Tropical Storm; Hazards & Warnings


What is Tropical Storm


A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain and/or squalls.

They are areas of extreme low pressure. This means air is rising, causing ‘low pressure’ on the earth’s surface. The maximum sustained surface wind speed (using the U.S. 1-minute average) ranges from 34 knots (39 mph or 63 kph) to 63 knots (73 mph or 118 kph).

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Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential.

Hazards of Tropical Storm

The hazards of tropical storms include things such as:

  • Carbon monoxide fumes from using generators in poorly ventilated areas, and
  • Lead, asbestos and mold growth exposure after water damage.

Inhaling mold can cause adverse health effects, including allergic reactions.

Mold also can damage materials in your home.

In addition, flood water may contain microorganisms, such as bacteria, as well as toxic chemicals and other hazards.

More information on these environmental and health hazards can be found here.

Warnings for Tropical Storm

Another way to be prepared: Make sure your staff knows the definitions of tropical storms and hurricanes, and the meaning of warning terms used for tropical storms:

  • A tropical storm has sustained winds of 39-73 mph
  • A hurricane has sustained winds of 74 mph or more
  • A major hurricane has sustained winds of 111 mph or more
  • Hurricane/tropical storm watch: A storm is possible in the area
  • Hurricane/tropical storm warning: a storm is expected to reach the area, usually within 24 hours.

All tropical storms and hurricanes have the potential to be deadly. However, on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale of 1 to 5, those categorized 3-5 are major hurricanes.

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