Getting Prepared For Hurricane Season

Today marks the start of the 2009 Northeast Pacific Hurricane Season.

Living in Central Florida, we have another 15 days to wait until the Atlantic Hurricane Season begins, but we have done a few things to prepare already. A few months ago, we wrote an article asking Are you prepared? which gives you a general, getting started list, as well as common sense tips and tricks that people who have lived in Hurricane prone areas should already know. Continue reading “Getting Prepared For Hurricane Season”

Saffir-Simpson Scale

All hurricanes are dangerous, but some more so than others. The way storm surge, wind, and other factors combine determines the hurricane’s destructive power. To make comparisons easier-and to make the predicted hazards of approaching hurricanes clearer to emergency forces-National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s hurricane forecasters use a disaster-potential scale which assigns storms to five categories.

Category 1 is a minimum hurricane; category 5 is the worst case. The criteria for each category in the table shown below:

Category Central Pressure Maximum Winds Storm Surge
Tropical Depression 38 mph / 34 kts or less 4-5 ft.
Tropical Storm > 980 mb or 28.94 in 39-73 mph or 34-63 kts 4-5 ft.
1 – Minimal < 980 mb or 28.94 in 74-95 mph or 64-83 kts 4-5 ft.
2 – Moderate 965-979 mb or 28.50-28.91 in 96-110 mph or 65-96 kts 6-8 ft.
3 – Extensive 945-964 mb or 27.91-28.47 in 111-130 mph or 97-113 kts 9-12ft.
4 – Extreme 920-944 mb or 27.17-27.88 in 131-155 mph or 114-135 kts 13-18 ft.
>5 – Catastrophic < 920 mb or 27.17 in > 155 mph or 135 kts > 18 ft.

* – The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is based on Windspeed alone, the pressures are only included as a general reference and may not always apply

Hurricane Season Travel Information

Hurricane Season runs in different times for each ocean, sea or basin.  We often receive questions about when hurricane season is, and when the best time to travel would be if you needed to travel during hurricane season.  The information below changes on a season to season, and day to day basis, based on the conditions of the area and should ALWAYS be verified with the National Hurricane Center or the local authorities in the area you plan to visit.

Regular Hurricane Season Dates:

Atlantic, Carribean, Gulf of Mexico

June 1 – November 30

Northeast Pacific

May 15 – November 30

Central Pacific including Hawaiian Islands

June 1 – November 30

In each of these areas, based on historical data, which was completely ignored by the Atlantic hurricanes during the 2005 extremely active, record breaking Atlantic hurricane season, the best time to visit would be in June and July, and again in late October and November.  August,  September and early October are considered the height of the season which means there is a much greater chance of a hurricane in these waters at this time.  Hurricane Season is just that though, it is the time when hurricanes develop in these waters, therefore if you make plans to travel to these areas during the season, you should also have a backup plan, as well as travel insurance!

What would you do if you made travel plans in the Carribean during August, and a category 3 hurricane hits the island the week before you are scheduled to arrive?