Preparation for the Storm

This is part two of a four part series, Preparing for Hurricane Season and includes safe evacuation planning.

Preparation for the Storm

Preparation for the Storm

This is part two of a four part series, Preparation for the Storm 2010.

Step 1: Learn the New Wind Scale

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale was updated earlier this year. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 categorization based on the hurricane’s intensity at the indicated time. Earlier versions of this scale – known as the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale – incorporated central pressure and storm surge as components of the categories. Only peak winds are employed in this revised version. Below is the current scale.

Category One Hurricane
Sustained winds of 74-95 mph (64-82 kt or 119-153 km/hr)
Dangerous winds will produce minimal damage.

Category Two Hurricane
Sustained winds of 96-110 mph, (83-95 kt, or 154-177 km/hr)
Very dangerous winds will cause moderate damage.

Category Three Hurricane
Sustained winds 111-130 mph, (96-113 kt, or 178-209 km/hr)
Major damage will occur from extremely dangerous winds.

Category Four Hurricane
Sustained winds 131-155 mph, (114-135 kt, or 210-249 km/hr)
Extensive damage will occur.

Category Five Hurricane
Sustained winds greater than 155 mph, (greater than 135 kt, or greater than 249 km/hr)
Catastrophic damage will occur.

Step 2: Safe Evacuation Planning

When you are asked to evacuate, there may not be much time for gathering even the most basic necessities before hand. Part 1 of this series gave you a Hurricane Survival Kit, which can help. Below is a further list to assist you with evacuation preparations.

ALWAYS
-Keep a full tank of gas in your vehicle. In emergencies, gas stations may be closed or unable to pump gas. Plan to take only one vehicle per family to reduce congestion on highways.
-If you do not have a vehicle, make arrangements with a friend for transportation or contact your local government for options.
-Listen to the radio (battery-powered recommended) and follow all local evacuation instructions.
-Gather your family and go if you are instructed to evacuate immediately.
-Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
-Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
-Be alert for washed-out roads and bridges. Do not drive into flooded areas.
-Stay away from downed power lines.

IF YOU HAVE TIME
-Gather your disaster supplies kit.
-Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection, such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a cap.
-Close and lock all doors and windows in your home. Turn off the breakers in your electrical panel box. Unplug electrical equipment, such as radios and televisions.
-Let others know where you are going.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:
-If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
-If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure. These are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
-If you live in a high-rise building, hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
-If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
-If you feel you are in danger.

If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:
-Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
-Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
-Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
-Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
-Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.

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