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HURRICANE SURVIVAL GUIDE

This eBook edition begins with hurricane basics and teaches you how to forecast wind direction and strength as well as track the eye of the storm.

$9.95


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Hurricane damage in the Virgin Islands

Hurricane Ivan, Pensecola, Florida

Hurricane Katrina Damage

Hurricane Katrina
Boat Pile Up

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Hurricane Katrina Extreme Footage

 

"YOU'RE MY WINGMAN, KEEP AN EYE OVER THERE!"

The cameraman who shot this footage of hurricane Katrina in Mobile, Alabama on August 29, 2005 shouted the above title to his partner during the height of the storm.  Surviving the fury of any hurricane is an almost joyous occasion as can be heard in the voices of these two men and it's always comforting to have a wingman. 

The amount of water seen is especially telling due to both storm surge and torrential rain.  Note the blog on storm surge for more on this subject.  I survived a hurricane aboard Nereis in the Dog River just south of Mobile in 1994 or 95.  I forget the name of this one but not my first hurricane on a boat, which was Carol in the early 1950s, I was sixteen.  I had two anchors out in line with the Dog River's flow both fixed to the bow to allow Nereis to pivot with the change in wind direction as the hurricane moved by.  The eye went over near Destin, Florida to the east.  We only had winds of about seventy mph but the rain was the factor that most impressed me.  The river is only about a hundred yards wide and I was closer to the south bank.  The first part of the storm was interesting as we got knocked down many times due to wind and intense water current.  When the wind shifted the boat did not.  Wind now came from the stern but the strength of the current was so great we couldn't pivot.  Nereis was knocked down repeatedly and waves continuously filled the cockpit, seemingly for hours in the wee hours of the night.  I just held on with feet braced against the sink for the entire duration talking to friends on land upriver on my handheld VHF radio.  I was cautioned several times about language but who cares when your next moment might be your last.

The next morning in a calming dawn I got one anchor loose and struggled mightily to free the other.  I had a small bumper tied with a twenty-foot line on it to warn others of its position and it seemed to be gone, it was not floating astern.  When I finally got the anchor into the cockpit the boat remained glued to the bottom.  Pulling on the bumper's line I found it was buried deep in the silt-filled bottom, underlining the fury of water's force. 

Motoring slowly upriver against the still raging current I found my dock covered with two feet of water, which remained for a day or so.  A year prior to this Nereis and I did almost the same thing just north of Destin in Boggy Bayou.  110 miles per hour even made my three anchors drag.  One had three hundred feet of chain, the other two hundred feet.  I remember watching roofs peel off buildings to our stern and people on shore looking at the fool on his boat in all the tumult.  Don't really want to do that again.

Wind strength is certainly a factor in hurricane damage but the force of moving water, water being much denser than air, is exponentially greater.  Note the recent blog on storm surge and please realize that knowledge of these wind strengths and directions can be determined with Hurricane Finder.  No weather forecast will tell you this.  Be prepared, the Boy Scout motto, is the watchword here. 

Let Hurricane Finder be your wingman.

 

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Chicken Soup & Hurricanes ....

Hurricane KatrinaLife can exist on Earth because it has a temperature range suitable for its development.  Parts of Nature’s ingenious plan to provide this ideal mix include: an appropriate distance from the Sun, Earth’s rotation, a tilt of the Earth’s axis creating the seasons, and tropical cyclones, called hurricanes in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Water can exist as liquid or gas.  Transforming water to its’ gaseous form (vaporization) requires large amounts of heat from it’s’ surroundings.  When water vapor shifts back to rainwater (condensation) that heat-energy is released.  Hurricanes move immense amounts of heat-energy from tropical waters to cool temperate zones through these physical changes and also convert salt water to drinkable rainwater for a thirsty world.  These storms can cause great damage but pay for their keep by stirring the atmospheric soup.

Hurricanes originate as tropical waves pouring off African deserts; a new one appears about every three days in the height of the hurricane season.  They become tropical depressions when the mass of hot-moist air shaped like a three hundred-mile long fat cigar, squashed as if stepped on, begins rotating in a counterclockwise direction, often in mid-ocean but anywhere favorable conditions occur.  Opposing winds in the migrating Inter Tropic Convergence Zone (ITCZ) begin turning it, aided by the Coriolis Effect. As the growing storm rotates it draws water vapor from an ocean whose temperature must be at least 79-degrees Fahrenheit and becomes self-sustaining.  When winds reach 40-miles per hour (34-knots) the tropical depression becomes a tropical storm and grows into a hurricane when they reach 75-miles per hour (64 knots.)   

