The Hurricane center has predicted a much greater than usual season with the
possibility of several cat 5 storms. While I am substantially inland, the
recent issues with a sick tree have made me wonder what I should be doing to
minimize the risks of hurricane damage should one hit. I used to feel safer
from such storms, but since a tornado hit 5 blocks away, I am beginning to
think no place along the east coast is really safe from hurricanes and wind
storms. Especially since an F5 "super twister" hit just 50 miles away a few
years ago in LaPlata, Md.
Here are the names selected for this year's hurricanes.
Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Igor, Julia,
Karl, Lisa, Matthew, Nicole, Otto, Paula, Richard, Shary, Tomas, Virginie
Which ones are going to be the killer storms of 2010? Here's a list of some
of the most damaging cat 5 storms to make landfall in chrono order.
Janet - Yucatán Peninsula Mainland Mexico 1955
Donna - Bahamas & Florida North Carolina, New York & Connecticut 1960
thel - Mississippi 1960
Carla - Texas 1961
Hattie - Belize Mexico 1961
Beulah - Texas Yucatán Peninsula 1967
Camille - Mississippi Cuba 1969
Edith - Nicaragua Louisiana Belize & Mexico 1971
Anita - Mexico 1977
David - Dominican Republic Florida Cuba, Bahamas & Georgia 1979
Allen - Texas 1980
Gilbert - Mexico Jamaica Mexico 1988
Hugo - Guadeloupe, Saint Croix, and South Carolina Puerto Rico 1989
ndrew - Eleuthera and Florida Berry Islands Louisiana 1992
Mitch - Honduras Mexico & Florida 1998
Isabel - North Carolina 2003
Ivan - Florida Grenada & Alabama 2004
Emily - Mexico (twice) Mexico Grenada 2005
Katrina - Louisiana & Mississippi Florida 2005
Rita - Louisiana 2005
Wilma - Mexico (twice) Florida 2005
Dean - Yucatán Peninsula Veracruz 2007
Felix - Nicaragua Grenada 2007
Based on this list, those beginning with D have the most hits (3) and the
A's, C's, E's, H's, I's all have 2. That makes the most likely picks:
Alex, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Hermine and Igor.
Just based on the sound, I am voting for Hurricane Igor to be this year's
I remember the politically correct silliness that went on years ago
that resulted in adding male names to the hurricane naming procedure.
I looked it up, in 1979, men's names were added to the list and I
seem to remember some women's organization complaining about the storms
were only named after women. Here's a quote from a website that's really
funny and shows the stupidity of political correctness:
In 2003, a member of the US Congress demanded hurricanes be given names
that sound “black.” The US representative Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas,
said that the current names are too ‘lily white,” and is seeking to have
better representation for names reflecting African-Americans and other
“All racial groups should be represented,” Lee argued. “I hope the
federal weather officials would try to be inclusive of African-American
names," a request that is still under discussion.
I can't wait for Hurricane Shaniqua or Hurricane Yolanda. I wonder if
there has been a Hurricane Leroy? DJ Yakazoolu and Mad B Billy Jammy
might work? Well, Lamont, Beyonce, Jarell and Kenyatta are actually
some real names of Hip-Hop performers. I'd like to see some really
bizarre names given to hurricanes. Perhaps a contest? A good start:
We live on the water, but haven't gotten direct hit. Our worst winds
were about 70 mph...took out the huge skylight in atrium of our condo,
but it wasn't secure because of roof damage. 5x15' plexi and aluminum
skylight landed with the frame hanging in the top of one of our palm
trees, plexi smashed all over the yard. That amount of wind loosened
even concrete roof tiles on nearby homes, although I don't know if any
The first thought is to keep exterior in good repair, caulking all tight
and leak-proof. Expect wind and rain, so weather radio and a plan are
most important. Secure important papers, have food and water for at
least three days, a place for pets if you need to vacate, plenty of any
rx meds, a plan to contact or meet neighbors in case neighborhood is
trashed, flashlights and batteries. Reinforce fasteners for roof
rafters> Install brackets to brace garage doors - that is one quick way
for wind to destroy a home, the weakest point in many. If there are
tree limbs overhanging roof, get them trimmed so they don't bang on the
We have had two mandatory evacuations, one of which lasted three days.
We had to secure stuff like trash cans because there is no indoor
storage for them...If there are elderly or disabled neighbors, make sure
they are taken care of. Hurricanes usually have tornadoes dancing
around the edges, so be ready for anything. I'd be inclined to have
hurricane shutters even if not on water.
During some flood several years ago, there was a news item about a guy
who sandbagged all around his house after laying up plastic tarps.
There was about 3-4 feet of flood water, but none got into his home, I
was impressed :o) Dang lot of work.
