The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) outlook of current climate conditions indicate a high likely hood for an increase in the number of severe hurricanes this year. Hurricane season takes place in the Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Central Pacific from June 1 to November 30 while in the Eastern Pacific the season is from May 15 to November 30. Being prepared and knowing if you should evacuate could save your life.
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 (one meter) for a category one storm to over 19 feet (6 meters) of storm surge for a category five storm. Hundreds of thousands of deaths in countries such as Bangladesh have been caused by the storm surge of cyclones.
- Wind Damage. The strong, at least 74 mph or 119 km/hr, 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.
Unfortunately, polls find that about half of Americans living in coastal areas are unprepared for a hurricane disaster. Anyone living along the Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean should read the Suggested Reading.