Welcome Back From Summer Break and Hello Hurricane Florence

Our sites are just starting to welcome students back and suddenly Hurricane Florence changes all our plans! However it is a good time to learn some more about hurricanes and tropical storms.  

First, thanks to teacher, Jess MacDonald, who provided so much of this information.


tropical depression: a tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed (using the U.S. 1-minute average) is 38 mph or 62 km/hr or less.

tropical storm: a tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed (using the U.S. 1-minute average) ranges from 39 mph or 63 km/hr to 73 mph or 118 km/hr.

hurricane: a severe tropical cyclone with maximum sustained surface wind (using the U.S. 1-minute average) is 74 mph or 119 km/hr or more, heavy rains, enormous waves, and subsequent flooding that can damage buildings and beaches. It is an area of low pressure around which winds blow counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. The term hurricane is used for Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclones east of the International Dateline to the Greenwich Meridian. The term typhoon is used for Pacific tropical cyclones north of the Equator west of the International Dateline. The term cyclone is used for Indian Ocean tropical cyclones.

Eye- the center of the hurricane, which can be calm in the surrounding storm

FEMA– Federal Emergency Management Agency

Flooding: a large amount of water covering an area of land that is usually dry

Flood zone: an area that is lower or close to a water source, that can be likely to flood during heavy rains.

inland flooding: While the storm surge is related to the winds of the hurricane, inland flooding is more often a result of rainfall. Often during a hurricane, the storm will stall over an area resulting in enough rainfall to flood inland areas.

storm surge: The storm surge is the water on the coast that is pushed in by hurricane winds. This water exaggerates the normal tides, so that the water level can rise as much as 15 feet or more. The storm surge can cause coastal flooding. The amount of the storm surge is determined by the slope of the land offshore, as well as, the strength of the hurricane.

hurricane hazards: Hazards created by a hurricane including storm surge, heavy rains and high winds.

hurricane preparedness: a plan or action to ensure safety and maximize comfort in hurricane conditions.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale- a scale of 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage.

Voluntary evacuation- when the government requests that you leave the area where the storm will hit, but you are not required to leave

Mandatory evacuation– when the government requires you to leave the area where the storm will hit because it will be very dangerous for you to stay where you are

State of Emergency- When the government declares that there are conditions that could require emergency support and action to help people.  This allows the government to spend money and send personnel to assist citizens, but it does not necessarily mean that there is immediate danger.


 Hurricane Preparedness




  1. What supplies do you have at your house already to prepare yourself for a hurricane?
  2. What supplies should you purchase today or tomorrow for a hurricane?
  3. How familiar are you and your family with emergency plans?
  4. What are your employer’s expectations about you coming to work in a storm?  
  5. Where can you go to ask for help if you need it after a hurricane?  Who can you call?

Are you signed up for Wake Tech Warn to receive emergency phone updates from the college?