A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that forms in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane season runs from June through November, peaking in early to mid-September. But hurricanes can happen any time.
Unlike tornadoes and earthquakes, they can be forecasted several days ahead of landfall, giving residents time to take the following precautions:
- Know where to go in the event of an evacuation and how to get there
- Contact your local emergency management agency for information
- Learn about
safe cleanup from local authorities, or visit www.cdc.gov
- Establish an assembly point for family members to meet if separated, and choose one person everyone can contact with their whereabouts and status
- Board up windows and secure loose items like patio furniture
- Listen for warning sirens, stay away from windows and exterior doors, and seek shelter in a bathroom or basement
- Stay indoors until authorities tell you it's safe to go outside
Hurricanes can cause massive flooding; learn more about that here
Tropical storms and depressions also can cause major damage. Even if a storm doesn't reach the maximum sustained wind speed of 74 miles per hour to classify as a hurricane, the 39 to 73 mile-per-hour winds of a tropical storm, along with heavy rains and tornadoes, can cause loss of life and property.
National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2015 runs from May 24-30. The National Weather Service offers this tropical cyclone preparedness guide, along with lots of other resources.