A hurricane can be a life-changing event in our lives. For some, they are a life-ending one.First, here are some not so fun facts about the largest and most powerful storms on Earth and why you should probably pay attention to them if you like to avoid being the victim of natural selection.
#1 A Hurricane is BIG… REALLY REALLY BIG (usually)
These storms range from about 100 to 300 miles in diameter. For reference, the state of Rhode Island is 37 miles wide and 48 miles long.
#2 A Hurricane has more energy than a toddler doing shots of espresso
Per NASA, the combined wind and rain energy output of the average hurricane is 6.0 x 10^14 Watts or 5.2 x 10^19 Joules/day. For reference a 15 kiloton atomic bomb releases 6.3×10^13 J. This is enough energy to power the earth 200x over. Also, for reference, it only took 1.21 gigawatts or 1.21 x 10^6 watts to power time travel in Back to the Future.
#3 Hurricanes Cause Damage and Lots of it.
As the category of the storm increases, so does the potential damage. The average damage per Atlantic hurricane is about $2 BILLION dollars. That’s a lot of ramen noodles. Much like the IRS, hurricanes cause damage in multiple ways. Primary damage can occur from flooding and wind but the excitement doesn’t stop there. Softening soils and erosion can damage roads and bridges and contribute to loss of trees. These trees tend to fall on roads, houses, cars and even people. As if this wasn’t enough, the soggy leavings of the hurricane can lead to a blossom of mold which can fatally damage property and wreak havoc on those with allergies and respiratory difficulty. Humans can cause secondary damage through looting, consumption of limited resources, and interpersonal violence.
Hurricane Preparedness in 3 (ish) Easy steps
#1 Recognize a hurricane coming
There are a ton of great information sites that can keep you ahead of your neighbors in the area of hurricane preparedness:
#2 Make a Plan
As the saying goes, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. It is a universal phenomenon that grocery stores and gas stations get overrun just prior to a major storm. Preparation occurs before disaster strikes. It’s too late once it’s at the door. You can’t count on others to do for you what you haven’t already done for yourself. Here are some helpful links to government and NGO recommendations. If you take notice, none of them say, ” Don’t bother taking care of yourself, we’ve got this.”
#3 Execute the plan
If the order to evacuate is given, GET OUT. GET OUT. GET OUT. If you plan to remain in place, know that you are risking your life and the lives of your loved ones. People have died senselessly for not heeding these warnings. People can’t be replaced, property can.
If you are in a non-evacuation area and choose to stay:
- Double check your preparations before the storm.
- Talk to your neighbors and make a mutual assistance agreement.
- Call your county and city emergency management office.
- Sit down with your friends, spouse, and co-workers about the storm.
- Plan for children and pets to be stressed or bored out of their minds.
- Talk to your insurance company before the storm hits.
- Keep an evacuation option open, sometimes you just need to GTFO.