Hurricanes are among nature's most powerful and destructive phenomena. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 each year. Over a typical 2-year period, the U.S. coastline is struck by an average of 3 hurricanes, 1 of which is classified as a major hurricane (winds of 111 mph or greater). By knowing what actions to take before the hurricane season begins, when a hurricane approaches, and when the storm is in your area, as well as what to do after a hurricane leaves your area, you can increase your chance of survival (US National Weather Service, n.d.).
While hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depression also can be devastating. The primary hazards from tropical cyclones (which include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes) are storm surge flooding, inland flooding from heavy rains, destructive winds, tornadoes, and high surf and rip currents.
- Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States. Storm surge and large battering waves can result in large loss of life and cause massive destruction along the coast.
- Storm surge can travel several miles inland, especially along bays, rivers, and estuaries.
- Flooding from heavy rains is the second leading cause of fatalities from landfalling tropical cyclones. Widespread torrential rains associated with these storms often cause flooding hundreds of miles inland. This flooding can persist for several days after a storm has dissipated.
- Winds from a hurricane can destroy buildings and manufactured homes. Signs, roofing material, and other items left outside can become flying missiles during hurricanes.
- Tornadoes can accompany landfalling tropical cyclones. These tornadoes typically occur in rain bands well away from the center of the storm.
- Dangerous waves produced by a tropical cyclone's strong winds can pose a significant hazard to coastal residents and mariners. These waves can cause deadly rip currents, significant beach erosion, and damage to structures along the coastline, even when the storm is more than a 1,000 miles offshore. See weather.gov for more information!
Watch the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) accessible video on understanding what a hurricane watch and warning means, and how to prepare for a hurricane in American Sign Language (ASL) below.
There are many frequently asked questions (FAQ) about hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has created a site for all of your FAQ's here and be sure to watch the video below to learn more about the NOAA and National Weather Services (NWS) Hurricane Center below!
Click here to see FEMA's hurricane disaster infographic which has a lot of information about what to do before, during and after a hurricane.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a Preparedness and Safety Messaging for Hurricanes, Flooding, and Similar Disasters!
Prepare, prepare, prepare! See what the CDC has for information on how to prepare for a hurricane or other tropical storm here.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has several webpages with information about hurricanes. Click the links below to learn more!
What to do before a tropical storm or hurricane
Actions to take when a hurricane or tropical storm threatens
Hurricane safety tips and resources
Taking the time to learn how to prepare before and what to do after a hurricane is very important. Check out the 2 infographics below for more information!
Do you know what hurricane weather terminology is used in forecasting? The NWS has it all spelled out here and here!
Want to know what the predictions for the 2023 hurricane season are? Click here to see what NOAA is anticipating and watch the video in ASL below!
There are different categories for hurricanes! See the images below to learn more about wind categories 3 through 5.
How to stay safe before, during and after a hurricane is extremely important information to have.
Check out the links from the CDC below!
What you need to know when the power goes out unexpectedly.
Stay safe after hurricane or other tropical storm.
Keeping food safe after a disaster or emergency.
Using safe water after a disaster or emergency.
Mold clean up.
The NOAA wants you to continue to monitor your situation after a hurricane by doing these things.
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