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How to Prepare for and Survive a Hurricane

Hurricanes are tropical cyclones with maximum sustained winds of more than 74 miles per hour. Tropical cyclones with maximum sustained winds of more than 39 miles per hour but below the hurricane threshold are termed tropical storms. Those that are less than 39 miles per hour are considered tropical depressions. Tropical cyclones are defined as low-pressure, rotating weather systems producing thunderstorms, but without fronts. Fronts are weather boundaries between two air masses of varying densities. The effects of tropical cyclones including hurricanes are measured according to The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This severity is measured on a scale of one to five with five being the most severe, and property damage is a decisive factor in determining the severity. In the Atlantic basin, hurricanes occur an average of a dozen or more times during a season. The season indicates the time of year in which hurricanes are most likely occur.

However, hurricanes have occurred somewhat before and after this season. The official opening of the hurricane season is June 1 ending on November 30. These specifics are determined by national and global organizations like NOAA and their National Hurricane Center as well as the World Meteorological Organization. The National Hurricane center predicts the number of storms along with tracking the storms whenever they occur. These storms are named by the World Meteorological Society with a list of names that are rotated approximately very six years. The Atlantic basin covers the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the eastern portions of the North Pacific Ocean. However, hurricanes infrequently affect the central portions of the North Pacific Ocean also.

How and When to Prepare for a Hurricane

The most appropriate time to prepare for a hurricane is to prepare before there is a hurricane. However, these systems are so well tracked that there is plenty of time to finalize preparations based on the early estimates about the storm’s track. Consequently, this also means that this will be too late in many cases. This is especially true for preparing the family and home. Essential supplies will be depleted quickly in all stores, and this includes food, construction items to protect the home and fuel for vehicles.

There should be preparations kits that include things that will be necessary in case of an evacuations including important papers, cash and first aid. These are things that will be necessary if an evacuation is necessary, but it is also important for these people to know where to go and by which routes. For people that are not under an evacuation order, the home and individuals will have to be prepared to withstand the storm and the aftermath. This may include stocking nonperishable foods, water, radios and batteries as well as flashlights and even generators. With generators, it is important to have enough fuel, and to never use a generator inside a home or anywhere in which exhaust will accumulate.

Home preparation includes removing all objects that can become airborne from outside. All other things that cannot be removed from the outside should be heavily secured. Windows should be boarded or otherwise protected as well as doors and garage doors.

Weather centers and emergency organizations will issue warnings in levels as the storm approaches. 48 hours before the storm is scheduled to impact land, a hurricane watch will be issued. 36 hours before impact means that a hurricane warning will then be issued, and final preparations must be finished within this zone because dangerous weather will precede the storm by many hours.

News channels on the television and on radios should be followed for updates and progress on the storm. Additionally, all cellphones and mobile devices should be fully charged approximately no less than six hours before the storm, and freezers and refrigerators should be set their coldest settings. If candles are any open ignition is utilized, it should also be monitored closely, never left unattended and put out before sleep. Many people fill at least one bathtub with water. This will be most necessary for flushing after storms if water utilities have been lost.

During the Storm

People should be sheltered on upper floors above perceived water lines and in interior rooms away from windows during the storm. Radios should be utilized, and televisions should also be utilized until power is lost, but before this, review escape and communication plans with family and friends. There is nothing left to do beyond enduring the storm at this point. People should try to have some distractions for younger children and stay calm. Remember to stay away from windows and assess damage after the storm.

After the Storm

After the storm, people should wait for and monitor local officials for instructions and updates. There will be copious coverage of the event, but local information is most useful. Cell phones and social media can be used to make sure families and friends are okay. Avoid opening refrigerators frequently, and freezers should not be opened at all for some time. If electricity is restored promptly, freezer items will stay frozen for several days. If an evacuation is ordered, people should only return when their area is deemed safe, and still road hazards and downed power lines must be strictly monitored. Flood water must be avoided by vehicles and by pedestrians, there is the risk of being swept away or electrocuted among many other dangers. Electrocution is also an issue with standing water, and driving at night is strongly ill-advised.

After the all clear is given or discerned, photograph obvious damages and contact contractors and insurance agents to assess other issues. Contractors can be used to mitigate some of the severity of the damage by applying strategies to do so like tarps over broken windows and roof leaks. Additional actions must be taken if water breached the interior of the home. Insurance companies often balk at severe damages if no mitigating actions were taken to lessen damage.

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