultural resources, and mental health”.

Flexibility for Future Conditions

A multi-hazard approach to mitigation projects also contends with the reality that current and future mitigation must address the compounding effects of climate change on natural hazards. For example, to mitigate stormwater impacts, FEMA’s Nature-Based Solutions provides guidance on watershed, neighborhood, and coastal area project types. Many of these stormwater projects including greenways, permeable pavement, green roofs, and tree canopies can also be effective at mitigating extreme heat and the urban heat island effect. While projects that mitigate heat waves are listed as an eligible miscellaneous/other activity, how to quantify the impacts of this hazard in the FEMA benefit-cost analysis (BCA) tool remains undefined.

As an example, potential benefits (avoided losses) could explore how to quantify increased costs of healthcare, increased hospitalization, and increased energy use, as many residents of California experienced earlier this year.

To translate miscellaneous/other activities into quantifiable mitigation opportunities, the FEMA BCA toolkit needs to provide a more robust way to quantify the benefits of addressing these increasing hazards and future conditions. FEMA’s sea level rise policy has been in effect since 2013 and has helped evaluate how climate change considerations can be incorporated into HMA grants. FEMA recently updated its ecosystem service benefits in BCA policy to allow these benefits to be used regardless of the project’s benefit cost ratio (BCR). FEMA made “this change in recognition that the environment is an important component of a community’s resilience strategy”. Other BCA considerations to increase the cost-effectiveness of innovative, multi-hazard projects would be the development of new pre-calculated benefits, including additional environmental, social, and recreational benefit calculations/methodologies, and updating the outdated, assumptive models to account for future conditions.

Expedited Funding Opportunities

In some instances, there is a critical need for Applicants to quickly submit sub-applications to FEMA so they may review, approve, and award projects.  An example of this are property acquisitions and quick-implementation projects in the post-fire environment necessary to mitigate the impacts of erosion and debris upon people and property downstream of impacted watersheds.  In these instances, it is critical Applicants develop the ability to quickly identify these projects, assist communities with sub-application development as well as work with their FEMA counterparts to develop a system which quickly conveys these projects through the award process.  It is also critical that eligible applicants work closely with eligible sub-applicants pre-award to ensure that should this fast track process be implemented, local communities are able to quickly procure the necessary resources to implement the project in compliance with applicable federal regulations.

Recommendations for 2020 and Beyond

As the BRIC program and our mitigation needs evolve, the next generation of Hazard Mitigation Assistance Guidance will undoubtedly need to adapt to meet our future needs. To successfully do so, all mitigation partners and practitioners should work closely together to address the items identified below:

  • Provide standardized implementation guidance for HMA projects across the FEMA regions to reduce the potential for conflicting approaches between regions.
  • Expand eligible activities to better reflect current and future conditions and broadly market these so they are well known and utilized as appropriate – otherwise, miscellaneous/other will become a prevalent project type.
  • Reconsider duplication of programs as large infrastructure projects may require extensive collaboration and funding from multiple Federal partners to ensure high-impact projects can be built.
  • Revisit previously ineligible activities, such as prescribed burns, which might serve a critical wildfire mitigation role.
  • Better define project-phasing best practices to provide unified guidance on the design development and level of detail needed in a BCA for phased projects. A common question is at what stage of design development does a project require phasing.
  • Expand the current list of pre-calculated benefits and consider the use of pre-calculated benefits for property acquisition in high risk WUI areas and projects that incorporate one or more of the identified nature-based solutions.
  • Expand traditional benefits in the FEMA BCA tool to streamline the valuation of ancillary benefits and future conditions (heat, drought, newly eligible activities under the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, etc.); identify best practices used by other Federal agencies to identify and quantify project benefits to include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
  • Align FEMA programmatic guidance and BCA methodologies to support the projects identified in the FEMA Mitigation Action Portfolio. Currently, the FEMA MAP includes projects that are not funded by FEMA and do not use FEMA BCA methodologies. Many of these projects would likely be ineligible or not cost-effective using FEMA’s current HMA eligibility and application development mechanisms.

With further evolution of the Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program, governments and communities will be granted a better opportunity to develop the next generation of BRIC competitive projects – projects that make the most of limited mitigation funding by anticipating changes in our environment and being responsive to those future conditions.

