- Separating Truth From Fiction?
Twelve Hurricane Myths ...
Being hurricane savvy is
learning not to rely on chance, false information
or myths that have been woven into the science
of hurricanes and preparedness. Here are
twelve myths and the truth from the experts
at the National Weather Service in Ruskin,
Florida, and Pinellas County Emergency Management.
When faced with a choice
about how you, your family or business will
handle the upcoming hurricane season, deal only with the truth.
As Pinellas County prepares
for the hurricane season, here are the top
twelve hurricane myths, along with reasons
why they could be hazardous to your health—or
FACT: The chances Florida
will experience four major hurricanes
again in one year like it did in 2004
are remote. The chance of one or two
strong storms slamming into the county
is very real. And if a major hurricane
hits Tampa Bay, it won’t matter if
there is only one storm this season.
That one could be enough to cause
serious damage. Be Prepared!
FACT: Hurricane winds
and rain affect large areas. Just
ask our Polk County residents (impacted
three times in 2004) or your neighbors
who evacuated to Orlando from Hurricane
Charley. Inland flooding was a major
problem in our region from exiting
storms Frances and Jeanne. Devastating
views of destruction left inland by
last year’s Katrina and Rita in the
Gulf Coast show the widespread impact
hurricanes can have inland.
FACT: Take the time
to protect your home and chances are,
you will suffer far less damage in
a hurricane. Shuttering windows, bracing
garage and entry doors and bringing
in yard items may mean the difference
between destruction and minor damage.
can get expensive, but cost-effective
options are available. Hurricane panels
and shutters along with newly developed
screen, mesh and fabric products can
protect your home and provide safety
for your family.
FACT: Insurance is
fine, but a house that survives a
hurricane is better. It is safer for
your family and easier to recover.
Currently, thousands of families in
Florida are still displaced because
of the previous hurricanes.
FACT: That is a long held falsehood.
If you let wind in your house, it’s
going to have to get out. The force
will find the weakest link and explode
FACT: Putting masking
tape on your windows is a waste of
time that should be spent on real
protection. Window shutters made of
metal or at least 5/8 inch plywood
and fastened correctly are a much
homes – even new ones – cannot withstand
more than minimal hurricane winds.
Use tie-downs and shutters on your mobile home, but have
evacuation plans, regardless of where
you live in Pinellas County.
FACT: If you don’t
already know how to use a chainsaw
safely, hurricane cleanup is not the
time to try to teach yourself. The
Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports
more Americans kill or injure themselves
after the storm during cleanup than
as a direct result of the hurricane
winds and flooding. Put safety first
even if you are experienced in handling
a chainsaw. Read the owner’s manual
before beginning. Wear a hardhat and
ear as well as eye protection. Never
work alone but make sure pets and
family members are away from you.
Wear sturdy shoes and gloves.
FACT: Escaping the
rising storm surge by going to the
upper stories of buildings, called
vertical evacuation, is a bad idea.
Wind speeds increase the higher you
go, so you may be evacuating into
a more dangerous place. Plus storm
damage and flooding will make getting
help to you nearly impossible after
the storm passes. The images of Gulf Coast residents
being airlifted off their roofs days
after the storm passed. If you are
told to evacuate, trust the experts
- s can produce wind gusts
in excess of 60 miles per hour, the
winds of a major hurricane can be
twice as strong – or even stronger.
And these winds will be sustained
for hours, much longer than a brief
thunderstorm. Remember, each time
the wind speed doubles, the force
it exerts is four times as strong.
Even a tropical storm can do considerable
damage to structures and topple trees.
FACT: This could
be one of the most dangerous decisions
you can make. Storm paths are extremely
unpredictable and waiting until the
last minute can leave you with no
place to go to escape a storm. Evacuation
orders are given based on the best
information available and are issued
early enough to allow sufficient time
for people to get to shelters or other
safe locations. Shelters are to be
considered a place of last resort.
Going to a friend's or relative’s home
in a non-evacuation area makes a lot
of sense. Don’t take chances with