Hurricane updates and resources + free 58-pg preparedness ebook

September 6, 2017

It’s been several years since the U.S. has dealt with a major hurricane hitting our shores, but things are really starting to heat up esp. since we are in peak hurricane season.

As Texas and Louisiana continue to recover from the wrath of hurricane Harvey, an extremely powerful Hurricane Irma is barreling towards Florida and the southeastern U.S. Plus Irma’s little brother Jose is building strength as it follows her west.

Download a free 58-page PDF portion of our IT’S A DISASTER! book with tips about hurricanes, floods, evacuations, making a family plan, assembling disaster kits and more … and share ebook and this post with others ~ esp. those living along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Also visit the U.S. First Responders Association‘s Disaster Preparedness forum to find resources and updates about Hurricane Irma and Harvey recovery and the 2017 hurricane season in general, and follow the USFRA facebook page for breaking news and updates.

Stay safe out there and again – please download our free ebook and learn how to order the full 280-page ebook ($3 U.S.) or paperbacks ($4.50 U.S.) at www.fedhealth.net. j & B

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First tropical storm of Atlantic hurricane season, Andrea, in the Gulf

June 5, 2013

Tropical Storm Andrea first of 2013 Atlantic season NHCTropical Storm Andrea, the first tropical storm of the 2013 Atlantic season, has formed in the Gulf of Mexico. A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for portions of Florida’s Gulf coast with a Tropical Storm Watch along portions of the Southeast U.S. Atlantic coast.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the center of Tropical Storm Andrea is forecast to reach the coast of the Florida Big Bend on Thursday afternoon or evening, and then move over southeastern Georgia and eastern South Carolina Thursday night and Friday. The main concern with Andrea is very heavy rainfall that could lead to flooding.

The below graphic is the projected forecast path of Tropical Storm Andrea from the National Hurricane Center released 5-Jun-2013:

NHC Tropical Storm Andrea forecast path as of 5jun13

We encourage visitors to download and share some free preparedness and safety tips about hurricanes, flooding, evacuations and more from our IT’S A DISASTER! …and what are YOU gonna do about it? book. Stay safe out there, j & B


Hurricanes 101 (hurricane basics and resources)

May 29, 2013

hurricanes101-nhpw2013The National Weather Service launches it’s annual Hurricane Preparedness Week during the last week of May so we felt this was a good time to share some information about hurricanes in general.

The Seasons

As mentioned in our May 2013 enews, experts are predicting an active 2013 Atlantic season with 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. A typical Atlantic hurricane season averages 12 named storms, 6.5 hurricanes, and two major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). Some experts are even predicting a few storms may strike the northeast (like Sandy did last fall) since conditions are similar to the 1950s.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), over a typical 2-year period, the U.S. coastline is struck by an average of 3 hurricanes, 1 of which is classified as a major hurricane. And, while hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depressions also can be devastating.

The Pacific Hurricane Season runs from May 15th through November 30th (with peak season being July to September), and the Atlantic Hurricane Season starts June 1st ending November 30th (with peak season being mid-August to late October).

However, there have been instances where tropical storms and hurricanes have formed in May and December, plus typhoons and cyclones happen during other months in different parts of the world so our planet’s oceans stay active most of the year.

Hurricanes are tropical cyclones with torrential rains and winds of 74 – 155 miles per hour (120 – 250 km/h) or faster. These winds blow in a counter-clockwise direction (or clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere) around a center “eye”. The “eye” is usually 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 km) wide, and the storm may be spread out as far as 400 miles (640 km)!

As the hurricane approaches the coast, a huge dome of water (called a storm surge) will crash into the coastline.

Hurricanes can also cause tornadoes, heavy rains and flooding along the impacted coastlines as well as far into the mainland states.

Did you know…

…the deadliest hurricane (cyclone) on record struck East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), flooding the low lying areas?! At least 500,000 deaths are blamed on the November 13, 1970 storm, with some estimates rising as high as 1 million.

hurricanes101-katrina-destruction…the deadliest U.S. hurricane was the Great Galveston category 4 hurricane on September 8, 1900 that caused at least 8,000 deaths on the Texas coast?!

…the costliest U.S. hurricane was Katrina (category 3) in 2005 that impacted Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee causing over $105 billion according to NOAA?! Hurricane / Superstorm Sandy is second costliest at about $50 billion.

