Preparing For A Hurricane – Wind Damage, Storm Surge, Flooding


If you need motivation, check out (below) the Category 1 – 5 saffir-simpson hurricane wind scale damage descriptions!

Hurricane “Spaghetti” Forecast Models

Know the forecast. The #1 recommendation while preparing for a hurricane is to keep up to date the forecast models.

One indicator of where a hurricane might go is what they call “spaghetti” model tracks.

It’s a map with a group of hurricane tracks, one for each of the many ‘super computer’ forecast models. When looking at all the tracks together on one visual it provides a pretty clear indication of possible locations where a hurricane might go next.

One weather page that I’ve bookmarked contains all sorts of information:


Hurricane Force Winds & Damage

While the entire field of a hurricane is windy, the hurricane force winds (74 mph+) are concentrated around the core.

The diameter and shape of the ‘hurricane force’ wind field will vary. However ‘typically’ they average about 100 miles across.

Tropical Storm force winds (39 – 73 mph) may range out farther – perhaps up to 300 miles from the core – depending.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale


Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.


Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.


Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.


Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.


Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

source: Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale


Storm Surge Flooding

Your geographical location to the coast is one of the most important considerations while preparing for a hurricane!

Obviously if you live on, or very near the coast and the hurricane projections are pointing towards your region, you better considering evacuation.

Storm Surge kills more people than hurricane winds!

A Category 1 hurricane may have a storm surge of 5 feet
A Category 5 hurricane may surge 18 feet or higher!

Either way, water rushing inland will destroy homes right quick.


You are going to lose power

Plan on it! If you are within the tropical storm wind field of hurricane, or most definitely if you’re within the hurricane force wind field, trees are going to fall on power lines and you will likely lose power. And it could be weeks.

If you have chosen to stay put, you better plan for a period of time without electricity. Do you have a generator and do you know how to connect it to your critical systems in your home? Do you have enough fuel? Plan accordingly.

Cooking Without Electricity


Torrential Rains & Flooding

Hurricanes carry extraordinary amounts of water. They’ve been feeding on very warm water (80+) as they make their way across the ocean. They’re loaded with rain.

Even if you live well inland and even if you are located away from the hurricane force wind field, you WILL be deluged with unbelievable amounts of rain.

If a hurricane slows or stalls, you might be looking at ‘feet’ of rain. Tremendous damage will result from flooding and torn up infrastructure. This will exacerbate power outage repair times. Plan for it.


Pack Up The Vehicle

If you have been watching the weather forecasts and if it looks like the hurricane spaghetti models are bringing it near where you live, one of the best proactive measures that you can take is to pack up your vehicle as though you are going to bug out and evacuate.

If you later choose not to bug out (maybe it will clearly miss you given updated forecasts), you can always unpack. Better safe than sorry…

Think about what you should pack.
CHECK THIS OUT: Hurricane Preparedness List & Tips

The good thing is that all you have to do is drive far enough away to be in a safe region.

72 hour kit

Be smart, and if it looks like you’re in the path of the hurricane’s core, then simply get out. Don’t wait until the last 24 hours to do it. 48 hours is better.

More: Hurricane To Do List

Similar Posts


  1. Saw one picture of a highway out on Fox this morning – not sure where but it was traffic to capacity already.
    Nuclear plants to shut down two hours ahead of severe winds – nothing like the last minute and what do the operators do – hide in the plants and disregard their families?

  2. Something scary that I really never thought about, was brought up in the news today. between the Carolina’s and Virginia there are 11 (i think i heard that correctly) toxic waste sites. i.e. oil dump, liquid fertilizer, etc. plus the 5 nuclear power plants. Obviously i knew these existed, but you (me) especially in my location, never really think about that. If these are damaged/destroyed, what will the impact be on the residents further inland and the other inland states, parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania
    If a nuclear power plant is destroyed, and we all see how far the storm is pushing inland, will it push the contaminates to other states? if so, how far? I remember when i was a sophomore in HS when Katrina hit, and we received storms in the upper midwest. Would there be contamination from the storm pushing that far?
    Now, if these toxic dump sites are forced to over flow with the guaranteed flooding, you have to think that this is going to contaminate the local water sources, tainting drinking water, absorbing into the soil, effecting crop production?

    Maybe I am over thinking it.
    I’ve been a long time reader, but as of this week, i decided to interact. Thanks for the great site Ken.

    1. Whiskey Vision, you make some very good points. The long term impact of the storm can be very far reaching, and could affect most of us at some point.

      1. I am curios what the time frame would be, of said disaster (issues with nuclear plant like that of japan, or the toxic waste leach), until families could move back in to the area if homes were not destroyed.
        There is a lot that i do not think about since i am not in the area, but sure has assisted in opening my eyes to things i can prep for in my region.

  3. Whiskey Vision, when katrina made it over 350 miles inland to Memphis, TN it was still a category 1 hurricane according to the news. We lived in northwest Mississippi just south of Memphis at the time and it ripped shingles off the southern side of our roof.
    I don’t know how far any contaminants could be pushed as the landscape florence will encounter is going to be very different than that of katrina.
    Katrina came up from the gulf, through the deep south where the landscape is mostly flat, rolling hills, etc. Florence will have the Appalachian chain acting as a barrier to it’s surface winds. This is why you don’t see hurricanes hitting the east coast (from the Atlantic Ocean) and proceeding directly in to the heartland of the U.S.- those mountains act as a natural barrier. Any contaminants would have to be lightweight and be sucked up into the higher levels of the storm in order to to travel far, wouldn’t they?

      Yes, one does see storms crossing the Appalachian mountains into the heartland, however the storms tend to weaken significantly when they do. Winds tend to be less severe and what seems to pass beyond the mountains is more rain than anything else.

      1. Very true and valid point @restoringBrad . I forgot about the natural barrier those mountains provide to us in the midwest.
        I was able to find a live wind map (thanks to ken a post i found in the archives today) and it shows for that region the flow more southwest. obviously the hurricane will push north creating storms for us in the northern midwest (MI) but with the live map showing the direction of travel to the southwest, which i did some light digging and for this time of year that is the “normal” directional flow. Do we think this would have a greater impact “fallout”(for a lack of better word) for the south Alabama, South Georgia and very north portion (panhandle to jacksonville) of florida.

        I guess I could be overthinking the whole thing.

    2. About a week after a hurricane makes landfall, the effect up here on the upper Mississippi River will be rainy skies and cool temps for a week.

  4. Sorry all but just had to let you all know. Niece just posted this:
    OMGOMGOMG!! … Just finished the VEP test, and he’s at about 20/60 in both eyes!!!!
    From Grand Auntie: Yippee!!!
    Grand nephew is progressing He goes back in November for more testing on his eyes
    Thank you all for the prayers.

  5. The news is telling us here in the North Georgia mountains to expect 27 inches of rain or more. I have no ideal were I’m going to stack all of that water. Glad it’s not winter so it don’t need shoveling.

    1. And if it were winter (up here in north country) a typical (dry) ratio of water to snow might be 1:10, meaning your 27 inches of rain would be about 22 feet of snow!!

  6. I watched a video online … Big Box Store shoppers in a panic trying to buy stuff “too late” and evacuate. Tsk Tsk Tsk…

    1. Shopping carts loaded with soda, mini do-nuts, marshmallows & graham crackers & chocolate bars for so-mores after the milk and bread is gone. People do not have a clue.

  7. Hurricane preparation: How to board up your windows. By Jeremiah Johnson.
    Also, A Green Beret’s Guide to Hurricane Season Preparedness.

Leave a Reply

>>USE OPEN FORUM for Off-Topic conversation

Name* use an alias