Georgia Regional Hospital
at Savannah 

"Patient Satisfaction & Community Integration"

                                            

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Ethics Forum -
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Hurricane Season Begins June 1  

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:

Winds 74-95 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. Hurricane Lili of 2002 made landfall on the Louisiana coast as a Category One hurricane. Hurricane Gaston of 2004 was a Category One hurricane that made landfall along the central South Carolina coast.

Category Two Hurricane:

Winds 96-110 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. Hurricane Frances of 2004 made landfall over the southern end of Hutchinson Island, Florida as a Category Two hurricane. Hurricane Isabel of 2003 made landfall near Drum Inlet on the Outer Banks of North Carolina as a Category 2 hurricane.

Category Three Hurricane:

Winds 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 Jeanne and Ivan of 2004 were Category Three hurricanes when they made landfall in Florida and in Alabama, respectively.

Category Four Hurricane:

Winds 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 (10 km). Hurricane Charley of 2004 was a Category Four hurricane made landfall in Charlotte County, Florida with winds of 150 mph. Hurricane Dennis 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), and Hurricane Andrew in August, 1992.

 We 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.

 

Georgia Department of Human Resources
Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases