Hurricane Season Keeps U.S. on Alert
What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word hurricane? The answer will depend on whether you are a parent or a teen, of course. If you are a parent: safety may be your keyword. If you are a teen, instead of a word, you may have a question of your own: is school closing?
But whether you are more concerned with family safety than say, if you have to set your alarm or not, we can all agree on one thing: hurricanes can be a tremendous issue in the world and should not be taken lightly. For those of us who live in South Florida or anywhere on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, the hurricane season has a way of keeping us on alert from June 1 until November 30, when the season ends. This season can be a nerve racking time for everyone, not only for us who may be in the cone or path of the hurricane, but for our families who live elsewhere and worry about us.
According to hurricane experts, preparedness is not just necessary, but having a plan can help you keep the peace of mind during this uncertain time. Some hurricanes are slow travelers and that gives us more time to go over the top three “To-do’s” on our Hurricane Check List, as reported by www.wikihow.com:
- Keep a Hurricane Preparedness Kit packed.
- Create a “take box”. The take box should have everything you need to reconstruct your life in the event you evacuate and everything is lost. Passports; birth, wedding, adoption, divorce, and armed service separation certificates; copies of insurance policies; mortgage information; house and car title; large purchase receipts. You get the idea.
- Discuss and practice a disaster plan with your family. One of the most important lessons from Hurricane Katrina to make sure everyone in the family knows who to contact (and how to contact them) as an out of area contact.
The good thing about hurricanes is that they can be tracked. Unlike earthquakes, which usually form without much warning, hurricane paths can be monitored every step of the way. To stay informed, pay close attention to www.weather.com, which tracks storms as they are forming and developing.
Currently on their radar? Hurricane Katia. “It continues to churn south of Bermuda as a major hurricane (Category 3),” they reported earlier today, projecting how Katia’s center of circulation will “likely remain offshore of the U.S. East Coast. However, Katia is an increasingly large storm with an expansive tropical storm-force wind field.” According to their report, Katia’s wind speed is 120mph, with a ground speed of 9mph. Its possible tropical storm-force winds may affect Cape Cod, Nantucket Island, and Marthas’s Vineyard sometime Friday.
Closer to us is Hurricane Lee. Today, at around 11am, when the last report was published on weather.com, this tropical depression was recorded traveling north over the Gulf of Mexico, at 30mph.
Between 1851 and 2010, 284 storms have occurred and reached a maximum wind speed between 0 and 196mph and made landfall in either Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, or Texas.
If you look back in recent history, Hurricane Andrew slammed into South Florida on August 24, 1992, devastating Homestead, Florida City and parts of Miami, then continued northwest across the Gulf of Mexico to strike the Louisiana coastline. Forty lives were lost and one quarter of a million were left homeless. If you have never experienced a hurricane, then perhaps you don’t know what to expect. Take it from those who have experienced one. Pray. Prepare. Plan.
During the past two weeks, people did just that when Hurricane Irene threatened to come our way. This hurricane may just go down in history as one of the costliest Category 1 hurricanes to ever hit the United States. The entire East Coast from the Carolinas to Maine sustained damage from Irene. Its devastating effects proved that many communities up north do not have to be along the coast to be decimated by the power of hurricanes. Vermont received the hardest hit by Irene. To date, it is still inundated with record floodwaters. Those people who fared the storm better than others were those who prepared.
The aftermath of a hurricane is hard to live with: power outages, closed roads, lingering flood dangers, water damage, cleaning up after the flood… But somehow, we recover. Students go back to their day-to-day routine, parents do too, and for those who did not get affected by the powerful storms, life goes on.
For now, everybody is in on alert until November 30, when the hurricane season presumably ends its cycle.