A hurricane’s deadly forces
Hurricanes have an arsenal of effects that can destroy property and cause loss of life. The combination of water and wind can have devastating impacts on man and nature. Learn what these mortal features can do and how to survive them.
Storm Tides and Waves
Storm surge is just the rise in water that floods the coast as water is pushed onshore by strong winds, and to a much lesser degree very low pressure. It’s important that you know the tides of the coastal area where you’re located. For example, a lot of locations on the Gulf coast have quite little tidal ranges, whereas places on the U.S. east coast have large tidal ranges. It makes a significant difference on the consequences to the coast if a hurricane moves ashore during a low or high tide in a place where the tidal range is large. Today, inland flood causes the largest loss of life. Before, when hurricane forecasting technology was not as sophisticated, storm surge was the reason for the majority of deaths. It is best to leave a structure that could be impacted by the storm tide of a hurricane. The force from sea water is extremely powerful and can destroy a home easily. High waves take the debris from destroyed buildings that are on the shore that batter other structures farther inland. Nevertheless, it is best not to “ride out” a hurricane and evacuate to a safer location.
Hurricanes create strong sustained winds which have the capability of destroying structures and toppling trees and power lines. The Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale gives an estimate on the type of wind damage which can be expected with various categories of hurricanes. A significant hurricane is considered a class 3 or higher. Maximum sustained winds are greater than or equal to 111 mph. Strong winds can blow off in garage doors, break windows, Malabar Rat Removal, or lift roofs off of homes. Be certain that you have shutters or plywood to cover windows properly during a hurricane. Also, know how structurally sound your roof and garage doors are so that they will not fail in the event of high winds. The safest place to stay is in the basement to protect you and your loved ones from high winds. If you are in a flood zone, then evacuate to higher ground. If you don’t have a basement, find a small room on the lowest floor with no windows near the middle of the house to stay.
Tornadoes are many times associated with land falling tropical cyclones. The tornadoes usually occur in outer rain bands in the right front quadrant with respect to storm movement. Most of the tornadoes happen within a day of land fall, even though it’s potential for tornadoes to still happen two or three days later still connected with the circulation. The most significant hurricane associated tornado outbreak on record happened with Hurricane Ivan in 2004 with 123 tornadoes. Contrary to their Midwest cousins, tornadoes on average are poorer in hurricanes. There is usually a weaker signature on radar and hail nearly never accompanies them. Stronger land falling hurricanes have a greater potential to create tornadoes than weaker ones. Tornadoes happen with land falling hurricanes as the storm moves over land and encounters greater low level friction from the land. This slows the wind at the surface more than higher aloft, adding to vertical wind shear. It’s this growth in wind shear that sets up an environment favorable for tornado development. Follow the same safety guidelines for high winds to protect you and your family from the harmful effects of tornadoes.
All hurricanes don’t produce severe flooding. There are lots of factors that contribute to the flooding potential of a hurricane or weaker tropical cyclone. The most important element is the rate of movement. If a tropical cyclone moves into a region where steering currents from the winds aloft are feeble, very heavy rain can result. It’s possible for the tropical cyclone to be almost stationary for days resulting in very heavy rainfall amounts of 40 to 50 inches or more. Rainfall amounts are also affected by the terrain of a location. Mountains cause an additional lift to happen, improving rain rates on the windward slopes. The surrounding environment where the hurricane forms is another consideration. If a hurricane forms in the deep tropics, it generally can tap a deeper source of deep layered moisture. Hurricanes which form in higher latitudes have a higher chance of entraining dry air from mid latitude weather systems limiting moisture. When a tropical cyclone is coming, understand the potential for heavy rainfall to make flooding or flash flooding where you live.