…the 2005 U.S. season broke records with 27 named storms (previous record was 21 in 1933) and 15 hurricanes (previous record was 12 in 1969). The National Hurricane Center states this cycle could last 10-20 more years similar to the above-average activity from the 1940s through the 1960s.

…9 out of 10 hurricane deaths are due to storm surge (a rise in the sea level caused by strong winds). Storm surges can get up to 20 feet (6 m) high and 50 to 100 miles (80 to 160 km) wide!

…the northeast part (or right front quadrant) of a hurricane typically has the strongest winds and highest storm surge?! If it’s high tide when the storm slams ashore you could have serious problems.

Hurricane basics

The ingredients for a hurricane include a pre-existing weather disturbance, warm tropical oceans, moisture, and relatively light winds aloft. If the right conditions persist long enough, they can combine to produce the violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains, and floods we associate with this phenomenon.

Each year, an average of 11 tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Many of these remain over the ocean and never impact the U.S. coastline. About six of these storms become hurricanes each year.

In an average 3-year period, roughly five hurricanes strike the US coastline, killing approximately 50 to 100 people anywhere from Texas to Maine. Of these, two are typically “major” or “intense” hurricanes (a category 3 or higher storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale).

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

Hurricanes are classed into five categories based on wind speeds, central pressure, and damage potential. The chart below is the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with sustained wind speeds and examples of damage (in italics) provided by NOAA:

Category 1   (74-95 mph / 119-153 km/h)  Dangerous winds will produce some damage (Untied mobile homes, vegetation & signs)

Category 2  (96-110 mph / 154-177 km/h )  Extremely dangerous winds / extensive damage (All mobile homes, roofs, small crafts, floods)

Category 3  (111-129 mph / 178-208 km/h)  Devastating damage will occur (Small buildings, low-lying roads cut off)

Category 4 (130-156 mph / 209-251 km/h)  Catastrophic damage will occur (Roofs and mobile homes destroyed, trees down, beach homes flooded)

Category 5 (> 156 mph / >251 km/h) Catastrophic damage will occur (Most buildings and vegetation destroyed, major roads cut off, homes flooded)

Naming a hurricane

Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center and now maintained and updated by an International committee of the World Meteorological Organization. The lists featured only women’s names until 1979, when men’s and women’s names were alternated. Six lists are used in rotation. Thus, the 2001 list will be used again in 2007. The only time there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate and the name is retired by the WMO. Retiring a name means it cannot be reused for at least 10 years. Source:WRAL.com

NatGeo vid “Hurricanes 101”

This short video further explains hurricanes, and scroll down to find more resources.

National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2013

As mentioned above, National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2013 runs from May 26 to June 1. The National Hurricane Center has posted 7 Public Service Announcements (both Youtube videos and audio files in English and Spanish) with a specific topic designated for each day of the week.

hurricanes 101-national hurricane preparedness week 2013

PSA topics include: Hurricane Basics, Storm Surge, Winds, Inland Flooding, Forecast Process, Get A Plan! and After the Storm. Learn more and find other resources and tools from NHC at www.hurricanes.gov to help educate your family and community.

Additional Resources:

Tips about Flooding, Tornadoes and more (from our IT’S A DISASTER! book)

NOAA Tropical Cyclones Preparedness Guide (12 pg PDF)

Florida’s Foundation “Make Mitigation Happen” (21-pg PDF for FL but could help most everyone)

National Hurricane Center

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (Hurricane page)

Bounce Energy Hurricane preparedness guide and resources page

How Stuff Works: How Hurricanes Work

Hurricane.com

USA Today Resources: Hurricanes


Prepare for Hurricane Sandy NOW!

October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy remains on target to bring life-threatening storm surge flooding to the mid-Atlantic coast, including Long Island Sound and New York Harbor. Winds of near hurricane-force are also expected at landfall.

This superstorm that could menace some 50 million people in the most heavily populated corridor in the nation, with forecasters warning New York could be in particular peril.

“The time for preparing and talking is about over,” Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate warned as Hurricane Sandy made its way up the Atlantic on a collision course with two other weather systems that could turn it into one of the most fearsome storms on record in the U.S. “People need to be acting now.”

