What Hurricanes Can do to Life, Property

Author  Edited from information provided by City of Miami Emergency Management

Hurricanes have the power to cause widespread devastation and can affect both coastal and inland areas.

Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents and tornadoes.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale classifies hurricanes into five categories

based on their wind speed, central pressure and wind damage potential. With wind speeds of 111 miles per hour or more, Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes are major according to this scale. Category 1 and 2 hurricanes can also cause damage and injuries.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season began May 15 and ends Nov. 30.

Each year, many parts of the United States experience heavy rains, strong winds,

floods, and coastal storm surges from tropical storms and hurricanes. Affected areas include all Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, parts of the southwest, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S.

territories in the Pacific.


Hurricanes can cause loss of life and catastrophic damage to property along coastlines and can extend several hundred miles inland. The extent of damage varies according to the size and wind intensity of the storm, the amount and

duration of rainfall, the path of the storm, and other factors such as the number and type of buildings in the area, the terrain, and soil conditions. The effects

include the following:

      * Death or injury to people and animals;

      * Damage or destruction of buildings and other structures;

      * Disruption of transportation, gas, power, communications, and other services;

      * Coastal flooding from heavy rains and storm surge; and

      * Inland flooding from heavy rains.