The aftermath of a hurricane leaves behind a trail of damage and disrupted infrastructure. The path of these beasts of nature is difficult to predict, yet scientists are constantly studying them to find ways and signs to predict their formation. ScienceStruck will provide you with details about the early signs of an incoming hurricane, and the warning symbols used for it.
Did You Know?
According to health experts, the drop in barometric pressure due to an approaching hurricane can exasperate arthritis and also cause headaches.
Many of us are familiar with a thunderstorm and its destructive power. But some of us are familiar with a geographical phenomenon that well and truly evokes fear due to its fierce power and sheer unpredictability―a hurricane.
Predicting the progress of these monsters is a tough task, but there are certain obvious signs that Mother Nature gives us that can be interpreted as an approaching hurricane. But before we get to those signs, let us first take a quick look at what is a hurricane. To put it in simple words, a tropical storm can be termed as a situation when wind rotates in the counter-clockwise direction at sea level accompanied by a never-ceasing thunderstorm. But when these winds start blowing at or more than 74 mph per hour, then the occurring situation is termed as a hurricane.
When the speed of the wind crosses 110 mph per hour, the hurricane can cause severe damage to life and property. The aftermath of a hurricane results in damaged buildings, flooding, blown down trees, and similar structural impairments. Now, let us take a look at the warning signs of a hurricane, and how to take precautionary measures to stay safe.
How is a Hurricane Predicted?
Several weather data reports are observed and analyzed by meteorologists to track tropical storms and hurricanes that are in the process of building up. But when storms are building up far away from land, satellite images are used to determine its location, strength, and progress over the subsequent five days. Generally, a hurricane alert is announced 48 hours before it makes landfall.
Signs of an Incoming Hurricane
Demeanor of the Sea
● Approximately 3 to 4 days prior to hurricane landfall, the surface of the sea will see a considerable swell of about 3 to 6 feet. The waves will strike the shore about every 6 to 9 seconds.
● The closer the hurricane, bigger will be the swell on the sea surface, accompanied with greater rapidity of the tides hitting the shore.
● The tide gets really rough before 24 hours, owing to the speed of the winds which can reach around about 34 miles per hour.
Atmospheric Pressure and Winds
● 72 hours before landfall, the atmospheric pressure is stable. The pressure begins to fall 36 hours before landfall, and after that, wind speed increases rapidly till final landfall.
● When the hurricane is 12 hours away, the gale force wind carries along loose debris with it.
● As the hurricane approaches, and is just 6 hours away, the wind speed crosses 90 miles per hour and is strong enough to blow away heavy objects and trees.
The Sky and the Clouds
● 72 hours before landfall, the sky is constellated by cumulus clouds.
● The cirrus clouds are visible in the sky, only 36 hours before the hurricane. People living in low-lying areas are now asked to evacuate their place.
● The intense bands of clouds which are all set to bring heavy downpours can be seen 12 hours before landfall.
● 18 hours before landfall, it begins to pour. It seems as if the sky has opened up and the waters well up, up to 15 feet, and flood the low-lying areas.
● The rains are heavy and continuous till the hurricane stops.
Flag Symbols and Their Meanings
|Two square red flags with black center, one above the other||Hurricane|
|Two red pennants||Gale|
|Red Flag||High Winds|
|Red pennant above square red flag with black center||North Eastern Wind Storm|
|Red pennant below square red flag with black center||South Eastern Wind Storm|
|White pennant below square red flag with black center||South Western Wind Storm|
|White pennant above square red flag with black center||North Western Wind Storm|
For more information on the warning signs and flags, visit the National Weather Service website.
Any hurricane evacuation announcement should be taken seriously. If you reside in areas which are hurricane prone, then always be ready with the disaster preparation kit. Being alert and vigilant is the key to safety.
Once the hurricane steadies, the weather will take another 36 hours to stabilize. Have enough food stocked in your disaster preparation kit, and also, don’t forget your pets. After all, even they are a part of your family.