Mother Nature is able to provide us with food, water, and shelter — every one of our basic needs can be met thanks to nature. By the same token, Mother Nature ought not to be underestimated as the same potential to nurture can quickly turn into a potential to destroy and kill in the form of earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes among other natural disasters. For those living along the coast, there is nothing more devastating than a hurricane; understanding these storms can help residents compose a disaster preparedness list that can minimize losses and save lives.
What is a Hurricane?
A hurricane is a tropical storm that results from the evaporation of warm ocean water that then manifests into storm clouds once it meets with cooler air temperatures. Hurricanes begin life as a tropical storm — the classification of a hurricane is designated once sustained wind conditions reach 74 miles per hour. A hurricane is on average around 2,000 times larger than tornados and can last for weeks with most lasting around 10 days on average. Over any given three year period the United States coastline experiences around five hurricanes, two of which are major hurricanes with wind speeds over 110 miles per hour — the fastest recorded hurricane wind speed was around 200 miles per hour.
The Dangers of Hurricanes
Hurricanes are devastating acts of nature that can destroy communities and end lives. A single hurricane stirs up miles of air and has the potential to dump over 2.4 trillion gallons of rain in a single day. Overall, hurricanes kill more people than any other kind of storm with around 90% of hurricane deaths resulting from storm surges; these large waves can reach over 20 feet high and can potentially extend outwards of nearly 100 miles. As time ticks on, it only seems that hurricanes are getting worse and worse as half of the top 10 most costly hurricanes in the nation have occurred since 1990. The most deadly hurricane in U.S. history occurred in Galveston, Texas in 1900 and claimed the lives of 8,000 to 12,000 people according to estimates. More recently, 2005’s Hurricane Katrina was the third deadliest and most costly hurricane in U.S. history.
How to Prepare for Hurricanes
Anyone living in a coastal state ought to consult with a hurricane preparedness guide to understand the risks and precautions one needs to take should a storm develop. Following a disaster preparedness list can help families determine which supplies to gather and when to evacuate in the case of a hurricane. The U.S. government suggests that disaster preparedness lists include the following items: one gallon of water per person per day (at least three day’s worth); non-perishable food; a battery powered or hand crack radio; flashlights; first aid kits; signaling whistles; dust masks; plastic sheeting; duct tape; moist towelettes; garbage bags; a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities; a manual can opener; local maps; and a cell phone with an inverter or solar charger. Hopefully you will never need to use an emergency kit like this; having a disaster kit prepared can potentially save your life in the case of an emergency however.