Tropical Cyclones, or Hurricanes as they are generally called, are rapidly-rotating storm systems characterized by a low-pressure center, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. Common during South Florida’s summers, Hurricanes are not only life threatening storms but can also cause serious property damage and hazards such as flooding, high winds, and tornados to name a few. It is vital to be prepared in advance for a hurricane because the destruction can be overwhelming and it is only through preparation and action that the extent of damage felt can be controlled and minimized.
Improved Hurricane monitoring in the last few decades have increased the window of preparation time. A Hurricane watch takes affect when hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. A hurricane warning is issued when conditions are 36 hours away. As previously mentioned the key to hurricane preparation is PLANNING and ACTION.
Planning for a hurricane includes stocking up on basic supplies. These include:
- Water, one gallon of water per person for at least three days
- Food, at least a three day supply of nonperishable food
- Battery powered or hand crank radio
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust Mask
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic bags for personal sanitation
- Wrench, or pliers
- Manual can opener for food
- Local Map
- Cell Phone
Once you have stocked up on basic supplies the next step is to act and ensure that you minimize any hazardous situation as a result of the storm. These include:
- Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind
- Close your doors, windows, and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
- Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting. Keep these closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
- Turn off propane tank
- Unplug small appliances
- Fill your cars gas tank
- Create a hurricane evacuation plan
- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately
NOTE: It is important to remember the eye of the cyclone, the calm period in the middle between the two phases of the storm, and not mistake it for the end of the hurricane.
After the storm has passed it is important to contact a professional roofer who can inspect the condition of your roof and ensure that your roof sheathing is properly installed, ensure the end gables are securely fastened to the rest of the roof, and fasten the roof to the walls with hurricane straps if needed.
Hopefully this preparation guides serves you well and keeps you and your family safe during the 2013 South Florida hurricane season.