Tropical Storm



Before a storm hits

To prepare for a Tropical Storm, you should take the following measures:

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Know your surroundings.
  • Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecast.
  • Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
  • Learn community Tropical Storm evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
  • Make plans to secure your property:
    • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
    • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
    • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
    • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
    • Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
    • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
    • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.

During a Tropical Storm

If a Tropical Storm is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities (electricity) if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Turn off LPG tanks.
  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purpose such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
  • Find out how to keep food safe during and after any emergency.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a weak home or temporary structure – such shelter are particularly hazardous during Tropical Storm no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building – Tropical Storm winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.

Read more about evacuating yourself and your family. If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the Tropical Storm and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Avoid elevators.

After a Tropical Storm passes

Many dangers exist in the catastrophic aftermath of every Tropical Storm. You must observe the following recommendations:

  • Continue listening to Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the Tropical Storm has ended.
  • If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or check the Emergency Numbers Plan.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering - the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

Risk considerations...

Earth's strongest recorded winds...

1. Philippines, 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan... pres: 895 seat: 32C sust: 230 kph gust: 322 kph / torn*: 360+ kph / cat 5, El Niño ~ 6,000 confirmed fatalities, 12,000 missing ~ Earth's strongest recorded Tropical Storm wind speed
2. Philippines, 2016 Super Typhoon Meranti... pres: 890 seat: 31C sust: 220 kph gust: 305 kph / torn*: 341+ kph / cat 5, La Niña ~ 400 confirmed fatalities, 2 missing ~ Earth's second strongest recorded Tropical Storm wind speed

Comment: Earth's tropical oceans all generate severe Tropical Storms.
* Note: 'torn' refers to mesovertices, common yet little understood tornadic anomalies related to Tropical Storm evaluation using the Saffir-Simpson scale. First described by Dr. Fujita in 1974, "mesovertices" are not yet included in public Tropical Storm warnings, as they are considered erratic or incidental. For years now, drone surveillace of 'eyewall mesovertices' has gathered information. Perhaps public weather forecasts and warnings need to include "expected vortex velocity". At least, "embedded tornados" warning?

Doctor Fujita: science and public viewpoint

Super typhoon Haiyan eye wall mesovertices removed portions of reinforced concrete structures. Along with storm surge, winds lifted large steel freighters onto land, far inland from tideline. Most Tropical Storm activity is not understood. However, certain Tropical Storm features are well understood. For example, mesovortex wind velocity is constrained by atmospheric conditions. Though mesovertices are incidental and therefore, scientists are challenged to differentiate "tornadic" events from embedded "gusting" surges. Extremely violent mesovertices exposed in the eye walls of cyclonic circulation are now studied by drones. For every cyclonic storm, approximate tornadic wind speeds and many other measurements are taken. Drone technology cannot yet enter the extremely violent mesovertices, or even follow them into the parent storm event, as the incidental mesovertices criss-cross through the eyewalls. Very little is known about how cyclonic tornados pass through eyewalls. The direction of their travel inside the parent storm appears to be erratic. Apart from landmass stripping and expansion (Katrina seeded more than 4,000 atmospheric tornados acros the southeast of North America in 48 hours), very little is known about mesovertices' behavior, except that they are embedded in full force storm winds. Mesovortex "risk" is not reported by governments to the public (satellite and surface observations may augment onging research, but for now, there is no reliable forcast information). In the storm's eye, the sea level mesovertices are approximately 12% to 239% of the maximum sustained storm wind speed, but may occur at any elevation in the circulations surrounding the eye wall. In general, for public weather reports, Tropical Storm wind velocity is measured as "sustained" average and "gust" values. Other storm features are more lethal than wind. Weather report emphasis over ocean surface is wind speed, while precipitation is emphasized over land surface, thereby giving focus to the single greatest threat to life in each environment. Mesovertices often produce strips of utter devastation amidst general Tropical Storm catastropy.

Wikipedia and other popular outlets are not to be relied upon, especially as storms progress and during catastrophic recovery. Public records illutrate misunderstanding. Wikipedia typically downgrades instrumentation readings for wind speed and for precipitation, especially during the years after a storm passes. For example, ST Haiyan wind gusts were estimated at 427 kph (assessing damage?), as a nurse verbally recounted on smart-phone video "a deafening roar and then tearing us apart," as wind tore reinforced concrete structures apart in a new government hospital (likely mesovertices), but 2 years later edited in Wikipedia to read as 360 kph, and now 320! Do JTWC amd NOAA keep relatively accurate records ( Sometimes the re-edits begin there, and when questioned, editors cite anticipation of 'the next big one'. Records tend to be sensational, not scientific. Yet again, scientific instrumentation has no way to distinguish and help predict wind surge gusting and antagonistic mesovortex circulations. As Dr. Fujita noted, there is much that we do not understand adequately. Scientists and public, understandably troubled by as yet poorly understood mesovortex activity in Tropical Storms, perhaps feel an urge to adjust records to reflect the latest nuance of misunderstandding. Contributing to a repectably fearful global culture, surrounding inescapable climatic reality.