Hagerty is here to help. While the cost share for this program is 75 percent federal and 25 percent non-federal, FEMA will provide 100 percent federal funding for management costs associated with the administration of a BRIC-awarded mitigation measure or project. Therefore, our professionals can help at little-to-no additional cost.

Hagerty’s Mitigation Team are experts in navigating the pre- and post-disaster funding world. We are available to talk about your recovery needs, including how to access all funding available through federal grant programs. To learn more, contact us.


Amelia Muccio is the Director of Mitigation at Hagerty Consulting and a subject matter expert in disaster recovery. With over 15 years of experience in public health, disaster preparedness, mitigation, and financial recovery, Amelia has helped clients obtain $5 billion in federal funds after major disasters, including Hurricane Sandy, the California Wildfires, and Hurricane Harvey.

Scott Baldwin is a Senior Mitigation Manager at Hagerty Consulting and a subject matter expert in natural hazard mitigation in both the pre and post disaster recovery environments.  With over 10 years of experience in FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance and Public Assistance (PA) programs, Scott has worked closely with states and communities in Colorado and California to identify, develop, and implement mitigation and recovery solutions tailored to meet their needs.

Vanessa Castillo is a mitigation and planning specialist with experience in the implementation of the FEMA mitigation programs. Before joining Hagerty, she was a planner with the City of Denver where she specialized in environmental compliance. Prior to Denver, she was a Mitigation Specialist with the state of Colorado where she contributed her expertise to the successful implementation of more than $65 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for Colorado’s largest disaster.

West Coast Wildfires Spread Across 13 States, Increasing Costs for Support Personnel

As fires continue to burn across the majority of western states, tens of thousands of wildland firefighters and support personnel, including five fire suppression crews and four overhead personnel from Mexico, have been deployed to assist with fire suppression, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. As of October 21, the Center reported that 61 large fires  have burned almost four million acres of land across 13 states. California and Idaho are experiencing the largest active fires, with 17 and 10 conflagrations, respectively. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) reported The Wildfire season, California has seen 8,685 wildfire incidents burn 4.13 million acres, with 31 confirmed fatalities and 9,247 structures destroyed.

Current Wildfires, Forest Fires, and Lightning Strikes in the United States: Fire, Weather, and Avalanche Center

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) issued a red flag warning from 10 am mountain daily time (MDT) to 7 pm MDT for wind and low relative humidity in Colorado’s Middle Park, South Park, and the high mountains of Boulder, Gilpin, Clear Creek, Summit, and Park Counties, which includes fire weather zones 212, 213, and 214. The NWS cautioned low dew points and strong west-southwest winds over the mountains and valleys could result in critical fire weather conditions, including rapid fire growth. These conditions are anticipated throughout Friday in parts of California. Additional red flag warnings due to winds, poor relative humidity recovery, and high fire danger were issued for regions of Texas, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. 

In Colorado, the East Troublesome Fire grew substantially on Wednesday afternoon and evening, with CBS News reporting the fire is currently burning at 6,000 acres per hour, with estimates it has moved across 125,000 acres to date. On Wednesday evening, the Grand County Sheriff issued a mandatory evacuation order for all areas west of Highway 34 in Grand County due to its rapid growth.

Less direct impacts of the wildfires greatly impact communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder and Larimer counties in Colorado have closed National Forest Land due to wildfires. Communities that have been more reliant on outdoor recreation and activities during COVID-19 are restricted from utilizing natural resources in some geographic areas.

Twitter: NWS

In addition to the vast environmental and physical damage wildfires have caused this year, they have been extremely costly. While the total federal, state, and  local government spend is unclear, Michael Wara and other climate change experts at Stanford University spoke with ABC News KABC-TV, estimating that damage from California’s wildfires totaled around $10 billion at the start of October.

Wildfire Safety Infographics: Weather.gov

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages individuals to prepare and plan for wildfires as these events can develop rapidly. Therefore, it is never too soon to prepare for a wildfire event. Individuals should follow the guidance of local authorities and remain safe as most of the fires remain largely uncontained across the United States (US). The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation, visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.


