Hurricanes are tropical storms that have graduated to a storm with a minimum wind speed of 74-75 mph. They form cyclonic storms with high wind speed, heavy rain and cover a large area when formed. Forming over warm bodies of water, once they strike land they bring a wall of oceanic water with them called a storm surge. This wave of water may cause flooding around the immediate areas surrounding the beach or body of water. The wind speeds and various storms with in the hurricane can cause catastrophic damage to buildings, trees, power line, cars and other surrounding items or places. There are 5 different categories of hurricanes.
What are the 5 categories of a hurricane?
- Category 1: Wind speeds 74-95 MPH
- Category 2: Wind speeds 96-110 MPH
- Category 3: Wind Speeds 111-129 MPH
- Category 4: Wind Speeds 130-156 MPH
- Category 5: Wind Speeds 157 MPH +
Seeing as how these mighty windstorms can cause some major damage to your homes, cars and power-lines; it is important to know what to do in the event that one strikes. The good news? They are highly predictable. You should have a warning of the impending hurricane approximately 3 days before it reaches your location. When hurricane season (a 6th month period between June and November) is in full swing it is possible that a large number of disturbances can occur. Follow these steps to be fully prepared when a hurricane happens.
Shelter/ Evacuation Plan
The most important thing to consider when preparing for a hurricane is the shelter/ evacuation plan. The best thing to do when a powerful hurricane is coming your way would be to beat it by evacuating to the nearest safe location. Decide whether you will stay in a hotel away from the storm site, at a family members home or temporarily at a friends house. If the storm is not as threatening and does not require evacuation, it is still good to have a safe shelter plan. Decide what interior room you will stay in during the harshest part of the storm and what items you will keep there to insure you have them with you when you need them.
If the hurricanes’ sub-storms or winds are powerful enough, they could knock out the power for days or weeks. If that were to happen you would need to have a backup water source plan. The most popular being having enough gallons/ bottles of water to last for said time period. To prepare for this you can start by buying a gallon every so often when you hit the grocery store. If you wait until the hurricane is predicted everyone in your area will be rushing to buy water and will inevitably clear the shelves. The other alternative is to have a propane style burner so you can boil the tap water to use for brushing teeth, cooking,bathing or for drinking (if you weren’t able to get the bottled water). I recommend having both solutions readily available to insure you and your family wont run out of water regardless of whatever category the hurricane may be.
Food/ Cooking Plan
This category only applies when the storm is bad enough to knock out the power for days or weeks at a time. If the power loss will be short term you will be able to open your fridge to make whatever food you desire shortly. When you know you will be out of power for a long period of time, then canned food and non-perishable items are the best. Most canned food are able to be eaten without being heated up, that’s the easy way. If you wish to heat your food up you can always have a spare propane powered stove top. The propane allows you to cook your food without using any electricity, which comes in handy when in a no-power situation. The method to ascertain enough canned food to last you is similar to what I mentioned in the previous paragraph. No one likes to buy tons of canned food at once, so buying a few cans here and a few cans there allows you to build your stock up slowly, all while avoiding the “mad dash” before the hurricane is to hit.
Additional Actions and Items Plan
While food, water and evacuation plans are important, there are other items and actions that are pretty meaningful as well. Candles, flashlights, lamps and batteries are some of the staple items that should be in any disaster kit in case of periods of darkness. Activities, books and games, while not important for survival will help pass the time through natural disasters that keep you from being able to go outside and interact with others. Often during bad storms you are told to tape your windows in case they break, so they are more likely to break into large pieces rather than shatter all over your residence. Another option would be to board up your windows if you are capable, this should protect your windows from breaking, period.
The various categories of a hurricane and various locations provide opportunity for the items in a hurricane survival kit to vary as well. If your state is more inland there is less of a serious need for a overly stocked hurricane kit.