2008 - Hurricane Preparedness

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Chris

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Oct 21, 2002
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The hurricane season for the Atlantic runs between June 1, 2008 and November 30, 2008.

Here where I am on the South Coast of Mexico, I saw the first storm of the Pacific season form off Belize over the past few days. The coasts of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica got their first preparedness workout early in the Pacific season. So, I also had an early start to the season.

From Drs. Gray and Klotzbach we know that the Caribbean and the Atlantic hurricane basin will most likely experience a well above average year for hurricane activity. The expectation is for 13 named storms of which 7 will turn into hurricanes and 3 will be major hurricanes.

Those of us that experienced the season during 2007 were surprised at how long the hurricane season lasted and we were astounded at the sheer water carrying capacity and the very slow pace of storms that were not classified as hurricanes. I would almost say that all of those in the DR should be prepared for tropical storms. The sheer amount of water pouring down on the DR last year did more damage than wind or storm surge. If you're living on and along the coast in the DR, you should take precautions and be prepared for this above-normal hurricane season. For 2006 and 2007 I prepared the following, and repeat it here for newcomers and those that want to make a hurricane preparedness plan.

Please add to this thread if you have a good preparedness tip.

A Hurricane, also referred to as a Tropical Cyclone, is given a name when its winds travel counterclockwise and reach 39 mph, tropical storm strength. Taking action to be safe is easy if you've done your Hurricane Preparedness Planning well. If you live in a hurricane prone area, or near the coast, it is best to do you hurricane preparations early and effectively and revisit your plan periodically during the hurricane season.

Hurricane Hazards
Storm Surge - Storm surge is water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. Combined with normal tides this surge creates the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level 15 feet or more. Storm surges of 24 feet over 120 miles of coast line has been reported and measured in the past. Should a storm surge coincide with a normal high tide, severe flooding occurs in coastal areas.

High Winds - The most commonly used scale to measure winds during a hurricane is the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. So, a Category 1 hurricane has lighter winds compared to say a Category 3 hurricane. A Category 4 hurricane would have winds between 131 and 155 mph and could cause 100 times the damage of a Category 1 storm. The strongest winds usually occur in the right side of the eyewall of the hurricane. Wind speed usually decreases significantly within 12 hours after landfall.

Tropical storm-force winds are strong enough to be dangerous to those caught in them. Should a hurricane approach, it is best to have all your preparation complete, even before the onset of tropical storm-force winds. Usually there is sufficient warning before a hurricane, so that preparations can be made in advance.

Inland Flooding - Statistics from the US teach us that freshwater floods account for more than half of the tropical cyclone deaths over the past 30 years. Inland areas are by no means safe from the results of hurricanes or tropical cyclones. It is best to understand the patterns of the water around your area of living and to make appropriate plans.

What can you do to safeguard yourself and your family?
The essential decision that needs to be taken is whether your home is safe and sturdy, and far away from areas prone to flooding or storm surge, so that you can remain there during a hurricane, or whether you should evacuate to a safer area. Discuss these plans with your family and get their input. Even kids can be a great help. To my mind, everything greater than a Cat 2 hurricane, even if your home is sturdy and safe, requires evacutation.

To go - or not to go
- If your home is safe, prepare it and stay there
- If your home is not safe, arrange for an evacuation location well in advance. Now is the time to make plans for that visit to Santiago.
- Keep your car filled with gas during hurricane season.
- Many DR1 members do not have cars as public transport is readily available. Have the bus schedules on hand and take an earlier bus or public transportation, rather than planning on taking a later bus.

Securing larger buildings - Condos or Blocks of Flats
Your building should have a hurricane preparedness plan that you could carry out as a community.

For Tourists and Visitors
The hotels situated on the coastal areas of the DR have experience with preparing for hurricanes. Let your friends and family know that http://www.dr1.com/status/index.shtml has up to date information about the status of hotels. You can be of help by assisting the staff to carry out the preparedness plan. In certain cases, you will be evacuated. Most Dominican hotels have already lived through the effects of a hurricane and by now are most likely to have a rehearsed hurricane preparedness plan.

The Evacuation
Make the evacuation decision early enough. You know our roads and I would suggest a full 12 hours before a hurricane is predicted to make landfall in your area, you need to have completed your home safeguarding actions, and be ensconsed in, or on the way to a higher area, ready to drink port and eat Sancocho with good friends.
- Minimize the distance you must travel to reach a safe location.
- Discuss your evacuation plans with neighbors, family or friends, so that they do not lose sight of where you are, and become worried.
- Think of what you will do with your pets.
- Keep your vehicle full of gas with necessaries already packed. Have a look at the specific list of requirements following, and set together in a hurricane pack what you may need.
- Ensure that your place of evacuation has some kind of communication, television, radio or/and internet.
- Monitor DR1, where we'll keep the information flowing.

