All weather events are unpredictable and come with dangers. Hurricanes top the list of the most savage storm systems.
Hurricanes do happen outside the US but are known as tropical cyclones or typhoons. The massive storm system develops when warm ocean water and air naturally amp up pre-existing weather disturbances.
We will go into the eye of the storm to better understand why hurricanes are so dangerous.
Why are hurricanes so dangerous?
First and foremost, a hurricane is dangerous because it is an unpredictable weather event. Just because a region has not experienced a hurricane in years doesn’t mean one can’t develop this season.
A hurricane is more than wind and rain. In a matter of hours, one can shift to a Cat 5 and catch entire coasts off guard. It is never the wrong time for storm preparedness, and it could make all the difference.
5 Reasons Why Hurricanes Are So Dangerous
When an evacuation order goes out, some people find it hard to leave their property and belongings behind. But, you must follow what feels like heavy-handed advice.
If you can’t leave, locate the nearest shelter and the route to take there quickly.
Simply put, hurricanes are dangerous as hell.
For sure, the high winds associated with hurricanes cause structural damage. But it leads to more than a few loose shingles.
- Downed trees and power lines.
- Dangerous flying debris.
- Damage to buildings and building collapses.
- Widespread power outages.
- Distributions with transportation and damage to vehicles.
- Injury or death.
Debris is not only dangerous when it is flying. Hurricane winds pick up everything in its path and scatter it about. Step on random glass, ragged metal, and other hazardous objects can lead to bacterial diseases and life-threatening infections.
Tornadoes tend to pop up in embedded thunderstorms in the rain bands and nowhere near the eye of the storm. But that doesn’t mean it never happens near the center. Remember, hurricanes are unpredictable, so always expect the unexpected.
And tornadoes are dangerous on their own and get exponentially more when caused by a hurricane.
Rain and flooding
The rain that accompanies hurricanes is more than an inconvenience. Torrential rains lead to flooding, which can bring dangers such as landslides and debris flows.
Following evacuation orders is super serious business. The only way to escape a flood is to have already left for higher ground.
Storm surges will always be a threat with a hurricane and go further than just the coastline. Look at Hurricane Katrina. The unrelenting storm surged came in 6 miles inland in a lot of areas and up to 12 miles where there were bays, rivers, and other big water sources.
Why are storm surges the most dangerous part of hurricanes?
Storm surge is an irregular rise of water above the normal tide level. And, the higher the tide, the worse the storm surge.
The primary cause of a storm surge is the circular winds that a tropical storm or hurricane creates. And the result is walls of water rushing inland and causing destruction in its path.
What’s the difference between storm surge and storm tide?
- Storm Surges. Storm surge is an abnormal rise in water caused by hurricane-force winds. It can get well over 20 feet high and span hundreds of miles along the coastline.
- Storm Tides. Sometimes storm surges and tide charts have a child that causes wreckage.
Getting Your Ready for a Hurricane
A tropical storm can shift into a hurricane overnight and catch entire populations off guard. But, there are ways you can prepare your home for the possibility of a busy hurricane season (especially in Florida, which receives 40% of all US hurricanes).
5 Steps to Prepare for a Hurricane
- Clearing your property and yard is the only way to reduce the threat of flying and dangerous debris.
- Boarding up your windows (w/ screens or shutters) and doors puts up a barrier between your family and the hurricane. It helps to protect your home, too.
- Know how to turn off your electricity, and be ready to do so.
- Have a stock of drinking water in clean water containers.
- Gather other supplies in the worst-case scenario (aka a bug out or emergency kit for home & car including food). And make sure you can receive information even with no power.
What’s the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning?
- Hurricane watch. It means there are hurricane conditions that could lead to one. It must have sustained winds of at least 75mph. A hurricane watch is typically triggered 48 hours before an expected tropical storm.
- Hurricane warning. Experts do their best to issue hurricane warnings 36 hours before tropical-force winds to give residents time to evacuate in case of escalation.
FAQs about Hurricanes
Why are hurricanes so powerful?
Hurricanes are capable of doing all sorts of damage. Winds that can top more than 155 miles per hour, torrential rain, and storm surge make them the most powerful weather event. Not-so-fun fact: A hurricane can use as much energy as a 10,000 nuclear bomb.
When is hurricane season?
The typical hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th. 97% of hurricanes happen in those six months. September is the most active hurricane month, and May is the least. But there is that 3% chance that a hurricane could pop up when we least expect it.
What is the main cause of death in a hurricane?
The life cycle of a hurricane includes tropical storms and tropical depressions. At any point, they can cause storm surges and inland flooding. As the number 1 and 2 cause of death in a hurricane, water is the most threatening danger, and there is no just getting away.
How long do hurricanes last?
The average hurricane lasts between 12 and 24 hours, and the recommendation is that you prepare for the worst. It includes having enough supplies to get through the aftermath, too.
How does a hurricane end?
When hurricanes hit land, they tend to weaken pretty quickly because they no longer have the warmer waters to feed from. However, as they move inland and slow down, they can dump an incredible amount of water, leading to deadly flooding.