Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 – so we are the tail end of it right now. On occasion, Miami gets brushed by a hurricane… Fortunately, we get plenty of warning… and time to prepare (stocking up on crackers, canned goods, bottled water, wine, batteries, candles and lanterns, snacks, ice, bottled gas, and PARTY FOOD … for those of us who, with friends and family, weather the storm in whichever home happens to have a generator!)
Humor aside, below is an overview … from Terminology to Evacuation Zones… compiled by Miami-Dade County … along with some helpful tips:
Hurricane Terminology: Distinguishing between Tropical Disturbances and Hurricanes:
Tropical Depression: Tropical system with maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less. They can produce heavy rainfall.
Tropical Storm: A tropical system with sustained winds of 39-78 mph. They can produce rainfall and strong winds.
Hurricane: A tropical system with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.
Defining the different Categories of Hurricanes:
Category 1– 74-95 mph winds. Generally 4-5 ft storm surge. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, power lines and trees. Example: Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Category 2 – 96-110 mph winds. 6-8 ft storm surge. Some damage to roofs doors and windows. Considerable damage to trees and mobile homes. Example: Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
Category 3 – 111-130 mph winds. 9-12 ft storm surge. Some structural damage to homes and buildings. Significant damage / destruction to trees and mobile homes. Example: Hurricane Frances in 2004.
Category 4 – 131-155 mph winds. 13-18 ft storm surge. More extensive roof damage on small homes. Shrubs, trees and signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to windows and doors. Example: Hurricane Charley in 2004.
Category 5– Winds 115 mph or more. Storm surge above 18 ft. Complete roof damage on many homes and buildings. All shrubs, trees and signs blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Severe and extensive window damage. Example: Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
The difference between Watches and Warnings:
Tropical Storm Warning – Tropical storm conditions, including sustained winds 0of 39-73 mph, are imminent within 24 hours.
Tropical Storm Watch – Tropical storm conditions, including sustained winds of 39-73 mph, are possible within 36 hours.
Hurricane Warning – Hurricane conditions , including sustained winds of 74 mph or higher, are imminent within no more than 24 hours.
Hurricane Watch – Hurricane conditions, including sustained winds of 74 mph or higher, are imminent within no more than 36 hours.
Voluntary evacuation – A warning to people within a designated area that a threat to life and property may be imminent. When people aren’t required to evacuate, it would be good for them to do so, especially those who require additional time to leave or take preparatory actions.
Mandatory Evacuation – A notification to people within a designated evacuation zone that an imminent threat to life and property exists. Individuals must leave and seek refuge in an inland, non evacuation area.
Evacuation zones are areas that are prone to flooding during storms, and people are asked to seek shelter elsewhere. There are 3 zones – Zone A (Red Zone), Zone B ( Yellow Zone) and Zone C (Green Zone). An Evacuation Zone Map shows what areas lie within each zone.
Hurricanes are not “supposed” to be fun. That said, many of us who live in Miami make the most of them, turning them into social events, and extending a helping hand to neighbors, and friends! Preparing early will ensure you have what you need… without having to scramble, last minute…. for staples.. or for “party food”.