Floods, Flooding, Rising Waters - Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas inundated - Michigan, Tennessee and other areas braced for onslaught... Hurricane season begins tomorrow, yet storms are already devastating many American Communities.
Monthly Archives: May 2015
Preparedness. It cuts both ways. Those that prepare best are often expected to assist those that do not.
Some individuals thrive on helping others and you will often find this sort involved in local CERT Teams and with the best emergency supplies, plans, and training.
Other have the notion that nothing will ever happen that others won't take care of for them. This sort is more likely found watching TV and without a decent band-aid in the house.
Are you one of these? Somewhere in between? Who should you be? Your call.
Are you Hurricane Ready? Disaster Ready in General? Can you Survive a Calamity? You can make a difference & inspire others to action. Take an action to prepare for disasters.
Be Prepared for Hurricane Season
Most people are unprepared and vulnerable to unforeseen events such as Hurricanes or other natural disasters. When disaster strikes you need to be prepared with immediate action in a highly stressed environment. During hurricane season a storm, heavy rainfall, tornadoes, flooding, high winds, as well as rip currents could have disastrous effects depending on your location, elevation or your unique geographical circumstances.
You need to be ready and prepared for the possibility rather than be caught unawares. Being ready long before a storm approaches gives you peace of mind and you can rest assured that you will not be rushing last minute in the event of a direct impact of an unforeseen or unplanned disaster. Equip yourself with all the safety Information regarding hurricane preparedness kits and supplies; not to mention a sound plan of action.
Be prepared for every eventuality, there is a possibility that you could be confined to your home, and help may not reach you for many days after a hurricane. Being prepared for the hurricane season implies that you need to be completely self-sufficient and independently secure in such circumstances.
Imagine complete hurricane preparedness with emergency and survival kits, tools, food and water. Additionally you should consider evacuation and communication supplies and solutions.
As we near the end of this year's Hurricane Preparedness Week, we (as Weather Ready Nation Ambassadors) Get A Plan! ⚡
The fastest, most accurate and reliable means of receiving critical weather information at your school is through a NOAA Weather Radio with a "tone alert" feature. You will receive the warning directly from the National Weather Service in just a couple of minutes from its issuance. These radios can be purchased in electronic stores and generally cost between $40 and $80. When NWS issues a tornado warning, the "tone alert" (1050 Hertz) is instantly sounded followed by warning information.
In addition to the tone-alert, a digital burst of information is sent out. In some cases, such as a tornado warning, television and radio stations use this digital information for activation of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). You can now program special NWR receivers that use the digital burst to only warn you when weather is to affect your county. The National Weather Service refers to this digital burst as "Specific Area Message Encoding" (SAME).
The radio's "tone alert" feature and SAME is used for the issuance of all weather warnings as well as severe thunderstorm, flash flood, hurricane, and tornado watches. (See the appendix for Watch/Warning definitions). NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the latest weather information from daily forecasts to special weather statements about sudden shifts in the weather patterns or the development of potentially hazardous weather. (For more information on NWR see the appendix).
If you are not in a reliable NWR listening area (due to interference from mountains or other sources) and attaching your radio to an exterior antenna does not help, then below are some suggested alternatives -
- If you have cable television access, The Weather Channel uses NWS products and broadcasts warnings immediately upon receipt from NWS via a satellite link. Warnings are continuously scrolled across the bottom of the screen.
- Some cable companies include a channel with a local NWS radar display and use NOAA Weather Radio as a voice-over.
- Monitor your local news radio station for EAS messages and special statements from the National Weather Service. EAS operates on a cooperative agreement between broadcasters and federal, state, and local government agencies. EAS is activated for tornado warnings and severe flash flooding.
Phone "call-down" systems used in some counties are not advised for receipt of warning information due to
- time elapsed in relaying information,
- chance of incorrect or incomplete information being passed,
- lack of reliability of phone systems during storms, and
- the NWS advises people not to use telephones during an electrical storm.
