No one wants to get stuck in a hurricane on vacation. These severe weather events are inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst. To prevent a hurricane from ruining your vacation, start by being weather-wise and figuring out a strategy before you go.
Easy — and it can save your life if you're careful, aware and lucky
Time Required: 5 minutes
- Understand that hurricanes occur only during a specific season.
- In the Caribbean, Florida, and other states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, hurricane season stretches from June 1-November 30.
- August is peak hurricane season.
- Not all Caribbean islands are subject to hurricanes.
- Islands least likely to get hit are ones located furthest south.
- These include Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curaçao, and Turks and Caicos.
- If you're determined to visit Florida or the Caribbean during this time (when rates are temptingly low), find out if your hotel has a hurricane guarantee.
- Acquaint yourself with the National Weather Service's Hurricane Awareness site.
- If you can't bear the idea of stormy weather (or worse) and hate risk, go someplace else during hurricane season.
- If you do get caught in a hurricane, seek shelter on high ground and follow instructions.
What It's Like to Experience a Hurricane:
- Think of a hurricane as a super storm. The same elements — wind, thunder, lightning and heavy rain — arrive, but in more extreme measure and duration. Flooding may occur in areas close to sea level.
- If you have access to local media — radio, TV, online sites and social media, tune in. You'll start hearing warnings of the imminent event. Stay on top of news reports — and know that a hurricane can take out transmission lines so information may get cut off at any time.
- If you're a guest at a resort, look to the management for guidance and follow their directions to safety.
- If you're on your own, hopefully you've already prepared an emergency kit. Locate it and plan to evacuate to higher ground.
- Never drive through standing water; there's no telling how deep it is.
- A hurricane's duration depends on wind speed, and often it travels a circular route so you may feel the impact twice.
- The center of a hurricane is called the eye, and it offers a respite from the torrential storm... but not for long.
- Keep your passport and ID on your person.
- Help children and the elderly and infirm without putting yourself at risk.
- Insist on going to the tropics in August anyway? Pack a raincoat but keep your fingers crossed.
- Check what your airline's policy is regarding weather events and cancellations before you leave home.
Hurricane Facts and Figures:
- Hurricanes are graded on their severity. The most dangerous ones are classified Category 5.
- Although the season runs from July through November, the majority of hurricanes occur in August and September.
- In the United States, the three states that have suffered the greatest devastation from hurricanes have been Florida, Louisiana (New Orleans) and Texas (Galveston).