Staying in your Home
TO DO BEFORE HURRICANE SEASON
*The DR building codes are not always up to snuff, so, I would suggest you take a good look at your home. If concrete roof, all should be fine. If other style roof, make sure that the roof is well constructed. Possibly add hurricane clips. If you feel that your home would not be safe, please evacuate.
*Protect all windows by installing commercial shutters or preparing 5/8 inch plywood panels in such a way that they can be easily affixed over your windows.
*Garage doors are frequently the first feature in a home to start flying. Reinforce all garage doors so that they are able to withstand high winds.
*Designate an interior room with no windows or external doors as a “Safe Room” where you are going to wait out the storm. The previous year, friends of ours on a neighboring island spent 16 hours in their 'safe room'. Be ready to make your 'safe room' comfortable with beds or mattresses and lots of books and activities. You may be there for many hours. When you choose this 'safe room', make sure that it won't flood.
*Before hurricane season, assess your property to ensure that landscaping and trees do not become a wind hazard. It is a good idea to do this now and then again in August sometime, prior to the peak of the season. Trim dead wood and weak overhanging branches from all trees. Trees and bushes are vulnerable to high winds and any dead tree near a home is a hazard.
*Consider landscaping materials other than gravel/rock.

TO DO AS A HURRICANE APPROACHES
*Once a hurricane warning is issued for your area, install your window shutters or plywood panels. (It is a good idea to practice this once or twice during your preparation, so that you know you have everything on hand for the task). It is good practice to tape up the windows with some sturdy ductape as this may help protect against flying glass fragments should a glass window or door break. Ductape alone will not do it. Install those shutters!
*Secure or bring inside all lawn furniture and other outside objects that could become a projectile in high winds. I've seen many people simply throw garden chairs into the pool. They are safe there and won't blow around
*Place all the final items that you may need, in your safe room, or evacuate.
*As the winds approach, get into the 'safe room' and monitor informational sites about the hurricane. Note that in Santo Domingo, at least, telephone lines are underground so Internet connections should continue throughout the storm as was the experience during Georges in 1998.
*Do not leave your “Safe Room” until the wind has subsided, the 2nd time. The first time around, as you hear the wind drop, it maybe the eye of the hurricane passing over. There is little to no wind in the eye of a hurricane.

SAFE ROOM STOCK or PACK IN THE CAR ready for evacuation.
- Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
- Food - at least enough for 3 to 7 days (canned food / juices), foods for special needs in your family, babies or older folks, snack foods, non-electric can opener, cooking tools / fuel (a little gas stove with a small gas cannister is a life saver!), paper plates/plastic utensils
- Make your 'safe room' comfortable (matresses, bedcovers, pillows, games, books, lighting)
- Dry clothing, rain gear if you have it
- Medicines / Prescription Drugs / Medications / Glasses / Keys
- Any special items that you cannot live without
- Paper / Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes
- Flashlight / Batteries
- Radio - Battery operated with fresh batteries
- Cash - Banks and ATMs may not be open for a period
- Keys
- Important documents - in a waterproof container or big ziploc bag (insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Cedula and Residencia, Passport etc.)
- Tools - keep a set with you during the storm
- Vehicle with full tank
- Pets (food, water)
- The water may be contaminated after a hurricane. Also have some chlorine at hand to sterilize your water source if necessary.
- First Aid Kit should you have to treat an injury
- Check the generator, fuel should be safely stored.
- If you live in a high-rise apartment building, make sure the elevator is kept at the top floor.

Final Actions - before Huddling Down
*Shut off Propane
*Shut off Water Mains
*Check storm shutters one last time
*Shut electricity off at the mains
*Close and lock the doors and huddle down in the 'Safe Room'.

To recap, when Hurricane Season Starts (right about now if you have not done so!) YOU SHOULD:
- Assemble your Hurricane Survival Kit and all those items needed to safeguard your home.
- Write out and agree with family a Family Preparedness Plan.
- Let friends and family know that you will be safe and arrange for a contact telephone number.

When a Hurricane WATCH is issued:
- Check your Hurricane Survival Kit.
- Make sure nothing is missing. Determine if there is anything you need to supplement your kit. Replenish your water.
- Activate your Family Disaster Plan.
- Evacuation Plans should be in progress right about at this stage of the process.

