The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1 and runs through November 30 of each year.  Although a major hurricane has not affected Marion County in several years, it is still important to remember and practice hurricane preparedness.
Hurricane Danger Zone
It is important to remember that just because a hurricane is not making landfall in your immediate proximity, you are still not out of the danger zone.  The coordinates of a hurricane that are given by the National Hurricane Center identify the location of the storm’s eye.  An average hurricane is 250 miles in diameter, which means the danger zone could extend some 100 miles on either side of the storm’s center.
Hurricanes produce many hazards that affect inland counties such as Marion County including; strong winds, inland flooding and tornadoes.  Hurricane force winds, 74 mph or stronger, can often be experienced well inland from the coast.  Tornado activity is usually common in the right front quadrant of the storm, but can also be possible in other areas of the storm as well.
Hurricane Intensity
The National Hurricane Center uses the Saffir-Simpson scale to classify hurricanes based on wind speed intensity.  Below is a summary of possible damages associated with each category of intensity.
  • Category 1

Windspeed: 74-95 mph
Effects: No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubs and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Flooded low lying areas and roads.

  • Category 2
Windspeed: 96-110 mph
Effects: Some damage to roofing materials, doors and windows of buildings. Considerable damage to shrubs and trees, some trees blown over. Considerable damage to mobile homes, poorly constructed signs, and piers.  Low lying areas and roads flooded.
  • Category 3
Windspeed: 111-130 mph
Effects Some structural damage to small houses and utility buildings. Mobile homes and poorly constructed signs are destroyed. Trees and shrubs damaged. Low lying areas flooded.
  • Category 4
Windspeed: 131-155 mph
Effects: Complete failure of roof structures on small houses. Extensive damage to doors and windows of all structures. All signs, shrubs and trees blown down. Mobile homes completely destroyed. Low lying areas flooded.
  • Category 5
Windspeed: 155 + mph
Effects: Complete failure of roofs on residential and commercial structures. Complete failure on smaller buildings. Mobile homes completely destroyed. Severe and extensive damage to doors and windows. Low lying areas flooded.
Hurricane Plan
Before the storm….
  • Plan an evacuation route.
  • Stay tuned to your local television and radio stations for emergency information.
  • Learn safety routes and evacuation shelter locations.
  • Have a disaster preparedness kit available.
  • Make arrangements for pets. Pets are not allowed in American Red Cross Shelters.
  • Fuel and service family vehicles.
  • Teach family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water.
  • Protect your home. Cover windows with shielding materials. Inspect tie downs on mobile homes. Bring lawn furniture and other loose objects inside.
  • Develop an emergency communications plan to use if family members are separated from one another. Do not rely on cell phones or landline services following a hurricane or other disaster.
During the storm….
  • Stay tuned to your local television and radio stations for emergency information.
  • Stay inside a well constructed building away from windows and doors, even if they are covered. Go under any stairs or to an interior first floor room, basement or closet.
  • Be alert, tornadoes are frequently spawned during hurricanes.
  • If the eye of the storm passes over your location, be aware that severe weather conditions will return within a short amount of time.
After the storm….
  • Wait until the area is declared safe before re-entering. Roads may have been closed for your protection. Do not drive in flooded areas.
  • Check gas, water, electrical lines and appliances for damage.
  • Avoid using candles or other open flames indoors. Use a flashlight to inspect damage.
  • Use the telephone to report life-threatening emergencies only.