huricane map

The 1938 Hurricane caused untold damage in Maine even though it tracked up the Connecticut River Valley, well to our west. NOAA image.

A hurricane is a tropical cyclone in which winds reach sustained speeds of 74 miles per hour (category 1) or more and blow in a large spiral around a relatively calm center (the "eye"). Hurricanes produce damage and destruction from heavy rainfalls, winds, and flooding.

The three main conditions which favor tropical cyclone development are (1) warm ocean waters, (2) atmospheric moisture, and (3) relatively light winds aloft. While hurricane season lasts from June through November, the peak of the season is from Mid-August through October. Each year, an average of 10 tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.

In Maine, hurricanes don't happen often but they can be devastating when they do. Previous storms that had impact on Maine are: Carol and Edna in 1954, Donna in 1960, Gloria in 1985, and Bob in 1991.

One of the most common disaster preparation mistakes is that people do not prepare while the sun is shining. When disaster is approaching everyone is after the same resources and they quickly become scarce. Lines are long, traffic is bad, and tempers are short. Start now to put together your disaster supply kit. If you have children, involve them in the game of finding items on your list. Prepare now, it will take less time.

Some hurricane preparedness considerations:

  • Plan where you will go and how you will get there if you have to evacuate.
  • Have two evacuation routes not subject to flooding
  • Know whether your home could be subject to flooding. Contact your town or county emergency management agency if you are not sure.
  • Purchase flood insurance if your home could possibly flood. Homeowner's insurance does not cover floods.
  • Plan for the safety of your pets. Most shelters do not accept pets.
  • Purchase a NOAA Weather Alert Radio
  • Talk with other family members about your plan especially if you have medical or functional needs or mobility limitations
  • If you own a boat, have a hurricane plan for it
  • Contact your local or county emergency management agency or American Red Cross chapter if you have questions

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