Alabama Hurricane Awareness Week

 ...Being Hurricane Aware...



The goal of hurricane preparedness week is to provide education about the hazards associated with a hurricane which will prepare you to take action as a hurricane approaches. This information may save

your work, home, on the road, or on the water. Each day of Hurricane Preparedness Week features a unique topic relevant to education and awareness. Hurricane season officially runs from June 1st until November 30th for the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

Today`s focus is on being hurricane aware. It is important to know the difference between a hurricane watch and warning. A hurricane watch is when hurricane force winds (74 mph or greater) are

expected to affect coastal areas within 36 hours. A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane force winds are expected within 24 hours. The National Hurricane Center will issue watches/warnings for

the coast, while the NWS in Birmingham will issue inland watches/warnings for central Alabama.


In central Alabama, the threats from any tropical system are high winds, flash flooding, and tornadoes. Alabama is blessed with heavily forested land areas, but those trees are very susceptible to long duration high wind events. Many of the trees in Alabama are soft wooded pine trees, which are shallow rooted and can be easily uprooted or snapped off. Downed trees damage homes and buildings and

are the primary reason for power outages.


Tropical systems are very efficient rain producers, and rainfall rates of 3 to 4 inches an hour are possible. Typically the heaviest rainfall will be on the east side of the storm`s track. The rainfall

potential is also very dependent on the storms track and speed. If the storm`s center moves northward along the Alabama and Mississippi state line, then central Alabama would be in the favored region for

heavy rainfall.  A tropical system moving at 10 mph or less will produce much more rainfall than a storm moving twice that speed.


Hurricanes produce a tremendous amount of wind shear, which results in conditions favorable for the production of tornadoes in the right-front quadrant of the hurricane. Tornadoes produced in a

hurricane are typically found in rainbands well removed from the center of hurricane. These tornadoes are unique in that there may not even be any lightning or thunder...and hail is unlikely.

Fortunately, they are typically on the weak end of the enhanced Fujita Scale.



For additional historical or preparedness information, you can visit these sites on the World Wide Web:


National Weather Service Birmingham, Alabama


National Weather Service Mobile, Alabama


National Hurricane Center

Additional info from NHC




NOAA Coastal Services Center - historical hurricane tracks is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.