From record amounts of rainfall to winds that exceed 200 miles per hour and storm surges that crash onto the pilings of oceanfront properties, the problems that accompany hurricanes are wide and varied. To learn more about the most devastating effects of hurricanes and ways you can protect yourself and your home, check out the facts about hurricane damage that follow.
Storm surge and flooding
Perhaps the most devastating effect of hurricanes are the storm surges and tidal flooding that tend to come along with them. High winds and massive waves push walls of water high onto the beach, often breaching the dune lines or seawalls and forcing water to flow under homes and onto city streets in oceanfront communities. Storm surges and flooding are responsible for the majority of deaths that occur during hurricanes, as those who did not evacuate become trapped in their homes with nowhere to escape to when the water starts pouring in. Although many homes along coastlines are elevated on pilings, storm surges from major hurricanes often exceed expected heights and can still get inside your property, posing a threat to your personal belongings and your life if you stayed at home to ride out the storm. To stay as safe as possible from a coming storm, remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry and to evacuate your home when the order is given by city officials.
In addition to the walls of water that rush onto roadways and into homes when hurricanes brush by coastlines or make landfall in oceanfront communities, a host of additional problems are posed by wind. Depending on the strength of the storm-which can range from a category 1 to a category 5-hurricanes typically cause winds in excess of 100 miles per hour. From broken windows caused by flying objects to massive chunks of roof or decking that are torn loose and scattered around town, the effects that high winds have during a hurricane can be devastating to homeowners. High winds can also cause power lines to be ripped loose, prompting power outages that affect hundreds to thousands of people during a hurricane.
If you choose to ride out a storm in the safety of your home, remember that just because it's standing when the wind and rain subside doesn't mean you will be able to safely go out and about in your community. Storm surges and tidal flooding are well known for their ability to buckle roadways that might be your only way to access much-needed amenities after a storm such as food, water and medical assistance. Massive amounts of sand or debris on the roads can also block your path to grocery stores, medical centers and the homes of friends or loved ones, and it can take days before the roadways are cleared and accessible once again. In addition to roadways, basic lines of communication can be down for days or even weeks following a massive storm, cutting of your access to friends, family and loved ones in town or across the country. In order to ensure your own personal safety during a hurricane, it's imperative to follow the orders given by city or county officials and to evacuate your property when the action is recommended.