Hurricanes are incredibly dangerous and powerful forces of nature that should be taken seriously. When the wind speeds of a tropical storm reaches 74 miles per hour or greater, it becomes a hurricane. Hurricanes are large storms that form over the ocean and typically make landfall in regions with a tropical climate. Hurricanes are placed in different categories based on the wind speed, storm surge, and estimated damages the hurricane will bring along with it. To keep you and your family safe and sound during a hurricane, it’s good to have some general knowledge on what a hurricane can do.
The Dangers of a Hurricane
When hurricanes make landfall, they bring along dangerous factors that, when paired together, create one of the most deadliest natural disasters known to man. Intense winds, monsoon-like rainfall and storm surge are the initial danger a hurricane presents. Knowing what these dangers are and what they could do can save your life in the event of a hurricane.
Even before hurricane force winds are reached, at 40 mph, the wind can tear well-secured branches from trees. At 60 mph, windows can be blown out, and parts of the roof can be torn off. When the winds reach 75 mph, and the storm becomes a category 1 hurricane, buildings can be compromised and leveled entirely. Once buildings begin to break apart, their debris become a dangerous problem. Things like glass and nail-filled wood can begin to fly around. In tight areas, like an alley way, the wind will be even faster. Wind damage isn’t always caused by air pushing on structures, as it can also be caused by the suction created when large bursts of air flow around the structure. This suction can pull entirely pull apart walls and roofs of buildings. Since hurricanes usually last several hours, the sustained winds can compromise a building that would otherwise survive a strong, brief gust of air.
With the heavy rainfall that a hurricane brings with it, also comes inland flooding and various other dangers. Not only can massive amounts of water cause things like roof failures and landslides, it can also cause bodies of water like rivers and lakes to massively overflow and pose a serious threat to surrounding buildings and property. Since 1970, about 60 percent of the 600 deaths in the U.S that were caused by hurricanes happened inland from where the hurricane first made landfall. Of that same 60 percent, about a fourth of the deaths were people who drowned in, or drowned while attempting to leave their car. It takes as little as one foot of moving flood water to sweep a car off the road.
Storm surge is the most dangerous aspect of a hurricane. Hurricanes can cause sea levels to rise high enough that they over flow into neighborhoods and streets. Strong winds that the storm produces can push risen sea water further into shore which may cause serious flooding. Storm surge is the most dangerous aspect of a hurricane, especially for people living near the water, like in much of South Florida. The sea literally comes further inland, sometimes as deep as 30 feet above land.
How Do Hurricanes Get Their Names?
In 1953, the United States started using female names for storms, and 25 years later in 1978, both male and female names were used to identify hurricanes in the Northern Pacific. In 1979, this practice was adopted for storms in the Atlantic as well. Atlantic hurricanes are named from a list of male and female names that are used on a six-year rotation. These names are retired when a storm of a certain name is so deadly and costly that it would be inappropriate and in poor taste to use it again. In the event that there are more than 21 named storms in one season, any additional storms will be named after letters from the Greek Alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Etc.).
Other General Hurricane Knowledge and Fun Facts
● Other names for hurricanes are cyclones, typhoons, and tropical storms. Typhoon is used to describe hurricanes in the pacific. Cyclone is a region neutral term used to describe hurricanes and typhoons.
● The deadliest cyclone known to man is the 1970 Bhola Cyclone. Upwards of half a million people lost their lives in the storm. Mainly from the storm surge that flooded low-lying barrier islands in what is now Bangladesh. An interesting phenomenon was observed to be affecting most of the survivors. This cyclone syndrome consists of intense abrasions on the limbs and chests of people who were clinging to trees to survive the storm surge.
● The most costly hurricane in the U.S is the 2005 storm Hurricane Katrina. The storm killed over 1800 people in the United States, and caused about $80 billion dollars worth of property damage. New Orleans, Louisiana was hit incredibly hard. Levees in New Orleans were breached, which lead to around 80 % of the city being flooded.
Is Your Home Ready?
Restoration USA is a disaster restoration company located in Pompano Beach. With over 25 years of combined experience and expertise in Florida, Restoration USA knows hurricanes. Want to make sure your home is prepared for a storm? Want to know who to call after the storm? Restoration USA is here for you. We perform leak detection and mold removal, as well as water extraction and water damage repair. Want to see if your home is ready for a storm? call (866) 745-6428 or visit online at http://www.restorationusa.com and ask for a free hurricane readiness home evaluation.