After a hurricane, FEMA should sponsor tours of the devasted areas. I don't
believe people can appreciate the scale of serious weather disasters until
it happens to a place that you're familiar with and you see it and touch it
and realize it goes from horizon to horizon.
I recall visiting the path of the twister that went through our town and was
just shocked. Not only by the huge oak trees scattered like pixie sticks,
but by the general rearrangement of stuff. The tornado sliced right through
the local Home Depot, it got caught with huge bags of mulch and all the
other stuff they keep stacked outside vulnerable to the wind. Mulch was
everywhere, signs were everywhere (except where they should be) and it went
on for blocks and blocks. The tornado had followed, almost exactly, the
path of a small stream. It lifted cars 12 stories up, killing the
occupants. Until that day, tornadoes were something that happened to
Dorothy in movies and people in the midwest and the devastation was about a
TV screen's worth. It just did not compute until I saw it for myself.
I had a bird cap fly off the chimney and become a missile. It smashed my
car windshield on the other side of the house. It was steel, sharp and
pointy and easily could have killed someone. I am stunned by the people who
know bad wind is coming and don't secure the basics like trash cans, lids,
patio furniture, etc.
When I know a major storm is coming, I begin charging every chargeable
battery in the house (many!) and empty and replenish the emergency water
supply. I secure all external items that I can. If I were in the middle of
the hurricane belt I would convert my decorative window shutters to real
ones. I also backup the main computer to DVD-R and lock a copy inside the
FireKing. It weighs over 500lbs so I assume it won't get far in a storm.
I don't know the record for storm-carried objects, but I recently saw a doco
about the 1935 hurricane that described how some Rhode Island kids were
carried safely to the next state in a raft that was actually the top portion
of the attic where they had sought safety from the surge. Amazingly, it had
broken free, floor and all, when the surge reached that height and sailed
off in the storm like a little lifeboat.
Lots of people still have hurricance parties to try to ride out the storm.
I don't think I would now in my post-youth. (-: The problem with
evacuations is that most cities long ago exceeded their ability to move so
many people so quickly. I heard one forecaster, I think it was Bob Sheets,
say that if you have serious rush hour traffic problems on a daily basis,
evacuation is probably going to be very difficult. So many places are
dependent on one or two choke points like bridges that throttle the flow
severely. And you can count on people being so freaked out that they drive
worse than usual.
A friend on Hawaii says that after several false tidal wave evacs, he's
certain a lot of people will just ignore the warning when a real one hits.
If you've even had a grazing hit, shutters are a great idea because they
really lessen the damage potential. Even without a hurricane, a good
Florida frog-strangler rainstorm can dump an enormous amount of water
through a broken house window, especially wind driven rain. I spent some
time there in the 80's and I've never seen rain like that anywhere ever.
And then five minutes of feeling like you're driving a submarine, the clouds
vanish, the rain burns off and it's like nothing ever happened. Florida is
where I learned to always check my sunroof on the car, no matter how blue
the skies were that second!
My friend, a fireman (they call them fireys) in Oz said that after several
serious brush fires, people have installed diesel powered roof sprinklers,
slate roofs and even have built insulated "safe rooms" inside their house to
wait out the blaze. I saw a picture last week of a man who had built a
similar safe room in his house in the tornado belt and sure enough,
everything else was smashed flat and he stood in the door of his
still-standing safe room, happy to be alive but not to cheered by the state
of the rest of his house. You can do that with a tornado, but it would have
to be a waterproof unit with a heavy duty snorkel or scuba tanks to survive
the massive storm surges that often accompanying the big ones. I often
thought the escape egg that Donald Pleasance rides in the movie Escape from
New York would be a handy thing to have in the hurricane or tidal wave
vulnerable areas. Maybe a surplus Mercury space capsule would work, too.
As for names, I think we should have unisex names for hurricanes. Here's
Pat! (or Alex, Sam, Chris, Jean, Terry, Bobby, Dweezel, Moon Unit, etc,)
We had family in northern Indiana at the time of the Palm Sunday
tornadoes, 1965. Part of that storm was a double funnel, and the damage
was eerily evident for many years afterward. There were loads of
stories in the papers...2x4's driven through tree trunks, kids pulled
from the arms of their parents, etc. Weird stuff, like a bottle of
aspiring turned to powder inside a medicine cabinet but no damage to the
structure. One large subdivision was small homes all built on slabs,
which we toured a couple of weeks after the storm. It is really an
awful sight. Can probably still see the path in places where trees were
mowed down, just like seeing a path mown through tall grass in the lawn.
