How Are Hurricanes Named?
In the early days of meteorology in the United States storms were named with a latitude / longitude designation representing the location
where the storm originated. These names were difficult to remember, difficult to communicate and subject to errors.
Meteorologists for the Atlantic ocean began using men's names in 1979. For each year, a list of 21 names, each starting with a different letter of the alphabet was developed and arranged in alphabetical order (names beginning with the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z were not used). The first tropical storm of the year was given the name beginning with the letter "A", the second with the letter "B" and so on through the alphabet. During even-numbered years, men's names were given to the odd-numbered storms and during odd-numbered years, women's names were given to odd-numbered storms (see the table below for recent name lists).
Today, the World Meteorological Organization maintains the lists of Atlantic hurricane names. They have six lists which are reused every six years.
When There Are More Than 21 Named Storms
There are normally less than 21 named tropical storms in any calendar year. In the rare years when more than 21 storms are named the additional storms are given names from the Greek alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta are used for their names.
When Are Hurricane Names Retired?
The only change that is made to the list of Atlantic hurricane names is the occasional retirement of a name. This is done when a hurricane
cause so much death and destruction that reuse of the same name would be insensitive to the people who suffered losses. When that happens
the World Meteorological Organization replaces the name. For example: " Katrina" has been retired from the name list and will not be used
A list of hurricane names that have been retired since the current name list system was established in 1979 is in the right column of this webpage. In addition to retirements there are a few names that were simply changed. On the 2007 list the names Dean, Felix and Noel will be replaced with Dorian, Femand and Nestor on the 2013 list.
Hurricane Name Chart
Know Your Home
Most recently built homes are well constructed and were built according to the stringent South Florida Building Codes. You are safer there than anywhere else.
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Should you go to a refuge?
If you or any members of your family have health problems, if you live in a low, inaccessible, or particularly exposed area, or in a mobile home, you should plan to go to a refuge as soon as you are directed that the one near you is open. Don't try to get there once the storm starts, Eat at home before you go. Bring sandwiches, cheese and crackers, snacks, and drinks in thermos bottles. Also bring a blanket, pillow, folding cot or air mattress (if available), your medicines, flashlight, reading material, cards, baby's formula and diapers, etc. Arrangements should have already been made to place valuables and other irreplaceable documents into a safety deposit box. Bring only replacement clothing in a small suitcase. Call your City Civil Defense headquarters if transportation is required, only if no other means of transportation is available. Pets are NOT permitted in the shelter.
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The Most Dangerous Elements
The most dangerous elements in a hurricane, besides ignorance, fear and panic, are: objects blown by the wind, fallen or hanging power lines, flooding and high tides. If the waters begin rising in the streets there will not be much difference in your street's water level whether your home is on a canal or several blocks away. The streets will "level out", according to Civil Defense officials.
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Mobile Home Residents
Make sure that you receive a copy of the special instructions bulletin for mobile homes issued by your City Civil Defense authorities.
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Tropical Weather Terms
Atmospheric motions that are predominantly vertical, resulting in the transport of properties such as heat and moisture. Cumulus clouds and thunderstorms are examples of phenomena associated with convection.
The usually relatively calm center of a hurricane where winds re light and skies can appear partly cloudy to clear. The average eye diameter is about 20 miles, though it can range from 5 to 60 miles.
The organized hand of intense convection immediately surrounding the eye of a tropical cyclone. The strongest winds of a hurricane are found in the eye wall.
A warm-core tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface winds are 74 miles per hour or greater (64 knots or greater).
A reserve group of the U.S. Air Force that files reconnaissance flights into tropical disturbances, tropical storms and hurricanes to gather data which aids in tracking and forecasting tropical weather systems.
National Hurricane Center
Located in Florida International University in Miami. The center is responsible for tracking and forecasting tropical weather and issuing watches and warnings for threatening tropical conditions.
Increase in sea level water height from what would exist with no hurricane. Most hurricane deaths are associated with storm surge. Typically, the stronger the hurricane, the greater the storm surge.
A warm-core low pressure system which develops over tropical and sometimes subtropical waters and has an organized circulation.
A tropical cyclone in which maximum sustained winds are 38 miles per hour (33 knots) or less. Tropical Depressions characteristically have one or more closed isobars.
A discrete system of organized convection that originates in the tropics and maintains its identity for 24 hours or more
A warm-core tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained winds range from 39 to 73 mph (34 to 63 knots).
Tropical Wave (Easterly Wave)
A low pressure trough moving generally westward in the tropical easterlies.
