Hurricane season is in full swing, and it’s important to stay informed about what these powerful storms are, how they form, and the damage they can do. In this article, we’ll explore everything from the science behind hurricanes to their destructive force- including what to anticipate when one touches down in your area.
What are hurricanes?
A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that forms in the Atlantic Ocean and typically brings heavy rains, high winds, and large waves to coastal areas.
Hurricanes can cause extensive damage to property and infrastructure, as well as loss of life. However, they can also bring much-needed rain to drought-stricken areas and help replenish groundwater reserves.
Understanding how these powerful storms form and behave is essential for both preparing for their potentially devastating effects and taking advantage of their benefits.
Why do hurricanes happen?
Each hurricane is different, but they all form in basically the same way. Warm ocean water evaporates and rises into the atmosphere. As the water vapor cools, it condenses into clouds. The heat released as the water vapor condenses fuels the storm.
Hurricanes need three things to form: warm ocean water, moist air, and a low-pressure area. If these conditions come together in just the right way, a hurricane can form.
How to prepare for a hurricane
As a hurricane approaches, it is important to take steps to protect yourself, your family, and your property. Depending on the severity of the hurricane, you may need to evacuate to a safe location or hunker down and ride out the storm.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for a hurricane:
- Know your risks. Check the FEMA Hurricane Surge Map to see if you live in an area that is at risk for storm surge. If you live in a coastal area, be aware that hurricanes can generate large waves and flooding even if the storm remains offshore.
- Create or update your emergency plan. Your plan should include evacuation routes, a place to meet up with family members, and contact information for important people and agencies. Make sure everyone in your household knows the plan.
- Gather supplies. Put together a disaster supply kit with enough food, water, and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. Make sure to include items like a first-aid kit, prescription medications, cash, and batteries.
- Stay informed. Keep track of the hurricane’s progress by listening to local news or following updates from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). This will help
What you should do during a hurricane
- Stay indoors and away from windows.
- If you are in a high-rise building, go to the lowest level that is not prone to flooding.
- Bring in any outdoor furniture or objects that can be blown around by the wind.
- Turn off all utilities at the main switch if instructed to do so by authorities.
- Fill up your car’s gas tank in case you need to evacuate.
- Charge all of your electronic devices in case you lose power.
- Have cash on hand in case ATM machines are not working.
- Make sure your insurance policies are up to date and that you have evacuation plans in place.