Past History has demonstrated time and time again that a lack of hurricane awareness and hurricane preparedness are common occurrences among all major hurricane disasters.
Preparing for hurricane; you can be less vulnerability by knowing what actions you should take for you and your family’s personal safety, the protection of your home and cherished belongings; in order to reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.
Hurricane Preparedness is about becoming informed about hurricane hazards and gaining knowledge and developing a hurricane preparedness list which can be used to take ACTION.
The information we will share with you her can be used to save lives at work, home, while on the road, or on the water this Baja hurricane season.
The hazards of a hurricane come in many forms:
Storm surge is simply water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level 15 feet or more.
In addition, wind driven waves are superimposed on the storm tide. This rise in water level can cause severe flooding in coastal areas, particularly when the storm tide coincides with the normal high tides.
Hurricane Marty was the deadliest tropical cyclone of the 2003 Pacific & Baja hurricane season. Forming on September 18, it became the 13th tropical storm and fourth hurricane of the year.
The storm moved generally northwestward and steadily intensified despite only a marginally favorable environment for development, and became a Category 2 hurricane before making two landfalls on the Baja California peninsula and mainland Mexico.
The hurricane was responsible for significant flooding and storm surges that caused $50.5 million (2003 USD) in damage, mostly on the peninsula of Baja California, and resulted in the deaths of 12 people.
Marty affected many of the same areas that had been affected by Hurricane Ignacio a month earlier.
The level of surge in a particular area is also determined by the slope of the continental shelf. A shallow slope off the coast (right, top picture) will allow a greater surge to inundate coastal communities. Communities with a steeper continental shelf will not see as much surge inundation, although large breaking waves can still present major problems. Storm tides, waves, and currents in confined harbors severely damage ships, marinas, and pleasure boats.
The strength of a land falling hurricane is expressed in terms of categories that relate wind speeds and potential damage. According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffir-Simpson_Hurricane_Scale), a Category 1 hurricane has lighter winds compared to storms in higher categories.
A Category 4 hurricane would have winds between 131 and 155 mph and, on the average, would usually be expected to cause 100 times the damage of the Category 1 storm. Depending on circumstances, less intense storms may still be strong enough to produce damage, particularly in areas that have not prepared in advance.
Tropical storm force winds are infact strong enough to be hazardous to those who get caught in them.
Hurricane force winds can with no trouble destroy weakly constructed buildings and mobile homes. Signs, roofing material, and other debris such as small items left outside become flying missiles in hurricanes. Extensive damage to trees, towers, water and underground utility lines, and fallen poles cause considerable disruption.
High rise buildings are also amongst the vulnerable to hurricane force winds, predominantly at the higher levels since wind speed tends to increase with height. Recent research suggests you should stay below the tenth floor, but still above any floors at risk for flooding. It is not uncommon for high rise buildings to suffer a great deal of damage due to windows being blown out. As a result, the areas around these buildings can be very dangerous.
The right side of the hurricane, known as the eyewall tends to maintain the strongest winds.
Wind speed usually decreases significantly within 12 hours after landfall. Nonetheless, winds can stay above hurricane strength well inland.
Hurricane John, for example, hit the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula in September, 2006. John was a Category 3 Hurricane with 115 mph winds at 5am. This translates into some pretty serious damage for the coast. (Courtesy of Storm Tracker Meteorologist Erin Jordan)
Hurricanes can also produce tornadoes that add to the storm's destructive power. Tornadoes are most likely to occur in the right front quadrant of the hurricane. However, they are also often found elsewhere embedded in the rainbands, well away from the center of the hurricane.
Some hurricanes seem to produce no tornadoes, while others develop multiple ones. Studies have shown that more than half of the land falling hurricanes produce at least one tornado.
We have no way at present to predict exactly which storms will spawn tornadoes or where they will touch down. The new Doppler radar systems have greatly improved the forecaster's warning capability, but the technology usually provides lead times from only a few minutes up to about 30 minutes. Consequently, preparedness is critical.
Facts about Hurricanes & Tornados
When associated with hurricanes, tornadoes are not usually accompanied by hail or a lot of lightning, clues that citizens in other parts of the country watch for.
Tornado production can occur for days after landfall when the tropical cyclone remnants maintain an identifiable low pressure circulation.
They can also develop at any time of the day or night during landfall.
However, by 12 hours after landfall, tornadoes tend to occur mainly during daytime hours.
When it comes to hurricanes, wind speeds do not tell the whole story. Hurricanes produce storm surges, tornadoes, and often the most deadly of all; inland flooding.
While storm surge is always a potential threat, more people have died from inland flooding from 1970 up to 2000. Intense rainfall is not directly related to the wind speed of tropical cyclones. In fact, some of the greatest rainfall amounts occur from weaker storms that drift slowly or stall over an area.
Inland flooding can be a major threat to communities hundreds of miles from the coast as intense rain falls from these huge tropical air masses.
1997 Hurricane Nora was the fourteenth named tropical cyclone and seventh hurricane of the Pacific hurricane season. The September storm formed off the Pacific coast of Mexico, and aided by waters warmed by El Niño, eventually peaked at Category 4 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.
Nora intensified and weakened quickly before taking an unusual path, which lead it to make landfall twice as a hurricane in Baja California. After landfall, its remnants affected the Southwestern United States with tropical storm-force winds, torrential rain and flooding.
Nora is blamed for two direct casualties in Mexico, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico) as well as substantial beach erosion on the Mexican coast, flash flooding in Baja California, and record precipitation in Arizona. Nora persisted far inland; it was only the third known tropical cyclone to reach Arizona while tropical. (Courtesy of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Think inland flooding the next time you hear hurricane!
Therefore it is crucially important for your family to have a plan that includes all of these hazards. Carefully examine the safety actions recommended with each type of hurricane hazard and prepare your family disaster plan accordingly.
But do remember this is only meant as a guide. The first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is to use common sense.
The following questions should be answered before a hurricane threatens:
o What are the Hurricane Hazards?
o What does it mean to you?
o What actions should you take to be prepared?
Download the hurricane preparedness list (2008 version)
High Resolution Poster (1.8MB PDF) at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/pdf/2003_HAW_poster.pdf
Frequently visit the NOAA Coastal Services Center Historical Hurricane Tracks website at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/pdf/AT_Track_chart.pdf to learn about historical tropical cyclones taking place in different areas located throughout the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico.
The website provides information about hurricane strikes as well as links to various Internet resources focusing on tropical cyclones.
The interactive mapping application allows you to search the National Hurricane Center historical tropical cyclone database and graphically display storms affecting your area since 1851.
Hurricane preparedness is essential to protect your family and personal belongings, learn the facts, and be prepared this Baja hurricane season.