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NOAA's Climate Prediction Center says the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season will likely be near-normal, but that’s no reason to believe coastal areas will have it easy.
For the hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 - November 30, NOAA is predicting a 70 percent likelihood of 6 to 11 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including zero to 2 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). While a below-normal season is likely (70 percent), there is also a 20 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.
With the new hurricane season comes a new prototype storm surge watch/warning graphic from NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, intended to highlight areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States that have a significant risk of life-threatening inundation by storm surge from a tropical cyclone.
The new graphic will introduce the concept of a watch or warning specific to the storm surge hazard. Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a tropical cyclone, and it can occur at different times and at different locations from a storm’s hazardous winds. In addition, while most coastal residents can remain in their homes and be safe from a tropical cyclone’s winds, evacuations are often needed to keep people safe from storm surge. Having separate warnings for these two hazards should provide emergency managers, the media, and the general public better guidance on the hazards they face when tropical cyclones threaten.
The following names will be used for named storms that form in the North Atlantic in 2016.
To help Mississippians identify how they can strengthen their homes against hurricanes, the mitigation program will offer free wind inspections by qualified hurricane mitigation inspectors to eligible homeowners.
Made possible by an act of the Mississippi Legislature 2007.
Tornadoes can strike with little warning, though meteorologists are now better able to predict the signs a twister is coming. Even a few minutes warning provides an opportunity for those in harm’s way to seek shelter. In communities with a history of tornado activity, there may be a warning siren and/or a digital messaging system to alert residents that they should seek proper shelter immediately.
Other signs of tornadoes are:
A tornado watch means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. Be alert to changes in the weather, account for all family members, and listen to local radio and TV stations for updated storm information. Move cars inside and keep car and house keys with you. If time permits, move lawn furniture and equipment inside to minimize flying debris. If a tornado siren sounds, stay inside and take cover.
A tornado warning means a tornado has actually been spotted or is indicated on weather radar in your area. This means anger is imminent and you may only have seconds to take cover.
Do not try to outrun a tornado. Stay calm but move quickly to the safest place possible. Here are some suggestions:
The safest place to be is underground. Basements are usually the most protected area, but if this is not an option take cover in central part of the house away from windows: a bathroom, closet, interior hallway, or under a heavy piece of furniture.
In an Office Building or Skyscraper:
Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building—away from glass and on the lowest floor possible—and crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter and, if they are not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off elevators, you could get trapped if the power is lost. If you are in a tall building you may not have enough time to evacuate to the lowest floor.
Follow the staff instructions and go to an interior hall or room in an orderly way as directed. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.
In a Car or Truck:
Abandon the vehicle and seek shelter in sturdy structure. If you are in open country, seek shelter in the nearest ditch. Lie flat, face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can.
Get out! Even if the home is tied down, you are probably safer outside. Additional safety information is available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Damage caused by tornadoes is covered under standard homeowners and business insurance policies, as well as the optional comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy. If you sustain tornado damage contact your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible. Let your insurance company know the extent of the damage. After tornadoes and other disasters, insurance companies will reach out to those with the worst losses first. If you have vacated the premises, make sure your insurance representative knows where and how to contact you.
Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies also provide coverage for additional living expenses (ALE) in the event your home is destroyed or made unlivable because of the tornado. ALE covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other expenses, over and above your customary living expenses, incurred while your home is being rebuilt, so keep receipts and talk to your insurance professional if you have any questions about this or any other part of your insurance policy.
If you suffer damage from a tornado:
With 1,800 thunderstorms in progress at any given time on Earth, it’s important to be able to sort out the myths from the facts when it comes to lightning safety. And keep in mind that the best lightning safety plan of all is to take shelter in a house or other structure, or a hard-topped fully enclosed vehicle during a storm: “When thunder roars, go indoors!”
MYTH 1 – LIGHTNING NEVER STRIKES THE SAME PLACE TWICE
Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building was once used as a lightning laboratory, because it’s hit nearly 25 times per year, and has been known to have been hit up to a dozen times during a single storm.
MYTH 2 – LIGHTNING ONLY STRIKES THE TALLEST OBJECTS
Fact: Lightning is indiscriminate and it can find you anywhere. Lightning hits the ground instead of trees, cars instead of nearby telephone poles, and parking lots instead of buildings.
MYTH 3 – IN A THUNDERSTORM, IT’S OK TO GO UNDER A TREE TO STAY DRY
Fact: Sheltering under a tree is just about the worst thing you can do. If lightning does hit the tree, there’s the chance that a “ground charge” will spread out from the tree in all directions. Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties.
MYTH 4 – IF YOU DON’T SEE CLOUDS OR RAIN, YOU'RE SAFE
Fact: Lightning can often strike more than three miles from the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or even the thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the Blue,” though infrequent, can strike 10?15 miles from the thunderstorm. Anvil lightning can strike the ground over 50 miles from the thunderstorm, under extreme conditions.
MYTH 5 – A CAR WITH RUBBER TIRES WILL PROTECT YOU FROM LIGHTNING
Fact: Most vehicles are safe because the metal roof and sides divert lightning around you. The rubber tires have little to do with protecting you. Keep in mind that convertibles, motorcycles, bikes, open shelled outdoor recreation vehicles, and cars with plastic or fiberglass shells offer no lightning protection at all.
MYTH 6 – IF YOU’RE OUTSIDE IN A STORM, LIE FLAT ON THE GROUND
Fact: Lying flat on the ground makes you more vulnerable to electrocution, not less. Lightning generates potentially deadly electrical currents along the ground in all directions, which are more likely to reach you if you’re lying down.
MYTH 7 – IF YOU TOUCH A LIGHTNING VICTIM, YOU’LL BE ELECTROCUTED
Fact: The human body doesn’t store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid.
MYTH 8 – WEARING METAL ON YOUR BODY ATTRACTS LIGHTNING
Fact: The presence of metal makes virtually no difference in determining where lightning will strike; height, pointy shape and isolation are the dominant factors. However, touching or being near long metal objects, such as a fence, can be unsafe when thunderstorms are nearby—if lightning does happen to hit one area of the fence, for example, the metal can conduct the electricity and electrocute you, even at a fairly long distance
MYTH 9 – A HOUSE WILL ALWAYS KEEP YOU SAFE FROM LIGHTNING
Fact: While a house is the safest place you can be during a storm, just going inside isn’t enough. You must avoid any conducting path leading outside, such as corded telephones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, plumbing, metal doors or window frames, etc. Don’t stand near a window to watch the lightning. An inside room is generally safe, but a home equipped with a professionally installed lightning protection system is the safest shelter available.
MYTH 10 – SURGE SUPPRESSORS CAN PROTECT A HOME AGAINST LIGHTNING
Fact: Surge arresters and suppressors are important components of a complete lightning protection system, but can do nothing to protect a structure against a direct lightning strike. These items must be installed in conjunction with a lightning protection system to provide whole house protection.
To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:
If thunderstorm and lightning are occurring in your area, you should:
If lightning strikes you or someone you know, call 9-1-1 for medical assistance as soon as possible. The following are things you should check when you attempt to give aid to a victim of lightning:
Disaster victims who hire laborers and contractors to remove trees and debris from their damaged property are urged to save receipts so they may be properly reimbursed by their insurance company.
Follow these tips when considering hiring someone to help with the cleanup of your damaged property:
If you have questions or problems with filing or completing your claim, call our Consumer Hotline at 1-800-562-2957.