Hurricanes are dangerous storms characterized by heavy rain, storm surge and strong winds. If forecasters predict that a hurricane will make landfall, making evacuation plans and securing personal property is wise.
Hurricanes are identified by categories ranging from 1-5. According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, a Category 1 storm is less severe than its higher-number counterparts. This system for tracing storms was widely introduced during the 1970s and is still in use today.
The hurricane rating scale considers atmospheric pressure, wind speed and damage potential to place storms in one of the five categories. Hurricanes in any of the five categories are a threat to health and well-being, personal property, vegetation and wildlife.
A Category 1 hurricane poses a danger to homes, businesses, shopping centers and more. Although Category 1 hurricanes are classified as “minor” storms, they carry sustained winds between 74 and 95 mph. This frequently causes trouble for power lines that fall, causing outages.
Home roofing, siding and gutters are also in jeopardy during a Category 1 hurricanes.
Category 2 hurricanes have sustained winds between 96 and 110 mph. Storms within this category can cause extensive damage from dangerous wind conditions, storm surge or heavy rainfall. It’s not uncommon for power outages to occur for several days or even weeks.
Residents should plan for uprooted trees, road blockages and some exterior home damage.
A Category 3 hurricane is a “major” hurricane and residents and business owners in forecasted landfall areas should prepare to protect life and property. Devastating outcomes can occur with sustained winds ranging from 111 to 129 mph. Running water and electricity remain unavailable for days to weeks at a time.
Category 3 tropical storms bring a significant risk of injury or death to humans, pets and livestock.
Category 4 hurricanes present catastrophic damage to communities. Falling and flying debris travel at extreme speeds due to 130 to 156 mph sustained winds. Storms in this category can destroy mobile homes, developments, apartment buildings and more.
Category 4 hurricanes create uninhabitable conditions for weeks or months. Expect power outages, no running water, broken windows, destroyed homes and businesses, and prolonged clean up efforts.
Hurricanes with sustained winds of 157 mph or higher are Category 5 storms. These storms often result in total destruction of homes, businesses, schools and other structures. Humans, pets and livestock are in immediate danger to flying debris, collapsing buildings, storm surge and tornadoes. Belongings, in many cases, are completely lost or destroyed.
Residents returning to locations after a Category 5 hurricane should expect long-term rebuilding efforts which might take years to complete.
Hurricanes require atmospheric heat to begin. Low levels of pressure are created as warm air rises over land and ocean water. The hotter the air is over water, the more moisture can travel upward.
Global temperatures have been on the rise for decades because humans are changing the Earth’s natural greenhouse. The burning of fossil fuels, for example, keeps temperatures hot, and that affects tropical storm and hurricane formation. As humans continue to release carbon dioxide through automobiles, industrial plants and pollution, hurricanes can generate rapidly.
Additionally, warmer ocean water acts as a fuel for hurricanes. The heat from the ocean provides a consistent supply of water vapor for clouds and rain to move across land.
Human activity can breed more hurricanes as sea levels rise, ocean hot-cold cycles shift in rhythm and currents intensify. Tropical storms and hurricanes are “natural” disasters, but our influence over climate change may result in further catastrophes.
A hurricane of any category can present an inconvenience at best and a disaster at worst. However, the key to staying safe during a hurricane is preparing for worst-case scenarios by planning ahead. Practices such as having an evacuation plan, packing list, water supply and more can go a long way.
Time is not always on your side in the event of a hurricane, so always be proactive. The following preparation tips will help your family remain self-sufficient until the hurricane passes and you can receive assistance.
Are you self-sufficient for at least three days if you are without running water or electricity? Remember to stock up on storm essentials in case you are forced to evacuate your home. A hurricane kit is also useful if you are able to stay within your residence but experience damage from wind, storm surge, debris or rainfall.
Include these items for comfortable living:
- Drinking water
- Non-perishable foods
- First-aid kits
- Prescription medications
- Hygiene items
- Coolers/ice packs
Keep a list of emergency contact information within your hurricane kit. If you are struck by a hurricane, it’s important to update friends and family that live local to you as well as outside your region.
Your home can only keep your family safe if you take the time to storm-proof your residence. Monitor your home from the outside in to see if current conditions are strong enough to survive the weather forecast.
Invest in aluminum shutters for your windows and doors. These materials are reusable if you live in an area experiencing frequent hurricanes. If storms are moving quickly and you don’t have aluminum shutters, properly board your windows with plywood to avoid the shattering of glass and water infiltration.
Inspecting the condition of your roof prior to a storm will save you the frustration of leaks and further wear. Something as simple as a loose shingle can easily lift off with rainfall and wind, so tarping might be necessary. This helps keep exposed parts of your roof dry for structural integrity.
Maintaining trees and gutters prevents falls and allows rainfall to travel away from your home. Be sure to fasten personal belongings outside of your home or bring them inside prior to a storm.
Beacon Restoration serves Orlando, Tampa, Naples, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville, FL with natural disaster relief. Our crews are on-call 24/7/365 to board windows, tarp roofing, clean up storm damage and more. Contact Beacon Restoration today for immediate assistance with the aftermath of hurricanes and tropical storms. Call us today 407-428-1932.