Hurricanes are strong storms that can be life-threatening as well as cause serious property-threatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds and tornadoes.
Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Know the difference between the threat levels and plan accordingly.
Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Conditions that cause floods include heavy or steady rain for several hours or days that saturates the ground. Flash floods occur suddenly due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area.
A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail at least 1 inch in diameter or has wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding, and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles, causing widespread power outages.
Tornadoes are violent by nature. They are capable of completely destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees and hurling objects through the air like deadly missiles. A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground. Although severe tornadoes are more common in the Plains States, tornadoes have been reported in every state.
It is important to make sure that the entire family is prepared and informed in the event of a disaster or emergency. You may not always be together when these events take place and should have plans for making sure you are able to contact and find one another.
The American Red Cross suggests some basic steps to make sure you remain safe:
Plan what to do in case you are separated during an emergency
Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones.
Plan what to do if you have to evacuate
Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel/motel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to an evacuation shelter if necessary.
Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable.
Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.
Let Your Family Know You're Safe
If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe. You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for "Disaster" to register yourself and your family.
Tools & Resources
The American Red Cross has created a Disaster and Safety Library to assist you in preparing your home, school and workplace in the event of a disaster or emergency. Here you will find fact sheets, preparedness checklists, recovery guides and other helpful information to keep you informed and safe.
Here are just a few:
Visit the redcross.org for more.
Watches and Warnings
You will likely hear weather forecasters use these terms when significant weather events are predicted in your community:
Call Safe Clean to help clean up after the storm. We specialize in water removal and restoration. Our state-of-the-art equipment detects water and moisture that can't be seen.
We work directly with your insurance company, to save you time.
Remember, It's not clean unless it's .
UPDATED VIDEO - 05/30/2015
Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans, and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!
Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately under ground to a basement, storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom).
Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property.
Flood/Flash Flood Watch - Flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.
Flood/Flash Flood Warning - Flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
Hurricane Watch - Hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans. Get ready to act if a warning is issued, and stay informed.
Hurricane Warning - Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.
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