Governors from North Carolina to Connecticut have declared states of emergency. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities by 8 p.m. Sunday. A mandatory evacuation order is in effect for residents in Zone A areas in New York City and the NYC MTA will shut down all subway, bus, and commuter railroad service at 7 PM, Sunday, Oct 28th.

NOAA forecaster Jim Cisco, who coined the nickname Frankenstorm for Sandy, said last week: “We don’t have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting.” The so-called “Perfect Storm” of book and movie fame was similar to this one, but that storm (in 1991) never made a direct hit on the United States but still caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

As of Sunday 28-Oct mid-afternoon, the center of Sandy is located about 575 miles south of New York City moving toward the northeast. It should turn toward the north and then northwest tonight and early Monday, and will be near the coast Monday Night. Most officials feel it will make landfall somewhere in New Jersey, but since it’s such a massive storm it will impact multiple states as it moves inland.

And the storm will take its time leaving. The weather may not start clearing in the mid-Atlantic until the day after Halloween and Nov. 2 in the upper Northeast, Cisco said. “It’s almost a weeklong, five-day, six-day event,” he said from a NOAA forecast center in College Park, Md. “It’s going to be a widespread, serious storm.”

It is likely to hit during a full moon, when tides are near their highest, increasing the risk of coastal flooding. And because many trees still have their leaves, they are more likely to topple in the event of wind and snow, meaning there could be widespread power outages lasting to Election Day.

Weather.com and the National Hurricane Center are forecasting:

Destructive Wind Potential – Winds will be strong over a very large area and capable of downing or damaging many trees and possibly blowing out windows in skyscrapers. Power outages are expected to be widespread and could last for days so be sure to charge cell phones and have any other supplies you may need. Wind damage will spread well inland, especially over higher terrain, due to the extremely large size of Sandy. In some areas, sustained winds of 30 to 50 mph could last for more than 24 hours. Gusts may top 75 mph.
Heavy Rain Potential – Widespread heavy rainfall will likely lead to flooding problems in some areas. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches are expected to be widespread in parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic with locally 10 inches or more possible.

Coastal Flooding – There remains uncertainty with where exactly the worst coastal flooding is expected. In general, the most significant coastal flooding will occur to the north of where the center eventually moves inland. This most likely will extend from New Jersey to the New York City area and southern New England.

According to NHC’s update 3p 28-Oct: A significant storm surge is expected to occur in the mid-Atlantic states and southern New England. If the peak surge occurs at the time if high tide, the depths above ground level could reach 6 to 11 feet at Long Island Sound and Raritan Bay, and 4 to 8 feet from Ocean City, Md., to the Connecticut/Rhode Island state line, and 3 to 5 feet from there to the south shore of Cape Cod.

Heavy Snow – Yes, this setup will even wrap in just enough cold air on its western edge to produce wet snow, possibly heavy, in some parts of the central Appalachians (mountains of West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania). Total accumulations of a foot or more will be possible. The combination of snow and strong winds will damage trees and cause power outages.

The National Hurricane Center is predicting snow accumulations of 2 to 3 feet in the mountains of West Virgina, with locally higher amounts, tonight through Tuesday night. The southwestern Virginia mountains are forecast to see 12 to 18 inches of snow.

Some things to do to prepare for Hurricane Sandy…

  • Have a plan, map out several evacuation routes, and make disaster supplies kits for your home and vehicles. (And make kits for your office too.) And get some Weather radios with battery backup and tone-alert feature.
  • Make arrangements for pets since shelters may not allow them. If you have horses or livestock, make a plan for an alternate site in case they must be evacuated.
  • Be prepared to have enough supplies on hand for a week or 2 since these storms may knock out power in many states. Hopefully you have propane, sterno, a sun oven or other alternative ways to cook.
  • Videotape or take pictures of home and personal belongings and store chips/cards/drives with important papers in a secure, safe place offsite.
  • If you have time, strengthen weak spots on home — Roof: Install truss bracing or gable end bracing; anchors, clips and straps, etc. Windows & Doors: Get storm shutters or keep plywood on hand; install reinforced bolt kits or doors, etc. Garage doors: Some retrofit kits install horizontal bracing onto each panel.
  • Secure / anchor mobile homes with tie-down systems.
  • Secure or tie down loose items like patio furniture, barbeque grills, water heaters, garbage cans, bookcases and shelving, etc. Loose items can become like missiles during high winds or tornadoes.
  • Keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, lumber, shovels, work boots and gloves. Visit your local emergency management agency website to learn how to construct proper protective measures around your home (esp if using sandbags in case of flooding).
  • Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves — ask local utilities for instructions.
  • Listen to local authorities for warnings, evacuation tips and instructions.

