Hurricanes and other tropical cyclones are the most powerful storms on Earth, and you need to be ready for them. Humans cannot stop the tremendous power of hurricanes, but they can prepare for them and even prevent danger to themselves. If you live in hurricane prone areas, such as in New England, the Carolinas, southeastern United States, Florida, the US Gulf coast, Mexico, the Greater and Lesser Antilies, Bermuda, Nova Scotia or Newfoundland, Central America, the Bahamas, Jamaica, or other Caribbean Islands, you need to prepare yourself. Here are some protection tips:
Plan ahead Edit
If you are not ready for a hurricane, you will be overwhelmed when a hurricane warning is issued for your area. One way to plan ahead is to prepare a disaster supply kit. The FEMA or Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends the following items in a disaster kit: drinkable and tap water, canned food, sleeping bags, a first aid kit, flares, matches, sneakers, spoons, can openers, a whistle, and juice. Also having a radio and batteries is a good idea. Look for radios that can tune directly to the National Weather Service's weather radio. Their weather radio gives constant 24 hour a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year weather. It also gives severe weather alerts.
Heel all hurricane warnings. Prepare your house and household. Make sure your car is filled with gas even during a hurricane watch so that you can get out immediately. In the event of a hurricane warning, board up your home's windows and doors. Bring in anything in your yard that can be thrown around in the high winds. If your family gets separated, plan a place to meet or for different members of the family to group. Get food and water.
Get out and go Edit
Mandatory evacuations are just that: mandatory calls to get out of your home and head inland fast! Don't ignore these because you cannot hold up against a hurricane's power. Neither can your home. Be smart and evacuate
Make sure you leave early to beat the traffic. Bring your ready kit and any necessities, such as prescribed medicines and important papers. Also, bring anything that hurricane insurance or what not cannot replace such as pictures or special collectors items. Do not bring with your big screen TV, furniture, or other property that can be replaced because this just slows down your evacuation.
If you can't go... Edit
...stay indoors! Whatever you do, don't go out when the eye passes by your home because when that eye is gone, the fierce winds come back! Also, stay away from windows and go to the center of the house. Your windows could blow in and flying debris could enter. Also, you are much safer from waterspout, tornadoes that are often formed by hurricanes, in the center of your house. Prepare yourself for no electricity for a week and no access to a grocery store for a few days. Have an emergency kit ready before the storm strikes. Don't go to the basement or attic since hurricanes flood homes instantly.
After the storm Edit
When you go out after the storm, be careful as downed powerlines, broken glass, and other such dangers may not be cleaned up yet! You are in danger as long as the city is not cleaned up. Also, water may not be drinkable due to lack of purification and gas lines may be broken. Wait for help from rescue personnel.
Myths and MisconceptionsEdit
This is a list debunking all the myths and misconceptions you may have heard about hurricane preparation.
- Don't tape your windows. The myth is that tape will hold the glass together in the event of a shatter. That's totally false. First of all, it's basically pointless and tape will provide no protection for your home. In fact, tape will provide no benefit whatsoever. It will only force you to spend many hours trying to peel it off after the storm passes. It's not a good idea.
- Hurricanes are not isolated events. A misconception many people have is that eye of a storm is the only bad part of a hurricane. Incorrect. The eye is the worst part, but all parts of a hurricane are bad. Even though the strongest part of a hurricane is the thin outer wall of the eye, winds can stretch easily over 300 miles, and flooding rains even further.
- Hurricanes go beyond the coast. Another misconception is that hurricanes only threaten inland areas with rain. While this is mostly true, it's not unheard of to have very high winds well inland. Hurricane Charley is a great example of this. Tornado outbreaks are another big inland risk. Hurricane Frances caused over 100 tornadoes to form over parts of the southeast.
- Don't focus on the center of the prediction cone! Just because you are on the edge of the cone doesn't mean your chances of a hit are any lower than those in the dead center. The cone is simply a graphic of the level of uncertainty in the prediction of where the center will be in a certain amount of time. Basically, the center can end up anywhere within that cone. If you're in it, you may be in danger.
- DO NOT open a window or door on the lee side of a storm to relieve pressure!!! The myth is that the low atmospheric pressure in a hurricane versus the high pressure in a house will cause the roof to tear off. No! This is a huge misconception. Pressure differences will have no effect on your home, and opening a window may cause wind to get in the structure. If wind gets in the structure for very long, your roof could fail. Do not do this.