What to do before a hurricane

This is an excerpt from the article “Hurricanes”. For more information, please visit www.ready.gov.

Before a Hurricane

To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:

• To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
• Know your surroundings.
• Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecast-ed.
• Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
• Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
• Make plans to secure your property:
• Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
• Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
• Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
• Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
• Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
• Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
• Determine how and where to secure your boat.
• Install a generator for emergencies.
• If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
• Consider building a safe room.

Tornado Myths, Facts, and Safety Part 3

This is an excerpt from Tornado Myths, Facts, and Safety. For more information, please visit www.ncdc.noaa.gov.


“My city doesn’t get tornadoes because it is protected by a river.”

MYTH: Many tornadoes have crossed rivers and even gone on to cause widespread damage to riverside cities. For example, the Nachez, Mississippi tornado of 1840 tracked directly down the Mississippi River, killing hundreds, mostly on the water. Others have crossed large rivers without losing speed (they momentarily became water spouts) and devastated cities that folklore had thought immune to tornadoes. An example was the Waco, TX tornado of 1953 that crossed the Brazos River, or the Great St. Louis Cyclone of 1896 that jumped the Mississippi River.

“Tornadoes have picked people and items up, carried them some distance and then set them down without injury or damage.”

FACT: People and animals have been transported up to a quarter-mile or more without serious injury. Fragile items, such as sets of fine china, or glass-ware have been blown from houses and recovered, miles away, without any damage. However, given the quantity of airborne debris, these occurrences are the exception, rather than the norm.

“Hiding under a freeway overpass will protect me from a tornado.”

MYTH: While the concrete and re-bar in the bridge may offer some protection against flying debris, the overpass also acts as a wind tunnel and may actually serve to collect debris. When you abandon your vehicle at the overpass and climb up the sides, you are doing two things that are hazardous. First, you are blocking the roadway with your vehicle. When the tornado turns all the parked vehicles into a mangled, twisted ball and wedges them under the overpass, how will emergency vehicles get through? Second, the winds in a tornado tend to be faster with height. By climbing up off the ground, you place yourself in even greater danger from the tornado and flying debris. When coupled with the accelerated winds due to the wind tunnel (Venturi Effect), these winds can easily exceed 300 mph. Unfortunately, at least three people hiding under underpasses during tornadoes have already been killed, and dozens have been injured by flying debris. If you realize you won’t be able to outrun an approaching tornado, you are much safer to abandon your vehicle, and take shelter in a road-side ditch or other low spot. For more information on the use of highway overpasses for shelter, please see this NWS discussion on highway overpasses.  Note: If a highway overpass is your only shelter option, only consider it if the overpass has sturdy roadway supports, next to which (at ground level) you can take shelter. Avoid the smooth concrete, support-less spans at all costs.

Facts about Hurricanes

This is an excerpt from the article “Hurricanes”. For more information, please visit www.ready.gov.

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. A typical cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface.

All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes. Parts of the Southwest United States and the Pacific Coast also experience heavy rains and floods each year from hurricanes spawned off Mexico. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.

Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Hurricane can produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour as well as tornadoes and mircrobursts. Additionally, hurricanes can create storm surges along the coast and cause extensive damage from heavy rainfall. Floods and flying debris from the excessive winds are often the deadly and destructive results of these weather events. Slow moving hurricanes traveling into mountainous regions tend to produce especially heavy rain. Excessive rain can trigger landslides or mud slides. Flash flooding can occur due to intense rainfall.

Between 1970 and 1999, more people lost their lives from freshwater inland flooding associated with tropical cyclones than from any other weather hazard related to such storms.

Tornado Myths, Facts, and Safety

This is an excerpt from Tornado Myths, Facts, and Safety. For more information, please visit www.ncdc.noaa.gov.

Tornado Myths, Facts, and Safety

Tornadoes don’t happen in the mountains.”
MYTH: Tornadoes do occur in the mountains. Damage from an F3 tornado was documented above 10,000 feet, and a hiker in the mountains of Utah photographed a weak tornado in the mountains.

Tornadoes may occur in the middle of the night and even during the winter.”
FACT: Although the likelihood is lower at night and during colder months, tornadoes have caused death and destruction during these times of day and year. Violent tornadoes, while very unlikely during the winter months, do occasionally occur at night. When severe weather is forecast, ensure your NOAA weather radio is on and working properly before you go to bed.

Tornado Myths and Facts

This is an excerpt from Tornado Myths, Facts, and Safety. For more information, please visit www.ncdc.noaa.gov.

Tornado Myths and Facts

No place in the United States (or even the world – except maybe Antarctica) is completely safe from tornadoes. Every one of the United States has experienced at least one documented tornado, and many states are hit multiple times each year by a twister. A tornado may occur at any time of day, and on any day of the year. It may hit in the middle of the night, or in the middle of winter. However, the most common timing for a tornado is in the late afternoon of warmer months.

Unfortunately, for most communities outside of Tornado Alley (in the central and Midwest US), a tornado is such a remote possibility, that cities or towns may not have warning systems in place, and few people are prepared when a tornado does strike. However, knowing what to do in case of a tornado warning can save your life and the lives of your family.

