Hurricanes are a destructive natural phenomenon that occurs about 40 to 50 times worldwide each year. Hurricane season takes place in the Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Central Pacific from June 1 to November 30.
Hurricane damage results from three primary causes:
Storm Surge: Approximately 90% of all hurricane deaths can be attributed to the storm surge, the dome of water created by the low pressure center of a hurricane. This storm surge quickly floods low-lying coastal areas with anywhere from 3 feet for a category one storm to over 19 feet for a category five storm.
Wind Damage: The strong, at least 74 mph winds of a hurricane can cause widespread destruction far inland of coastal areas, destroying homes, buildings and infrastructure.
Freshwater Flooding: Hurricanes are huge tropical storms and dump many inches of rain over a widespread area in a short period of time. This water can engorge rivers and streams, causing hurricane-induced flooding.
What We Do to Help:
Coastal Electric Cooperative continually monitors weather conditions and prepares in advance when inclement weather is forecast. We suggest you follow these tips to stay safe during a hurricane:
- Identify where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places - a friend's home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.
- Write down instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so. (You'll need a professional to turn natural gas service back on.)
- To prevent damage to windows from high winds, install hurricane shutters or purchase precut ?" outdoor plywood boards. Install anchors for the plywood and pre-drill holes in the plywood so it can be installed quickly.
- Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so wind can blow through.
- Secure outdoor furniture, decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants, and anything else the wind can pick up.
- If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows.
- Be aware that the calm "eye" is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.
- Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during a hurricane and after it passes over. Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows.
- Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car and climb to higher ground.
Hurricane WATCH vs. hurricane WARNING
A WATCH means hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the watch, usually within 36 hours.
A WARNING means hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the warning, usually within 24 hours.
Be prepared with an Emergency Supply Kit as many services may not be available during or after the storm.