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Be Ready For Tropical Storms
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Every year, for most of the six months between June and November, all eyes turn to the sea, watching as any number of tropical depressions stir up. Some of these become tropical storms, and some of those may turn into hurricanes. Others may simply flail about for a few days before blowing themselves out without ever amounting to anything.
Once one of these events reaches tropical storm status, then there is the possibility for trouble. With maximum sustained winds of up to 73 mph, tropical storms are fully capable of causing widespread damage, power outages, injury, and death. It is tropical storm status where the government weather services begin assigning names to the various storms.
Much of the damage caused by tropical storms is due to heavy rainfall. In 1998, Tropical Storm Charlie dumped more than 17 inches of rain on parts of Texas, forcing people from their homes and causing six deaths. In 2011, Tropical Storm Lee came along behind Hurricane Irene, affecting many of the same areas, and causing even further damage and injuries.
What You Should Know about Tropical Storms
Tropical storms may also cause a high storm surge as they come ashore, which can be devastating to low lying areas. Tornadoes may also be produced out of the heavy wind rotation that is an integral part of these storms.
Tropical storms aren't known for their seriously injuring people or causing deaths, but they are potentially lethal. One of the deadliest was Tropical Storm Washi that swept through the Philippines, killing more than 700 people in December of 2011.
Tropical storms depend on warm moist air to power them, and as such, they lose much of their strength once they make landfall. Cooler water may also weaken the storms and slow them down.
Tropical storm watches are issued whenever conditions are ripe for the formation of such a storm within a 36-hour period. Tropical storm warnings are issued once a storm has formed and is within 24 hours of the warning area. Warnings should be heeded promptly, with residents taking shelter and appropriate safety precautions. Coastal evacuation may be recommended and storm shelters may be opened to provide refuge for those fleeing the storm's path.
Once the storm has passed, do not return home until given permission to do so by local authorities, and even then, be careful. Watch for downed power lines or flooded out areas and avoid them. If your home or business is damaged, verify that it is structurally sound before going in. If you didnít turn off the utilities before you left, do so now and do it at their source.
It will take time to recover from a storm of this magnitude, so condition yourself you remain patient as the repair and restoration procedure works itself out.