Hurricane Safety - Staying Secure During A Hurricane

Hurricane safety and security have always been importanttopics, but never more so than in the USA during 2004 and 2005. They were exceptional years, but hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are always a threat during the warmer months of the year if you live in sub-traopical and tropical parts of the world.

You'll find plenty more information in my newsletter"Watching Weather".

But most of that information tells you what you need to do to look after your family, your property, and yourself. It doesn't tell you what to expect if a lower intensity hurricane chooses you as a target. (But always remember that evacuation is an option in Category 1 and 2 hurricanes, and is likely to be mandatory in more severe storms)

So when I found these two articles, I thought they'd be appropriate here.

They cover the personal aspects of living in a hurricane prone area (Southern Florida, USA), and the experience of Hurricane Wilma passing almost directly overhead.

As I put this issue together, it's cyclone (or hurricane) season in the southern hemisphere - it's almost always hurricane season somewhere in the world. Wilma is well and truly history. But Michael Cooper's experiences have been, and will be, shared by many people in the hurricane zones around the world.

In this case there was a happy ending, partly because of the preparation that took place.

If you wish to use Michael's articles, remember they must be reproduced in full, with no editing, including the signatures and source at the end.

So here is the first part - before the hurricane arrived.


Hurricane Wilma - Awaiting the Storm - Delray Beach, Florida

By Michael Cooper

Here in Delray Beach, Florida we quietly await the arrival of Wilma. Looks like for now Monday is the day. Looking at the weather channel we could be in line for a direct hit by the eye of Wilma when it slams the east coast. I have lived in south Florida for 8 years and I don't think I will retire here. Tired of hurricanes.

Right now its a waiting game. The lines at the gas station are more than tolerable. Few homeowners have put up their hurricane shutters. I am waiting for the weekend. It will be my luck that it will heave with rain starting about the time I go to put up the aluminum shutters. I already have the bolts in place for the shutters; I had better go see if my electric screwdrive is charged.

For last years two hurricanes I was without power for a total of 12 days. To get cool I would ride around in the car with the AC on. The 12 days seemed like a year. Yes I have a good food supply, lanterns, batteries, and a 12 gauge shotgun. I did not buy a generator and I don't feel like buying one now. If I pushed it last year FEMA would have paid me back if I bought one. After what happened in New Orleans maybe I should not feel guilty about getting a generator paid for by the taxpayers.

I will post after Wilma goes by just in case anyone is interested how we faired in Delray Beach.

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OK, on to Part 2

So far it all seems pretty relaxed, although the presence of a shot gun in his emergency kit may raise a few eyebrows.

Part 2 was written after the event, and it's obvious that sitting under a hurricane is not a fun time.

Three points struck me about Michael's experience.

Firstly, although Wilma at this time was not a severe hurricane, it was moving slowly. So for those under it, the ordeal must have seemed endless. And I bet they were pleased that Wilma had decayed quite a lot since it wrecked the Cancun area in Mexico.

Secondly, although Michael lives in a shore front area, storm surge was obviously not a problem in his case.

And finally, there is a big sting in the tail. Most of us only experience extreme weather second hand, by watching it on TV. The last paragraph reminds us that things are often not what they seem.

On with Part 2


Hurricane Wilma

By Michael Cooper

Hurricane Wilma slammed into south Florida on October 24, 2005. According to the weather media this storm would blow by quick at the category 2 level of intensity. I'll tell you what, this storm did not blow buy quick, matter of fact hurricane winds lasted at least three hours at my residence in Delray Beach which is about 25 miles north of Fort Lauderdale. I downplayed this storm as not going to be all that bad. Just to be safe I installed my storm shutters and secured my outside garden furniture. I have what I call a hurricane kit in my garage with survival necessities along with a 12 gauge sawed-off shotgun. I did not need the shotgun but my supply of fresh water, lanterns, and batteries came in handy.

The storm slammed into my area right around 7:30 a.m. Of course the power died right about this time. I have been in 7 hurricanes and this is my most frightening. Sitting button upped in my house was not a nice experience. You sure hear lots of strange noises. I could hear the nails in my roof screeching as they pulled out of the supports. The roof held up fine in the end but there were moments I thought it might go. If my garage door was not reinforced with aluminum girders I believe it would have been sucked out of its tracks.

After about 90 minutes of hard wind the eye of the hurricane was over us with its eerie calm. I went outside to access the damage. The damage was not as bad as I thought it would be. I had some trees down and lost the oranges on my orange tree. My landscaping was screwed up but still I was please that we had no structural damage. I kept hearing on the radio and from some neighbors that the backside of the hurricane would not be too bad. Simply put, they were wrong. The backside finished off what the front side did not get.

Anyway we survived Wilma and the biggest inconvenience was no power. Our power was restored at approximately 7:00 p.m., October 30, 2005. My telephone still does not work although the DSL connection going through this line works fine. My cell phone did not work until 3 days after the storm. I had to cut down many of my bushes and trim back broken trees. I had some food loss. I did get a chance to cook my best meats on my grill. I always keep two extra gas bottles as part of my hurricane kit.

Few people who used common sense and prepared for this hurricane suffered. The national news media has tried to make us look like fools in Florida. You have people down here like anywhere else that think the government owes them something for their stupidity and lack of personal responsibility. The news media searches out these people for interviews on just how horrible the situation has become and how they are being short changed by all levels of government. This is bunk. FEMA responded quickly as did all levels of local and state government. Remember the Boy Scout motto, "BE PREPARED."

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So there you go. As my wife said when she read the articles, nothing really happened. That was probably because the predicted strength of Wilma at the time it reached Florida was not extreme, and the NWS and NHC predictions were pretty right. It was also because Michael and many others in his home town had made preparations, in some cases well in advance, which allowed them and their homes to survive with only minor damage. No doubt others who were equally prepared were not quite as fortunate.

So nothing happened. But I bet none of those who sat through Wilma in Southern Florida would wish to repeat the experience anytime soon.

You can find more information about Hurricanes on the pagesHurricanes, Hurricane Tracking And Recording, Tracking Hurricane Rita and More Hurricane Resources.

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Last update 05/24/2011