According to the National Weather Service, 25 million lightning strikes occur in the United States each year, making lightning a serious threat to the safety of your family and home. During a thunderstorm, lightning can penetrate roofs, severely damage brick and concrete walls, start fires, and damage or destroy important electronics and appliances in your home. During a storm, it is essential to take precautions to protect the electrical systems in your home as well as your family.
When a major hurricane hits, damage to utilities can be severe. Even the smallest storms can wreak havoc on electricity and gas pipes from wind and falling tree branches. Thinking about gas and electricity should be high on your hurricane preparedness priority list.
Keeping yourself and your family safe should be your top priority in hurricane preparedness. Knowing the risks you may face and how to deal with them – ideally in advance – can save lives. It can also protect your property and reduce the hassle you encounter after the storm has passed.
We’ve compiled these hurricane safety tips to help you prepare for the day ahead, as well as tips on how to stay safe during a hurricane and after the storm.
When a cyclone hits land, the accompanying storm surge most often floods the surrounding coastal area. Floods are responsible for most of the deaths and economic damage associated with tropical cyclone landings. When a hurricane hit Galveston, Texas in 1900, the storm surge was responsible for an estimated 6,000 deaths. In East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), Cyclone Bhola killed up to 500,000 people in 1970. The storm surge from Cyclone Bhola was estimated to be 10 meters (33 feet) high.
Tropical cyclones and the storm surges they generate pose a serious threat to coastal areas in the tropics and subtropics of the world. Developing in late summer (July-August in the northern hemisphere, January-February in the southern hemisphere), when the waters are warmest, tropical cyclones hit areas as far away as the Gulf Coast. from the United States, Northwest Australia and Bangladesh.
Improvements in cyclone forecasting and early warning dissemination to the public have become essential as coastal populations and the frequency of extreme storms continue to increase.
However, even sophisticated weather and storm warnings do not always protect against devastating storm surges. The storm surge from Hurricane Katrina inundated the American coastal communities of Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as urban areas of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Biloxi, Mississippi, in 2005. The flooding killed over 1,500 people in New Orleans and caused millions of dollars in damage. Homes, businesses, schools and hospitals were destroyed. Yet the forecast improvements greatly benefit areas like Chesapeake Bay, in the US states of Maryland and Virginia. Chesapeake Bay suffered severe damage from Hurricane Isabel in 2003. Emergency officials failed to predict Isabel’s extreme storm surges, which caused widespread flooding in the area.
Now, meteorologists and emergency officials are more closely monitoring storms forming in the southeast. New computer simulations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) examined the effects of a Category 4 hurricane (131-155 mph winds) landing in the U.S. states of North or South Carolina, hundreds of miles away south of Chesapeake. The simulation showed that the hurricane could produce storm surges of up to 5 or 6 meters (18 or 20 feet) along the Chesapeake coastline. FEMA used the latest version of its computerized SLOSH model to predict the surge. Acronym for “Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes”, the SLOSH program is used by the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency is now working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local officials to turn SLOSH simulation data into updated maps for emergency planning. The new maps show how far inland flooding could extend under certain conditions. With this new forecast data, emergency planners and citizens will be better prepared for storm surges.
Government agencies can organize the evacuation of residents. Some residents do not have a car and may need transportation to safer terrain. Others may not have a place to go and need emergency shelter. Many residents, such as those in hospitals and prisons, are particularly at risk. Advance warning of a strong storm surge also helps homes and businesses prepare for damage. Business owners can move expensive machines or tools to safe areas, and home owners can cover windows to protect against heavy flooding or move furniture and other valuables to a second story.
Summary of the news:
- Ensure the security of the power supply in case of storm surge
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