Hurricane season begins on May 1st and lasts through November 30th. As with every hurricane, what you know and how to prepare could be a lifesaver. With Hurricane Irma expected to touch landfall this weekend, there is no better time to review what’s involved in hurricane preparedness.
How to Prepare
During a watch, prepare your home and evacuation plan in case a warning is issued. During a warning, carefully follow the directions of local officials in your area, and immediately leave if they advise it. In the event of an extreme wind warning/advisory, which means that extreme sustained winds of 115 mph or greater are expected to begin within an hour, immediately take shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.
Forecasts and Predictions
Predicting the path of a storm can be challenging at best. The storm’s size and path can directly influence what sort of wind patterns guide, enhance or hinder its growth. Forecasters have computers that take large amounts of data and predict where the storm will go and can usually calculate 2-3 days out fairly accurately. Generally the forecast track or path is given with the average consensus of these models.
Following are some terms you should understand during this time:
~ Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are possible in the area. Watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds.
~ Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected in the area. Warnings are issued 36 hours in advance of tropical storm force winds.
~ Hurricane Eye: A clear, sometimes well-defined center of the storm with calmer conditions.
~ Eye Wall: Surrounding the eye, contains some of the most severe weather of the storm with the highest wind speed and largest precipitation.
~ Rain Bands: Produce severe weather conditions such as heavy rain, wind and tornadoes.
~ Storm Surge: An often underestimated and deadly result of ocean water swelling as a result of a storm that reaches landfall. Can cause flooding along the coast and sometimes areas further inland.
For More Information
The National Hurricane Center has the most up-to-date information on hurricane developments, forecasts and weather alerts, discussions analyzing the data and more.http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/