When a Hurricane WARNING is issued YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY:
- Ready your Disaster Supply Kit for use and do the final preparation of your safe area in your home. When the winds start howling, huddle down in the safe area and don't leave until the winds subside for the 2nd time.
- Evacuation plans should be proceeding brisky.
Remember, you cannot evacuate when a storm is howling around you... so, make that evacuation decision early if you have any doubts.

Let's all be safe during this Hurricane Season and have additional resources on hand to help neighbors, friends and the community.
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Hillbilly

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Jan 1, 2002
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Since you were off gallivanting around Central America and Mexico, I posted two threads:
One was On your marks and had the names of the 2008 storms and the other was
Get set which i cut and copied from the NOAA/NHC site...

I am glad you got you post up ?nd ready for the season

Water is, for me, the most important item to have on hand.
Then comes a basic first aid kit
Then dry clothes
Then radio and batteries.

After that it's pick and choose. I don't live near hurricane prone areas, so I don't worry. However, experience has taught me that a good 5 day supply of drinking water is awfully important.

HB
 

Hillbilly

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Jan 1, 2002
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Names retired from list

NOAA published this a few weeks ago. You can see the full pictures at: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20080513_stormnames.html

The names Dean, Felix, and Noel, three of the most devastating storms of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, were retired by members of the 30th Session of the World Meteorological Organization's Regional Association IV Hurricane Committee during its annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Members of the committee, which includes representatives from NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, can remove names associated with storms that cause significant loss of life and property. These names will not be used again because of the wide spread destruction caused by these storms.

The committee issues a list of potential names for tropical cyclones every six years and for 2013, Dean, Felix, and Noel have been replaced with Dorian, Fernand, and Nestor. Since tropical cyclones were first named in 1953, 70 names have been retired, the first two being Carol and Hazel in 1954.

Details of the newly retired 2007 named storms are shown below:

Hurricane Dean was a Category 5 storm as it hit the Mexican coast.

Hurricane Dean was a Category 5 storm as it hit the Mexican coast.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

* Dean passed between St. Lucia and Martinique on Aug. 17 on a remarkably constant heading across the Caribbean Sea, passing just south of Jamaica with Category 4 winds of 145 mph. Over the warm waters of the northwestern Caribbean Sea, Dean reached Category 5 strength of 165 mph just before landfall on Aug. 21 near Costa Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula. It weakened over land but emerged into the Bay of Campeche, strengthening to Category 2 status just before landfall the next day south of Tuxpan, Mexico. Dean is directly responsible for 32 deaths across the Caribbean, with the largest tolls in Mexico and Haiti.

* Felix was the second hurricane of the season to make landfall as a Category 5 hurricane, a feat never seen before in records dating back to 1851. Felix became a hurricane on Sept. 1 over the southwestern Caribbean Sea. It rapidly intensified, and Felix became a Category 5 hurricane about 400 miles southeast of Jamaica. The storm weakened to Category 3 but re-intensified to Category 5 status just before landfall on Sept. 4 at Punta Gorda, Nicaragua. Felix was responsible for 130 deaths in Nicaragua and Honduras, causing major damage in northeastern Nicaragua and inland flooding over portions of Central America.

Hurricane Noel on November 1, 2007.

Infrared satellite image of Hurricane Noel on November 1, 2007.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

* Noel was a slow-moving tropical storm from Oct. 25 to Oct. 31, while over the Dominican Republic, Haiti, eastern Cuba and the lower Bahamas before reaching Category 1 hurricane strength on Nov. 1 in the northwestern Bahamas. As it accelerated northeast over the western Atlantic waters near Nantucket Island, Mass., it was no longer classified as a tropical system but packed 75 mph winds as it came ashore near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Noel was responsible for at least 160 deaths across the Caribbean and Bahamas. The system produced hurricane force winds over portions of the northeast U.S. and Canada, producing widespread power outages. It also produced significant coastal flooding and wave action that washed out coastal roads in portions of Nova Scotia.

Names for the upcoming 2008 Atlantic season, which begins June 1, include Arthur, Bertha, Christobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paloma, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.
 

MikeFisher

The Fisherman/Weather Mod
Feb 28, 2006
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the christmas Storm hanging over the Island, awaiting Santa's Thunder to fly in, lol.
nothing special happening now weather wise. we have the typical often cloudy and rainy winter weather.
no news to update this Topic from 2008.

Mike
 
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