Prepare for a Hurricane - Staying Safe in Severe Weather
Edited by Robbi, Lynn, Eng, Graeme
One of the most important things that you can learn or know if you live in a storm prone environment is how to stay safe. A big part of staying safe is being prepared for what will happen when the storm arrives.
What is a Hurricane?
A hurricane is a type of a tropical-based cyclone, or a tropical storm with a high level of severity. This type of storm has the potential to develop in the southern region of the Atlantic Ocean, the eastern area of the Pacific Ocean, within the Gulf of Mexico, and in the Caribbean Sea.
These tropical cyclones are accompanied by moderate to severe thunderstorms, and when they form in the area known as the Northern Hemisphere, the circulation of winds move in a counterclockwise motion in the immediate vicinity of the earth's atmosphere.
Hurricanes have the ability to result in severe catastrophic damage - not just to the coastal regions that they impact, but many hundred miles in inland areas, as well. The hurricane can spawn other storms, including tornadoes. The severe winds are damaging to everything that they touch. Depending on the category of the hurricane, it may cause more or less damage. Hurricanes can result in a loss of property, of utilities, and even of life.
Hard Rock Casino barge was devastated after Hurricane Katrina.
In order to safeguard yourself, your loved ones, and your property, it is imperative that you learn how to prepare for a hurricane, what to do during a hurricane, and what you should do once the storm is over.
How To Prepare for a Hurricane
The aftermath of Hurricane Camille-Photo by NOAA
- 1If you live in an area where hurricanes are prevalent, the very first step that you should take is to study information about hurricanes so that you have an understanding of what they are, the events that normally transpire during a hurricane, and the complications that may arise should this type of tropical cyclone impact the region that you reside.
- 2There are several terms that may be used to describe a hurricane when it is approaching.
- A storm is not a hurricane until it has winds of 74 mph or more.
- A "Hurricane Watch" is issued up to two day in advance of what meteorologists believe will result in winds that are of tropical storm force.
- This term is used to inform individuals of a given area that conditions are favorable for the development of a hurricane.
- If a "Hurricane Warning" is issued, it means that hurricane-force winds are expected to impact the region within 36 hours or less.
- 3Once you understand the terminology associated with a hurricane, it is important that you create an emergency plan and an emergency kit for your home, and your family.
- 4You should ensure that you have enough food products, water, medical supplies, and other types of supplies that will last each person in your family for three to five days.
- 5Important items to include in the kit include:
- First aid supplies
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Sources of light, such as flashlights and solar or hand crank lanterns
- A battery powered weather radio
- Supplies for food products such as coolers, can openers, and storage containers
- Hygiene products such as hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, and soap
- Two to five gallons of water per person
- 6You should become familiar with the hurricane evacuation routes that are in your community, as well as the zone that your home is located in, and information regarding the shelters that are available within your area.
- 7Your hurricane evacuation plan should outline where you need to go in case of an emergency, and the route that you will take to get there.If a hurricane is drawing near, you should make certain that your vehicle is full of fuel, all prescriptions are filled, and that you have an emergency evacuation plan.
- 8It is absolutely essential to ensure that you inform someone outside of your home of your hurricane evacuation plans and the route that you plan to take before leaving.
- 9All components of your property should be properly secured.
- 10Be absolutely certain to either store these items inside, or properly secure them if they must be left outside.One of the main dangers associated with hurricane winds is flying debris, such as trash cans, lawn furniture, and outdoor living items.
- 11This is particularly true if you are not sure that you will be leaving your home.You should take the time to ensure that the Windows on your home and any outdoor structures are properly covered with plywood, to prevent breakage and the potential for damage to occur.
- 12When you prepare for a hurricane, it is important to ensure that all of the trees in and around your home are trimmed and well-manicured so that they have a higher ability to withstand the winds that are associated with this type of tropical cyclones.
- 13If you are planning on staying in your home and your area is expecting a hurricane to hit, you should consider purchasing and installing a generator that will permit you to have some degree of power should an electrical outage occur.
- 14This is an area that will provide you and your loved ones a safe area away from Windows and winds as a hurricane, or the tornadoes that are often part of a hurricane, passes.If you reside in a hurricane-prone region, you should considering having a special room, called a "safe room", built.
What to do as the Hurricane Approaches Your Area
- 1Evacuation is not called unless it is necessary.If you are told to evacuate and you live close to a shoreline, always listen and get out if you possibly can.
- 2As a hurricane draws near, you should listen to your NOAA station or a weather radio for any information, warnings, and instructions provided by your local meteorological center.
- 3This step will assist in keeping your food products protected during an electrical outage.Be certain to set your freezer and refrigerator to the coldest setting possible and avoid opening the doors.
- 4This water may be used to clean the hands, wash necessary items, and flush toilets within the home should there be a disruption to the power.Take the time to fill empty containers with water and fill up all bathtubs and sinks with water.
- 5All propane tanks and other types of fuel-related systems should be shut off to prevent leaks during a hurricane.
- 6It is important for you to remain away from Windows and any type of glass doors during the course of a hurricane.You should ensure that all of the doors located within a home are shut and properly braced.
- 7If the winds of the hurricane become intense, you should lie down on the floor and, if possible, protect yourself with a heavy blanket or another type of sturdy item that will protect you from the wind and/or debris that is projected into the air as a result of the winds.
- 8If you have heavy mattresses, piling them on the floor and getting under them can help to protect you.
The Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
Do the following to discover more on watch before you are left out.
Hurricane Preparation Tips in Brief
- 1When you prepare for a hurricane, be sure to create a family communication plan that will allow you to communicate with your loved ones should you become separated, or meet up with your loved ones in a designated, safe location.