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Prepare now for hurricane season

  • Thursday, July 10, 2014

It is never too early to start looking at the upcoming hurricane season which includes many new names of storms.

The year 2014 has the following named storms: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Eduard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Winifred.

It was in 1953 that Atlantic tropical storms were named by the National Hurricane Center, and they are also maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization.

The names are used in rotation and recycled every six years.

National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2014 is May 25-31. Each day includes tips on topics like hurricane basics, storm surge, wind, inland flooding, forecast process and planning.

A tropical cyclone is a rotating system of clouds and thunderstorms that have a closed low-level circulation. The tropical cyclones rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere.

A tropical depression has maximum winds of 38 mph or 33 knots or less. A tropical storm has a maximum wind force of 39 to 73 mph.

A hurricane has maximum winds of 74 mph.

The U.S. coast in two years usually has three hurricanes which hit, one of which is classified as a major hurricane.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale sets hurricanes from 1-5 based on wind speed. Category 1 is 74-95 mph, very dangerous winds which will produce some damage and Category 2 has 96 to 110 mph winds which will cause extensive damage.

Category 3 has 111-129 mph winds with devastating damage to occur.

Category 4 has 131 to 156 mph winds with catastrophic damage to occur.

Category 5 has 156 mph winds or higher with catastrophic damage.

Storm surge can be brutal as with Hurricane Katrina which generated a 27-foot storm tide in Mississippi. Hurricane Ike created a 20-foot storm tide in Texas.

Rip currents can cause problems like with Hurricane Bertha in 2008 which was more than 1,000 miles offshore. It killed three people on the New Jersey coast and required 1,5000 lifeguard rescues in Ocean City, Maryland in a one-week period.

It is a good time to purchase a NOAA weather radio. No coastal domicile should be without one.

NOAA also provides free podcasts online. The National Hurricane Center has a Facebook page too.

If your family does not have an emergency plan, you should make one and have a family meeting to share the information. Post it in the kitchen.

Find out where safe evaluation routes are inland, and learn the location of official shelters. Check your emergency equipment like flashlights, generators, batteries and food. Store drinking water and buy plywood. Trim your trees and shrubbery. Clear clogged rain gutters and downspouts. Figure out where you will move your boat and review your insurance policy. Decide what you will do with your pet and find a pet-friendly hotel.

Fuel your vehicles. Have extra cash. Prepare windows and doors with shutters. Have canned goods.

Bring in items from outdoors. Do not stay in a mobile home.

Get a first-aid kit and take prescriptions to a shelter plus toiletries.

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