Hurricane Arthur Reminds Coastal Residents to Stay Vigilant During Hurricane Season

Hurricane Arthur was the first named storm of the hurricane season, making landfall in North Carolina last Thursday and affecting the northeast United States and southeast Canada. The storm’s 100 mph wind speeds and heavy rain reminded residents of coastal areas always to remain vigilant during hurricane season.

Courtesy of wired.com. Animation: Hal Pierce/NASA

 

Hurricane Arthur, the first named storm of the hurricane season and the first to hit the United States since Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, made landfall in North Carolina Thursday, July 3, as a Category 2 hurricane. Arthur disrupted the region’s Independence Day celebrations before it weakened to a Category 1 and then a post-tropical storm as it moved along the northeast and affected parts of Canada on Saturday.

Despite the initial 100 mph winds, Arthur didn’t do much damage to homes or businesses in North Carolina, but it did manage to spoil the holiday weekend for many—4th of July parades and firework shows were cancelled due to the heavy rain.

Additionally, an estimated 44,000 people were without power the next morning. However, the damage was mitigated fairly quickly, with only 5,000 people left without power by that same afternoon.

No injuries or deaths were reported after the storm.

“We’ve always felt that it was better to overreact than underreact,” said North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, “Gladly this storm was more underwhelming than anticipated, which was very good news.”

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Classification Scale

Hurricanes are classified on a 1-5 scale called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The categories are determined by the hurricane’s sustained wind speed, which estimates potential property damages. A Category 5 hurricane is the most severe, with winds of 157 mph or higher. Winds of this speed can cause catastrophic damage, like total roof failure in homes and businesses, fallen trees and power poles, and power outages that can last months, making the area uninhabitable. A Category 1 hurricane, though lowest on the scale of potential damage, still has sustained wind speeds of 74-95 mph. Large branches of trees can snap and fall on cars, homes, and people, leading to severe injuries and even death.

Hurricane Arthur was a Category 2 hurricane, with wind speeds between 96-110 mph. Potential damage from these hurricanes include major roof and siding damage to homes, uprooted trees that can block roads, and damage to power lines leading to power outages.

Hurricane Preparedness

With the hurricane season upon us, residents of coastal areas in the United States should have a hurricane preparation checklist ready and available. Safety, communication, and damage mitigation are important before, during, and immediately after a hurricane.

For your home:

  • Board up windows and doors with plywood. Consider having some on hand, as supplies can become scarce immediately before a storm hits.
  • Bring outside patio furniture, garbage cans, or lawn decorations inside. These items can be dangerous if left out and picked up by hurricane winds.
  • Reinforce garage doors, clear gutters of debris, and turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case the power goes out.
  • Fill a bathtub with water and put a full tank of gas in one car.
  • Unplug small appliances and electronics and, if possible, turn off the electricity, gas, and water for the residence.

For yourself:

  • Download a location app to your smartphone, like the Red Cross Hurricane App, that allows you to notify your friends and family if you need help, if you are safe, and where you are located.
  • Learn the location of the nearest shelter.
  • Know the evacuation routes if you are ordered to evacuate. Leave a note in your home stating where you are going.

List of supplies:

  • Three gallons of water for every person in the home
  • Three days of food, like trail mix/nuts, dry cereal, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats, and peanut butter. Don’t forget the manual can opener!
  • A battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • A fire extinguisher
  • An emergency ladder
  • A sleeping bag, whistle, and contact information for each person in the home
  • A first aid kit (antibiotic ointment, burn ointment, adhesive bandages, eye wash, pain relievers, anti-diarrheals, small scissors, tweezers, petroleum jelly, etc.)
  • Insect repellant
  • Wet wipes

Visit the American Red Cross web site for more suggestions for your hurricane preparedness kit.

 Report written by Farah Kudrath.

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