The Official start to hurricane season is June 1st 2013. And over the past 10-12 years we have seen several hurricanes that have devastated the United States. Such as Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Isabel, Floyd, and most recently Sandy. These storms have cost hundreds of people there lives, as well as cost millions of dollars in damage not only to coastal regions, but inland areas that are effected by the storm as it moves inland as these often become tornado outbreak machines. So now it is the perfect time, while it is quiet in the Atlantic and pacific to discuss what we should do to be prepared for this hurricane season and, its effects on the coast and as well as inland.
Like with tornadoes we have to understand a little about the classifications of hurricanes, and the way the National Hurricane Center keeps us informed from the very beginning to a possible storm’s development. First lets review the scale that hurricanes are put on. The Saffir-Simpson Scale. (please note, anything from 40mph winds to 73mph winds is a tropical storm, and anything from 30mph winds to 39mph winds is a tropical depression)
Category Sustained Winds Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds 1 74-95 mph
Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days. 2 96-110 mph
Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks. 3
Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes. 4
Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. 5
157 mph or higher
137 kt or higher
252 km/h or higher
Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Now considering the scale, you must consider that if you live right along the coast for a category one hurricane and two hurricanes, serious consideration should be given to evacuating a little further inland. Storm surge is a factor that those right along the coast should be firmly aware of. As you get to a category 3 hurricane, you must now leave or evacuate, this is something you also must plan in advance for. Have a plan of action well in advance to the storm. Perhaps even a disaster preparedness kit that has non perishable food items and water in case you are trapped in a shelter, similar to what people dealing with Katrina had to deal with. But if at all possible for anything from category 3-5, hurricane it is crucial that you evacuate inland, perhaps even inland areas up to 100-200 miles inland may need to evacuate depending on the intensity of the storm. Hurricanes bring so much different types of weather. Tornadoes, Strong Winds, Flooding Rains, and Storm Surge. So you must consider, do i live in an area that floods easy? Am I close enough to an area that i might deal with storm surge. Tornadoes can happen anywhere within an hurricane but are more typical on the Eastern side of it. So we all must consider what side of the hurricane we are on. Typically, the flooding rain side, is the western side of the storm, while the eastern side, is usually the worst, with severe weather and the strongest winds.
It may be days before local, state or federal governments officials may reach you to help you. Therefore it is vital that you prepare now. Here are some things that you can do:
1.)Stay attuned to the National Hurricane Center for possible tropical development if you live anywhere along the gulf coast, or even the east coast, all the way up to Maine
2.)Have A weather radio, preferably one that does not require battery’s. And flash lights preferably ones that do not require batteries,
3.)Have disaster preparedness kits set and in place for you. which should include:
- 4 bottles of drinkable water per individual.
- Non perishable food items, such as canned string beans, salmon, corn, cereal, etc. Plus utensils for opening them
- A First aid kit, for each individual.
- Hand sanitize
- Money set aside in case of such an emergency.
This is just a preliminary list, or a guide, to some things you should include in it. This disaster preparedness kit should be light enough for each individual to be able to carry there own, should be no larger than possibly a backpack.
4.)Let others know of you plans to evacuate or stay put and allow for a way to communicate as much as possible.
5.)When a Hurricane is imminent is not the time to put your plans together, by then it is too late, as you have less than 24 hours to execute a plan. It is VITAL that you have one in place early.
6.) If the local government issues a MANDATORY evacuation, please head the warning and evacuate, it helps keep first responders safe as well as you. Many who loose there lives or end up seriously injured are those who decide to “ride the storm out” thinking it wont be that bad. Folks remember Katrina, and Sandy.
7.) What if you have no place to go? Or cant afford to go? Often local governments will set up storm shelters that you can go to locally that will keep you safe from the storm. While things may not go smoothly (New Orleans super-dome) This is where your disaster preparedness kits come in. That would provide you with some food, and water to drink, as well as first aid kits for yourself in case any injury’s are sustained.
These are some practical suggestions that can help to keep you safe during a hurricane. So people please prepare now, as hurricane season currently is quiet. Tornado’s are also a strong possibility, during hurricanes. So for how to stay safe during a tornado, click on this sentence. However, as mentioned, hurricanes bring so much to the table in terms of destruction, flooding, from rain or storm surge. So going underground may not be an option as basements may be flooded. This is why, it is so important that if possible get out of the area, especially if a mandatory evacuation is called for. Make sure your houses water pump is working in advance, but due to possible power outages that may not even be an option. See people? These are all things you MUST consider MUCH BEFORE A HURRICANE, as rash decisions could result in more harm than good.
In order to help our readers/viewers here at weatheradvance.com be alert to possible hurricane development and paths well in advance, we are going to be starting something new for weatheadvance.com.
We will start using a Tropical Development Outlook. Where we will show where tropical development is likely in a certain area. Yellow will be for a 0-30% chance of development Orange 31-59% chance of development and for anything 60% chance or higher for a tropical system to develop will be in red. This will be used on Tropical waves that look possible for development. We will also post a map once or twice a week about where conditions are favorable in the Atlantic, gulf, or Caribbean for hurricane development. So even if there isn’t a tropical wave in that area, you wont be surprised if one does develop and if one moves into that area, you should expect it to develop. The final aspect that we will develop is our own sort of cone of effects. Areas that we expect to be effected by the storm. Similar to a cone of uncertainty. Bellow are some examples of how this will be implemented. Myself, Jason, Matthew, and Eric will be posting these. We hope that this helps for you to be aware of tropical systems development so that you can be better able to be “WEATHER SAFE“. But it is still vital that you start to prepare NOW for hurricane season if you have not already. Please guys, be “Prepared for and during hurricane season.”
*To Weather Advance Storm Team Members, The program used for these graphics is Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 version. I will send you a copy of the outlook maps, so that you can put them to use if not today, perhaps later in the week.