How Dangerous are They?
One of the most damaging, and deadly events that occur is the hurricane. When hurricanes move ashore, they bring with them a storm surge of ocean water along the coastline, high winds, tornadoes, and both torrential rains and flooding.
During a hurricane, homes, businesses, roads and bridges may be damaged or destroyed by high winds and/or high waves. Debris from the high winds can damage property. Roads and bridges can be washed away by flash flooding, or can be blocked by debris. In particularly large storms (such as Hurricane Andrew), the force of the wind alone can cause tremendous devastation. Trees and power lines topple and weak homes and buildings crumble. These losses are not just limited to the coastline -- often damage extends hundreds of miles inland.
Hurricanes and their potential for destruction are rated using a scale from 1 to 5 called the Saffir-Simpson scale. A Category 1 hurricane is the least destructive and a Category 5 hurricane is the most destructive. There are three types of damage caused by hurricanes:
Even Category 1 hurricanes can cause death, property damage and flooding and should be taken very seriously. Coastal areas are often evacuated by the police when a hurricane is approaching.
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Updated: January 22, 2003
Destructive Power Comparison:
Did You Know?
Eighteen of the 54 direct deaths attributed to Hurricane Andrew occurred during the recovery phase. Of those identified, eight were stress-induced heart attacks, three were either people falling in damaged buildings or hit by debris while cleaning up, and two were children who died in fires in damaged homes.
Plan for the Future
Find out more about Hurricanes.