Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hurricane Awareness Week-High Winds

On this Tuesday we continue our coverage of Hurricane Awareness Week at News 14 Carolina. Hurricanes and Tropical Storms come ashore packing all types of dangerous weather. High winds from these systems can bring down trees, powerlines and can turn everyday objects into flying missiles.

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RALEIGH NC
MAY 23 2006...

NORTH CAROLINA HURRICANE AWARENESS...

THIS WEEK HAS BEEN DECLARED NORTH CAROLINA'S HURRICANE AWARENESS WEEK FOR 2006. ALL WEEK LONG THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILL BE ISSUING INFORMATIVE MESSAGES TO HELP YOU PREPARE FOR HURRICANE SEASON. EACH DAY WE WILL COVER A DIFFERENT TOPIC. TODAY WE WILL TALK ABOUT HIGH WINDS.

THE INTENSITY OF A LAND FALLING HURRICANE IS EXPRESSED IN TERM OF CATEGORIES THAT RELATE TO WIND SPEEDS AND POTENTIAL DAMAGE. A CATEGORY ONE HURRICANE, ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE SCALE, HAS LIGHTER WIND WHEN COMPARED TO HIGHER CATEGORY HURRICANES. A CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE... LIKE HURRICANES HAZEL AND HUGO... WOULD HAVE WINDS BETWEEN 131-155 MPH, AND WOULD BE EXPECTED TO CAUSE 100 TIMES MORE DAMAGE THAN A CATEGORY 1 HURRICANE.

EVEN TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS OF LESS THAN 74 MPH ARE CAPABLE TOSSING AROUND DEBRIS AND CAUSING DAMAGE SIMILAR TO THAT SEEN FROM HURRICANE FRAN. FOR THIS REASON, YOU NEED TO BE IS A STURDY SHELTER AS THE HURRICANE MOVES INLAND AND BEFORE THE ONSET OF TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS. THIS MAY BE HOURS AHEAD OF THE ACTUAL HURRICANE EYE. FOR THIS REASON MANY EMERGENCY MANAGERS TYPICALLY HAVE EVACUATIONS COMPLETED AND PERSONNEL SHELTERED BEFORE THE ONSET OF TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS CAN EASILY DESTROY POORLY CONSTRUCTED BUILDINGS AND MOBILE HOMES. DEBRIS SUCH AS SIGNS, ROOFING, AND SMALL ITEMS LEFT OUTSIDE BECOME FLYING MISSILES IN HIGH WIND. FALLING TREES CAN CAUSE EXTENSIVE DAMAGE TO POWER LINES, TOWERS AND UNDERGROUND WATER LINES. THIS CAN CAUSE EXTENDED DISRUPTIONS OF UTILITY SERVICES. THESE DAMAGING WINDS CAN BE JUST AS DEVASTATING AS TORNADOES.

THE STRONGEST WINDS USUALLY OCCUR IN THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE EYEWALL OF THE HURRICANE. WIND SPEED USUALLY DECREASES SIGNIFICANTLY 12 HOURS AFTER LANDFALL. NONETHELESS, AS SEEN IN HURRICANES HAZEL AND HUGO... HURRICANE FORCE WINDS CAN EXTEND FAR INLAND, SO THOSE LIVING THROUGHOUT THE AREA SHOULD TAKE THE THREAT OF FLYING DEBRIS AND FALLING TREES VERY SERIOUSLY. HURRICANE HUGO WHICH MADE LANDFALL NEAR CHARLESTON SOUTH CAROLINA BATTERED CHARLOTTE... WHICH IS 175 MILES INLAND... WITH NEARLY 100 MPH GUSTS. YOU CAN PROTECT WINDOWS BY INSTALLING HURRICANE SHUDDERS OR PREPARE 5/8 PLYWOOD PANELS. THIS WILL NOT ONLY PROTECT YOUR WINDOWS, BUT IT ALSO KEEPS THE WIND OUT OF YOUR HOUSE. IF THE WIND IS ABLE TO ENTER A HOUSE THROUGH A WINDOW OR DOOR, IT BECOMES MUCH EASIER FOR THE WIND TO DESTROY A HOME OR BUILDING. GARAGE DOORS ARE ALSO VERY SUSCEPTIBLE TO HIGH WIND AND FAIL FREQUENTLY IN TROPICAL STORMS AND HURRICANES.

THINGS YOU CAN DO BEFORE A STORM THREATENS INCLUDE ASSESSING YOUR HOMES LANDSCAPING AND ASSESS THE THREAT FROM FALLING TREES.

TRIM BACK ANY DEAD LIMBS AS WELL AS LARGE OVERHANGING LIMBS. PICK UP ALL LOOSE OBJECTS AROUND THE HOUSE INCLUDING LAWN FURNITURE, GRILLS AND POTTED PLANTS.

LASTLY HAVE A PLAN OF WHERE TO GO IF HIGH WIND THREATENS YOU. TALK WITH YOUR FAMILY AND LET EVERYONE KNOW WHERE YOUR PREDETERMINED SAFE ROOM IS IN YOUR HOME. AGAIN INTERIOR HALLWAYS, CLOSETS AND BATHROOMS ARE THE SAFEST LOCATIONS. ALWAYS STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS AND EXTERIOR DOORS.

Remember, one of the best ways to protect you, your family and your property, is to be prepared now... Before the storm strikes. Develop a disaster plan that you can have in place and ready to go before a storm affects your area.

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