Download our free 57-pg mini ebook with tips about Emergency Plan Checklists, assembling kits for your home, office or vehicle, and dealing with Floods, Hazardous materials, Hurricanes, etc … and find more free topics from our IT’S A DISASTER! book here and please share the data with others.

Additional Resources:

Resources for those in the path of Hurricane Sandy

National Hurricane Center

Ready.gov

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety Hurricane pg

FEMA’s mobi page or free app

American Red Cross free apps


Resources for those in the path of Hurricane Sandy

October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy is predicted to bring drenching rain, major storm surges (4 to 11 feet above ground level from Maryland to Rhode Island) and winds that could hit 80 mph along the east and northeast parts of the U.S.

Remember … 9 out of 10 hurricane deaths are due to storm surge so please pay attention to evacuation orders.

Weather.com is reporting the hurricane force winds may continue across multiple states for about 36 hours and the intensity of this massive storm is causing great concern. Plus you compound Sandy with two winter storms heading east and merging in with this tropical activity … thus you have the “Perfect Storm” (or “Frankenstorm” as NOAA forecaster Jim Cisco first labeled it).

Some suggested tips from Weather.com…

Everyone:

  • Needs to complete preparations by sunset Sunday
  • Needs to be prepared for extended period without power (we’ve heard up to 10 days or more)

Coast:

  • Follow orders from local officials and know if you need to evacuate due to coastal flood threat
  • Prepare your home/property for frequent hurricane gusts and flooding

Inland:

  • Prepare your home/property for occasional hurricane gusts
  • Know if you are in an area prone to flooding from rainfall
  • Beware of the potential of lakeshore flooding on the southern end of the Great Lakes as far west as Chicago

Also download some FREE topics from our IT’S A DISASTER! book about Evacuations, Flooding, Hurricanes and more … or download a 57-pg mini ebook in PDF at with Emergency Plan Checklists (including tips for pets and livestock), suggestions about assembling Home, Car or Office kits and more. And please share this post and PDFs with others.

Also visit your City or County web site to find a link to your Emergency Management, Emergency Services or Homeland Security office to stay current on latest updates. Some local and state offices offer text alerts or have Twitter accounts so you and your loved ones can stay current on warnings.

If you can’t find your local EM site, the following state offices along the east coast all had safety information about Hurricane Sandy as of Sunday 9am PDT 28-Oct-2012. Obviously other states not listed here have helpful data too and a complete list of State and Territorial Emergency Management agencies can be found on fema.gov.

Delaware Emergency Management Agency
(302) 659-3362 or Tollfree 1-877-SAY-DEMA
Hurricane Sandy Hotline – (800) 464-4357
www.dema.delaware.gov

District of Columbia Homeland Security & Emergency Management Agency (DC HSEMA)
(202) 727-6161
http://hsema.dc.gov FB http://www.facebook.com/HSEMADC

Connecticut Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security
(860) 256-0800 or Tollfree 1-800-397-8876
http://www.ct.gov/demhs FB https://www.facebook.com/CTEMHS
Hurricane Sandy News & Information http://www.ct.gov/sandy

Maine Emergency Management Agency
(207) 624-4400
www.state.me.us/mema and www.maineprepares.com

Maryland Emergency Management Agency
(410) 517-3600 or Tollfree 1-877-MEMA-USA
www.mema.state.md.us FB http://facebook.com/mdmema

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
(508) 820-2000
http://www.mass.gov/mema FB https://www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA

New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management
(603) 271-2231
www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/hsem/ ReadyNH www.nh.gov/readynh/

New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
(609) 963-6900
http://www.ready.nj.gov FB https://www.facebook.com/READYNEWJERSEY

New York State Emergency Management Office
(518) 292-2200
www.dhses.ny.gov
New York City OEM http://www.nyc.gov/oem FB https://www.facebook.com/NYCemergencymanagement