The Grand County Sheriff issued a mandatory evacuation order for all areas west of Highway 34 in Grand County, Colorado due to the rapid growth of the East Troublesome Fire, cautioning residents to head south on Highway 34. Those who evacuated early are encouraged to register using the East Troublesome Fire Evacuee(s) Registration Form to help with the re-entry process.

To get a breakdown by State and County of public advisories, NOAA’s NWS has provided a list of red flag warnings and air quality alerts in decreasing order of severity.


  • Remember, Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for Wildfire and how to keep you and your family safe.
  • FEMA America’s PrepareAthon: How to Prepare for a Wildfire
  • The Los Angeles Times regularly updated tracking of California Wildfires: California Wildfires Map.
  • The National Fire Protection Association provides wildfire preparedness tips: link.
  • Marin County provides a wildfire evacuation checklist: link
  • FEMA provides an information video about how to be prepared for Wildfires: link.


While often disassociated from conversations about natural disasters, science has shown that our planet’s changing climate is responsible for the increasing frequency and magnitude of natural disasters. As such, climate change (i.e., changes in atmospheric behavior over an extended period) and disaster management should be viewed through a holistic and interconnected lens.

Additionally, natural disasters should not be considered completely independent of one another. One natural disaster may create the environment for another one to occur. For example, climate change increases drought, and drought creates an ideal environment for wildfires.

Below are some of the ways that climate change exacerbates natural disasters as well as some resiliency tips for you and your community to consider as you seek to mitigate future disaster risk.


The American Meteorological Society defines heat waves as a “period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and usually humid weather.” Extreme heat poses a legitimate risk to communities across the globe. For instance, the European Heat Wave of 2003 resulted in an estimated 70,000 deaths. Furthermore, heat waves pose a great threat to the natural environment, especially biological ecosystems and species that cannot survive repetitive bouts of extreme heat; from salmon in the Pacific Northwest to the Great Barrier Reefs in Australia – aquatic species are especially threatened because rising heat reduces oxygen in the waters.


As heat trapping emissions become more concentrated in the atmosphere and temperatures rise, extreme heat waves are expected to become longer, more frequent, and more severe. Although heat waves are a normal occurrence, the frequency with which they occur is likely to continue growing as the general atmospheric climate continues to warm, as outlined in the visual below.


  • Reduce the urban heat island effect by installing green roofs and cool pavement;
  • Improve energy efficiency to reduce demand on the electricity grid during heat waves; and
  • Plant trees to provide natural shade and cooling.


Drought has been a huge problem in the US over the past 20 years. This summer, the vast majority of the Western US experienced abnormally dry conditions – some areas suffering from extreme to exceptional drought. Droughts can threaten the agricultural sector and water supplies in communities across the country.


Over time, increasing global temperatures have resulted and will continue to result in more precipitation falling as rain rather than snow, earlier snow melt, and increased evaporation. When there is less snow overall and snow melts earlier in the year, it leaves ecosystems, agricultural lands, and drinking water reserves parched by late summer. Drought is a symptom of climate change and it amplifies as global temperatures increase.


  • Identify areas where water re-use systems could be implemented;
  • Improve watershed sustainability and reduce irrigation demand through partnering with local agricultural communities to fund and implement sustainable water-use practices;
  • Run public education campaigns about drought, the importance of water conservation, and water efficient landscape design; and
  • Establish processes in collaboration with local utilities to encourage water conservation from businesses and industrial facilities.


This year alone, over 7 million acres of land have been impacted by wildfires and over 42,000 fires have ignited across the US. Wildfires pose a huge threat to human safety and property, and they also pose a dire threat to wildlife and natural habitats.


Drying and drought caused by an increase in global temperatures creates the perfect environment and fuel for wildfires. In other words, increases in evapotranspiration and spring snow melt leaves vegetation dry and vulnerable to both human and natural fire-starting activities (i.e., bonfires, fireworks, cigarettes, lightening). It is estimated that climate change in the American West has accounted for half the increase in vegetation dryness since 1979.


  • Establish zoning, building codes, and landscape management guidelines that reduce or discourage development in the wildland-urban interface (WUI);
  • Ensure proper vegetation and forest management, in collaboration with ecological organizations and experts, through debris removal and brush thinning; and
  • Conduct public education campaigns and outreach to stress the importance of preventative and informed behavior.


