Monday, October 2

How Hurricanes Cause Damage

Damage from storms such as hurricanes can occur many ways. Often people assume that most hurricane destruction is caused by flood waters, but this is not always so. Certainly, flooding can be a huge problem, but there are other destructive forces at work within a tropical storm or hurricane.


Before it even begins to rain, gale force winds can blow shingles off roofs and snap trees. Hurricane winds can be anywhere from 74 to 250 miles per hour. Even if your home or business is built to withstand strong winds, unless you also have impact resistant windows West Palm Beach, your structure could be damaged from flying debris picked up elsewhere. For example, your neighbor’s gutter could blow off in 70 mph winds and head straight through your front windows.

Storm Surge

Unlike rain that can soak the ground over time, a storm surge rolls in off the water causing great destruction as it destroys foundations and sweeps over anything in its path. Storm surges are an elongated rise in the sea level that on its own isn’t worrisome, but when it hits land, the water piles on top of itself rapidly. Many cities on coastlines have built seawalls or flood gates to mitigate the damage a storm surge can cause.


Not all hurricanes produce huge amounts of rain. This is especially true if you are on the “dry side” of the storm. Since hurricanes move in a counterclockwise direction, the nine o’clock side of the storm often has fewer damaging rain bands than the three o’clock side. Slow moving storms that sit in one place can dump up to 50 inches of rain in a single location. Rapidly moving storms, on the other hand, often have more damaging winds but the rain is spread over a larger area causing less flooding.

Unfortunately, if you’re hit with a hurricane, you will probably be dealing with some combination of flooding and high winds no matter what. The farther you are from the coast, the less of a problem storm surges will be for your area.


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