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The Feared, the Dreaded, and the Infamous Hurricane Season: What to Expect and How to Prepare
By Rebekah Doucette, Grade 12

Hurricanes. According to dictionary.com, “Hurricane” means “1. A violent, tropical, cyclonic storm of the western North Atlantic, having wind speeds of, or in excess of, 72 miles per hour (32 m/sec). Compare tropical cyclone, typhoon. 2. A storm of the most intense severity. 3. Anything suggesting a violent storm.” Hurricane season started on June 1st and is not officially over until November 30th. Just because it’s the beginning of the season doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start preparing now!

Records show that hurricanes don’t wait for the season to start; sometimes they hit as early as May. Though that hasn’t been the case this year, hurricanes have actually caused a lot of damage in the early months of June in the past.

Hurricanes are not just a bunch of wind and stormy weather, though that is a big part of them. They can trigger other horrible weather catastrophes. And yes, though it may be fun to sit at the windows and watch the storm rage outside (guilty), the cleanup afterwards sure isn’t! Hurricanes can cause power outages, extreme property damage, severe flooding, tornadoes, and can even take lives. A good example is hurricane Agnes, which struck Florida on June 19, 1972:

“Hurricane Agnes strikes Panama City with minimal hurricane force winds and a storm surge peaking at 7 feet (2.1 m) in Cedar Key. Agnes produces moderate rainfall throughout the state, amounting to a maximum of 8.97 inches (228 mm) in Naples. The hurricane spawns 28 tornadoes in the state which destroy 15 houses and 217 trailers. Throughout the state, Agnes causes $8.2 million in damage (1972 USD, $42 million 2008 USD) and nine deaths, seven of which from the tornadoes.”

Now that you know what to expect, let’s focus on how to prepare. First and foremost: use common sense! Is it smart to go to the beach during a category three hurricane (or any hurricane for that matter)? Is it smart to sit by the window and watch the storm blow over the huge oak next to your house? No, it’s not. Use common sense, and take heed of the following smart directions taken from weather.gov:
  1. Be sure you have the first-aid kit well stocked and ready for use!
  2. Figure out ahead of time safe evacuation routes and learn the locations of official shelters.
  3. Check your emergency equipment (flashlights, generators, battery-operated equipment and your cell phone) and make sure all works properly.
  4. Keep gallons of drinking water on hand and food that will not spoil.
  5. Buy materials to protect your home.
  6. Make sure you have a lot of gas for the generator and the cars.
  7. Fasten down and/or bring in light-weight objects. Who knows what will happen to them if you don’t?

If you live in a mobile home, a high-rise building, on the coastline, or near a river or flood-zone, prepare to leave the area. Always be sure to stay away from windows and doors, and stay safe during hurricane season 2011!

Sources:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hurricane
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Florida_hurricanes_(1900–1949)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Florida_hurricanes_(1950–1974)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Florida_hurricanes_(1975–1999)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Florida_hurricanes_(2000–present)
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/outreach/prepared_week.shtml
http://www.weather.gov/os/hurricane/resources/TropicalCyclones11.pdf
Photograph by Priscilla G., Grade 9

JosephC
7/19/2011 11:09:05 am

Funny thing is, I look forward to hurricane season. Keystone Heights always needs rain with the lakes so low. By the time it gets this far inland, it's rarely very terrible of a storm.

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Rebekah D.
7/30/2011 01:19:03 am

lol! I didn't even know they posted. Yeah, I like hurricanes, too... I just know that they are dangerous. Most people don't like them, hence the title. =D To be honest, I would love to go to the beach during a hurricane! Well... maybe a tropical storm would do... lol!

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