Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Huricane Hazards - High Winds

Hurricane Winds (Credit NOAA)
 Tropical Cyclone Wind Impact
None Sustained winds and gusts <39 mph.
Low Sustained wind 39 to 57 mph gusts 58 to 73 mph.
Moderate Sustained wind 58 to 73 mph gusts 74 to 95 mph.
High Sustained wind 74 to 95 mph gusts 96 to 110 mph.
Extreme Sustained wind >95 mph gusts >110 mph.

Hurricane Preparedness Week
 May 23 - 29, 2010

Storm Hazards - High Winds
Cat. Speed (mph)
1 74-95
2 96-110
3 111-130
4 131-155
5 >155

Hurricanes are known for their damaging wind. They are rated in strength by their wind also. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (right) is the rule by which their strength is rated.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale was updated in early 2010. Below are links to the updated documents which were accepted by the National Weather Service.
As you might expect, winds produced by stronger category storms have a greater potential of producing damage, but under the correct circumstances, even less intense storms could produce damage, especially in areas that aren't prepared in advance.

Not the storm you are looking for?  Click Image or Here
Poorly constructed buildings and mobile homes have the greatest risk of damage from tropical storms.  In addition secondary damage can be caused by debris such as signs, roofing materials, and small items left outside which can become flying missiles in hurricanes.   Utilities, such as power, are often disrupted due to uprooted trees, fallen poles, and damage to other structures.

The strongest winds usually occur in the right side of the eyewall of the hurricane.   Wind speed usually decreases significantly within 12 hours of landfall, however winds can stay above hurricane strength well inland.  In addition, tornadoes can be spawned as a result of the hurricane causing additional devastation.

For those living in potential risk areas,  now is the time to prepare for a potential hurricane.  Make sure that you reinforce your structures, pick up items that could be hurled by the wind, and create an evacuation plan.  See the links below for additional details and safety steps to take.


• AGAINST THE WIND (0.2mbAdobe 
PDF file)

We'll continue our Hurricane Preparedness Week coverage by looking at additional hazards, such as high water, next. This information is also helpful for visitors to risk areas. We'll talk about special considerations for cruise passengers later in the week.

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