- Learn about WEAs, too
Listen for the type of watch or warning and where it is in effect. The person(s) monitoring must know what action they should take based on this information. It is suggested you have a map nearby for easy reference to counties and towns to locate storms and their movement in reference to your school. There is no need to take emergency action if the warning is not for your location. It should, however, heighten your awareness to the potential for severe weather to affect your school district, especially if the warning is for a county near you and the storms are moving your way!
If your workplace or school has mobile or detached buildings that are not part of a public address or intercom system, then special arrangements must be made to notify these areas. Sending "runners" outside is not advisable due to the danger posed by lightning and the approaching storm. Wireless communication devices are an effective means for such communication. "Walkie-talkies" may be the least expensive.
Handicapped or learning-disabled may also require special attention. You may want someone to be assigned to each person requiring special attention to see that they move to the appropriate place of safety. Anyone in a position not to hear the warning must be taken into account.
How do we know a storm is coming? When do the Authorities issues alerts? While we all know we need to be prepared at any time, "Heads Up" helps. We have discussed forecasting and predicting the next Super Storm, Cyclone or Hurricane, but there's a lot more.
The National Hurricane Center won't actually share all their information. We've all heard the jokes and jibes about inaccuracy of "the Weather Man", and meteorology does leave a lot of room for interpretation and the vagaries and changeability of nature. The National Hurricane Center does not generate a graphic of the guidance models it uses to produce its forecasts. Such graphics have the potential to confuse users and to undermine the effectiveness of NHC official tropical cyclone forecasts and warnings. NHC's Tropical Cyclone Discussion product, issued with each advisory package, contains a description of the reasoning behind the official forecast, including discussion of the specific models considered in the preparation of the official forecast. For more information on the models, we have prepared a summary document.
The National Weather Service produces some of the models used by the National Huricane Center. These models are run by NOAA/NWS National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Central Operations (NCO). Output images from the NOAA/NWS models can be found through NCEP's Model Analyses and Guidance (MAG) interface. Raw data from the models can be found through the NOAA Operational Model Archive and Distribution System (NOMADS).
Best bet? Be Ready.
- Hurricane Preparedness
- What is your Hurricane Preparedness Plan?
- Storm Surge – Hurricane Preparedness Week #HurricanePrep!
- Hurricane Preparedness Week #HurricanePrep!
- Hurricane Preparedness: Prepare Your Car for Hurricane Season
- Hurricane Preparedness: Be Prepared
- Hurricane Preparedness – Be Ready
- Hurricane Safety
- Are You Prepared for an Emergency?
As we have pointed out previously, Hurricanes are not just a coastal issue. During Hurricane Preparedness Week, we want everyone to consider how these tropical storms can affect their safety.
Inland flooding and Hurricane Winds can wreak havoc far from the coast.
he Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane's sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage. Category 1 and 2 storms are still dangerous, however, and require preventative measures. In the western North Pacific, the term "super typhoon" is used for tropical cyclones with sustained winds exceeding 150 mph.
Category Sustained Winds Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds 1 74-95 mph
Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days. 2 96-110 mph
Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage:Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks. 3
Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes. 4
Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. 5
157 mph or higher
137 kt or higher
252 km/h or higher
Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Inland flooding can be a major threat to communities hundreds of miles from the coast as intense rain falls from these huge tropical air masses.
The United States has a significant hurricane problem. More than 60% of our Nation’s population live in coastal states from Maine to Texas, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
Hurricane Floyd (1999) brought intense rains and record flooding to the Eastern U.S. Of the 56 people who perished, 50 drowned due to inland flooding.
When it comes to hurricanes, wind speeds do not tell the whole story. Hurricanes produce storm surges, tornadoes, and often the most deadly of all -- inland flooding.
While storm surge is always a potential threat, more people have died from inland flooding in the last 30 years. Intense rainfall is not directly related to the wind speed of tropical cyclones. In fact, some of the greatest rainfall amounts occur from weaker storms that drift slowly or stall over an area.
So, the next time you hear hurricane -- think inland flooding!
- When you hear hurricane, think inland flooding.
- Determine whether you live in a potential flood zone.
