Many of the communities we serve along the eastern coast, especially in our home state of Florida, were devastated by Hurricane Matthew last week.

For those of you who have never experienced a direct or indirect hit by a powerful hurricane, count your blessings.

Most people think that what makes a hurricane so dangerous is its extraordinary wind speeds. True, but wind speed is only part of the story.

The first thing that makes a hurricane dangerous is, indeed, its wind speed, which is how hurricanes are categorized. Winds exceeding 74 mph are considered hurricane-force winds. At 74 mph, buildings and mobile homes can be completely destroyed.

Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their sustained wind speeds, with category 1 being the least powerful and category 5 being the most powerful. The faster the wind speed, the higher the category number and the more deadly the hurricane.

Matthew was a category 4 hurricane when it made landfall in south Florida. The deadliest hurricane in US history was also a category 4 hurricane. A category 4 hurricane packs winds of 130-156 mph and WILL, not MIGHT, cause catastrophic damage to property, and loss of life. For this reason, category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes are considered major hurricanes.

In a category 4 hurricane, most of a well-built home’s roof structure and many exterior walls can be torn away. Trees are snapped in half or uprooted and powerlines, together with their poles, are brought down. Residents often have no electricity for days, weeks, and even months. Areas that take a direct hit can be uninhabitable for months.

One of the biggest dangers of hurricanes is “storm surge,” which is directly related to wind speed and which devastates property along the coast. As the forceful winds blow across the ocean, abnormally large waves form and are pushed inland, flooding the coast. These surges can travel for several miles inland. Storm surge waves can reach heights of 20 feet or more and cause destruction and death as they flood property and decimate buildings, bridges, and other structures.

In addition to storm surge, hurricanes produce copious amounts of rainfall, resulting in catastrophic flooding, which is the most serious threat to people who live farther inland and the second leading cause of deaths in tropical storms, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Rising rivers and streams can exacerbate the flooding for days after the hurricane is over. Rainfall is not related to the “category” of the hurricane but rather to the size and speed of the hurricane. A large, slow moving hurricane like Matthew produces much more rainfall than a fast-moving or smaller hurricane.

After the hurricane is over, the danger is NOT over. Hurricanes, even those thousands of miles away from land, produce rip currents, which are powerful water channels that pull objects away from the shore and into the ocean. They present significant threats to anyone going into the water. Rip currents can move faster than an Olympic swimmer and about 100 people are year are killed by them, according to the National Ocean Service.

Hurricanes can also produce tornadoes. These tornadoes are usually far away from the eye in the outer bands of the storm.

Interesting Hurricane Facts

  • The deadliest hurricane in US history was the “Great Galveston Hurricane.” It hit Texas in 1900. Between 8,000 and 12,000 people died. It was a category 4 hurricane.
  • The second deadliest storm in US history hit Florida in 1928. It was a category 4 hurricane that killed between 2,500 and 3,000 people.
  • The infamous Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in 2005, is the third deadliest hurricane in US history. However, Katrina is the costliest hurricane in US history, with over $100 billion in damages. Katrina was a category 3 hurricane that killed 1,200 people.
  • The most intense hurricane in US history hit the Florida Keys in 1935 as a category 5 hurricane. It produced over 26 inches of rain.
  • Florida has seen more landfall hurricanes than any other state, almost double the number of landfall hurricanes in the number-two state, Texas.
  • Hurricane season for the Atlantic runs from June through November. Peak season is mid-August to late October.
  • There are an average of 6 hurricanes a year over the Atlantic Ocean. About 3 of the 6 are classified as major.
  • An average of 3 hurricanes hit the United States coastline each year. One of these on average is classified as major.
  • Since 1851, September holds the record for the month in which the greatest number of tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes occurred over the Atlantic and also in which hurricanes struck the United States.
  • The year with the most hurricane over the Atlantic Ocean was 2005 with 15 hurricanes.
  • The year that has seen the most major hurricanes over the Atlantic Ocean was 1950 in which 8 major hurricanes

We are Advanced Bio Treatment, and we care about the communities we serve. Should you need our services, please call us at 800-295-1684. We give free quotes, provide emergency services, work with your insurance company, and respond 24/7/365.






Posted in Safety Tips
Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment