What is the deadliest factor to consider in hurricanes and tropical storms?
• Violent winds
• Flying debris
• Power outages
The deadliest factor to consider in hurricanes and tropical cyclones is drowning. Here’s why…
In a study done of all tropical cyclones and hurricane deaths over the past 50 years, drowning from rainfall and storm surges were the major cause of U.S. deaths.
Hurricanes are categorized by wind strength which is used to create a category number value from 1 to 5. The difference between a tropical cyclone and a hurricane is the difference in wind speed. When a tropical cyclone reaches winds of over 74 mph, it becomes a Category 1 hurricane.
The strength of a hurricane doesn’t come from its wind speed but rather its forward speed. The slower it moves, the more rain and power it can produce causing heavy rains. This causes an abnormal rise in seawater which is also known as a storm surge. The storm surge can be very unpredictable and can occur well after the hurricane has died off.
The 6 Deadliest Tropical Storms in American History
The 50-year study listed the six deadliest tropical storms in the U.S. caused by storm surges and rising water levels. They are:
• Katrina (2005) – Caused 1200 deaths
• Camille (1969) – Caused 256 deaths
• Agnes (1972) – Caused 122 deaths
• Betsy (1965) – Caused 75 deaths
• Sandy (2012)* – Caused 72 deaths
• Floyd (1999) – Caused 56 deaths
(* = Sandy was a post-tropical cyclone at landfall in New Jersey)
Over half of the total U.S. tropical cyclone fatalities in the study occurred in either Louisiana or Mississippi. The study also found that 6 of the 10 deadliest storms were either tropical storms or Category 1 hurricanes with the cause of death mostly due to to rainfall flooding.
The point we’re trying to make is that tropical storms and hurricanes bring a lot of deadly water power and can be very unpredictable. During the U.S. hurricane season, people gamble with their lives by thinking they can ride out a hurricane and begin preparations to protect their homes against strong winds.
In fact, the real threat actually comes from unpredictable rainfalls and deadly storm surges which statistically cause the most deaths. The best defense is to remove yourself from danger and listen to local, state, and federal storm evacuation warnings when given. It’s the best way to stop from becoming a drowning statistic during a hurricane.
~Here’s to Your Survival!
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