We are now in the middle of hurricane season. These storms start out as tropical depressions (winds up to 38 mph), then develop into tropical storms (39-73 mph) and finally a hurricane (74 mph or higher). A hurricane is an intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. Hurricane winds blow in a large spiral around a relatively calm center known as the "eye". As a hurricane nears land, it can bring torrential rains, high winds and storm surges. The storm surges and heavy rains can lead to flooding. The winds can lead to "spinoff" tornadoes.
Know the difference between a storm or hurricane WATCH and a storm or hurricane WARNING. A watch means conditions are possible within our area for a storm or hurricane. Storm or hurricane watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of storm-force winds. You are watching for a storm.
Put your plan into action. Prepare your home and review your plan for evacuation if needed. Evacuations can require you to drive 20 - 50 miles inland to a safe place.
A warning is an announcement that a storm or hurricane is expected within our area. Warnings are issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated storm-force winds. You have a warning that a storm is coming. During a warning, complete storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area if directed by local officials to evacuate. Otherwise, stay inside in your pre-planned safe area, an interior portion of a well-built structure.
BEFORE: Be prepared. Have a disaster supplies kit.
Before you leave home: Make arrangements for pets. Fuel up family vehicles. Charge cell phones and other devices. Turn off gas, electricity and water. Stay tuned to your local TV and radio stations.
EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEMS: 107.1 FM radio; weather radio 162.450 and 162.425; local TV stations Channel 3 WBTV and Channel 9 WSOC
DURING: Protect yourself. Stay tuned to radio and/or TV for updates. Stay inside a well-constructed building away from windows and doors. Go to an interior first floor room, basement, closet or under stairs. BE ALERT ! Tornadoes may spinoff or winds may return from the other direction of the hurricane.
AFTER: Returning home. Wait until area is declared safe before entering. Do NOT drive in flooded areas. If roads are closed, it is because they are NOT SAFE to travel. Check gas, water, appliances and visually inspect electrical lines for damage. Do NOT touch broken or downed power lines. Avoid using candles and other open flames indoors. Use a flashlight to inspect damage. Report life-threatening emergencies only.
Category I 74 - 95 mph winds Category II 96 - 110 mph winds Category III 111 - 129 mph winds Category IV 130 - 156 mph winds Category V more than 157 mph winds
BE SAFE AND PREPARED!