I decided to do some research. When we say Category 4, we think “oh no!” — especially because in New England, that sort of thing just doesn’t happen. In fact, it hasn’t come close to happening in a long time! So Category 4 — which is pretty bad since 5 is the scariest — can bring winds between 131-155mph. The wind is really where the trouble starts. (I stole those numbers from the chart below from Weather.com).
Saffir’s Scale Hurricane Chart (for your reference) – Courtesy of Weather.com
Then Weather.com goes on to tell us the worded descriptions of the hurricanes. I checked out the one for Category 4 simply becuase seeing the word Extreme in the chart above may have been unnecessarily frightening.
Category 4 – Extreme
Shrubs, trees, and all signs blown down; extensive damage to roofs, windows, and doors, with complete failure of roofs on many smaller residences; mobile homes demolished.
Flat terrain 10 feet or less above sea level flooded inland as far as 6 miles; flooding and battering by waves and floating debris cause major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore; low-lying escape routes inland cut off by rising water about three to five hours before landfall; major erosion of beaches
Massive evacuation of inland residences as far inland as 6 miles may be required.
What can I say to make this better?
Well, forecasters seem to say Earl won’t be a category 4 by the time is reaches Eastern MA. Of course if you have a home in the Carolina’s, you should be a little concerned.
By the time Earl reaches our area, it will have weakened considerably. WHDH’s Pete Bouchard recently blogged that one of the storm’s tracks has its eye passing right over Nantucket. This would mean that the island would get hit the hardest, having winds between 50 and 90 mph. He emphasized “maybe” most likely because he doesn’t want to be wrong. In that scenario, the Cape would also get walloped with 50-70 mph winds. The Greater Boston Area will get hit pretty hard as well with 50-60mph wind gusts. The worst of it seems to be hitting between 8pm and 2am.
The point is this. Regardless of how much rain we get or how intense Earl will be, you can be sure it is a threat. The wind, specifically, is threatening.
NBA Insurance advises you all to be prepared. Of course, collect the necessities: water, food, flashlights, batteries, radio in case of power loss. Stay away from windows. You know the basics. Even if you don’t, here are some more:
1. Bring outdoor objects inside.
2. Close storm shutters.
3. Turn off propane tanks and only use your phone for emergencies.
4. Evacuate if the following conditions apply:
- You are required or advised to do so.
- You live in a mobile home.
- You live in a high-rise.
- You live on the coast or in a flood-prone area.
- If you feel you could be in danger.
5. Reinforce weak or vulnerable areas.
6. Remove any trees that, if fallen, would damage your property.
For more tips, visit FEMA’s website.