Rain, wind, tornadoes and storm surges that are related to a hurricane cause changes to the natural environment. They also cause damage to structures and even death. When a hurricane is still out over the ocean, the winds and large waves that are created by the storm become dangerous for ships and other water vessels. With advancements in forecasting a tropical storm or hurricane, ships and other water vessels are able to move out of the path of the storm. Before there was adequate warnings and forecasting, these storms were the main cause of many shipwrecks.
When the hurricane approaches land it can cause a huge amount of damage. Flooding caused by storm surges is one of the most dangerous parts of a hurricane. As the storm moves near the coast, it can cause sea levels to rise as much as 20-30 feet. The rise in the sea level usually only lasts a short time, but it can cause a lot of damage. The rising water is capable of totally covering a small town and low-lying areas that are located along the coast. The waves that are caused by storm surges can cause damage to beaches, roads, homes and docks. The amount of damage that these storms cause depends on what the storm hits and the intensity of the storm itself.
Hurricanes are categorized using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. This scale is used to classify the hurricanes wind speed and height of storm surges.
- Category 1 – this category has winds that are 74-95 miles per hour and storm surges of 4-5 feet. The damage from this hurricane is mainly to trees, mobile homes that are not anchored and shrubbery.
- Category 2 – this category has winds that are 96-110 miles per hour and storm surges of 6-8 feet. Trees can be blown down, mobile homes that are exposed can have major damage and damage can be caused to the roofs of buildings.
- Category 3 – this category has winds that are 111-130 miles per hour and storm surges of 9-12 feet. Large trees can be blown down, leaves and small limbs can be blown off of trees, mobile home can be destroyed and small buildings can have structural damage.
- Category 4 – this category has winds that are 131-155 miles per hour and storm surges of 13-18 feet. There can be extensive damage to roof tops, signs will be blown down, windows and doors will be damaged, flooding can happen lower floors of building near the shore will flood.
- Category 5 – this category has wind speeds that are greater than 155 miles per hour and storm surges greater than 18 feet. Windows, door and roofs will have extensive damage, mobile homes will be completly destroyed, small buildings can be blown away and major damage can occur from flooding.
It is important to watch for hurricane watches and warnings and evacuate your area if it is recommended. Being prepared for a hurricane ahead of the storm is best. Having a hurricane family evacuation plan and making sure that everyone understands the plan and where to meet if you should have to evacuate the area. Also, having hurricane resistant windows and shutters or other hurricane resistant protection added to the home will reduce the amount of damage that will occur with a storm. Armor Screen has a wide variety of products that can be installed to protect your home from flying debris and winds of a hurricane.