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Before hurricane season, assess your property to ensure that landscaping and trees do not become a wind hazard. Trim dead wood and weak overhanging branches from all trees. Certain trees and bushes are vulnerable to high winds and any dead tree near a home is a hazard. Consider landscaping materials other than gravel/rock. Garage doors are frequently the first feature in a home to fail. Reinforce all garage doors so that they are able to withstand high winds. Protect all windows by installing commercial shutters or preparing 5/8 inch plywood panels.
The greatest potential for loss of life related to a hurricane is from the storm surge Learn your vulnerability to flooding by determining the elevation of your property. Be aware of streams, drainage channels and areas known to flood, so you or your evacuation routes are not cut off. Avoid driving into water of unknown depth. Moving water can quickly sweep your vehicle away.. Test drinking water for potability; wells should be pumped out and the water tested before drinking. Do not use fresh food that has come in contact with floodwaters. Wash canned goods that come in contact with floodwaters with soap and hot water.
What is a Hurricane?
A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, which is a generic term for a low pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. The cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms and, in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth's surface. Tropical cyclones are classified as follows:
An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds* of 38 mph (33 kt**) or less
An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph (34-63 kt)
An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 kt) or higher.
A HURRICANE WATCH issued for your part of the coast indicates the possibility that you could experience hurricane conditions within 48 hours. This watch should trigger your family's disaster plan, and protective measures should be initiated, especially those actions that require extra time such as securing a boat, leaving a barrier island, etc.
A HURRICANE WARNING issued for your part of the coast indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 36 hours or less. Once this warning has been issued, your family should be in the process of completing protective actions and deciding the safest location to be during the storm.