Thomas Kostigen (@weathersurvival)
April 23, 2015
Hurricanes are one of the most feared storms in the world. See how much you know about them and how you can best protect yourself.
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Hurricanes are a type of:
Hurricanes and typhoons are both tropical cyclones — storms with high winds that move in a circular, or cyclonic direction. According to the National Hurricane Center, the word “hurricane” defines tropical cyclones in the northern Hemisphere east of the International Dateline. The same storm system is called a “typhoon” north of the Equator and west of the International Dateline.
Hurricane season in the Pacific Ocean and in the Atlantic Ocean begins:
The National Hurricane Center says the official Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30th each year, while the Pacific hurricane season officially begins two weeks earlier, on May 15th and ends at the same time as the Atlantic season in November.
How fast do winds have to blow to officially reach hurricane status?
To be classified as a hurricane, a tropical cyclone must have maximum sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The highest hurricane classification is a Category 5 storm, which means storm winds are roaring in excess of 155 mph.
What's the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning?
When a storm may hit land within 48 hours, the National Weather Service issues a hurricane watch. If the storm could hit within 36 hours, a warning is issued so you have time to finish preparing and evacuate if necessary.
If a hurricane is forecast, should you tape “Xs” on your windows?
Taping your windows creates larger shards of glass that can cause still more injury if panes break, so don't tape your windows. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, tape does not prevent windows from breaking. Instead, install storm shutters or board up windows with 5/8 inch marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
Hurricane categories are defined by:
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale defines a hurricane’s category. A Category 1 storm means winds of between 74 mph to 95 mph, with little damage to buildings expected. The largest storms, in Category 4 and 5, have winds at 155 mph or more and may blow off roofs and cause extensive flooding.
Because hurricanes can cause storm surge and floods, you should:
Building a seawall made of sandbags can hold back water surging in vulnerable areas and help prevent flooding.
Once hurricane winds calm, you should:
Check weather reports before going out: The eye of a hurricane can fool you into believing the storm has passed. Skies are often clear above the eye and winds relatively light, but another wall of wind may be imminent.
You should not drink tap water after a hurricane:
Hurricanes can wash contaminants into drinking supplies, so you should avoid using public sources of water until you verify it is safe to do so. Experts recommends that you boil water before drinking it. Keeping bottled water on hand is important in preparing for a hurricane. Remember to store at least one gallon per day in supply for every person in the household.
All hurricanes have names.
Tropical storms are given a name as soon as they reach winds speeds of 39 mph. They keep the same name if they reach hurricane status, or wind speeds of 74 mph or greater. The World Meteorological Organization is responsible for developing a list of names that are assigned to storms, and in turn to hurricanes.
How much water and food do I need if a hurricane hits?
Remember Hurricane Katrina: Disaster aid may not arrive as quickly as needed, so it's good to stock up on water and non-perishable food items like canned goods and powdered milk.
Besides food, water, a flashlight and first-aid kit, what disaster supplies do I need?
You should also take your important documents with you if you evacuate.
In addition to stocking supplies and boarding up the windows, what else should I do after a hurricane warning?
Turning off your propane tank will help prevent a fire if the hurricane hits.
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