Hurricane Central

What are Hurricanes?

Hurricanes are violent tropical storms with sustained winds of at least 74 mph. They form over warm ocean waters – usually starting as storms in the Caribbean or off the west coast of Africa. As they drift slowly westward, they are fueled by the warm waters of the tropics. Warm, moist air moves toward the center of the storm and spirals upward. This releases torrential rains. As updrafts suck up more water vapor, it triggers a cycle of strengthening that can be stopped only when contact is made with land or cooler water.

Hurricane Terms:

  • Tropical Depression - an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 mph (33 knots) or less.
  • Tropical Storm - an organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph (34-63 knots).
  • Hurricane - a warm-core tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or greater.
  • Eye - center a a hurricane with light winds and partly cloudy to clear skies. The eye is usually around 20 miles in diameter, but can range between 5 and 60 miles.
  • Eye Wall - location within a hurricane where the most damaging winds and intense rainfall are found.

Public Hurricane Preparedness Information

Local Hurricane Information: Bluffton Evacuation Map | Transportation | Shelter Info. | Pets |Preparation Guide

Public Hurricane Safety Information - PDF

Public Hurricane Safety Information - DOC

One of the few costs of living in the most beautiful region of these United States is of course the
potential for hurricanes. We here at the Bluffton Township Fire District want to ensure that you
are as prepared as possible in the event that Mother Nature sends one of these destructive storms
our way. Please take this paperwork and use it to create a plan that is right for you and your
family. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us for more information.

1. To begin your preparation we suggest that you build an emergency kit
We recommend that you include in this kit:
a) Regional road maps b) First aid supplies
c) NOAA Weather Radio
d) Extra charging cords for your essential electronics

2. Then create a family communications plan.
In the event that you must evacuate we recommend that you:
a) Share your plan with family members who live elsewhere
b) Ensure that everyone in your family locally know who to contact
c) Have a backup plan of communication in case you can’t reach someone

3. Know your home and its surroundings:
a) Is your home in a flood zone?
b) Are there waterways close to your home that are prone to overflow?
c) Is my address clearly visible from the road?
d) What evacuation routes are available from my home?

4. Have a hurricane evacuation route map and plan your exit route

5. Determine where to go when you evacuate a) Family members home far inland b) Hotel in
a town far inland
Make sure you have reservations BEFORE you leave home
c) Friend’s home far inland
Make sure they know you are coming and may be there a while
d) Have a backup place to stay in the event that your first choice is unavailable of full
e) Do they allow pets? (if you have them) If not, have a plan for each animal
in the family
6. Create a plan to secure your home –Who, what, when, where, and how
a) Board up windows and doors (5/8” exterior plywood recommended)
b) Place sandbags in front of doors and low windows to prevent minor flooding c) Store
everything normally in your yard

7. Pay attention to weather forecasts daily throughout the hurricane season a) Local news
click on “PUBLIC RESOURCES” then “Hurricane Central”
c) (National Weather Service Website) d) National News

8. Maintain your home so that it is always storm ready
a) Keep trees and shrubs trimmed and wind resistant
b) Keep gutters and downspouts clean and operational at all times c) Make sure that garage doors
have locks and reinforcement rods
d) Create a plan to secure/store boats, additional cars, and other large items

In the end, know that we will do everything that we can to ensure your safety in any event. But it
is critical to our success that you take every opportunity to make certain that you are prepared in
the event of a hurricane. Remember, go early and go far when a hurricane threatens.

If you or anyone you know has questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Lee Levesque,
Public Education Officer for the Bluffton Township Fire District at your convenience either by
email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via phone at (843) 548-4354.