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.
CATEGORY 1 HURRICANE
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.
CATEGORY 2 HURRICANE
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.
CATEGORY 3 HURRICANE
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.
CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE
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.
CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE
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.
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.
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.
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