With a pandemic weighing heavily on our hearts and minds, it may be hard to think about hurricane readiness. But since forecasters are predicting an active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, it’s more important than ever to be ready, especially with all of the new realities we’ve been juggling the last few months.
Just as we have recently, we’ll all unite to weather the upcoming storms by planning ahead. By staying positive. By leaning on one another. And by cutting through the misinformation so we can keep our communities safe and healthy.
Myth: Winds Are the Most Dangerous Part of a Hurricane
Fact: Most hurricane deaths are actually caused by water. Wind, on the other hand, only accounts for a small portion of hurricane-related fatalities.
Even though hurricanes are categorized by wind speed, it's the water rise generated by a hurricane or tropical storm that’s the most dangerous. A storm surge is caused by a cyclone's wind field that violently pushes water toward the shoreline.
Rainfall flooding can also be deadly when tropical cyclones make landfall. When preparing for a hurricane, always remember: Hide from the wind, run from the water.
Myth: We’ll have a Rough Hurricane Season Because of the Number of Named Storms Predicted This Year
Fact: It only takes one devastating hurricane to make a quiet season seem active. In 2013, the Atlantic season delivered 14 storms, but only Tropical Storm Andrea made landfall.
Regardless of predictions and seasonal forecasts, it’s important to be prepared for hurricanes and tropical storms every year.
Myth: Warm Sea-Surface Temperatures Always Make for Intense Hurricanes
Fact: Sea-surface temperature is only one piece of a very complex puzzle of hurricane intensity.
One of the reasons why the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be very active is because of warm ocean temperatures in the tropics.
Sea-surface temperatures contribute to the strength of a tropical cyclone, but it doesn’t guarantee the intensity. Dry air and wind shear (the difference between speed and direction) can cancel out a storm even with warm water present. They can also disrupt a tropical cyclone's center.
Sea-surface temperatures can only measure potential, not reality.
Myth: Hurricanes Have a Mind of Their Own
Fact: While it feels like a tropical storm can do whatever it pleases — stalling, move erratically and changing direction — the truth is that storms obey the laws of nature and atmosphere. It’s not random.
Storms respond to steering winds through the depth of the lower atmosphere. Without strong areas of high pressure, there’s no steering wheel. That means a storm can stall or shift in an instant. Plus, tropical storms follow weather patterns and go with wherever the flow takes them.
There’s an atmospheric rhyme and reason for everything a tropical storm does. It’s your job to assume it’s heading your way and prepare.
Myth: Taping Your Windows Will Keep Them From Breaking
Fact: Taping your windows to prepare for a hurricane does nothing to keep your windows intact.
Many people choose to tape their windows because they think it lowers the amount of shatter and makes cleanup easier. When considering your family’s safety, follow the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) recommendations, including using tried-and-true hurricane shutters or emergency plywood shutters instead of tape.
Myth: Tropical Storms Pose Far Less Danger Than Hurricanes
Fact: Tropical storms can be extremely dangerous with unprecedented rainfall and paralyzing floods.
Many tropical cyclone deaths are caused by flooding. Never underestimate a tropical storm or tropical depression. Instead, take action to prepare early and keep your family safe.
Myth: Only Hurricanes Classified as a Category 3 Storm and Above Present a Real Threat
Fact: A hurricane doesn't have to be Category 3 or stronger to be dangerous.
Although higher category storms get more attention, even a Category 1 storm is dangerous. To keep your family safe, be aware of any storms headed your way, no matter the classification. It’s okay to stay positive and hope for the best — just remember to prepare for the worst, so you’re ready in any scenario.
Nothing Is More Important to Us Than You
This hurricane season, you can count on us for trusted health care for your entire family. We’ve taken extra precautions in every facility for your protection, so you can feel confident and at ease getting the in-person care you need.