Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Winds can exceed 155 miles per hour. Hurricanes and Tropical storms can also spawn tornadoes and microbusts, create storm surges along the coast, and cause extensive damage from rainfall. Heavy rain can also trigger flooding, landslides or mud slides.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

Hurricanes are classified in five categories.  All hurricanes on this scale warrant your full attention.

Category       Winds (MPH)         Damage                                                 Storm Surge

1                        74-95                 Minimal:   Unanchored mobile homes        4-5 Ft

Vegitation, and signs

2                        96-110               Moderate: all mobile homes                            6-8 Ft

roofs,  flooding

3                        111-130             Extensive: small buildings                               9-12ft

low lying roads cut off

4                        131-155             Extreme: Roofs, destroyed, trees down  13-18ft

road cut off, mobile homes destroyed

beach homes flooded

5                   More than 155     Catastrophic: Most buildings destroyed    18ft +

vegetation destroyed. major roads cut off

homes flooded

Know The Terms

Tropical Depression
An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface
circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 MPH (33 knots) or less.
Sustained winds are defined as one-minute average wind measured at
about 33 ft (10 meters) above the surface.
Tropical Storm
An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface cir-
culation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 MPH (34-63 knots).
An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-
defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 MPH
(64 knots) or higher.
Storm Surge
A dome of water pushed onshore by hurricane and tropical storm winds.
Storm surges can reach 25 feet high and be 50-100 miles wide.
Storm Tide
A combination of storm surge and the normal tide (i.e., a 15-foot storm
surge combined with a 2-foot normal high tide over the mean sea level
creates a 17-foot storm tide).
Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch
Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are possible in the specified area,
usually within 36 hours. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial
radio, or television for information.
Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning
Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are expected in the specifi
ed area,usually within 24 hours.
Short Term Watches and Warnings
These warnings provide detailed information about specific hurricane
threats, such as flash floods and tornadoes.
Before a Hurricane
• Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the bestprotection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8”marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent win-dows from breaking.
• Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame struc-ture. This will reduce roof damage.
• Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
• Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
• Determine how and where to secure your boat.
• Consider building a safe room.

If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:

• Listen to the radio or TV for information.
• Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
• Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator ther-mostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
• Turn off propane tanks.
• Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
• Moor your boat if time permits.
• Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
Remember that you should also follow preparations associated with hurricanes such as flooding, tornadoes, lightning, and landslides
If you are instructed to evacuate by local authorities, do so immediately.
Make Sure you are prepared to bug out and get to your BOL.
Having multiple Bug Out Locations can help in this case. Hurricanes can cover many miles and having a farther location preferably out of the storm path would be ideal.
If unable to evacuate, bug in the safest room in the structure.
Studying how to prepare for many different disaster will help keep you and your family safe when it counts most. Knowing what these type of damage these disasters cause and how to prepare will keep you ready for most things. Remember the basic principles are the same and you should always have your BOB ready to go if needed.
Side Note
Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane
Center and now maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological
Organization. The lists featured only women’s names until 1979. After that, men’s and women’s names
were alternated. Six lists are used in rotation.
The only time there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the continued use of
the name would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity. When this occurs, the name is stricken
from the list and another name is selected to replace it.
Sometimes names are changed. Lorenzo replaced Luis and Michelle replaced Marilyn. The complete
lists can be found at
under “Storm Names.”

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