Flooding occurs every year in the US, sometimes as a result of hurricanes and sometimes entirely independent from other natural disasters. Almost every year since 1980, at least one billion-dollar flood event has occurred in the US. Flooding can destroy buildings, infrastructure, and ecosystems; contaminate drinking water; and take lives.


Flooding has been a long-standing threat to communities in the US, but it has increased in severity due to climate change. As the climate gets warmer, ground moisture and saturation decreases, preventing regular and effective absorption of liquids into soil. Additionally, warmer air can hold more moisture, resulting in heavier precipitation. Heavy precipitation events drop 55 percent more rain in the Northeast, 42 percent more in the Midwest, and 27 percent more in the Southeast, compared with heavy precipitation events 50 years ago. Sea level rise due to climate change will also likely increase flooding in coastal communities in the years to come.


  • Build and design flood-resilient watersheds through maintaining soil cover and vegetation, removing unnecessary impervious surfaces (i.e., concrete, buildings), and allowing room for water accumulation through retention ponds;
  • Restore natural watersheds where possible, rather than straight manmade channels with no flow speed reduction;
  • Establish zoning and building codes that restrict development in high-risk, flood-prone areas; and
  • Encourage community residents to obtain flood insurance in high-risk regions through public education and campaigns.


Hurricanes are one of the most damaging, annually occurring natural disasters that we experience in the US. Some hurricanes, like hurricane Katrina (2005), Harvey (2017), Maria (2017), and Michael (2018), caused long-lasting social and economic impacts on affected communities.


Hurricanes result from low pressure zones created by warm seas. The low pressure zone draws air to it with enough force to rotate winds around the core up to 185 miles per hour. Climate change has resulted in warming seas and therefore a greater frequency and intensification of low-pressure zones, tropical storms, and hurricanes. Additionally, rising sea levels from climate change expand flooding zones impacted by water surges during a hurricane.


  • Develop grassroots public engagement and education campaigns to provide hurricane preparation information to rural, impoverished, and underserved populations most impacted by hurricanes;
  • Complete needed infrastructure updates proactively, especially infrastructure designed to contain water or protect community assets (i.e., levees, dams, water treatment structures);
  • Establish zoning and building codes that restrict development in high-risk flood prone areas and require hurricane-informed construction methods; and
  • Restore and protect natural hurricane and flooding buffers like wetlands and marshes.


At Hagerty we have the expertise, passion, and commitment to assist your community with resilience-building efforts. From supporting pre- and post-disaster recovery planning efforts to hazard mitigation planning projects and navigating funding streams and developing project applications, we are here to help.

Please reach out to April Geruso, Hagerty’s Director of Resilience, to discuss any potential support that Hagerty can provide.

Loren Switzer is an Associate with Hagerty Consulting’s Preparedness Division. Loren supports several public and private sector pre- and post-disaster planning and recovery projects. Loren earned her Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs and focused on environmental studies throughout her undergraduate education.

Hurricane Delta Impacted the Gulf Coast on Friday Evening, Now a Post-tropical Cyclone Bringing Heavy Rain to the East Coast


Delta, now a post-tropical cyclone, is heading east, bringing heavy rain to the Mid-Atlantic throughout the early part of this week.

Delta’s Path: Source

On Friday evening, Hurricane Delta brought life-threatening storm surge to the southwestern Louisiana coast. This year alone, Louisiana has had four named storms impact the state. Moreover, Delta was the state’s second landfalling hurricane in the past six weeks. As a result, many families displaced from Hurricane Laura were still living in shelters as Delta made landfall. As of Saturday morning, there were nearly 9,500 Louisiana residents in shelters from Hurricanes Laura and Delta combined. Presently, thousands remain without power across Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. As of Sunday evening, two fatalities  in Louisiana were reportedly linked to the storm. Additionally, in Georgia, intense rain and flash flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Delta may have caused a train derailment that sparked a fire and caused evacuations within a half mile of the location of the spill. 

Twitter: USACE HQ

Mayor Nic Hunter of Lake Charles, Louisiana stated, “Add Laura and Delta together and it’s just absolutely unprecedented and catastrophic. We are very concerned that with everything going in the country right now that this incident may not be on the radar nationally like it should be.” On Sunday, representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were out surveying the damage across the state.