North Carolina Emergency Management
(919) 733-3825
www.ncem.org Ready NC http://www.readync.org FB https://www.facebook.com/NCEmergencyManagement

Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
(717) 651-2001
www.pema.state.pa.us and http://www.readypa.org/ FB https://www.facebook.com/pages/ReadyPAorg/120150131052

Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency
(401) 946-9996
www.riema.ri.gov

Vermont Emergency Management
(802) 244-8721
http://vem.vermont.gov/ FB https://www.facebook.com/vermontemergencymanagement

Virginia Dept of Emergency Management
(804) 897-6500
http://www.readyvirginia.gov/ FB https://www.facebook.com/VAemergency

Additional Resources:

National Hurricane Center  www.hurricanes.gov

Ready.gov Hurricanes pg  www.ready.gov/hurricanes

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety Hurricane pg http://disastersafety.org/hurricane/

FEMA’s mobi page  or free app

American Red Cross www.redcross.org


Hurricane Preparedness tips (Before the storm hits)

August 23, 2012

By now you’ve probably heard Tropical Storm Isaac is churning in the Caribbean and may strengthen into a hurricane that could impact Florida and other Gulf coast states in the coming days.

Although 2012 has been a fairly quiet hurricane season so far, the Atlantic basin has seen 9 named storms, including 3 hurricanes, and the Pacific basin has seen 5 storms, 4 of which became hurricanes.

Keep in mind the storm season officially starts June 1 and runs through November 30, but August and September historically have been the peak activity months. For example, in 2010 and 2011, 12 named storms occurred in August and September both years. And it doesn’t take a hurricane to create havoc since tropical storms and depressions can bring torrential rains, tornadoes and flooding to coastlines and hundreds of miles inland.

Hurricane Ike

Did you know…

…according to IBHS, more than half of the nation’s population now lives within 50 miles of the coast and the majority of properties there are exposed to the threat of hurricanes?!

…the 2005 U.S. season broke records with 27 named storms (previous record was 21 in 1933) and 15 hurricanes (previous record was 12 in 1969)?! The National Hurricane Center states this cycle could last 10-20 more years similar to the above-average activity from the 1940s through the 1960s.

…Hurricane Irene was the lone hurricane to hit the United States in 2011, and the first one to do so since Ike struck southeast Texas in 2008?!

9 out of 10 hurricane deaths are due to storm surge (a rise in the sea level caused by strong winds). Storm surges can get up to 20 feet high and 50 to 100 miles wide!

Some things to think about and do to prepare for the storms…

  • Have a plan, map out several evacuation routes, and make disaster supplies kits for your home and vehicles. (And consider making kits for your office too.) And get some Weather radios with battery backup and tone-alert feature.
  • Make arrangements for pets since shelters may not allow them. If you have horses or livestock, make a plan for an alternate site in case they must be evacuated.
  • Videotape or take pictures of home and personal belongings and store chips/cards/drives with important papers in a secure, safe place offsite.
  • Consider getting flood insurance (and keep in mind it may take 30+ days to take effect). Learn more at www.floodsmart.gov
  • Strengthen weak spots on home — Roof: Install truss bracing or gable end bracing; anchors, clips and straps, etc. Windows & Doors: Get storm shutters or keep plywood on hand; install reinforced bolt kitsor doors, etc. Garage doors: Some retrofit kits install horizontal bracing onto each panel.
  • wind damage from Hurricane AndrewSecure / anchor mobile homes with tie-down systems.
  • Secure or tie down loose stuff like patio furniture, barbeque grills, water heaters, garbage cans, bookcases and shelving, etc. Loose items can become like missiles during high winds or tornadoes.
  • Keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, lumber, shovels, work boots and gloves. Call your local emergency management agency to learn how to construct proper protective measures around your home.
  • Know where and how to shut off electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves — ask local utilities for instructions.
  • Listen to local authorities for warnings, evacuation tips and instructions, etc.

Download some FREE topics from our IT’S A DISASTER! book about Evacuations, Flooding, Hurricanes and more … and please share the information with others.

Additional Resources:

National Hurricane Center

Ready.gov Hurricanes page

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety Hurricane page

FEMA’s mobile Web  or  free app


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