Hurricane / Typhoon / Cyclone

Hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones are all words used in different parts of the world to describe a similar weather phenomenon. The ingredients for a hurricane include a pre-existing weather disturbance, warm tropical oceans, moisture, and relatively light winds aloft. If the right conditions persist long enough, they can combine to produce the violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains, and floods we associate with this phenomenon. [NOAA]

Tropical cyclones are realtively slow-moving but severe forward-tracking storms with fast rotational winds of at least 65 knos (120-320 km per hour or 74-200mph). They have an ‘eye’: a central calm area. Mazimum per is close to the ‘wall’ or outer edge, of the eye. These storms are referred to as:

  • cyclones when occuring in Southeast Asian waters and the Indian Ocean
  • typhoons when they occur in East Asian and Pacific waters
  • hurricanes when they occur in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea

Each type is associated with a particular season that can last as long as seven months each year.

[Source: IFRC, Public Awareness & Public Education For Disaster Risk Reduction: Key Messages”]

Workplace

Make an evacuation plan and practice your evacuation routes

  • Know you shelter destination, evacuation route and transportation method
  • If evacuation is necessary, work with your family and network to determine various transportation options
  • If you do not know the different options, ask your local emergency management office about plans for people without private vehicles, or for anyone requiring assistance
  • Make sure everyone in your household knows where to go if they have to leave the area, what route to take, and where to meet each other
  • During the storm season, check that your evacuation supplies and your ‘go bags’ are ready, including: water, high-energy food, emergency contact information, extra cell phone batteries/source of power

Store valuables and important documents up high

  • Keep important paper in a waterproof bag and/or safe deposit box
  • Store equipment, feedstocks and other valuables in a location high above potential floodwater.
  • Keep copies of important documents in another place, out of your area (electronically, with family, etc.)

Keep supplies to protect your home and keep vehicle fuel tanks filled

  • Keep supplies on hand to protect your home-for example: plywood, plastic sheeting, nails, a hammer and saw, a crow bar, sand, shovels, sandbags and washboards
  • During the storm season, refill vehicle fuel tanks before they are half empty, in case you have to evacuate

Build and maintain your home with severe tropical storms in mind

  • Install permanent external storm shutters on windows and doors wherever possible, to protect from flying debris
  • Be sure that roofs are securely fastened to the frame structure. Minimize rood overhangs, as winds can catch and uplift them
  • Where possible, elevate furnaces, water heaters and electrical panels
  • Install check valves in plumbing to prevent floodwater form backing up into drains
  • Consider building a safe room

Inspect and repair your roof annually

  • Inspect your roof at the beginning of the storm season and make repairs, such as fixing loose tiles, as needed (the roof is often the most vulnerable part of the house, so fix any loose tiles)
  • For wooden structures, brace the roof to the main structure and add hurricane straps to secure the roof
  • For lightweight roofs, secure sandbags on top, to increase stability
  • Clear rain gutters and downspouts, and fix any that are loose

Keep trees and bushes well-trimmed

  • Where necessary, remove branches and small trees that may fall on the house
  • Remove or prune older trees, damaged branches and ornamental trees not suited to survive strong winds

[Source: IFRC, Public Awareness & Public Education For Disaster Risk Reduction: Key Messages”]

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Workplace

Businesses in areas susceptible to tropical cyclone-related flooding need to prepare in advance for flood conditions, as well as for tropical cyclones. Before the storm season begins, business and workplaces should:

Make an evacuation plan and practice evacuation routes with staff

  • Know the shelter destination, evacuation route and transportation method
  • If evacuation is necessary, work with your network to determine various transportation options
  • If you do not know the different options, ask your local emergency management office about plans for people without private vehicles, or for anyone requiring assistance
  • Make sure your staff knows where to go if they have to leave the area and what route to take
  • During the storm season, check that your evacuation supplies and your ‘go bags’ are ready, including: water, high-energy food, emergency contact information, extra cell phone batteries/source of power

