An F4 tornado is a devastating natural phenomenon whose winds top 160 mph. It’s capable of reducing a house to a pile of splintered wood in the few seconds it takes to pass over.
Now imagine an F4 tornado that lasts, not for a few seconds, but for hours and you have some idea what it was like to live through Hurricane Camille (1) in 1969 or Hurricane Andrew (2) in 1992 or Hurricane Michael (3) in 2018.
Andrew not only produced wind gusts of nearly 200 mph in some spots and wiped entire neighborhoods in Florida off the map, but as it made landfall again in Louisiana it spawned 61 tornadoes as it moved inland. There have been other hurricanes that spawned even more (4).
But devastating winds are not the only threat from hurricanes. In August 2017 Hurricane Harvey (5) came ashore in Texas and promptly deposited more than 40 inches of rain in the Houston area and more than 60 inches in Nederland, TX.
Catastrophic flooding followed, more than 100 people lost their lives, power was out for weeks in some locations, while property damage was estimated at $125 billion. The Texas Department of Public Safety reported that 185,000 homes were damaged and 9,000 completely destroyed.
So while it’s understandable that some would dismiss the hysterical, end of the world reporting that typically accompanies any tropical storm, you do so at your own risk. Because even if 4 out of 5 hurricanes turn out to be little more than a windy day at the shore, the 5th could send your community back to the stone age. (more…)