Recently it was announced that there will be a below-average probability of a major hurricane to make landfall here in New Jersey and the rest of the Eastern Seaboard. But even with a drop in what “probably” could happen does not eliminate the possibility of it happening.
We only have to look back not even a year ago and see the devastation that Super Storm Sandy had on our communities. The power of that storm (which technically was a Tropical Storm) had water surges that were of the same power found in a Level 3 Hurricane.
Hopefully nothing will happen this year, but it’s good to take a moment to look over your plans in case you have to evacuate or stay put in your neighbor to ride out hurricane.
This week we are going to talk about steps you can take, and supply you with free information and checklists to help you be prepared.
But first it’s good to know what defines a Hurricane. Hurricanes are classified by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. The scale classifies Hurricanes as follows:
- Tropical storm—winds 39-73 mph
- Category 1 hurricane—winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt)
- No real damage to buildings. Damage to unanchored mobile homes. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Also, some coastal flooding and minor pier damage.
Examples: Irene 1999 and Allison 1995
- Category 2 hurricane—winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt)
Some damage to building roofs, doors and windows. Considerable damage to mobile homes. Flooding damages piers and small craft in unprotected moorings; may break their moorings. Some trees blown down.
Examples: Bonnie 1998, Georges (Fla. & La.) 1998 and Gloria 1985
- Category 3 hurricane—winds 111-130 mph (96-113 kt)
Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings. Large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly built signs destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain may be flooded well inland.
Examples: Katrina 2005, Keith 2000, Fran 1996 and Opal 1995
- Category 4 hurricane—winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt)
More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Terrain may be flooded well inland.
Examples: Hugo 1989 and Donna 1960
- Category 5 hurricane—winds 156 mph and up (135+ kt)
Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Flooding causes major damage to lower floors of all structures near the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required.
Examples: Andrew (Fla.) 1992, Camille 1969 and Labor Day 1935
There are three great websites you can access from any computer or smart phone to track a storm:
- The National Hurricane Center—http://www.nhc.noaa.gov;
- Hurricane and Storm Tracking—http://hurricane.terrapin.com/; and
For those who have Twitter accounts you can follow the following:
New Jersey Office of Emergency Management at @ReadyNJ
Governor Christie at @GOvChristie
New Jersey State Police @NJSP
Various NJ County Office of Emergency Managements have their own Twitter accounts which you can follow:
Atlantic County – @AtlCoOEM
Morris County – @MCUrgent
Salem County – @SalemCountyNJ
Hudson County – @HudCoNJOEM
These lists of accounts to follow online are not exhaustive and more will be added in the weeks to come.