Hurricane season starts in three days and experts are predicting an average summer ... same as they did last year, and the year before, and the year before....
Actually, we’ve been very lucky for the past eight years. No hurricanes. In fact, the last hurricane to hit our state was Wilma in 2005. This means no one in Florida will be surprised if we don’t get hit at least once this summer. It’s a matter of time, anyway. With most of our state either facing the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, we are the most likely spot in the nation for a hurricane to come ashore.
Although it takes a major storm to get people motivated, the state has passed a tax free holiday for hurricane supplies that goes into effect Saturday. The wide range of items eligible for tax-free purchases from May 31 to June 8 include portable, self-powered lights selling for $20 or less, tarpaulins for $50 or less and packages of common batteries for $30 or less.
Hurricanes are known by different names in different parts of the world. They are termed as typhoons in Northwest Pacific Ocean and west of the International Date Line. Near Australia and in the Indian Ocean they are known as cyclones. In the Philippine Islands, they are called bagnios.
The hurricane season in the Atlantic ocean generally peaks from mid-August to the last week of October.
There are 6 to 8 hurricanes in an average season.
Hurricanes rotate in an counter-clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and clockwise manner in the southern hemisphere.
They can last from 1 to 30 days. Average life of a storm is nine days and it is determined by the time and place of origin and rate of forward movement. The longest lifecycle ever recorded was of Hurricane Ginger which lasted for 31 days (from September 5 to October 5, 1971).
The first 12 hours of any hurricane are the most deadly and destructive.
The deadliest one in US history is the Galveston Hurricane which occurred on September 8, 1900 and claimed more than 6000 lives.
Hurricane Katrina is the costliest in US history, which caused over 75 billion dollars of damage.
Know your storms:
Tropical Depression - An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less
Tropical Storm - An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph.
Hurricane - An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher.
Remember to never take a hurricane for granted. Listen to weather reports and take heed of all official emergency warnings. Act soon enough to put food, water, batteries, etc. in reserve before the supermarket shelves are bare, and have gasoline available for autos and generators.
Let’s hope we can get through another season without a hurricane. But if we don’t, be smart and act accordingly. It’s better to be safe than sorry.