Rainfall from Delta: Source

As Delta dissipates over the next several days, individuals should continue to stay vigilant and heed warnings about heavy rain, flash flooding, and rapid temperature changes. Additionally, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warns residents of southwest Louisiana to beware of heavy fog, low clouds, and poor visibility while driving.  

The National Weather Services (NWS) offers advice and guidance for those about to experience, currently being impacted by, or previously affected by tropical storms and hurricanes. Individuals at-risk are encouraged to secure their home, remain up-to-date with information and follow guidance issued by local officials.

Keep track of Hagerty’s coverage here:


Category 3 Hurricane Delta Has State and Local Governments Preparing For Fast-Approaching Landfall


Hurricane Delta is located approximately 200 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana, moving toward the southwestern part of the state at 12 miles per hour (mph), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Hurricane Center (NOAA NHC). Delta was upgraded to a major Category 3 hurricane overnight, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph and hurricane-force winds that extend outward up to 40 miles from the center. The NHC said Delta is expected to slightly weaken as it nears the northern Gulf coast on today; but, no matter the category, it will still be an extremely dangerous storm. 

The NHC has issued hurricane warnings from High Island, Texas to Morgan City, Louisiana. Storm surge warnings have also been issued from High Island, Texas to the mouth of the Pearl River in Louisiana, while tropical storm warnings are in effect from Sargent, Texas to west of High Island, Texas, and from east of Morgan City, Louisiana to the mouth of the Pearl River. The NHC forecast life-threatening storm surge near the northern Gulf Coast (where the hurricane is expected to make landfall this evening), and the greatest inundation of seven to 11 feet is anticipated between Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge and Morgan City, Louisiana. Heavy rainfall is expected to produce notable flash flooding from southwest to central Louisiana from Friday to Saturday. Tornadoes are also a potential hazard over southern parts of Louisiana and Mississippi until Friday evening. Delta could produce five to 10 inches of rain from Friday through Saturday from southwest to central Louisiana. Rainfall of three to six inches is expected from extreme east Texas into northern Louisiana, southern Arkansas, and western Mississippi.

Hurricane Delta Trajectory: NOAA NHC

Residents currently residing in Hurricane Delta’s path are asked to pay particular attention to messaging from local authorities and remain vigilant. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) noted pre-positioning resources ahead of Delta. “As Hurricane Delta moves through the Gulf, the State of Texas is supporting communities along the Gulf Coast and providing the resources they need to respond to this storm,” said Governor Abbott in a press release on October 7. On October 6, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared Louisiana in a state of emergency. Mississippi also declared a state of emergency earlier this week ahead of the President approving a pre-disaster declaration for the State. After making landfall, Delta is expected to quickly weaken while moving north northwest. Making landfall along the Gulf Coast, Delta is expected to travel north as far as Tennessee and Kentucky.

NOAA: Hurricane Delta

NOAA Guidance on Storm Surge: Source

Hurricane Delta brings potential for life-threatening storm surge to many coastal communities. NOAA provides information on storm surge warnings and storm surge watches to help individuals be better prepared for potential hazardous situations. Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides guidance to individuals preparing for, experiencing, or affected by hurricanes.


Here’s the breakdown of public advisories from NOAA NHC:




  • Remember, during a storm, it is important to follow the directions of your state and local officials. Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for a storm and how to keep you and your family safe throughout.
  • Understanding the meaning of hurricane maps – a NY Times Opinion Piece: Those Hurricane Maps Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean

Keep track of Hagerty’s coverage here:


Hurricane Delta Approaches Landfall as Wildfires Continue to Burn Across Western States


According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Hurricane Center (NOAA NHC), Hurricane Delta is a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds of 105 miles per hour (MPH). As of mid-day Thursday, October 8, Delta is moving north westward  across the Gulf of Mexico. Delta is currently located approximately 400 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana moving toward the Gulf Coast. Hurricane-force winds extend outward approximately  35 miles from the eye of the storm and its tropical-storm-force winds extend outward to 125 miles. The storm is expected to make landfall over the Texas and Louisiana coast on Friday, October 9 and is the 25th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Due to an overactive hurricane season, meteorologists are naming storms according to the Greek alphabet. This is only the second time in named-hurricane history that this has happened. The previous occurrence was in 2005 and six Greek alphabet names were used. 