During one of our mandatory evacs in '05 for hurricanes, we were still
potentially in the path of the eye, so there was no thought in my mind
about staying at home. My hubby would not leave, so I went to a motel
with a girlfriend. Went back home to pick up more important stuff, and,
hopefully, my hubby. He still would not leave, so my "stuff" really did
not matter any more :o) A twenty-foot storm surge would put about 5
feet of water in my upstairs neighbor's condo...when I go, I don't want
it to be from drowning or being crushed by part of a building.
My city is still building right up to the sandy beach...totally insane.
I was raised in Chicago and there are miles and miles of waterfront
that are open and scenic. Florida is a dump. I'm tempted to pray for
tarballs to wash up on our beach...I'd be glad to go out and help clean
up and enjoy being able to get out of the neighborhood on a weekend
without tourist traffic :o)
Indeed, that's generally true and in my observation while living in VA
and TN is far more so for those east of Mississippi and not on the
coasts where really severe weather isn't so common or generally _quite_
as severe. City dwellers also generally are more protected from the
consequences other than the rare direct hit than are more rural areas w/
fewer services, etc., also, I think contributes to the problem.
I've no idea about "records" either, as I don't think there is any such
thing other than anecdotal evidence generally collected as anything
except novelty (as opposed to an actual study of same except as done by
NOAA/NWS for classification purposes).
But, my latest relatively local (<100 mi) example of the incredible is
the Greensburg (KS) EF5 that obliterated 90+% of the town. It left a JD
9600-series combine over ten miles from its starting point in the
dealer's lot on the west edge of town.
John Deere 9670 STS
Platforms 25 ft, 30 ft, 35 ft, 40 ft
Row-Crop Heads ---
Corn Heads 12 Narrow, 8 Wide
Type John Deere 6 cyl. 9.0 L
Displacement 548 cu. in. (9.0 L)
Horsepower with Power Boost 338
Grain Tank Size 250 bu. or 300 bu. optional
Unloading Auger Length 21.5, 22.5 or 26-ft ...
Fuel Capacity 250 gal.
Transport Height (in the field position) 14-ft. 10-in.
Base Weight-Less Head
Corn 32,661 lb. (14815 kg)
Eventually, either a Cat5 'cane or an F5 tornado is going to barrel through
a major US city. We've had a lot of near misses - the F5 that hit La Plata,
Maryland could have just as easily hit the nation's capital. If the 'cane
of 35 happened today, crossing over Long Island and into Rhode Island, the
damage would be close to incomprehensible. Evacuating Long Island wouldn't
be very easy if it's possible at all - everyone would have to go through NYC
and just a few bridges to find safety.
Anyone who's been in NYC during a bad rush hour knows that many, many
islanders won't make it. The same problems go for many, many coastal areas.
If that happens, we'll be bailing out the insurance industry, who will make
their denial of Katrina claims look like a big money giveaway. The Feds, I
am sure, have been vigilant regulating the insurance industry as thoroughly
as they did the stock market, the banks and the off shore drilling industry.
There hasn't been a big payout from insurers since the stock market tanked
and I am sure they bought up junk CDO's just like every other large
investor. They've just been able to conceal their losses better than other
Ouch! That's quite a trip. Now that video cameras are everywhere, there's
some unbelievable close-up footage of tornadoes and their power. I recall
seeing slo-mo footage of a tractor trailer, a cow, a couch and a pickup
truck all airborne and whirling around in the debris cloud.
I'll venture a guess that was from the terrible movie some years ago.
Sounds very much like the epic scene therefrom. :) (I have seen that
claimed to be real, not special effects). I would be most surprised if
that were, in fact, actual storm footage, amateur or spotter, and quite
interested to see it if it really were.
I've seen precious little footage that has much specific debris of major
size actually discernible in real footage owing to several factors...if
they're really large enough, the amount of dirt and other stuff is such
that it isn't possible to see far into the wind field itself. Lots of
tin, paper, sheathing, etc., yes; automobiles and such not so much.
Quite often other than on the far horizon when first form, the funnel
itself is rain-wrapped to the point it's not even possible to tell
there's actually a funnel at all other than rare glimpse that often
can't be told from a lower wall cloud, anyway.
Then, on top of that, a large number form from late afternoon or evening
mesoscale thunderstorms so that by the time there are tornadoes it's
Not that there aren't a few, but with as many as there are in the area
and with all the spotters w/ cameras monitoring all of them I don't
think I've ever actually seen that kind of footage during the event
itself; only the aftereffects.
Spotters followed the Greensburg tornado for over two hours and almost
70-80 miles of total track trailing directly behind it but other than a
couple of shots against horizon before it got to be truly huge, it was
typical in that it was difficult to spot except by lightning or by
watching where transformer flashes were as it took out power lines, etc.
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