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National Homeland Security Knowledgebase

Hurricane Information


Hurricanes are one of nature's most powerful storms. Their potential for loss of life and destruction of property is tremendous. Those in hurricane-prone areas need to be prepared for hurricanes and tropical storms. Even inland areas, well away from the coastline, can experience destructive winds, tornadoes and floods from tropical storms and hurricanes.

Know your Terms

Hurricane
An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 MPH (64 knots) or higher.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch
Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are possible in the specified area, usually within 36 hours. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning
Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are expected in the specified area, usually within 24 hours.
Know What to Do When a Hurricane WATCH Is Issued
• Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for up-to-date storm information.
• Prepare to bring inside any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants, and anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
• Prepare to cover all windows of your home. If shutters have not been installed, use precut plywood as described above. Note: Tape does not prevent windows from breaking, so taping windows is not recommended.
• Fill your car's gas tank.
• Recheck manufactured home tie-downs.
• Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water, and medications.
Know What to Do When a Hurricane WARNING Is Issued
• Listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
• Complete preparation activities.
• If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows.
• Be aware that the calm "eye" is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.
• Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during a hurricane and after it passes over. Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows.
• Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car and climb to higher ground.
Know What to Do After a Hurricane Is Over
• Keep listening to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for instructions.
• If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe to do so.
• Inspect your home for damage.
• Use flashlights in the dark; do not use candles.

For more information go to: http://www.fema.gov/hazard/hurricane/index.shtm
For more information go to: http://www.redcross.org/news/ds/0305hurricane/
For more information go to: http://www.weather.gov/os/hurricane/
For more information go to: http://www.ready.gov/

Smithfield Emergency Management Agency
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