According to the NHC, life-threatening storm surge is possible  where the storm makes landfall and surrounding areas. Storm surge warnings are in effect from High Island Texas to Ocean Springs Mississippi.

NOAA: Hurricane Delta

On October 7, the President approved Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’ request for a federal emergency declaration in advance of Hurricane Delta, “which is forecast to make landfall along Louisiana’s coastline.” According to the Associated Press, Gov. Edwards reached out to residents ahead of Delta’s expected arrival via text messages and a robocall saying they should “prepare now — have your emergency plans in place.”. 

Communities now preparing for the storm are coastal areas still recovering from Hurricanes Sally and Laura, which have impacted the US Gulf Coast earlier this season. 

Twitter: NOAA NHC

Meanwhile, the unprecedented fire season in California has reached a new milestone — the August complex fire in northern California spread to over one million acres, upgrading the blaze from a megafire to a gigafire, the first in the country since 2004’s Taylor Complex in Alaska.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) reported the fire is approximately 60 percent contained. As of Wednesday, Cal Fire noted firefighters were working on containment for 22 major wildfires and one extended attack wildfire across the state. To date, more than 4.04 million acres have burned as a result of 8,320 incidents. There have been 31 fatalities as a result of the fires, with 9,247 structures damaged or destroyed. 

Air quality alerts have been issued across the northwest United States (US). The NOAA National Weather Services (NWS) issued air quality alerts for wildfire smoke in Wyoming, including the counties of Albany, Laramie, Platte, Goshen, and Converse, as well as most of Carbon county, as a result of heavy smoke from the Mullen and Cameron Peak wildfires. Air quality alerts are also in place for most of central California, and the NOAA NWS cautioned the alerts were a result of wildfires in the Sierra Nevada and other adjacent areas.

Unsplash: Kitera Denta

Policymakers and fire-event experts have started to abandon traditional containment strategies to focus instead on prescribed burning, which relies on intentionally starting less intense fires that can be controlled in overgrown areas. To change strategies from traditional methods to prescribed burning, officials have turned to indigenous people groups and their respective organizations, such as the nonprofit Lomakatsi Restoration Project, for fundamental ecological principles used to contain wildfires. This includes the increase in prescribed burning. In a statement, Barnie Gyant, Deputy Regional Forester for the Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region, said “…our commitment at the Forest Service is to work with tribal partners to achieve healthy and resilient landscapes.”.

The Ready Campaign: Source

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides guidance to individuals preparing for, experiencing, or affected by hurricanes. Hurricane Delta brings the potential for life-threatening storm surge to many coastal communities. Individuals should heed the warnings of local authorities and prepare for hurricane and severe weather conditions. 

Additionally, NOAA provides information on Storm Surge Warnings and Storm Surge Watch. If you are under a warning or watch, make sure to seek higher ground. Storm surge can pose a life-threatening danger from rising water filled with debris. 


To get a breakdown by State and County of public advisories from NOAA’s NWS in decreasing order of severity, click here.


  • Remember, Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for Wildfire and how to keep you and your family safe.
  • The Los Angeles Times regularly updated tracking of California Wildfires: California Wildfires Map.
  • The National Fire Protection Association provides wildfire preparedness tips: link
  • Marin County provides a wildfire evacuation checklist: link
  • FEMA provides an information video about how to be prepared for Wildfires: link
  • Understanding the meaning of hurricane maps – a NY Times Opinion Piece: Those Hurricane Maps Don’t Mean What You Think They Mean

Hagerty Health & Wellness Tips-Staying Safe & Healthy This Fall & Winter

As we enter the fall and winter months, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the country. Unlike when the pandemic started, we now know how to stop the spread of the virus and mitigate the risks of becoming infected. While it has been a long seven months, we have many more months ahead and must remain vigilant. Collectively, we can all play a role in blunting community spread of COVID-19 and stay safe and healthy this fall and winter by taking the following steps:

