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The Perfect Storm

Living in paradise has its price and one of them is the hurricane. Since the recent terrible storm in New Orleans, I am compelled to help you ready yourself for any storm that comes your way. The main thing is to be prepared and have safe shelter. After the last big storm in Anguilla most of the charming old wooden homes have been replaced with stronger, if less romantic, poured concrete structures. You only need to be bit once to learn the lessons that a hurricane has to teach. I’ve weathered many a storm in Anguilla, but never a hurricane and that is PERFECTLY all right with me. The following information is culled from the CuisinArt Hurricane manual.

Storm Crisis Planning Steps
1) Have a family meeting.
2) Track storm on computer.
3) Change of clothing in sealed plastic bags for each family member.
4) Personal documents, jewelry and other valuables should be placed in safety deposit boxes.
5) Gather medication if necessary.
6) Gather baby and children supplies.
7) Toiletries (including toilet paper).
8) Inspect all fire protection equipment, such as fire extinguishers.
9) Prepare computer data backups for the entire system. Store computer covered in plastic in a dry, elevated place.
10) Secure important documents in plastic and store.
11) Portable radio to be monitored for weather updates.
12) Check Hurricane supplies (see list below).
13) Remove all screen doors and store.
14) Identify and purchase necessary food supplies. You will need items that don’t need cooking and have shelf life of 2 weeks. Confirm if present supply is adequate.
15) Gas all vehicles.
16) Fill buckets and containers with fresh water for bathing and washing dishes.
17) Clear yard of all items that can be blown about.
18) Store all patio furniture.
19) Close all awnings and umbrellas.
20) Close storm windows.
21) All dept. heads to establish a list of employees willing to work during the Hurricane.
22) Make sure you have petty cash set aside in a secure place.
23) Videotape entire property and take pictures of the same.
24) Inspect and clean roof drains if necessary.
25) Contact family members off-island and tell them of plans


Just before she hits
- Distribute duct tape to start taping all windows not covered by hurricane shutters
- Turn off electric main breakers.
- Unplug all electrical equipment from outlets if possible.
- Close off all water supply.
- Remove gutters from cisterns.
- Shut off gas to minimize fire loss.
- Protect or shut off other possible flame sources.
- Close gas supply at tank

The calm (hopefully) after the storm
1) Call family meeting for headcount and debriefing.
2) Treat any personal injuries.
3) A general follow-up session of videotaping and picture taking should be done for insurance purposes.
4) Conduct brief assessment of damage and priority for clean up and salvage. Cover broken windows and damaged roof immediately. Separate damaged from undamaged goods immediately, but beware of accumulating too much combustible debris inside building..
5) Assess impact of Hurricane in terms of support systems, including electrical supply, water, food, etc.
6) Determine communications availability and contact relatives.
7) Structural damage to be photographed and videotaped for insurance purposes.

HURRICANE SUPPLIES INVENTORY
The list below should be gathered far ahead of any storm warning a placed in a separate location from items ordinarilly used day to day. This will prevent panic during the pre-storm period.

ITEMS QUANTITY NEEDED CURRENT STOCK NEEDED STOCK
Flash lights One for each family member    
Batteries Refills for all battery operated equipment    
First Aid Kits 1 fully stocked    
Rope 3/8" 1    
Boots 1 pair per family member    
Shovels/Spades 1    
Mops 2    
Buckets 2    
Raincoats 1 per family member    
Gloves 4 pairs    
Tarpaulins 1    
Plastic Sheeting 2 large rolls    
Camera/Film 2 cameras/2 rolls of 36 exposure per camera    
Video Recorder/Tapes 1 recorder/6 tapes    
Garbage Bags 4 boxes (large, heavy duty)    
Bottled Water 4 cases    
Duct Tape 4 rolls    
Matches 4 large boxes, in waterproof bags    
Candles 20    
Hammers 1    
Radios 1 battery operated radio    
Safety Helmets 1-2    
Plywood As needed to cover windows    
Chain Saw (gas) 1    
Water disinfectant 2 bottles    
Bug Spray 4 cans    
Jumper Cables 1 sets    
Tire Repair Kits 1 kit    
Tow Ropes 1    
Crow Bars 1    
Nails Assorted size Several boxes of assorted sizes    
Lumber As needed    
Wheel Barrows 1    

 

HURRICANE AND TROPICAL STORM DESCRIPTION

Tropical Storms and Hurricanes are tropical cyclonic storms accompanied by violent winds, heavy rains and high seas.

ADVISORY: A message released by a Hurricane Center updating information on a Storm or Hurricane. Tropical Storm and Hurricane Advisories are normally issued at 6-hour intervals e.g. 0500, 1100, & 1700 hrs. The eye position, intensity, forecasted movement of the storm and immediate flash bulletins are also issued and are especially important as a Storm or Hurricane approaches closer your location.

TROPICAL DISTURBANCE: Moving areas of thunderstorms or other disturbance air masses that maintain identity for 24 hrs or more. This is a common occurrence in the tropics.
TROPICAL DEPRESSION: Closed circulation of air mass at the surface. Winds can go as high as 38 M.P.H.

TROPICAL STORM: A Depression becomes a Tropical Storm when sustained winds reach 39 to 73 M.P.H. The storm now has a distinct rotation of winds around a low pressure/area.

HURRICANE WATCH: This is issued when there is a possibility that a hurricane may threaten the area. This alert is normally issued 36 hours before estimated landfall.

HURRICANE WARNING: This is normally issued 24 hrs before estimated landfall. Hurricane warnings identify coastal areas where winds of at least 74 MPH are expected to occur. A warning may also describe areas where dangerously high water or waves are forecasted. If the hurricane is erratic, the warning may be issued only a few hours before actual landfall.

HURRICANE: A Hurricane is a counter clockwise rotating tropical storm with winds in excess of 74 M.P.H. There are five categories of a Hurricane.

1) Category 1. Winds of 74 to 95 M.P.H.
2) “ 2. Winds of 96 to 110 M.P.H.
3) “ 3. Winds of 111 to 130 M.P.H.
4) “ 4. Winds of 131 to 155 M.P.H.
5) “ 5. Winds of 155 M.P.H. and greater.

In a Hurricane there are two major forces that cause damage. The most serious being the Storm Surge, which is waves of water due to heavy winds sweeping into tide and causing the tide to move far beyond its normal boundaries. The other force would be the high velocity of wind and rain.

YELLOW ALERT: A Tropical Depression/Tropical Storm or Hurricane is forming within the tropics or the Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

ORANGE ALERT: A Hurricane or Tropical Storm is within an estimated 36-hour threat before landfall.

RED WARNING: A Hurricane or Tropical Storm is posing an estimated 24-hour threat before
Landfall. All precautions should be taken immediately. If the path of the Hurricane
is erratic or unusual, the warning may be given only a few hours before the Hurricane strikes.

 

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