Tornado Myths and Facts

“When confronted by a tornado warning, you should open all the windows in your house to equalize the pressure.”
MYTH: This just wastes valuable time. Don’t worry about equalizing the pressure, the roof ripping off and the pickup truck smashing through the front wall will equalize the pressure for you.

“I live in a big city, a tornado wouldn’t hit a big city.”

MYTH: Tornadoes have hit several large cities, including Dallas, Oklahoma City, Wichita Falls, St. Louis, Miami, and Salt Lake City. In fact, an urban tornado will have a lot more debris to toss around than a rural twister.

Summertime Energy Savings Tips – Good Energy Saving Investments

This is an excerpt from the article “Summertime Energy Saving Tips”. For more information, please visit www.consumerenergycenter.org.

Good Energy Saving Investments

Planning to do some remodeling soon? Time to replace old appliances? Consider these energy efficiency suggestions when you make purchases.

Install a whole house fan
A whole house fan is permanently installed in your attic and draws cool air into your home through the windows while forcing hot air out through your attic vents. Use after sundown when the outside temperature drops below 80 degrees, and in the early morning to cool your house and help reduce your air conditioning use. (Save: up to 5 percent)

Install window shading
Install patio covers, awnings, and solar window screens to shade your home from the sun. For additional future savings, use strategically planted trees, shrubs and vines to shade your home. (Save: 5 percent)
Solar control window films applied to existing glass in windows and doors is an effective method to reduce peak demand during hot months and conserve energy anytime air conditioning might be required. In addition to the energy management benefits, the use of these films can also reduce exposure to ultraviolet radiation and reduce glare. Visit the International Window Film Association for more information.

Summertime Energy Saving Tips

This is an excerpt from the article “Summertime Energy Saving Tips”. For more information, please visit www.consumerenergycenter.org.

Invest in a new air-conditioning unit

If your air conditioner is on the way out, buy an ENERGY STAR® air conditioner. (Save: up to 10 percent)

Seal your ducts

Leaking duct-work accounts for 25 percent of cooling costs in an average home, so have your ducts tested and have any leaks or restrictions repaired by a qualified contractor. Note: duct cleaning is not the same as duct sealing. As of October 1, 2005, if you install a new central air conditioner or furnace, your ducts will have to be inspected. (Save: 10 -20 percent)

Replace your refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR® model

Refrigerators with a top or bottom freezer design can save you an additional 2-3% on your bill compared to a side-by-side design. (Save: 10 percent)

Increase attic insulation

If existing insulation level is R-19 or less, consider insulating your attic to at least R-30. (Save: 10 percent)

National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization

This is an excerpt from the article “National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization”. For more information, please visit www.nhtsa.gov.

Day and Night, Cops are Cracking Down

Every year during the annual Memorial Day Weekend holiday period, law enforcement agencies join forces day and night, from coast-to-coast, for an enforcement blitz that delivers on our message Click It or Ticket. The mobilization is supported by national and local paid advertising and earned media campaigns aimed at raising awareness before the blitz.

Summertime Energy Saving Tips – Inexpensive Energy Solutions

This is an excerpt from the article “Summertime Energy Saving Tips”. For more information, please visit www.consumerenergycenter.org.

caulk-windows-shutterstock_186918173INEXPENSIVE ENERGY SOLUTIONS

Make a quick trip to your local hardware store to purchase inexpensive energy-saving tools and equipment.

Replace air conditioner filters
Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer, increasing energy use. Replace filters monthly for maximum benefit. (Save: 1-2 percent)

Plug your home’s leaks

Weather-strip, seal, and caulk leaky doors and windows and install foam gaskets behind outlet covers. (Save: up to 2 percent)

Choose ENERGY STAR® products

• Buy ENERGY STAR® certified table lamps and light fixtures, and replace your incandescent light bulbs that are used more than two hours per day with ENERGY STAR® compact fluorescent bulbs. For example, install compact fluorescent bulbs in your porch light if you leave it on overnight. (Savings: for each bulb you’ll save 0.2 percent for each hour the bulb operates on a typical day. Therefore, replacing an incandescent bulb that burns 10 hours per day will save 2 percent)
• Buy ENERGY STAR® certified torchieres. (Save: up to 1 percent for each hour/day that it’s on)
• Install an ENERGY STAR® programmable thermostat. (Save: 1-3 percent)

America’s Seat Belt Campaign – Click It or Ticket

This is an excerpt from the article “National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization”. For more information, please visit www.nhtsa.gov.

America’s Seat Belt Campaign

Click It or Ticket (CIOT) is the most successful seat belt enforcement campaign ever, helping to increase the national seat belt usage rate. Coast to coast, day or night, the message is simple – Click It or Ticket.

2012 CIOT National Enforcement Mobilization – The cornerstone of NHTSA’s seat belt communications program is the national Click It or Ticket May Mobilization. The primary audience continues to be men ages 18 to 34, which research shows are less likely to wear seat belts.