To learn more start with those italicized concepts above. 

Do you have a different view of hurricanes now?  Perhaps not if you live in a hurricane zone but without them life might not thrive on Earth as it does now.  However your HURRICANE-FINDER will help you deal with them in a more organized way.

This instrument has been manufactured to show the dynamics of a hurricane depending on forecasted information over which we have no control.  Therefore, the company does not guarantee accuracy and cannot be held liable for damages occurring as the result of decisions made based on information gained through use or misuse of this product.

 

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SURVIVING A HURRICANE AT SEA

View of Hurricane from above.Because a hurricane’s winds are rotational their right and left halves (semicircles) have different characteristics.  Imagine a silver dollar face down on a flat surface (your hurricane on a table.)  While turning it counterclockwise move it forward.  Picture a line along its track.  Continue that line back through the coin’s center creating a left and right side.   If the counterclockwise winds are 100 and the speed of forward movement 20, the 20 is added in the right semicircle creating an actual wind of 120.  In the left semicircle winds are consequently reduced by 20 making it only 80. As in most things this is not a hard and fast rule and sometimes winds may be stronger in the left semicircle due to local conditions or simply because of the unpredictable nature of hurricanes. The right side of the hurricane is called the dangerous semicircle, its left the navigable semicircle. 

Accepted practice is to steer away from the hurricane’s track keeping the wind on your right.  If you were sailing you would be on a starboard tack in each semicircle due to the circular nature of cyclonic storm’s winds, the right-of-way position. When in doubt of the storm’s track sail on a starboard tack or if motoring keep the wind on the starboard side.  In the dangerous semicircle heaving to on the starboard tack might be the most expedient maneuver.  Keeping the wind on the starboard quarter in the navigable semicircle would take you away from the eye most quickly.  All of these maneuvers depend on the proximity of land and careful navigation is mandated.

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Tropical Cyclone Report:  Hurricane Wilma

Wilma formed and became an extremely intense hurricane over the northwestern Caribbean Sea.  It had the all-time lowest central pressure for an Atlantic basin hurricane, and it devastated the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula.  Wilma also inflicted extensive damage over southern Florida.  more ....

 

Hurricane Chief Warns of Old Satellite

By JESSICA GRESKO, Associated Press Writer Fri Mar 16, 5:06 PM ET

MIAMI - Certain hurricane forecasts could become less accurate if a key weather satellite that is already beyond its expected life span fails, the nation's new top forecaster said Friday.

The change would mean placing longer stretches of coastline under warnings and asking more people to evacuate, National Hurricane Center Director Bill Proenza said.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Proenza also called for hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding for expanded research and predictions.

Proenza, who took the post in January, said his immediate concerns include the so-called QuikScat weather satellite, which lets forecasters measure such basics as wind speed. Replacing it would take at least four years even if the estimated $400 million cost were available immediately, he said.

The satellite, designed to last five years, is in its seventh year of operation, Proenza said, and it is only a matter of time until it fails. He said he did not know of any plans to replace it.

Without its data, two-day forecasts could become 10 percent less accurate, and the three-day predictions could lose 16 percent accuracy, Proenza said.

Average track errors last year were about 100 miles on two-day forecasts and 150 mites on three-day predictions. Track errors have been cut in half over the past 15 years, but losing QuikScat could erode some of those gains, Proenza said.

 

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American Embassy Hurricane Warning - Guatemala

Dear American Citizen:

The following is a Public Announcement concerning Hurricane Season.    Please contact the American Citizen Services section via e-mail (amcitsguatemala@state.gov), fax (2326-4655), or telephone (2326-4405) if you have any questions.

Estimados Ciudadanos Americanos:

A continuación encontrará un boletín informativo publicado con relación a la temporada de huracanes.  Si tiene alguna pregunta se puede comunicar con la Sección de Servicios Americanos a la siguiente dirección de correo electrónico ( amcitsguatemala@state.gov) fax (2326-4655) o al teléfono (2326-4405). 

1. This Public Announcement is being issued to alert U.S. citizens to the Hurricane Season in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. The official Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June through November. This Public Announcement expires on December 7, 2007.

2. Experts at the National Weather Service predict a 75 percent chance that activity during the 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season will be above normal this year, forecasting 13 to 17 named storms, with 7 to 10 becoming hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recommends that those in hurricane-prone regions begin preparations at this time for the upcoming season.   more ...

 

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