Hurricanes and Tornados

Hurricanes 

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Wind rain and the flooding caused by hurricanes make for a life-threatening natural disaster. When winds reach 74 miles per hour or greater, it is classified as a hurricane. Wind speeds of hurricanes are measured by categories. Category 1 has wind speeds from 74mph-95 mph. A category 5 hurricane has wind speeds of at least 157mph.

The pressure from a hurricane can cause a house to implode. Hurricane should be taken very seriously. Floods can also happen as part of the aftermath of a hurricane.

Prepare!

We are given plenty of time to prepare and/or evacuate for hurricanes.

Home Prep:

  • Cover all openings. Use hurricane shutters or plywood.
  • Make sure the traps that attach your roof to the wall plate are properly nailed.
  • Tie down or remove exterior lawn furniture.
  • Trim overhanging trees and remove trees that are within falling distance of your roof.
  • Know how to turn off your electricity and gas.
  • Make sure you have a plan for pets.

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Equipment: Be prepared for short-term lack of power and water.

Essential supplies:

  • Medications for yourself an family members for at least a week
  • A good first-aid kit to treat cuts, abrasions, and other general illnesses or injuries.
  • Water: fill bathtubs and stock up on water jugs. Have at least one gallon of water per person per day. Bathtub water is used for hygiene and bottles water for drinking.
  • Nonperishable foods that can be eaten without cooking.
  • An emergency National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration radio with plenty of extra batteries.
  • Cell phones that are fully charged.
  • Valuable documents and emergency contact numbers stored in sealable plastic bags.
  • ATM’s could be down and banks may be closed for some time.
  • Sleeping bags ready and a well-stocked safe room.
  • Ample flashlights and chemlights.

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Vehicle:

  • Get car filled with gas.
  • Make sure windshield wipers are new.
  • Check spare tire and jacking equipment.
  • Have a map showing several evacuation routes.

When to evacuate:

People usually don’t want to leave their homes. If you are going to evacuate, you’d want to do it sooner rather than later. Traffic jams are going to be inevitable. Stay focused and relaxed.

A traffic jam is seen during the rush hour in Beijing

  • Listen to weather broadcasts and evacuate if directed by authorities to do so.
  • Evacuate if you live on the coats, near a river, or near an inland waterway.
  • Evacuate if you live in a mobile home or temporary structure.
  • Evacuate if you live in a high-rise building.
  • Evacuate if you feel you are in danger.

When planning your evacuation route, know the routes firsthand. Look for less-traveled roads. In hurricane areas, drive the route during a nonemergency situation. Get to the highest ground you can, away from the coast and waterway. Make sure you have an out-of-town emergency point of contact that anyone in your family can call in case your separated.

Holding your position:

If you are unable to evacuate, set up base in an interior room or on a lower floor without windows or exterior walls. In a two-story house, consider what heavy furniture is located in the room above.

Caught outside:

If you find yourself threatened by a hurricane when you are outside, you should abandon your vehicle and find shelter immediately. If no structure is available, lie flat on the ground and seek out a ditch or get behind a rock. Stay away from poles or trees that can be uprooted. Stay low to the ground and use a crawling technique until you find suitable shelter. Do not walk through standing water.

Hurricane Isaac Hits New Orleans, Gulf Coast

It’s not over yet!

You might have just been in the eye of the storm. The violent winds could return!

Tornado Survival

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More deaths occur from tornados than from hurricanes. Tornados form more rapidly and warning time is shorter.

  • A designated safe room is the best option. Choose one in the basement far from exterior windows or doors. Also pick a place that doesn’t have heavy furniture above it.
  • If living in a tornado-prone area, have battery-operated National Weather Service radio.
  • Practice and rehearse with your family what to do in the event of a tornado.
  • If outdoors, seek low areas, such as a ditch or gully, and lie flat.
  • If you are in a vehicle, get out and get to a low area. If nothing is in sight, stay in your car and keep your seatbelt on, hunker down in the seat and brace your handing on the steering wheel.

Courtley, C. (2012). SEAL survival guide: A Navy SEAL’s secrets to surviving any disaster. New York: Gallery Books.

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