Years since last Louisiana landfall, officials say prepare for hurricanes now
On average, over a two year period, 3 hurricanes strike United States coastline with one of them being considered major. Research on tropical cyclone return periods shows that Louisiana averages a hurricane strike every 7-8 years. The last was Isaac in 2012. It’s easy to forget what a hurricane is capable of doing. The U.S. has not been directly impacted by a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) in more than a decade. However, hurricanes such as Ike, Sandy and Isaac reminded us that significant impacts can occur without the storm being classified as “major.” Many people are suffering from hurricane amnesia in the forms of complacency, denial and inexperience. This remarkable hurricane streak is going to end, and we have to be ready for it to happen this season.
Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Impacts can be felt hundreds of miles inland.
Therefore, it is important to identify the types of wind and water hazards that can affect your home, and then start preparing NOW for how to handle them.
Storm surge is the water pushed ashore by a tropical cyclone. It is the deadliest hurricane hazard.
Strong winds are capable of producing significant damage to any and all structures in their path.
Inland flooding can occur far from the coast and well after landfall. Such events are a more frequent cause of death in tropical cyclones.
Tornadoes are commonly spawned by tropical cyclones, well away from the center of the storm.
Rip currents along and near the coast can be deadly, even when to storm is well offshore.
While hurricanes are classified as the most powerful tropical cyclone, tropical storms and even depressions should still be taken seriously. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines a tropical cyclone as a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has a closed low-level circulation. There are several classifications of tropical cyclones.
Tropical Depression: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 38 mph (33 knots) or less.
Tropical Storm: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph (34 to 63 knots).
Hurricane: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher.
Major Hurricane: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 111 mph (96 knots) or higher, corresponding to a Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
A Post-Tropical Cyclone is a system that no longer possesses sufficient tropical characteristics to be considered a tropical cyclone. Post-tropical cyclones can still bring heavy rain and high winds.
Assess your vulnerability to these storms, the hazards they present, and then begin to prepare NOW. By the time a storm is named, it may be too late. History has shown that many tropical tragedies are related to a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation. This year, from May 15-21 the National Hurricane Center, the WBRZ Weather Team and hopefully you will participate in Hurricane Preparedness Week. Together, we’ll discuss how these storms may affect you and what you can do to prepare for and recover from a storm, should one strike.
New topics will be discussed each day through Hurricane Preparedness Week on wbrz.com. All season long, check in with the WBRZ Weather Team on News 2, wbrz.com/weather, the WBRZ WX app., the WBRZ Cable Weather Channel and for the latest bulletins in the Capital City, please keep up with us on social media.