The ingredients for a hurricane include a pre-existing weather disturbance, warm tropical oceans, moisture, and relatively light winds aloft. If the right conditions persist long enough, they can combine to produce the violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains, and floods we associate with this phenomenon.
Each year, an average of eleven tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Many of these remain over the ocean and never impact the U.S. coastline. Six of these storms become hurricanes each year. In an average 3-year period, roughly five hurricanes strike the US coastline, killing approximately 50 to 100 people anywhere from Texas to Maine. Of these, two are typically "major" or "intense" hurricanes (a category 3 or higher storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale).
are severe tropical storms that
form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Hurricanes gather heat and energy through contact with warm ocean waters. Evaporation from the seawater increases their power.
Hurricanes rotate in a counter-clockwise direction
around an "eye." Hurricanes have winds at least 74 miles per hour. When they come onto land, the heavy rain, strong winds and heavy waves can damage buildings, trees and cars. The heavy waves are called a storm surge. Storm surges are very dangerous and a major reason why you MUST stay away from the ocean during a hurricane warning or hurricane.
Storm Surge, the Coastal Killer.
Surge Vulnerability Facts(evacuation map of Pinellas County)
- From 1990-2008, population density increased by 32% in Gulf coastal counties, 17% in Atlantic coastal counties, and 16% in Hawaii (U.S. Census Bureau 2010)
- Much of the United States' densely populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less than 10 feet above mean sea level
- Over half of the Nation's economic productivity is located within coastal zones
- 72% of ports, 27% of major roads, and 9% of rail lines within the Gulf Coast region are at or below 4 ft elevation (CCSP, SAP 4-7)
- A storm surge of 23 ft has the ability to inundate 67% of interstates, 57% of arterials, almost half of rail miles, 29 airports, and virtually all ports in the Gulf Coast area (CCSP SAP 4-7)
Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. In certain circumstances the safest areas may not be your home but within your community.
Determine escape routes from your home and places to meet. These should be measured in tens of miles rather than hundreds of miles.
Have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.
Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
Check your insurance coverage - flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
Stock non-perishable emergency supplies and a Disaster Supply Kit.
Use a NOAA weather radio. Remember to replace its battery every 6 months, as you do with your smoke detectors.
Take First Aid, CPR and disaster preparedness classes.
Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
Food - at least enough for 3 to 7 days
— non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
— foods for infants or the elderly
— snack foods
— non-electric can opener
— cooking tools / fuel
— paper plates / plastic utensils
Blankets / Pillows, etc.
Clothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes
First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs
Special Items - for babies and the elderly
Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes
Flashlight / Batteries
Radio - Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
Telephones - Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set
Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards - Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
Toys, Books and Games
Important documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag
— insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
Tools - keep a set with you during the storm
Vehicle fuel tanks filled
Pet care items
— proper identification / immunization records / medications
— ample supply of food and water
— a carrier or cage
— muzzle and leash
Are you ready