For countless generations, hurricanes have been a part of life in the Caribbean. Our ancestors learned how to detect their arrival and marked their time by the coming of hurricane season. However, it’s easy to lose touch with the nature of these storms, especially for those who don’t live near the ocean.
That’s why re-educating yourself is essential if you’re planning on moving back to the islands or to other tropical areas. Here’s what to know before moving to an area with hurricanes.
There is a lot of jargon associated with hurricanes, and knowing the terms will help you understand weather forecasts. Here are a few essential things to know before moving to hurricane-prone areas as far as terminology goes:
- Eye: The center of a storm system where winds are comparatively lighter.
- Eyewall: The area surrounding the eye where the weather is most severe
- High wind warning: When winds are expected to be 40mph or more for over an hour.
- Storm surge: A sudden rise in ocean levels during a storm
- Watch: It means storm conditions are likely (Usually in the context of “tropical storm watch” or “hurricane watch”.)
Safety Risks of Hurricanes
It is difficult to imagine just how destructive a hurricane can be if you haven’t experienced it before. There are safety risks associated with it that aren’t always obvious to an outside observer. Being aware of these risks can help you take evasive action in the event of a hurricane. A few key risks include:
- Inland and coastal flooding
- Damaged buildings from winds and fallen trees
- Debris being carried by high winds
- Inland tornados
- Contaminated water and air
- Rip currents
Power outages are also common during hurricanes which can disrupt communication and impact medical facilities. Power surges, which are different from power outages, are also common and can be dangerous.
Pro Tip: Have a Hurricane Kit
Because of widespread damage and the potential need to evacuate, your family should have a survival kit that they can grab at a moment’s notice. This kit should include non-perishable food, water, flashlights, a first aid kit, and backup batteries.
With the increased risk of property damage, insurance is necessary. However, it’s important you make sure your insurance offers the coverage you need. For instance, homeowner’s insurance doesn’t always cover flood damage, so you may need to purchase additional flood insurance to protect your home.
Hurricanes are powerful forces of nature, but that doesn’t mean we have to retreat from the sea. Just like our ancestors, we can learn to recognize hurricanes and take the action we need to protect ourselves and our homes.