A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when tropical storm conditions, including winds of 39 to 73 mph, pose a possible threat to a specified coastal area generally within 36 hours.
A Tropical Storm Warning is issued when tropical storm conditions, including winds of 39 to 73 mph, pose a possible threat to a specified coastal area generally within 24 hours.
A Hurricane Watch is issued for a specified coastal area for which a hurricane or an incipient hurricane condition is a possible threat generally within 36 hours.
A Hurricane Warning is issued for a specified coastal area for which a hurricane or an incipient hurricane condition is a possible threat generally within 24 hours.
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Before the Storm: Checklist
Listen to the Radio
Listen to the Radio for communication with Emergency Preparedness. Have a battery radio with spare batteries. Your car radio, (in an attached garage) may serve in a pinch. But, don't drain your car battery.
Objects in the wind
All objects that may be blown in the wind should be taken into the house or garage, such as garbage cans, gardening tools, ornaments, toys, bicycles, porch and lawn furniture, lawn mowers, etc. Firmly secure all large movable objects that cannot be carried into the house.
Lower your outside television antenna. CAUTION: first remove the plug from the wall inside the house. TV antennas mounted on poles are charged electrically.
Lower and secure your window storm awnings. In severe storms, all members of your house should try to sit against an inside wall away from windows. (If tape is left on too long after a hurricane, it can be hard to remove).
Clean up the Yard
Check trees, and shrubs for branches and limbs that could damage your house or utility lines. Trees should be trimmed enough for the wind to blow through them, rather than against them. Do this before the hurricane season. For advice, call the Broward County Extension Service at 475-8010.
Go Get Gas
Fill the gas tank of your automobile. Park your car in the garage, or on high ground, away from trees or utility poles. Make sure that windshield wipers are in order and brakes are set securely.
Don't Drain Your Swimming Pool
Don't drain it, but disconnect all electrical connections to it. Wrap filter pump (if exposed) with waterproof cover and tie securely. Add extra chlorine to prevent contamination.
Have Plenty of Drinking Water
Prepare an adequate supply of reserve drinking water. Your water supply may fail. In case of power failure, sterilize your tub and containers thoroughly by scrubbing and swabbing with a cloth which is saturated with ordinary bleach. Rinse and let dry. Then fill with water. Protect your health: boil water before drinking. If you have ample water reserves, they can also be used to flush the toilet by partially filling the tank.
Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings, and open only when necessary.
Cloths, Towels, Mops.
Get a Supply of cloths, mops, newspapers, old blankets, towels, and sheets, etc. to have available to soak up water that may seep into your home, or to wrap up your freezer if that becomes necessary.
Are you single?
Single persons, widows, or widowers may feel more secure by planning to share their home with others, or by going to a neighbor's home, after securing their own home.
Be a Volunteer!
Volunteer your services to others, if possible
Call your insurance agent
Read your home insurance policy, or call your insurance agent now to make sure that you have adequate coverage for hurricane and storm damage.
If you leave home
If you have to leave your home, it may be advisable to turn off the main electric switch or circuit breakers, to avoid danger from outlets that might be affected by water rising in your home.
If you have medical training
If you have medical training, you may call your neighborhood Civil Defense Director to volunteer your services preferably before the start of the hurricane season on June 1st. Why not do it now?
Your Roof Turbines
Roof Turbines should be removed and capped with metal pieces; obtain these from hardware or lumber shops.
Windows and Air Conditioners
All windows and wall air conditioner units should be covered and secured against wind damage. If possible, remove them and make the openings windproof and watertight.
Check your Caulking
Caulking on your windows should be checked, because flood insurance may not cover water seeping through them.
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During the Storm: Checklist
Remain inside, stay calm, don't panic. Listen to the radio. Don't go our until the official "all clear" is given.
The calm...during the storm?
During a lull in the storm for several minutes to one-half hour, even if there is bright sunshine and no wind, do not venture out! The "eye" of the storm may be passing over. Listen to the radio.
Phones for emergencies only
Use your telephone for emergencies only. Report immediately to Fire, Police, or FPL, hazardous conditions such as fallen power lines, broken water mains, etc. Report tornado sightings at once, and take cover immediately.
When the power shuts off
If power goes off, continue to conserve refrigeration by wrapping blankets around your refrigerator-freezer. Open only when absolutely necessary.
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After the Storm: Checklist
Avoid electric shock. Don't touch fallen or low-hanging wires of any kind! They may be live! Don't touch any tree or object that's in contact with power lines.
