Hurricanes are severe tropical storms with heavy rains and intense winds which blow in a circle around the center, better known as the eye. If the eye passes directly overhead, there will be a lull in the wind lasting from a few minutes to as long as a half an hour. On the other side of the eye, the winds will return rapidly to hurricane force and blow from the opposite direction.
Hurricane winds can reach well over 100 miles per hour, and create a huge dome of water called a storm surge with high waves that flood the coastline. Hurricanes can also produce tornadoes and cause severe flooding. All Atlantic and Gulf Coastal States, including Florida, are threatened by hurricanes. Hurricane season begins in June and ends in November.
Explore the need for flood insurance by talking to your insurance agent. Much of the damage caused by hurricanes comes from flooding. If you need coverage, purchase insurance well in advance, there is normally a five-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective.
Preparing for a hurricane begins with two basic actions on your part:
TAKE TIME TO THINK. You should also become familiar with the terms Hurricane Watch and Hurricane Warning. A Hurricane Watch means that a hurricane may threaten coastal and inland areas; it does not mean that hurricane conditions are imminent. A Hurricane Warning is issued when a hurricane is expected to strike an area within 24 hours.
During a hurricane watch know the advisories issued by forecasters, which describe the location, strength and movement of the hurricane. Listen for hurricane warnings, updates and preparedness instructions on local television newscasts or stay turned to local radio stations. Always be prepared for possible evacuation.