Keep supplies to protect your workplace and keep company vehicle fuel tanks filled

  • Keep supplies on hand to protect your workplace-for example: plywood, plastic sheeting, nails, a hammer and saw, a crow bar, sand, shovels, sandbags and washboards
  • During the storm season, refill vehicle fuel tanks before they are half empty, in case you have to evacuate

Store valuables and important documents up high

  • Keep important paper in a waterproof bag and/or safe deposit box
  • Store equipment and valuables in a location high above potential floodwater.
  • Keep copies of important documents in another place, out of your area (electronically, with family, etc.)
  • Review their current insurance policy and become familiar with what is and is not covered
  • Itemize and take pictures of possessions

Build and maintain your workplace with severe tropical storms in mind

  • Install permanent external storm shutters on windows and doors wherever possible, to protect from flying debris
  • Be sure that roofs are securely fastened to the frame structure. Minimize rood overhangs, as winds can catch and uplift them
  • Where possible, elevate furnaces, water heaters and electrical panels
  • Install check valves in plumbing to prevent floodwater form backing up into drains
  • Consider building a safe room

Inspect and repair your roof annually

  • Inspect your roof at the beginning of the storm season and make repairs, such as fixing loose tiles, as needed (the roof is often the most vulnerable part of the house, so fix any loose tiles)
  • For wooden structures, brace the roof to the main structure and add hurricane straps to secure the roof
  • For lightweight roofs, secure sandbags on top, to increase stability
  • Clear rain gutters and downspouts, and fix any that are loose

[Source: IFRC, Public Awareness & Public Education For Disaster Risk Reduction: Key Messages”]

Additionally, consider creating a or revising your current workplace’s Business Continuity Program.

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Community Organization

Work with your community to identify local cyclone shelters

  • Work with your community to idenify safe local cyclone shleter locations for anyone who will need them
  • Make sure each household knows where to go if they have to leave the area
  • Coordinate a tropical cyclone “buddy system” by matching families with vulnerable populations such as the elderly, to make sure everyone is adequately prepared

Work with your community for strategic placement of water and food

  • Strategically place drinkable water, food, cooking equipment, and blankets
  • Work with employers, schools and community leaders and organizations to stockpile and store these provisions in safe places

[Source: IFRC, Public Awareness & Public Education For Disaster Risk Reduction: Key Messages”]

Stay Informed

  • Find out what types of disaster are likely to occur in your area or community and how to prepare for each
  • Find out how local authorities will contact the community during a disaster
  • Contact your local Red Cross Chapter for details about community disaster education presentations that may be arranged or are available in your community organization
  • Get trained in CPR and first aid so you will know how to respond to emergencies and aid your community in the event that help is delayed
  • Identify families who have gone through tropical cyclones and are willing to tell how they are better prepared and serve as disaster advocates for the community
  • Partner with Red Cross chapters and local emergency response units who may have upcoming community events in which they could share the preparedness message and hand out brochures

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Local and National Government

Know the risks related to cyclones, hurricanes, or typhoons

  • Know risks and potential impacts of severe tropical storms that can impact you area (especially winds, storm surges, and flooding)
  • Resource gaps in response and preparations

Work with your community to identify local cyclone shelters

  • Work with your community to identify safe local cyclone shelter locations for anyone who will need them
  • Make sure each household knows where to go if they have to leave the area
  • Coordinate a tropical cyclone “buddy system” by matching families with vulnerable populations such as the elderly, to make sure everyone is adequately prepared

Work with your community for strategic placement of water and food

  • Strategically place drinkable water, food, cooking equipment, and blankets
  • Work with employers, schools and community leaders and organizations to stockpile and store these provisions in safe places

[Source: IFRC, “Public Awareness & Public Education For Disaster Risk Reduction: Key Messages”]

