A hurricane is a severe tropical storm. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October. Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Hurricanes can produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour as well as tornadoes. Hurricanes cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall. Floods and flying debris from the excessive winds are often the deadly and destructive results of these weather events. Flash flooding can occur due to intense rainfall.
Before a Hurricane
To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:
- Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
· Make plans to secure your property:
- Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
· Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
· Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
· Determine how and where to secure your boat.
· If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
During a Hurricane
If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:
- During any storm, listen to local news and utilize a NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio with a warning alarm tone to receive warnings.
· Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
- Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
· Turn off propane tanks
· Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
· Moor your boat if time permits.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purpose such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
· Find out how to keep food safe during an after and emergency.
You should evacuate under the following conditions:
- If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
- If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelter are particularly hazardous during a hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
· If you live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
· If you live on the coast, in a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.
If you are unable to evacuate, follow these guidelines:
· Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
· Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
· Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
· Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
· Avoid elevators.
Residents of the County can obtain additional information on hurricane preparedness as well as other emergency preparedness topics by utilizing the Department of Emergency Services’ web site at www.wicomicocounty.org/es in the section entitled Emergency Preparedness Topics or by calling 410-548-4820 for information.