Hurricanes are a fact of life in South Florida. Each year, particularly during “hurricane season” (June 1 through November 30) residents, businesses and visitors need to be aware of potential severe weather emergencies, and have a plan of action, should a hurricane become an eminent threat.
Your plan of action should include provisions for an emergency supply kit, evacuation plans if needed, a contact plan with out of state relatives, a safe spot should your family become separated, debris clean-up and more.
As a hurricane approaches the coast, its hazards comes from three main sources: wind, rain and storm surge.
Wind: Hurricanes are known for their dangerous winds. Hurricanes are tropical cyclones with sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or greater that blow in a counterclockwise direction around a center “eye.” At their greatest strength, hurricane winds can exceed 155 miles per hour and severely effect areas hundreds of miles inland. Hurricanes also spawn tornadoes, which add to its potential destruction.
Rain: In addition to the storm surge and high winds, tropical cyclones threaten the United States with their torrential rains and flooding.
Even after the wind has diminished, the flooding potential of these storms remains for several days. More people are killed by floods than any other weather related cause. Most of these fatalities occur because people underestimate the power of moving water.
Storm surge: The storm surge is the greatest threat brought on by hurricanes. This is a dome of water as high as 20 feet that crashes into the coastline, flooding inland canals and rivers, and causing major damage to everything in its path. About nine out of ten people killed in hurricanes are victims of the storm surge. Hurricanes also spawn cause severe flooding from heavy rains.