Florence updates and state + federal preparedness resources on USFRA

September 14, 2018

For the past week we have been posting updates and resources about Florence in the U.S. First Responders Association’s Disaster Preparedness Group for those being impacted by the storm along the east coast and inland. (And our apologies for not sharing this here sooner!)

Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, NC at 0715 ET on 14-Sep-2018 and moving W about 6 mph (9 km/h). A west to WSW motion expected thru Sat bringing LOTS of rain, winds + a few possible tornadoes.

Download a free 59-pg portion of IT’S A DISASTER! book (in PDF) with tips on preparing for hurricanes, floods, evacuations, assembling disaster kits, making a family plan & more courtesy of USFRA and Fedhealth.

And visit USFRA.org’s Florence Updates and resources post to find information and links about…

  • Latest updates from National Hurricane Center and others;
  • USFRA posts about hurricanes, floods, evacuations, winds, generator safety, and more;
  • State web links, apps and resources for NC, SC, GA and VA (more will be added as storm moves inland);
  • Pets and Large animals/livestock tips;
  • FEMA, National Hurricane Center & Weather resources;
  • Disaster Assistance and Recovery efforts will be added in coming days/weeks/months as things progress.

Families, business owners, responders and volunteers can find above and more about Florence here.

And consider joining USFRA.org to find & share knowledge and expertise on training, tactics, safety, education and community outreach as it pertains to first responders, EMs, active duty military, veterans, volunteers and others.

Stay safe out there, j & B

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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


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


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