PUBLIC HEALTH SPOTLIGHT

Hurricane Spotlight

A hurricane is a tropical cyclone. According to the Weather Channel, a warm temperature over the water, a moist environment and a low pressure system, are all needed in order for a hurricane to form. Tropical cyclones are often accompanied by thunderstorms. Hurricane season in the Atlantic regions lasts from June through November with peak season occurring from mid-August to late October. The primary hazards of a Hurricane are high winds, debris, tornados, rain, lightning, flooding, and a storm surge.

Hurricanes can cause massive destruction and devastation along coastlines and several hundred miles inland. The winds of a hurricane can exceed 155 miles per hour. Tornadoes and microbursts can develop from hurricanes and can cause storm surges along the coast which can result in extensive damage from heavy rain fall.

Based on the wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential hurricanes are placed into 5 categories. A category 1 hurricane being the most minimal and category 5 being the most severe; any hurricane above a category 3 is considered a major hurricane.

Planning for an emergency BEFORE a disaster strikes is imperative, so think about the following items when developing a comprehensive emergency plan for your family.

  1. Plan to Shelter in Place: Have a 3-day supply of food and water for each person in your home. Remember individual diet needs.
  2. Plan to Evacuate: Have supplies ready in your car or in a backpack in case you must leave your home. Pack lightly and include basic supplies for 24-48 hours.
  3. Plan for your Pets: People often report not wanting to evacuate because no pre-planning was done for their animals.
  4. Plan to help others: Remember to help neighbors or loved one’s who require additional assistance.
Click here to view FAQ about Hurricanes
Hurricane Preparedness
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A hurricane watch means that the onset of hurricane conditions is possible within 48 hours.
A hurricane warning means that the onset of hurricane conditions is likely within 36 hours.
If a hurricane watch or a hurricane warning is issued here are some simple steps to follow:

  • Make sure all your family members carries identification with them.
  • Have a full tank of gas in your vehicle, cash, and a disaster kit ready.
  • Listen to the radio and television, including NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards for the most recent updates.
  • Be prepared to act quickly.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to maximum cold and keep them closed.
  • Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water for bathing, flushing toilets and cleaning, do not drink this water.
  • Secure or bring inside outdoor items like patio furniture, kids toys, and lawn mowers.
  • Turn off propane tanks and be prepared to shut off other utilities if emergency officials advise you to do so.

Only evacuate if you are told to do so by the authorities or if you live in a mobile home, high rise building, on the coast, in a floodplain, near a river, or near an inland waterway, or otherwise feel you will be in danger.

  • Turn off all utilities if you are told to do so by the authorities.
  • Once you are told to do so – evacuate immediately.
  • Stick to designated evacuation routes. If you need help, this is the most likely place you will find it.
  • Take your most reliable vehicle and avoid taking multiple vehicles.
  • Stay inside somewhere safe like an interior room, closet, or hallway. Stay downstairs if you are not in a flood prone or storm surge area.
  • Do not go outside during the storm. Flying debris can be very dangerous.
  • Close all doors and windows, brace external doors, stay away from windows and keep curtains and blinds shut.
  • If there is a lull in the storm, do not think it has passed it could simply be the eye of the storm passing over.