Public Information Statement
Tuesday, May 26, 2009


TODAYS TOPIC:  HIGH WINDS AND TORNADOES

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 LIFE, AT 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 WE WILL FOCUS ON THE HAZARDS OF HIGH WINDS AND TORNADOES
ASSOCIATED WITH TROPICAL SYSTEMS. THESE ARE TWO HAZARDS THAT
CAN DIRECTLY IMPACT CENTRAL ALABAMA.

THE STRONGEST WINDS ASSOCIATED WITH A TROPICAL SYSTEM ARE TYPICALLY
ON THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE SYSTEM, CLOSEST TO FEEDER BANDS AND NEAR
THE CENTER OF CIRCULATION. WIND SPEEDS USUALLY DECREASE RATHER
SIGNIFICANTLY WITHIN 12 HOURS AFTER LANDFALL. NONETHELESS, WINDS CAN
STAY ABOVE HURRICANE FORCE, ESPECIALLY IN GUSTS, WELL INLAND AND CAN
HAVE A SIGNIFICANT EFFECT ON CENTRAL ALABAMA. IN MOST CASES, THESE
SEVERE WINDS LAST MUCH LONGER THAN THE TYPICAL SEVERE THUNDERSTORM
AND DO NOT SUBSIDE UNTIL THE SYSTEM MOVES OUT OF THE AREA OR IT
WEAKENS. IN SOME CASES, THESE WINDS MAY PERSIST FOR MANY HOURS. JUST
WITHIN THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS...KATRINA (2005), DENNIS (2005), IVAN
(2004) AND OPAL (1995) ALL PRODUCED WINDS GUSTS RANGING FROM 50 MPH
TO 90 MPH ACROSS CENTRAL ALABAMA.

BEFORE HURRICANE SEASON BEGINS, ASSESS YOUR PROPERTY TO ENSURE THAT
LANDSCAPING AND TREES DO NOT BECOME A WIND HAZARD. TRIM DEAD WOOD
AND OVERHANGING BRANCHES FROM ALL TREES. ANY TREE NEAR YOUR
HOME IS AN IMMEDIATE HAZARD. CENTRAL ALABAMA RECEIVES A MAJORITY OF
ITS DAMAGE DUE TO FALLEN TREES. THESE TREES CAN ALSO KNOCK
POWERLINES DOWN AND CAUSE POWER OUTAGES.

MOST MOBILE OR MANUFACTURED HOMES ARE NOT BUILT TO WITHSTAND
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS. RESIDENTS OF HOMES NOT MEETING THAT LEVEL OF
SAFETY SHOULD RELOCATE TO A NEARBY SAFER STRUCTURE WELL IN ADVANCE
OF AN APPROACHING TROPICAL STORM OR HURRICANE. IF A TROPICAL STORM
OR HURRICANE WARNING IS ISSUED FOR YOUR AREA, SECURE ALL LAWN FURNITURE
AND OTHER OUTSIDE OBJECTS THAT COULD BECOME A PROJECTILE IN HIGH WIND
SITUATIONS.

MONITOR NOAA WEATHER RADIO OR OTHER LOCAL MEDIA SOURCES CLOSELY AS
THE TROPICAL SYSTEM APPROACHES. LISTEN FOR DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS AND
GO TO YOUR SAFE ROOM WHEN DIRECTED TO DO SO. DO NOT LEAVE THE SAFE
ROOM UNTIL LOCAL OFFICIALS HAVE DEEMED IT SAFE. SOMETIMES IT
APPEARS THAT THE WINDS HAVE SUBSIDED OR HAVE GONE CALM WHEN DANGER
STILL EXISTS.

IN THE EVENT YOU LOSE POWER FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, A
GENERATOR MAY BE NECESSARY FOR YOUR POWER SUPPLY. PLEASE BE AWARE
THAT ANY GASOLINE RUN MACHINERY PRODUCES EXHAUST. THIS EXHAUST CAN
BE HARMFUL OR DEADLY WHEN INHALED. USE THIS TYPE OF MACHINERY ONLY IN
A WELL VENTILATED AREA.

TROPICAL SYSTEMS CAN ALSO PRODUCE TORNADOES THAT ADD TO THE
OVERALL DESTRUCTIVE POWER. TORNADOES ARE MOST LIKELY TO OCCUR IN THE
RIGHT FRONT QUADRANT OF THE TROPICAL SYSTEM. MANY TORNADOES ARE
ASSOCIATED WITH RAIN-BANDS THAT ARE WELL AWAY FROM THE CENTER OF
CIRCULATION. IN SOME CASES, THIS DISTANCE CAN BE HUNDREDS OF MILES.
RITA (2005) PRODUCED THE SECOND LARGEST ONE DAY TORNADO OUTBREAK IN
CENTRAL ALABAMA HISTORY AND THE CENTER OF CIRCULATION WAS SOME 350
MILES TO THE WEST.

PREPAREDNESS IS CRITICAL IN THESE TORNADO SITUATIONS. TORNADOES
PRODUCED WITHIN A TROPICAL SYSTEM ARE TYPICALLY FAST DEVELOPING AND
SHORT LIVED BUT CAN PRODUCE SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE OR INJURY. DUE TO
THIS FAST DEVELOPING NATURE, WARNING LEAD TIMES MAY BE SHORTER THAN
NORMAL.

THESE TROPICALLY INDUCED TORNADOES ARE USUALLY NOT ACCOMPANIED BY
LIGHTNING, THUNDER OR HAIL, CLUES THAT MANY CITIZENS RELY ON IN
IDENTIFYING POTENTIAL PERSONAL RISKS.

WHEN A TORNADO WATCH IS ISSUED, BE PREPARED TO TAKE QUICK ACTION.
WHEN A TORNADO WARNING IS ISSUED, MOVE TO AN INTERIOR ROOM AWAY FROM
ALL WINDOWS. AS A LAST RESORT, GET UNDER HEAVY FURNITURE AWAY FROM
ALL WINDOWS.

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS WEEK CONTINUES ON WEDNESDAY WITH INFORMATION
ON INLAND FLOODING...ANOTHER POTENTIAL DIRECT HAZARD TO CENTRAL
ALABAMA.

FOR ADDITIONAL HISTORICAL OR PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION, YOU
CAN VISIT THESE SITES ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB:

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/BMX

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MOBILE, ALABAMA
WWW.SRH.NOAA.GOV/MOB

NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER
WWW.NHC.NOAA.GOV
WWW.NHC.NOAA.GOV/HAW2/ENGLISH/INTRO.SHTML

FEMA
WWW.FEMA.GOV/AREYOUREADY/HURRICANES.SHTM

AMERICAN RED CROSS
WWW.REDCROSS.ORG/SERVICES/DISASTERS

NOAA COASTAL SERVICES CENTER - HISTORICAL HURRICANE TRACKS
HTTP://MAPS.CSC.NOAA.GOV/HURRICANES

$$

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