A hurricane is a cyclone that develops over warm tropical waters with sustained or constant wind speeds in excess of 74 miles per hour. They produce dangerous winds, torrential amounts of rain and flooding to the affected areas. Hurricanes start from simple complex thunderstorms, but in order for them to develop into a hurricane both the ocean and the atmosphere must cooperate.
The life cycle of a hurricane starts out as a small cluster of thunderstorms, then, once the winds near the center of the storms reach 23 – 39 miles per hour sustained, it becomes a tropical depression. The next stage can be reached in as little time as half of a day and up to two days, once the winds near the center of the storm reaches 39 – 73 miles per hour sustained, the storm has now developed into a tropical storm. It is at this point that the storm takes on a more organized circular shape resembling a hurricane. As surface pressure steadily drops, a well define rotation develops in the core of the storm with sustained winds now at 74 + miles per hour, we have a hurricane.
Preparing for a Hurricane
1. Pay close attention to radio and television broadcast for the latest information and advisories
2. Listen to ALL warnings
3. Plan in advance where you and your family will go if asked to evacuate you home
4. Keep addresses and telephone numbers of your evacuation destination in your vehicles’ glove compartment to save time getting out of harms way.
5. Keep a road map in all vehicles in the event you have to detour off main roads
Emergency Supply Kit
1. Stocked first aid kit and all medications
2. Canned food with opener, three gallons of water per person for three day supply
3. Flashlights and battery powered radio or portable T.V. and extra batteries
4. Raingear, sleeping bags and protective clothing in the event your home is damaged in the storm
Protecting your Home
During a windstorm such as a hurricane, the wind force pushes against the outer walls of your home. This same force travels from your roof to your exteriors walls and finally down to the foundation of your home. Areas of your home to prepare are:
Windows – install storm shutters over all open windows, this include French doors, sliding glass doors and skylights
Doors – normal bolts and pins installed in doors are not strong enough to withstand hurricane force winds, check with your local hardware store to find out what type of bolt system they would recommend for your door
Garage doors – two car garage doors pose the biggest problem during a hurricane because of the size of the opening. Some doors can be strengthened using retrofit kits purchased at your local hardware store.
Fill your cars with gas before the storm even if you plan to stay home. Bring in or secure all outside objects, check trees and shrubbery for any lose branches that can be removed before the storm hits. Turn refrigerator up to the coldest setting and open only when necessary in the event of you losing power to your home. Purchase and store all important documents in a safety box on the highest level of your home, stay safe.