  • Get your flu shot. This could be the most important flu vaccine you ever get. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests getting your flu shot by the end of October. Every year, flu circulates widely in communities. The symptoms are similar to COVID-19 and in some cases can lead to complications requiring hospitalization. The 2018–2019 flu season in the United States, resulted in about half a million hospitalizations and more than 34,000 deaths. Public health experts worry what will happen if flu circulates widely at the same time as COVID-19.The term “twindemic” has already been written about by many media outlets. It refers to two pandemics happening simultaneously and could stretch our health care systems and our doctors and nurses to the breaking point.
  • Continue to Wear a Mask. Evidence shows wearing a mask saves lives. It is often said “I wear a mask to protect you, you wear a mask to protect me.” A study published in Health Affairs compared the COVID-19 growth rate before and after mask mandates in 15 states. It found that daily spread of COVID-19 dropped by 2 percent as more and more masks were worn. In reviewing COVID-19 deaths across 198 countries, another study found that those countries that societal norms favor mask wearing had lower death rates. Lives will be saved by wearing a mask when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Wash Your Hands Often. Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Throughout the day, we all touch many common surfaces and then scratch our faces, eyes or rub our noses without even realizing it. In addition, with mask wearing we now frequently adjust and touch our masks. Viral particles spread from common surfaces to our hands or on the outside of our masks. According to the CDC hand washing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands must be done for 20 seconds to kill the COVID-19 virus. In addition, when washing your hands, it is important to clean all surfaces including palms, under nails, between fingers, back of your hands and even up to your wrists.  Remember to wash your hands before you prepare food and eat, after using the bathroom, and after touching any common surfaces.
  • Find Ways to Maintain Your Physical and Mental Wellbeing. Staying physically fit and mentally healthy is more challenging than ever before. Social isolation, lack of physical activity and the anxiety brought on by living through a pandemic, losing loved ones and friends, economic loss, and more have taken their toll. Seek help from family, friends, professionals, or search for support online. Find activities that can bring joy. Take care of your physical health by finding ways to eat healthy, exercise by taking physically distanced walks or runs outdoors, meditate, or move around your home. This fall and winter staying physically fit and maintaining mental health is even more important than ever before as studies show a direct correlation to a stronger immune system.
  • Stay outdoors. With the change of seasons, it will become more and more difficult to remain outdoors, but the best way to avoid the spread of COVID-19 is to stay in fresh outdoor air, spaced 6 feet apart from other people. Fresh air is constantly moving and circulating allowing the disbursement of respiratory droplets. When indoors, you share more air than when outdoors making it more likely to inhale droplets from an infected person. As the temperatures start to dip below freezing, the National Weather Service suggests wearing layers of lightweight clothes.  On days where it is below zero degrees, plan to stay indoors and socialize virtually. If it is imperative to be inside with others for school, work, or other essential needs, wear a mask.
  • Think differently this holiday season. We all need to get comfortable with the idea that holidays will be different this year.  There cannot be large indoor parties or gatherings this Halloween, Thanksgiving, and winter holiday season. The CDC has published a list of what is considered low, moderate and high risk this holiday season.Although nothing can replace the way we normally carry out traditions, think differently. Try to create outdoor, socially distanced events, drive-by celebrations, and virtual gatherings.  You will create new traditions and memories in the process.

Hagerty Health and Wellness Checklist 

Jeff Bokser is Hagerty Consulting’s Vice President of Healthcare Programs with strategic expertise in all aspects of healthcare operations, finance, crisis management, and recovery. Jeff has over 20 years of experience as a senior leader at NewYork-Presbyterian and Yale New Haven Health. He advanced performance and increased revenue in clinical and nonclinical settings and led innovation in daily operations and care delivery processes. Jeff is nationally recognized in the healthcare sector for his transformational leadership in the areas of emergency and crisis management; security and safety; pandemic and surge planning; and business continuity. Jeff was the system-level executive responsible for Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Management, Business Continuity, Crisis Management, Safety, Security, and Regulatory Compliance for the entire continuum of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital & Healthcare System enterprise. He served as Incident Commander guiding 40,000+ employees through numerous internal and external emergency response and recovery operations including Hurricane Sandy, Ebola, H1N1, and 9/11.