Levy County Emergency Management, located in the Emergency Operations Center in Bronson, Fl, is the "Direction and Control Center" for Levy County in times of disaster.
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2017 Atlantic
Hurricane Names

Hurricane Season Runs From June To November


Hurricanes Section:1
A hurricane consists of a huge swirl of clouds rotating around a calm center known as the eye. A hurricane may be as much as 250 miles in diameter. The clouds are arranged in bands around the eye. The largest clouds form the wall of the eye where rain is heaviest. Wind speeds range from about 110 mph at 20-25 miles from the eye wall down to about 45 mph at a distance of 90 miles from the eye.

The map symbol for a hurricane is somewhat confusing because it does not show an eye in the middle. The symbol that depicts an eye in the middle is actually the symbol for a tropical storm, the beginning of a hurricane.

A storm is called a tropical storm at 39 mph. At 74 mph, the storm is officially a hurricane of 1, minimal, strength. At 96 mph, the hurricane is a level 2, moderate; at 111 mph, it reaches stage 3, extensive, followed by stage 4, extreme, at 131mph. A hurricane at 155 mph or above is a level 5, or catastrophic, storm.

Storm Warnings
Tropical Storm Watch: When tropical storm conditions could threaten coastal areas within 24 to 36 hours.
Tropical Storm Warning: Winds of 39 to 73 mph.
Hurricane Watch Hurricane conditions expected within 24 to 26 hours.
Hurricane Warning Hurricane conditions expected in a specific area within 24 hours.

The Saffir-Simspon Hurricane Scale was developed to provide an estimate of the potential damage a storm could inflict upon landfall. It is described by NOAA as follows:

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a 1-5 rating based on the hurricane's present intensity. This is used to give an estimate of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast from a hurricane landfall. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale, as storm surge values are highly dependent on the slope of the continental shelf in the landfall region. Note that all winds are using the U.S. 1-minute average.

Category One Hurricane - Winds 74-95 mph (64-82 knots or 119-153 km/hr). Storm surge generally 4-5 ft above normal. No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage. - Examples: Irene 1999 and Allison 1995 .

Category Two Hurricane - Winds 96-110 mph (83-95 knots or 154-177 km/hr). Storm surge generally 6-8 feet above normal. Some roofing material, door, and window damage of buildings. Considerable damage to shrubbery and trees with some trees blown down. Considerable damage to mobile homes, poorly constructed signs, and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings. - Examples: Bonnie 1998, Georges 1998 and Gloria 1985 .

Category Three Hurricane - Winds 111-130 mph (96-113 knots or 178-209 km/hr). Storm surge generally 9-12 feet above normal. Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtain wall failures. Damage to shrubbery and trees with foliage blown off trees and large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly constructed signs are destroyed. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by battering of floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 feet above mean sea level may be flooded inland 8 miles (13 km) or more. Evacuation of low-lying residences with several blocks of the shoreline may be required. - Examples: Keith 2000, Fran 1996, Opal 1995, Alicia 1983 and Betsy 1965 .

Category Four Hurricane - Winds 131-155 mph (114-135 knots or 210-249 km/hr). Storm surge generally 13-18 feet above normal. More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain lower that 10 ft above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 6 miles (10 km). - Examples: Andrew 1992, Hugo 1989 and Donna 1960 .

Category Five Hurricane - Winds greater than 155 mph (135 knots or 249 km/hr). Storm surge generally greater than 18 feet above normal. Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. All shrubs, trees, and signs blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Severe and extensive window and door damage. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less that 15 ft above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5-10 miles (8-16 km) of the shoreline may be required. - Examples: Camille 1969 and Labor Day 1935 .

Storm Surge

"Storm Surge" is another ingredient of a hurricane. What is a storm surge? Storm surge is water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level 15 feet or more. Additionally, wind driven waves are superimposed on the storm tide. This rise in water level can cause severe flooding in coastal areas, particularly when the storm tide coincides with the normal high tides. Because much of the densely populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less that 10 feet above mean sea level, the danger from storm tides is tremendous.

The level of surge in a particular area is also determined by the slope of the continental shelf. A shallow slope off the coast will allow a greater surge to inundate coastal communities. Communities with a steeper continental shelf will not see as much surge inundation, although large breaking waves can still present major problems. Storm tides, waves, and currents in confined harbors severely damage ships, marinas, and pleasure boats.
Wave and current action associated with the tide also causes extensive damage. Water weighs approximately 1,700 pounds per cubic yard; extended pounding by frequent waves can demolish any structure not specifically designed to withstand these forces. The currents created by the tide combine with the action of the waves to severely erode beaches and coastal highways. Many buildings withstand hurricane force winds until their foundations, undermined by erosion, are weakened and fail.

Storm surge also affects rivers and inland lakes, potentially increasing the area that must be evacuated.

The more intense the storm, and the closer a community is to the right-front quadrant, the larger the area that must be evacuated. The problem is always the uncertainty about how intense the storm will be when it finally makes landfall. Emergency managers and local officials balance that uncertainty with the human and economic risks to their communities. This is why a rule of thumb for emergency managers is to plan for a storm one category higher than what is forecast. This is a reasonable precaution to help minimize the loss of life from hurricanes.
Hurricane Tracking Chart Adobe PDF132KB
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