Hurricane hazards: Understanding the danger

Hurricane hazards: Understanding the danger

Hurricane hazards: Understanding the danger

Heavy rainfall and inland flooding

Hurricanes, especially slow-moving hurricanes, bring excessive rainfall. With it, freshwater flooding is a serious risk for creek and river basins and other low-lying areas.

If torrential rain is expected and you are in a flood zone, be prepared to move higher. Also, never drive through floodwaters. Seek an alternative route.

Rip currents

Hurricanes, even far-away hurricanes, generate heavy surf and rip currents. These swift, narrow outbound currents pose a threat to even strong, experienced swimmers.

If you get caught in a rip current, don't panic! Swim parallel to the shore until you feel you're out of the rip current's grip. Then, make your way back to shore.

Storm Surge

Landfalling hurricanes drive massive amounts of ocean water toward the coast. This storm surge tends to be worse in large, strong storms, and during times of high tide.

Know your risk! If you live in an area vulnerable to ocean water rise or if a local official tells you to evacuate, heed the call to move to safer ground.


The spiral rain bands of hurricanes often generate tornadoes. These twisters are usually weak, but they are also usually quick - and thus may happen with little warning.

If you do learn of a tornado warning or bulletin, heed it immediately! Shelter in the lowest, interior-most portion of a sturdy building until the threat abates.


Hurricane-force winds are, by definition, at least 74 mph. These winds can damage trees and structures - and turn seemingly innocuous outdoor objects into dangerous missiles.

If high winds are expected, take steps to shelter or fasten loose items on your property and, if the threat is great enough, secure and cover windows.