A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, The Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. A typical cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface. All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes.
Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Hurricane can produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour as well as tornadoes and microbursts. Floods and flying debris from the excessive winds are often the deadly and destructive results of these weather events. To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan. Know your surroundings.
Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you. Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. To learn more about your flooding risk and how to protect yourself and your business, visit the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (NFIP)
Website, www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419.
During a Hurricane
- 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 larger containers with water.
- FEMA recommends 3 days ration of food per person, select foods that require no refrigeration and 2 gallons of water a day per person.
- If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelter is particularly hazardous during hurricane 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.
- Read more about evacuating yourself and your family. If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. lf you do not have one, follow these guidelines:
- Be sure you are well supplied with any prescription drugs that you or your family take on a regular basis.
- Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
Close-all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
After a Hurricane
- Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
Walk carefully around the outside of your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
- Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe. Inspect your home for damage.
- Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before ente1ing – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas if present. Check refrigerated food for spoilage.