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Hurricane Tips

General Hurricane Information

Saffir-Simpson Scale

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale rates a hurricane's intensity using wind speed and storm surge, which is the abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm. The scale also estimates the potential damage and flooding expected along the coast from a hurricane landfall.

Category One
Wind Speed: 74-95 mph (119-153 km/h)
Storm Surge: 4-5 feet above normal
Damage: Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees along with some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage

Category Two
Wind Speed: 96-110 mph (154-177 km/h)
Storm Surge: 6-8 feet above normal
Damage: Roofing, door and window damage to buildings; Considerable damage to shrubbery and trees, mobile homes, poorly constructed signs, and piers

Category Three
Wind Speed: 111-130 mph (178-209 km/h)
Storm Surge: 9-12 feet above normal
Damage: Structural damage to small residences and utility buildings; foliage blown off trees and large trees blown down; mobile homes destroyed

Category Four
Wind Speed: 131-155 mph (210-249 km/h)
Storm Surge: 13-18 feet above normal
Damage: Extensive damage to doors, windows and lower floors of shoreline houses; total roof failures on small residences; shrubs, trees, and all signs blown down; mobile homes completely destroyed

Category Five
Wind Speed: Greater than 155 mph (249 km/h)
Storm Surge: generally greater than 18 feet above normal
Damage: Complete roof failure on many buildings and some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away; severe and extensive window and door damage; mobile homes completely destroyed

Hurricane Communication Tips

  • Ensure that your mobile phone has sufficient credit
  • Always make sure that your mobile phone is fully charged
  • Have a carphone charger on hand

What To Do...

Before a Hurricane Approaches

  • Familiarize yourself with Hurricane terminology:
    • Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the watch, usually within 36 hours.
    • Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the warning, usually within 24 hours.
  • Closely monitor your local radio or TV stations news for weather-related information.
  • Identify ahead of time official hurricane shelters.
  • Keep a family emergency kit stocked and handy. Include items like flashlights and batteries, battery-operated radio, first aid supplies, essential medications, canned food and a can opener.
  • Stock up on drinking water – at least 3 gallons of water per person.
  • Install hurricane shutters or purchase precut outdoor plywood boards for each window of your home.
  • Install anchors for the plywood and pre-drill holes in the plywood so that you can put it up quickly.
  • Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs and remove branches.
  • Review your insurance policy and be sure you have sufficient coverage.

When a Hurricane WATCH is Issued

  • Closely monitor your local radio and TV stations for up-to-date storm information.
  • Prepare to bring inside any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by the wind. container.
  • Prepare to cover all windows of your home. If shutters have not been installed, use plywood.
  • Fill your vehicle with gas and park on high ground and disconnect battery.

When a Hurricane WARNING is Issued

  • Listen to advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
  • Complete preparation activities
  • If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows.

During a Hurricane

  • Listen constantly to your radio or television for official instructions and updates
  • Follow instructions issued by local officials
  • If power is lost, turn of major appliances to reduce power ‘surge’ when electricity is restored
  • In the event of strong winds take refuge in small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest floor. Stay away from windows and doors
  • If you happen to be outside take shelter in the nearest substantial structure or a sturdy tree and hold yourself to it.
  • Be aware that the calm “eye” is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from an opposite direction.
  • If the water rises move to a higher floor or hold on to something that floats such as wooden furniture or a plastic container

After the Hurricane

  • Keep listening to local news for instructions and for the all clear to be announced
  • Wait until an area is declared safe before entering
  • Drive only if absolutely necessary
  • Check gas, water and electrical lines and appliances for damage
  • Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until you are certain it is not contaminated.

Information provided by Government Information Services