Call the Police
Call Police, Fire, or FPL immediately to report hazards such as fallen or hanging power lines, broken water mains, etc.
Trees and Hanging Limbs
Watch out for weakened tree limbs or structures and debris that might collapse and cause serious injury.
Protect Your Health
Boil all drinking water if there's any doubt before drinking.
Stay at home unless you have to go out on business Don't go sightseeing.
If you need help, and phones are out, display a white sheet and watch for help.
Do not drive unless you have to. The streets may be flooded.
Be extra cautious to prevent fires because lowered water pressure may make fire fighting difficult.
Remain in Refuge until informed by those in charge that you may return to your home.
Check all food that required refrigeration. It may be spoiled.
If Food Thaws
If partial thawing of food occurs, before refrigeration is resumed, you may refreeze any packages in which some ice crystals remain. These refrozen foods should be marked to be used as soon as possible.
Restoring your TV Antenna
When restoring your TV or CB antenna, check in all directions to make absolutely certain that the antenna will not touch a power line. An ounce of prevention...Remember to disconnect the inside plug first.
When returning to a storm-damaged home, you must be very cautious. You may need the services of skilled craftsmen to help you check out your electrical system, air conditioning, water supply, woodwork and floors, odors, mildew, locks, hinges, roofs, plastered walls, wallpaper, furniture, etc.
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Florida Hurricanes - Use ClearGuard Panels and "See The Difference"!
The worst hurricane in 170 years kills at least 34 people in the Pensacola area. Eye passes over Miami. 100 railroad workers, killed in the Keys, in the second storm of 1906.
Major hurricane crosses middle and upper Keys. Damage from Miami to Key West.
Another hurricane hits lower Keys damaging the Seven Mile Bridge and causing major damage at Key West
Yet another severe storm in Key West causes widespread damage.
The last major hurricane to hit Tampa and Florida central/west coast causes over a million dollars in damage. Storm passes across the state and exits at Jacksonville
Eye passes over Miami. Wind gusts estimated to 150 mph. Most buildings in Dade and Broward Counties damaged or destroyed. Major flooding of all coastal sections, downtown Miami and downtown Ft. Lauderdale
Eye moves ashore near Palm Beach causing widespread destruction. Nearly 2,000 people die when dikes break on Lake Okeechobee, causing massive flooding.
Strongest storm ever to hit US. Winds estimated up to 250 mph kill hundreds of World War 1 veterans sent to Keys to build Overseas Highway. Small but intense storm causes significant damage. Eye is over Miami for 1 hour 5 minutes.
Richmond Naval Air Station in South Dade is destroyed by huge fire. Major damage in Homestead.
Two storms in three weeks bring widespread flooding to western sections of Dade and Broward Counties. Miami International Airport is under water.
Two hurricanes in two weeks move through the Keys and extreme South Florida, winds reported as high as 122 mph at Key West in second storm.
Major hurricane passes from Palm Beach to Lake Okeechobee. 153 mph gusts at Jupiter. Lake levees built after 1928 disaster hold this time. Storm felt along central and southeast coast.
Hurricane "King" passes over Miami. Winds gust to 122 mph.
Hurricane "Donna" with 150 mph winds causes major damage in the Keys
Hurricane "Cleo" passes directly over parts of Miami of Ft. Lauderdale. Winds estimated at 110 mph cause $125 million in damage in Dade County.
Hurricane "Dora" moves ashore near St. Augustine with 125 mph winds. This is the only hurricane known to hit NE Florida with full force
Hurricane "Betsy" hits upper Keys with 140 mph winds. Major storm surge damage felt along Dade coast
Hurricane "Eloise" destroys or severely damages much of the beach front property between Ft. Walton Beach and Panama City.
Hurricane "David" provides the only major scare for South Florida since 1965. The eye comes ashore just north of Palm Beach causing $95 Million in damage.
Hurricane "Andrew" gains notoriety as the most costly natural disaster to hit a US city in modern times, causing $30 billion in damage.
Floyd approached the coast at 150 mph, only to veer away north and scare the rest of the eastern seaboard. A late storm named Irene intensified from out of nowhere and cut across Southern Florida. Her winds approached 100mph and damage was mostly due to widespread flooding.
No significant activity in Florida.
Very active Hurricane Season with 16 named storms. Florida was the hardest hit with storms such as Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne.
Record breaking year. Surpassed all prior Seasons in history. 31 named storms that required use of the Greek alphabet. Memorable names such as Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
We had a named storm in May and then another on opening day of Hurricane Season - June 1st.