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Hurricane Survival


Hurricane Survival palms

There are 5 main hazards associated with hurricanes (also called typhoons or cyclones):

1. Storm surge Storm surge is simply water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level 15 feet or more.

2. Marine hazards Hurricanes have been the cause of many maritime disasters involving vessels at sea or in port.

3. High winds Hurricane-force winds can easily destroy poorly constructed buildings and mobile homes. Debris such as signs, roofing material, and small items left outside become flying missiles in hurricanes.

4. Inland flooding In the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, inland flooding was responsible for more than half of the deaths associated with tropical cyclones in the United States.

5. Tornadoes Hurricanes can also produce tornadoes that add to the storm's destructive power. Wind speeds in tornadoes can exceed 300 mph (500 km/hr). (See the Tornadoes page for more on tornadoes.)

(For more details on each of the above points, see the hurricane survival information at the U.S. National Huricane Center.)

Hurricane Preparedness

Evacuation planning: If a hurricane is coming your way, you may be ordered to evacuate. Do some pre-planning, so that when this happens you already have a plan of where to go, where to stay, and what to do before you leave. For more details, see http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

Staying Home: If you live in a sound structure outside the evacuation area, and do not live in a mobile home, stay home and take these precautions:

What to do Before a Hurricane

To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:

  • Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection 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 windows from breaking.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. 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.

Hurricane Survival -Floyd
Hurricane Floyd - Courtesy of NASA - http://visibleearth.nasa.gov

What to do During a Hurricane

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 thermostat 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.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure — such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building — hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
  • If you feel you are in danger.

If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm and, in that case, winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.

What to do After a Hurricane Typically, more deaths occur after a hurricane than during. These deaths come from people being too anxious to get outside and survey the damage – where they come into contact with downed power lines or unstable trees, etc. Follow these suggestions for staying safe after the hurricane:

  • Remain indoors until an official "all clear" is given.
  • Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires of any kind, under any circumstances. Stay away from puddles with wires in/near them. Do not touch trees or other objects in contact with power lines.
  • USE PHONES ONLY FOR EMERGENCIES. Call 911 only for life-threatening situations.
  • Call police or utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas or water mains, overturned gas tanks, etc.
  • Watch for weakened roads, bridges, tree limbs, or porches which could collapse unexpectedly.





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