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Hurricanes – Fact or Fiction?

Sept 14, 2015

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

Lately, there has been a lot of commotion surrounding the topic of hurricanes (Danny, Fred), and we have been monitoring several recent Tropical Storms – Erika, Grace, Henri. But, can these hurricanes reach us in-landers? Do we really have to worry about these tropical storms, when they don’t develop into more?

There are several misleading theories about hurricanes and hurricane preparedness. For this week of National Preparedness Month: Hurricanes, let’s put some of these myths to rest so we can safely prepare for the next hurricane occurrence.

Myth: Only areas along the coast areas are at risk.

According to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, damaging winds can strike as far as 100 miles inland, and hurricanes can produce heavy flooding which may pour into areas inland, leaving behind extensive damage.

Remember these guys? Tropical Storm Allison (2001), Hurricane Ike (2008), Hurricane Irene (2011)

Myth: It’s just a tropical storm…

Don’t underestimate them. While tropical storms don’t deliver the same violent winds and massive storm surge as hurricanes do, they can bring unbelievable rainfall and flooding.

With $9 billion in U.S. damages, Tropical Storm Allison (2001) exceeded several succeeding hurricanes: Hurricane Isabel (2003), Dennis (2005), Gustav (2008), Isaac (2012)

Myth: Winds are the deadliest aspect of hurricanes.

Wind only accounts for 5 to 10 percent of U.S. deaths from tropical storms. Whereas, three out of four of U.S. deaths caused by tropical storms are from the storm surge, and another one in four of these deaths are from rainfall flooding. Too many people underestimate the power of moving water, especially in inland floods.

A good tip for hurricane preparedness (from TX and FL) is: Run from the water; hide from the wind.

Myth: Taping up your windows will prevent them from breaking.

All that tape prevents is the window shattering into tiny shards of glass. Rather, you will have large shards of glass to clean up. The best protection for your windows is to cover them with plywood or special shutters.

Myth: Cracking your windows during a hurricane will equalize the pressure.

No house is airtight, so it will equalize regardless. Not to mention, opening a window will only allow violent winds, rain and debris inside your home.

Myth: The upper floors of a multi-level building are the safest.

Wind speed increases the higher you go, which can blow out windows and rip off siding. Plus, rising water could cause structural damage to the lower levels.