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Hurricanes: Marvelous, devastating storms

Hurricane approaches Florida
Posted at 4:39 PM, May 29, 2013
and last updated 2014-05-02 09:33:07-04

Hurricanes are marvelous forces of nature: fascinating to view from the perspective of an orbiting satellite, but highly disruptive when they come closer to home.

Despite the numerous stories of devastation these tropical features can cause, hurricanes actually serve a worthy purpose. As part of nature’s constant effort to achieve balance, hurricanes are efficient at using and consuming heat from tropical waters in its circulation and releasing a cooler outflow of air and moisture in the upper atmosphere. Through its formation processes, the average hurricane can produce an amount of energy about 200 times more than the world’s electrical generating capacity.

When a weather system with this much contained energy approaches land, it causes problems. You don’t necessarily have to understand the physics of a hurricane, but you should fully know how you will be ready to respond if one aims for your neighborhood.

HOW TO STAY SAFE

An approaching tropical storm or hurricane can be frightening for everyone, especially children and teenagers. Going over your emergency plan now can help ease some of the fears, and give everyone the confidence that they will know what to do in the event of a storm.

Some quick tips:

An approaching tropical storm or hurricane can be frightening for everyone, especially children and teenagers. Going over your emergency plan now can help ease some of the fears, and give everyone the confidence that they will know what to do in the event of a storm.

Some quick tips:

• Have a family meeting about the weather conditions. Explain why you’ll need to stay safe at home or evacuate as the storm nears.

• Locate and agree on a safe room (or safe areas) in your home. Move pillows, flashlights, batteries, food and other hurricane supplies to that area.

• Gather necessary over-the-counter and prescription medicines, medical supplies, a first aid kit, and items for children such as baby formula and diapers. Keep them handy and well-stocked.

• Learn and know your local geography, including the name of the county in which you live.

• Develop an escape route from your house.

• Decide on a rendezvous point where everyone can meet in case you’re separated during the storm.

• Write out contact information for family members. Include work and school, meeting locations and emergency services.

• Decide on a family contact who lives out of town or out of state, so all family members have a single point of contact in case of emergency. Make sure everyone knows this person and his/her phone number.

• Make sure a young child knows his/her name, address and home phone number.

• Post emergency phone numbers near your phone and explain when and how to call 911.

• Decide what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.

• If there’s a chance you’ll evacuate, pack in advance, and allow children to pack one special item for comfort, such as a stuffed animal.

• Keep your vehicle(s) regularly maintained. Have oil changes and necessary repairs performed by qualified service personnel.

• Practice your family readiness plan by conducting safety drills at least twice a year.