Hurricane season began as of June 1, and although storm activity has been limited so far, we shouldn’t let our guard down. Hurricane season extends through November 30, with some of our worst storms on record occurring in the latter half of the season. Here is some quick insight on hurricane basics and how to prepare (in advance) for the big one.
To start, here is a quick run through the terminology:
Tropical Depression – Tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less.
Tropical Storm – Tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph
Hurricane – A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. When these types of storms form in the western North Pacific, hurricanes are called typhoons.
Major Hurricane – A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 111 or higher, corresponding to a category 3, 4, or 5 hurricane.
Hurricanes are characterized by storm surges, destructive winds, tornados, rip currents, and rainfall. Storm surges are considered to be the greatest threat to life and property in coastal areas. Hurricane Katrina, for example, generated a 27 ft storm surge, causing an estimated $81 billion in damages. Interestingly, rainfall has proven to be the greatest hurricane threat to inland areas. Hurricanes are prone to producing flash floods, which can inundate populated inland areas with little notice.
With a basic understanding of the potential damages hurricanes can cause, here are some key steps you should take to prepare for a major storm.
- Determine safe evacuation routes.
- Check all emergency equipment, including flashlights, cell phones, and radios.
- Stock foods with a long shelf life.
- Stock plenty of water for drinking. Fill bathtubs and large containers with water for cleaning and flushing toilets.
- Buy materials such as plywood to protect your home.
- Prepare an emergency kit, which can include sleeping bags, spare clothing, first aid kit, tools, prescription and non-prescription medicines, and cash.
- If authorities have approved riding out the storm in your area, stay away from windows by residing in an interior, first floor room.
- Close all interior doors, and secure all exterior doors.
- Don’t be fooled by the “eye of the storm.”
- Read a book or play board games to help pass time.
- Keep listening to the radio for important updates.
- Stay on firm, dry ground.
- Assess the damage to your home.
- Seek a designated shelter in the event your home has been structurally jeopardized.
- Avoid down electrical wires.
- Avoid using tap water until the authorities have deemed it safe.
- To avoid risk of fire, use battery powered flashlights, not candles.
For more information, there are a number of great Hurricane related resources. Here are links to some of Clarke & Sampson’s favorites:
FEMA's Hurricane Readiness
National Hurricane Center
Center for Disease Control 's Hurricane Emergency Preparedness and Response
Clarke & Sampson is dedicated to the safety and well being of our community. We appreciate your continued support, and encourage all to join the conversation!