Establish or consider updating, if needed, an effective warning system

Consider useful partnerships

  • Partner with local Red Cross chapter departments and emergency management agencies who may have upcoming community events in which they could share the preparedness message and hand out brochures
  • Contact local or national weather service offices or emergency management agencies for information on local hurricane warning systems and link this information into other local and national government websites
  • Invite local meteorologist and disaster preparedness practitioners to provide tips for the local population on air
  • Team up with local merchants for a display about an emergency preparedness kit
  • Publish a special section in local newspapers with emergency information on hurricane watch and warnings that includes the phone numbers of local emergency services offices, local Red Cross chapters, and the nearest hospitals
  • If meteorologists are predicting a tropical cyclone, pitch preparedness tips to radio and television stations, as well as posting those tips immediately on local and national government websites

Major hazards associated with tropical cyclones are: strong winders, which can destroy or seriously weaken structure, tear off roofs and topple power lines and trees; torrential rainfall, wind-driven water, powerful and destructive marine waves and storm surges, which cause mainly coastal flooding, but can also cause inland flooding of fresh and sea water via tributaries. 

Impacts include deahts (mostly flood-related, but also from electrocution and the impact of collapsing strcutures and blowing debris), perperty and infrastcuture damage, severe erosion, destrcution of standing crops and vegetation, instability of ground, despoisits of mud, sand and gravel, food shortabges and contamination of drinkable water. These effects can lead to loss of shelter ad livelihoods, disruption of transporation and critical lifeline infrastucture and destruction of community.

[Source: IFRC, Public Awareness & Public Education For Disaster Risk Reduction: Key Messages”]

Improvements made in early warning and early action over the last few decades have produced a significant decline in the loss of lives due to hurricanes. Advances in meteorology have improved the lead times for forecasts, enabling authorities to start issuing warnings several days in advance with a good degree of confidence. Improvements in communication through new technology like mobile phones and through door-to-door outreach like in the response to Cyclone Phailin in October 2013 have ensured that greater numbers of people receive the warning information. Finally the creation of community cyclone shelters and improved evacuation routes have increased the types of safe havens available to vulnerable communities and further reduced the loss of life in places like Bangladesh.

Note: The terms “hurricane” and “typhoon” are regionally specific names for a strong “tropical cyclone”.

Cyclone: An atmospheric closed circulation rotating counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

Hurricane / Typhoon: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind (using the U.S. 1-minute average) is 64 kt (74 mph or 119 km/hr) or more. The termhurricane is used for Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclones east of the International Dateline to the Greenwich Meridian. The term typhoon is used for Pacific tropical cyclones north of the Equator west of the International Dateline.

Hurricane Season: The portion of the year having a relatively high incidence of hurricanes. The hurricane season in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico runs from June 1 to November 30. The hurricane season in theEastern Pacific basin runs from May 15 to November 30. The hurricane season in the Central Pacific basin runs from June 1 to November 30.

Hurricane Warning: An announcement that sustained winds of 64 knots (74 mph or 119 km/hr) or higher are expected somewhere within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds. The warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.

Hurricane Watch: An announcement that sustained winds of 64 knots (74 mph or 119 km/hr) or higher are possible within the specified area in association with a tropical, subtropical, or post-tropical cyclone. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds.

Storm Surge: An abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm, and whose height is the difference between the observed level of the sea surface and the level that would have occurred in the absence of the cyclone.

Storm Tide: The actual level of sea water resulting from the astronomic tide combined with the storm surge.

Tropical Cyclone: A warm-core non-frontal synoptic-scale cyclone, originating over tropical or subtropical waters, with organized deep convection and a closed surface wind circulation about a well-defined center.

Tropical Storm: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed (using the U.S. 1-minute average) ranges from 34 kt (39 mph or 63 km/hr) to 63 kt (73 mph or 118 km/hr).

[Source: National Hurricane Center]

https://www.preparecenter.org/wp-content/sites/default/files/topics/keymessages_tropicalcyclones_ifrc.pdf