Dodging a Tropical Punch – Hurricane Awareness
Post by: Gina Stone
What are Tropical Storms?
A tropical storm is an organized cyclone system with a closed surface circulation – packing winds between 39 and 73 mph. Tropical storms can be nearly as destructive as a hurricane causing wind damage to power supplies, trees, and homes, as well as bringing flooding from torrential rain and storm surge. Under the right circumstances with upper level winds and sea surface temperatures, tropical storms will strengthen into hurricanes.
NHC (National Hurricane Center) suggests 3 to 7 days worth of supplies including water, food, medications, cash, pet supplies and first aid kits.
Tropical Depressions occur when the cyclone has lost most of its characteristics, but still has a closed surface circulation. Depressions are still a huge threat for flooding from rains, and winds up to 39 mph sustained. (Sustained winds are an average speed over a 1 minute period about 10 meters off the surface).
The most dangerous part for the coastlines in any tropical system is the storm surge. This is the wind driven rise in water levels, creating flooding and coastal erosion. The amount of storm surge depends on a number of different factors, including slope of the continental shelf and strength of the storm Stay informed with local media on the expected storm surge with any approaching storm, and stay away from the coast lines.
An excellent video explanation is of storm surges available here: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ssurge/animations/hurricane_stormsurge.swf
Be sure to understand what your particular risks are for your area. If you are in a hurricane risk zone, are you subject to flooding either from surge or rain? What is your wind damage risk? Does your insurance cover any damage caused, and do you have enough insurance to cover potential losses?
Take the time now to take stock of what supplies you will need, and locate all your paperwork incase an evacuation is necessary.
Image courtesy of NHC/NOAA
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