Atmosphere And Weather

What to do if a Hurricane Threatens



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"What to do if a Hurricane Threatens"
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The first thing you must decide is whether you stay or go. Depending on how close to a body of water, the strength of your home, especially the roof, you decide. And act.

People have died because they 'can't leave' their homes. These homes might not stand up to hurricanes, but make good coffins.

The force of the wind, especially when it turns everything it lifts into a lethal weapon, the deluge of rain, which turns a gentle stream into a raging river, can kill you.

Hurricanes; even Tropical Storms can be lethal.

Looking at your home understand that once the roof goes, everything in the house will be destroyed. If the house is well built, the walls are likely to remain standing. If the roof doesn't blow off, the walls may blow in, and the house collapse.

Concrete structures are only as strong as the iron in their construction. How much iron is in your walls? There should be one iron rod for every concrete block. Many builders cheat. That means the walls will fall in on you.

If the house is well made and water tight, when a hurricane hits, the pressure inside the house may become so great it will blow out the windows and doors.

In short, a hurricane is a dangerous and deadly natural enemy. If there is any way you can get away from it, do it. It is an experience you don't need.

It depends on where you live, and the relationship of your government to natural disasters which you use as a guide. In Cuba, they have evacuation plans which begin early in the life of a hurricane. Moving a quarter of a million people one hundred miles is not unusual.

In Jamaica, public buses cease to run, 'chartered' by the government to move people to shelters.

In America, being left to die is not unusual, and the kind of shelters provided to victims is not worthy to mention.

Hence, the first choice, is not to be where the hurricane is.

Unless your house has already withstood a Cat 3 hurricane and what is predicted is Cat 1, and you know your home sound and safe, evacuate.

There are many web sites which allow you to track a hurricane, use all of them. Some are more helpful than others. Most predications as to the course are often spot on, twenty four, even forty eight hours in advance however, Hurricanes can turn without warning.

Gustav was supposed to go north of Jamaica, instead went though it, dumping Noachian rain which caused as much damage as Hurricane Gilbert which took a similar cross island track in 1988.

Don't be fooled by Category; Tropical Storm Gustav caused more damage in Jamaica then did Cat 4 Ivan. REMEMBER Category deals with wind speed not with rain potential nor movement.

A Category Three moving at 20 miles per hour with an expected rain dump of 10 inches is far LESS dangerous than a Tropical Storm moving at 5 miles per hour with an expected 40 inches of rain.

Looking at older tracking maps will give you a good understanding of a path; as those that form at certain latitudes tend to strike certain areas, and those that form at others may move harmlessly out to sea.

If you live in a hurricane zone it is a matter of life and death that you make yourself as hurricane wise as you can.

If you have pets and are leaving your home and can not take them, release them. Animals are very good at survival. Locking them in the house, or in a yard, might mean death.

Everything that has value to you should be wrapped in plastic and put in a safe place. Your refrigerator is an excellent place. When electricity goes, so does your food.

If you are staying, cook everything in the freezer. Leave what you expect to eat today or tomorrow with some extra. Then pack up the fridge and turn to highest setting and do not open it. At the highest setting food will stay good for two days if the fridge is not opened.

Do not store water in the fridge. That space should be taken up by valuables and food.

Store water! You never have enough water. Save your plastic bottles, fill and cap them.

Never throw away plastic bottles, fill them and keep them. A thousand bottles is not too much. You don't know how long the water will be off for, you don't know the nature of it when it returns, but you know that the water coming out of your sink now is safe. Store it in sealed plastic containers, buckets, etc.

Keep in mind that when the water goes, the toilet won't be flushing. Collect a number of plastic bags to be used as waste bags.

When the hurricane is eminent, if your area has not shut off electricity, shut it off yourself. Unplug everything, turn off the electricity.

Block up all windows. Stay away from them. A hurricane may begin with rain, thunderstorms, wind, you'll know when it is there. It is absolutely terrifying.

If you hear a hum that means pressure inside is increasing, find a window away from the storm and open it a little bit. You will have to close it periodically, but that escape of pressure will protect you.

When the eye passes, this means the hurricane is coming back in the other direction. You may have fifteen minutes to do whatever you need to do.

You may have to patch a roof, move something, rescue someone or something, but move fast.

Make sure you wear the stoutest shoes you have. Avoid any wires. They might be live. Then get back inside and wait.

A hurricane lasts from twenty four to twelve to eight hours. It depends on it's size and it's speed. Some linger for weeks, pouring rain on an already saturated ground.

During a hurricane, do not ever attempt to cross a river. Evacuate before it starts. During is death. You will be swept away.

The fear is not the wind, it is the water. How close are you to a body of water?

I monitored a river bed which was dry at 8 pm. The bottom had been dug down about fifty feet and it was approximately two hundred feet wide.

At 5 am the water had reached the bank and was racing to a bridge which only held up because one part of it was not blocked by debris.

Another bridge, longer, stronger, was taken out to sea. This is the power of water.

Hence, do not focus on wind, focus on water, and if you are anywhere which floods, that is what will kill you.

When a hurricane threatens, take stock, and decide to stay or go based on logic not emotion.

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More about this author: Jaye Green

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