How to Survive Hurricane – Hurricanes are the strongest storms on Earth. They look pretty scary, but if you know what to do in preparation for, during, and after one hits, you have every chance to weather the storm! But first thing’s first… What is a hurricane and how is it different from a typhoon?
Hurricanes are huge storms with winds moving at least 74 mph. In the center of this rotating mass of wind, you’ll find the eye. This is a small area of very low air pressure and calm winds. But once you go past its edge, the silent calm turns into a raging chaos. This “eyewall” is the most dangerous part of the storm.
It’s a wall of heavy clouds with winds reaching speeds of 155 mph or more. Hurricanes also bring billions of tons of rain as they travel, and that can cause flooding. Scientists measure the diameter of tropical cyclones from side to side, and they can be as large as 600 miles or more.
That’s about the size of Texas! Depending on where it’s formed, this massive storm can be called either a hurricane, a cyclone, or a typhoon. How do hurricanes form? These gigantic beasts are only born over warm ocean water that’s at least 80°F. Such water temperatures can be found in the tropics.
First, warm moist air rises up over the water. Then, as cooler air takes its place, it also gets warm and starts moving up. As a result, huge storm clouds form that rotates like crazy with the spin of the Earth. When there is enough warm water and the wind is blowing in the right direction, this cycle will go on.
How to Survive Hurricane
|How to Survive Hurricane|
Storm clouds grow stronger, the wind gets faster, and in the end, a hurricane is born. This usually happens 5 – 15 degrees north and south of the Equator, where there’s more than enough warm water to kick start this process. Hurricane season in the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean starts on June 1 and ends November 30.
How strong are hurricanes? The short answer is, hurricanes are strong enough to take seriously! The biggest dangers are flooding, rising ocean levels, and winds that can tear down entire towns and cities. But there is a precise scientific rating system called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. It categorizes hurricanes based on sustained wind speed.
By knowing where a hurricane stands on this scale, you can predict how much damage it’ll do. For example, Category 1 is accompanied by wind speeds of 74 – 95 mph, and it means minor damage to power lines and house siding. Category 2 is for winds moving 96 – 110 mph. Such hurricanes can uproot trees and break windows.
This can cause pretty extensive damage, including total power outage. Category 3 hurricanes with winds of 111 – 129 mph are considered devastating because they can even break house doors. Category 4 hurricanes come with winds that are moving at 130 to 156 mph. They can tear off roofs and bring catastrophic damage.
Finally, the strongest of hurricanes are assigned Category 5 on the scale. The winds are then 157 mph and higher. These monstrosities can easily destroy entire houses, making large areas impossible to live in for weeks or even months.
How should you get ready for a hurricane? Meteorologists still find it hard to predict hurricanes precisely. The good news is that, since they move slowly, you’ll definitely know a hurricane is approaching. Make sure your family has an emergency evacuation route. Discuss a meeting place so that you won’t panic if you get separated from each other.
Also, make your house more like a fortress. Get storm shutters, make sure the garage doors are secured, and buy a generator to guarantee you’ll have your own electricity in case of an outage. And, most importantly, prepare an emergency bag for each family member. Materials in it should last you at least 3 days.
Those things include 1 gallon of drinking water, non-perishable foods, and a can opener. Be sure it also has self-powered radios and flashlights, batteries, a whistle, and pliers to turn off the utilities. Finally, don’t forget to throw in a first aid kit and dust masks!
How to Survive Hurricane
How to survive the storm? If the authorities tell you to evacuate, don’t try to be a hero. Just get out! Before you leave your home, make sure you turn off the gas and water to avoid leaks and flooding. Unplug all gadgets, including TVs and computers. If you have time, move things that are near and dear to you to a higher floor or put them on higher shelves to protect them from water.
Fill your gas tank, pack your emergency bags, IDs, and a change of clothes. Then hit the road Jack, and don’t look back. Normally, that would mean going north of the storm or inland in case you’re on the coast.
What if you decide to stay? If for some reason you choose to stay in the storm area, it’s crucial that you find a sturdy shelter for yourself, your family, and your pets. There are community shelters in hurricane-prone areas like Florida. These places can help keep you safe during the storm.
If you decide to make your own home your shelter, pick a room that has no windows or skylights. One of the biggest threats during a hurricane is flying debris, and it can easily come crashing through the window. You should close all windows and doors, and stay as far from them as you can, especially glass ones.
A closet or bathroom can be a good hiding spot for that reason. Another option is to hide under a sturdy table. You have to get into your shelter at least 2 hours before the hurricane is there. Stay inside, even when it sounds like it’s safe outside. When it comes to hurricanes, the weather can change for the worse before you know it.
Water and lightning put together are a pretty risky combination, so turn off your main breaker and unplug major appliances. And by no means should you use them during the storm! As you’re moving into your shelter spot, grab your emergency kit. There should be a self-powered radio in it, remember? You’ll need it to monitor updates on the weather.
When it gets dark, don’t use candles that can set the place on fire. Instead, use flashlights that run on batteries. Using a telephone is highly unrecommended too. You have only one excuse to do it and that’s to call 911 if someone is injured or in life-threatening danger.
But if you’re in a hurricane, there’s a high probability that emergency services will be unable to get to you, until after the storm moves away. Unless your house gets flooded, stay inside as long as possible. If flying debris can break through your windows, it can definitely come flying at you! The only reason to leave your house during the storm could be to evacuate to your neighbor’s house or shelter when your home gets damaged. The emergency services might instruct you to do so as well.
What to do after the storm? You don’t want to risk it, so you gotta be 100% sure it’s safe to leave your shelter. The official “all-clear” from the authorities is what you should be patiently waiting for. Once you have power again, first check all the connections.
How to Survive Hurricane
Then, turn on the most important appliances carefully one by one and not all at once to avoid damage. And don’t turn on electrical or gas appliances that got wet or damaged as they might easily catch on fire. Even after you get the “all-clear” signal, you have to be really careful when going outside.
Depending on the category of the hurricane, there will be varying degrees of damage. But fallen trees, wires, and power lines are pretty common in any case. Flooded areas can also hide hazards such as sharp debris. In case a house or building you entered has any signs of damage, leave immediately – it can collapse at any moment.
Once you’ve made sure your loved ones are safe, you can start taking care of your property. See if your house has any serious damage. Take photos and videos of it – you might be able to get compensation from your insurance company if you file a report on time.
If the damage is so bad that you can’t stay in the house, let them know where to find you and keep hotel receipts for reimbursement. If you can’t fix it all yourself, try to prevent damage from spreading – cover openings with plywood or some other material or put some tarp on the roof. Don’t walk into a flooded basement. It’s likely full of debris and bacteria, so pump it out gradually by about one third a day.
If you can’t do it yourself, ask the fire department for help. Throw out spoiled food and disinfect any objects that could’ve been in contact with sewage, bacteria, or spilled chemicals. Basically, you’ve got lots of cleaning up to do, but at least you’re safe and sound.