A very powerful Hurricane Katrina devastated
the city of New Orleans and the surrounding area last year. Thousands died
and hundreds of thousands lost their homes. Lessons learned, from this the
worst natural disaster in U.S. history, stress foremost the need to be
prepared for such an event. The only difference between the devastation in
New Orleans and what would occur here in a similar storm would be that the
water would recede faster because we have no levees to hold the storm surge
in. The damage to buildings and structures would be just a bad and the water
would be just as deep.
The Tropical Storm Prediction Center has issued its forecast
for the 2006 Hurricane Season that begins June 1. The forecast for 2006 is
for 15 named storms, with 9 becoming hurricanes, and 5 developing into major
hurricanes. A major hurricane is defined as Category 3 and above according
to the Saffir-Simpson rating scale. The rating scale is has 5 categories and
is explained below:
Category One Hurricane:
mph. Storm surge generally 4-5 ft above normal. No real damage to building
structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and
trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Also, some coastal road
flooding and minor pier damage.
of 2002 made landfall on the Louisiana coast as a Category One hurricane.
of 2004 was a Category One hurricane that made landfall along the central
South Carolina coast.
Category Two Hurricane:
mph. Storm surge generally 6-8 feet above normal. Some roofing material,
door, and window damage of buildings. Considerable damage to shrubbery and
trees with some trees blown down. Considerable damage to mobile homes,
poorly constructed signs, and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes
flood 2-4 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Small craft in
unprotected anchorages break moorings.
of 2004 made landfall over the southern end of Hutchinson Island, Florida as
a Category Two hurricane.
of 2003 made landfall near Drum Inlet on the Outer Banks of North Carolina
as a Category 2 hurricane.
Category Three Hurricane:
111-130 mph. Storm surge generally 9-12 ft above normal. Some structural
damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of wall
failures. Damage to shrubbery and trees with foliage blown off trees and
large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly constructed signs are
destroyed. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before
arrival of the center of the hurricane. Flooding near the coast destroys
smaller structures with larger structures damaged by battering from floating
debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 ft above mean sea level may be
flooded inland 8 miles (13 km) or more. Evacuation of low-lying residences
with several blocks of the shoreline may be required. Hurricanes
of 2004 were Category Three hurricanes when they made landfall in Florida
and in Alabama, respectively.
Category Four Hurricane:
131-155 mph . Storm surge generally 13-18 ft above normal. More extensive
wall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small
residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete
destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows.
Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival
of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of structures
near the shore. Terrain lower than 10 ft above sea level may be flooded
requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 6 miles
of 2004 was a Category Four hurricane made landfall in Charlotte County,
Florida with winds of 150 mph.
of 2005 struck the island of Cuba as a Category Four hurricane.
Category Five Hurricane:
Winds greater than 155
mph. Storm surge generally greater than 18 ft above normal. Complete roof
failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building
failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. All shrubs, trees,
and signs blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Severe and
extensive window and door damage. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising
water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage
to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 ft above sea level
and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential
areas on low ground within 5-10 miles of the shoreline may be required. Only
3 Category Five Hurricanes have made landfall in the United States since
records began: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Hurricane Camille (1969),
in August, 1992.
will heed the lessons learned from last year and be prepared to evacuate the
hospital if necessary. Please prepare your homes and families in the event
evacuation is necessary this year. Information about the hospitalís
evacuation plan can be found in the Emergency Preparedness Plan. If you need
any information or assistance in preparation for the hurricane season
contact the safety office at ext. 6422.