One of the most destructive natural hazards in Florida is the tropical cyclone. These moving low pressure center systems generally form in the tropics and are noted for their counter-clockwise wind rotation accompanied by significant precipitation. Tropical cyclones with sustained wind speeds greater than 38 mph are assigned names by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center. Those with internal winds ranging from 39 mph to 73 mph are considered “tropical storms”; those with sustained winds above 74 mph at the “eye” are “hurricanes”.
Tropical cyclones can spawn tornadoes, storm surge, and inland flooding. Based upon the storm intensity, the impacts can vary from minor structural damage to catastrophic destruction; with damage to non-hardened facilities being much more likely.
The number 1 killer in tropical cyclone events is surge flooding. Surge is the extra storm water pushed onto land by tropical cyclone winds. Normal Tide + Surge = Storm Tide (sometimes called Storm Surge) It doesn’t just come up gradually; it’s large forceful waves, much higher than normal, that can easily wash away vehicles, homes, flora, and fauna.
- Sign up for National Weather Service’s alerts through AlertNassau.
- Know your flood zone. See this Flood Risk Map to understand your risk. Keep in mind, there are No “No Flood” Zones!
- Make sure to purchase flood insurance to ensure a quicker and more complete recovery from any damage due to flooding.
- Know your evacuation zones and make an evacuation plan. The map to the right shows the evacuation zones for Nassau County.
- Monitor weather and community alerts. Make sure to stay up to date through receiving the AlertNassau updates and our social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)
- Shelter in place. Take shelter in designated storm shelters or interior rooms for high winds.
- EVACUATE! : If you are in a mandatory evacuation zone and your local officials tell you to.
- Document damage with photos and contact your insurance company if needed
- Staying safe when returning home
- Do not wade in flood water. There can be harmful bacteria and debris.
- Wear protective clothing when cleaning up and work with someone