We talk a lot about hurricanes, mainly because they are the number one threat when it comes to natural disasters for Lee and Collier Counties. And we also talk a lot about the necessity of ensuring you have adequate home hurricane protection in the event of a major storm.
But how much do you really know about hurricanes – including how they form, how they are measured, and what damage they can do?
How Hurricanes Form
As you can tell by looking at a radar map, a hurricane is a huge, spiraling mass of thunderstorms that rotate around a low-pressure center, marked by a relatively-small calm spot called the eye of the storm. The clouds around the eye – called the eye wall – are the most powerful storms in the entire system.
It is thought that hurricanes form when several factors collide: warm surface water in the ocean; rapid cooling in the ocean; high humidity and low wind shear; and the presence of atmospheric disturbance relatively close to the Equator. Since Florida is uniquely positioned in the sub-tropics, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, we are squarely in the path of many of these storms.
How Hurricanes are Measured
Hurricanes on average are 100 miles in diameter, and have a minimum sustained wind speed of 74 mph. The Atlantic hurricane with the strongest winds on record – Camille, in 1969 – had sustained winds of over 190 mph and gusts of 205-210 mph before it broke wind-measuring instruments. You can gauge a hurricane’s potential strength by the Saffir-Simpson scale, which ranks hurricanes from Tropical Depressions all the way up to Category 5 depending on its wind speed.
Any storm is potentially dangerous, and the higher up the scale you go, the more potential for devastation there is if and when the storm hits land. Storm surges, damage from airborne debris, and even structural failure are all possible.
Invest in Home Hurricane Protection Today
If you live in Naples, Estero, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, or Marco Island, you need to prepare for hurricane season in just a few short weeks. Find out more; click here for a FREE estimate today!