- If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Keep abreast of road conditions through the news media.
- Move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood water.
- Do not attempt to cross flowing water. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle...two feet of water will carry most cars away.
- Develop a flood emergency action plan with your community leaders.
A Storm surge is water from the ocean that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the hurricane. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides and can increase the water level by 30 feet or more. Storm surge combined with waves can cause extensive damage.
Powerful winds aren’t the only deadly force during a hurricane. The greatest threat to life actually comes from the water – in the form of storm surge.
Storm surge is water from the ocean that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the hurricane. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides and can increase the water level by 30 feet or more.
Storm surge combined with waves can cause extensive damage. It can severely erode beaches and coastal highways. The pounding waves can take out boats and buildings. As the waters move inland, rivers and lakes may be affected, and add to the rising flood levels. While we can’t prevent storm surge, we do have a system that can warn us of the incoming threat.
As a hurricane develops over the open ocean, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center closely monitor its path to evaluate the risk of a coastal strike. They use a computer model called SLOSH to predict storm surge heights. The model depends critically on the hurricane’s track, intensity, and size.
SLOSH uses water depths, land elevations, and barriers to the flow of water to compute surges as they move inland. This data helps determine which areas may need to be evacuated.
When a hurricane slams our coast, it’s important to be aware of all the dangers. As a reminder, emergency managers want us to run from the water and hide from the wind. Don’t take unnecessary risks during a storm. Conditions can change in the blink of an eye.
Storm surge is a dangerous event during a hurricane, where furious winds are driving deadly flows of water from our seas to our shores.
Hurricanes are dangerous and destructive. Known also as cyclones and typhoons in other parts of the world, hurricanes cause high winds, flooding, heavy rain, and storm surges (high tidal waves).
Each year, an average of 3-4 tropical cyclones will affect the Central Pacific. An average of ten tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Many of these remain over the ocean and never impact the U.S. coastline. Six of these storms become hurricanes each year. In an average 3-year period, roughly five hurricanes strike the US coastline, killing approximately 50 to 100 people anywhere from Texas to Maine. Of these, two are typically "major" or "intense" hurricanes.
What is a Hurricane?
A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, which is a generic term for a low pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. The cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms and, in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth's surface. Tropical cyclones are classified as follows:
* Sustained winds
A 1-minute average wind measured at about 33 ft (10 meters) above the surface.
** 1 knot = 1 nautical mile per hour or 1.15 statute miles per hour. Abbreviated as "kt".
An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds* of 38 mph (33 kt**) or less
An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph (34-63 kt)
An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 kt) or higher
Hurricanes are categorized according to the strength of their winds using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. A Category 1 storm has the lowest wind speeds, while a Category 5 hurricane has the strongest. These are relative terms, because lower category storms can sometimes inflict greater damage than higher category storms, depending on where they strike and the particular hazards they bring. In fact, tropical storms can also produce significant damage and loss of life, mainly due to flooding.
Learn more about hurricanes and other tropical storms so you can be prepared to keep your family safe.
- Basic Hurricane Safety Actions
- Know if you live in an evacuation area. Know your home's vulnerability to storm surge,flooding and wind. Have a written plan based on this knowledge.
- At the beginning of hurricane season (June 1st), check the supplies for your disaster supply kit, replace batteries and use food stocks on a rotating basis.
- During hurricane season, monitor the tropics.
- Monitor NOAA Weather Radio. It is an excellent / official source for real-time weather information and warnings.
- If a storm threatens, heed the advice from local authorities. Evacuate if ordered.
- Execute your family plan
- WATCH vs. WARNING -
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
- A HURRICANE WATCH issued for your part of the coast indicates the possibility that you could experience hurricane conditions within 36 hours.
This watch should trigger your family's disaster plan, and protective measures should be initiated, especially those actions that require extra time such as securing a boat.
- A HURRICANE WARNING issued for your area indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 24 hours or less.
Once this warning has been issued, your family should be in the process of completing protective actions and deciding the safest location to be during the storm.