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MAINE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
Hurricane Awareness: Winds and Tornadoes
July 18, 2012
Both hurricanes and tropical storms produce dangerous winds that can produce life-threatening conditions to those who are caught in them. Hurricane-force winds can easily destroy poorly constructed buildings and mobile homes. Debris such as signs, roofing material, and small items left outside can become flying missiles in hurricanes. Extensive damage caused by falling trees can lead to lengthy power and phone outages.
Hurricanes are further divided into 5 categories based on the destructive power of their winds. The scale used in hurricane classification is called the Saffir-Simpson scale. Below is a list of the Saffir-Simpson scale, the typical damage that occurs with storms of each category, and examples of each category of storm (at landfall).
Hurricanes can also produce tornadoes that add to the storm's destructive power. Tornadoes are most likely to occur to the right side of the hurricane track. However, they can also form in the rain bands, well away from the center of the hurricane. Studies have shown that more than half of land-falling hurricanes produce at least one tornado.
In general though, tornadoes associated with hurricanes are less intense than those that occur in the Great Plains. Nonetheless, the effects of tornadoes, added to the larger area of hurricane-force winds, can produce substantial damage. Fortunately, hurricane-spawned tornadoes are infrequent in Northern New England.
Fact for the Day: It makes a difference which side of the hurricane you are on.
Question of the Day: How often do we get hurricanes of each category in Maine? Find out the answer
The National Weather Service has declared the week of July 16th through the 20th to be Hurricane Awareness Week in New England. (This information was prepared by the National Weather Service, Gray, Maine.
For additional information about hurricanes and hurricane safety, visit the National Hurricane Center's web site
Last update: 07/20/10
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