We Love Weather Exclusive

10 Hurricane Misconceptions

1. Taping your windows during a hurricane protects your house.
Actually, it doesn’t protect your house at all. In fact it can make the situation more dangerous because the glass breaks into large shards instead of small pieces. So the glass projectiles are even more dangerous because you taped your windows.  

2. The wind is what kills during a hurricane.
Wrong, roughly 90% of deaths in hurricanes are due to water – with around 50% from storm surge and 27% from rainfall. Fewer than 1 in 10 in deaths are wind related.

3. You have to travel hundreds of miles inland to evacuate.
The primary reason we tell people to evacuate is because of storm surge, so when you’re asked to evacuate you really just need to go inland to a place that’s high and away from water – not 200 miles.

4. Only storms that have a name will have a big impact.
You could have a tropical depression that has as big as an impact as a tropical storm or even a hurricane. The flooding in Louisiana is a good example. It didn’t have a name. It wasn’t even classified a tropical depression but ultimately the damage and the number of people that died is worse than many hurricanes.

5. A Category 4 hurricane will be be worse than a Category 2.
Categories in hurricanes are specific to the winds. It says nothing about the rainfall or storm surge flooding. Hurricane Charley was a Category 4 system that hit southwest Florida and it was a $15 billion dollar hurricane and brought a 7 foot storm surge. While Hurricane Ike was a Category 2, $30 billion dollar hurricane and brought a 20 foot storm surge. Don’t focus simply on the category.

6. Hurricane season takes place from June through August.
Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30. Even though the air feels like fall, oceans peak in their warmth in early October. Water doesn’t cool as quickly as the atmosphere.

7. October is a calm month for hurricanes.
October can actually be a particularly bad month for hurricanes. Some of the strongest hurricanes on record have taken place in October.

8. Storm Surge can only happen near the ocean.
Lakes and bays can be affected by storm surge. In a 1928 hurricane, the storm surge from Lake Okeechobee killed around 2,500 people. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in this country’s history.

9. If you live in a state not on the coast, you won’t be affected by a hurricane.
You can get severe impacts from hurricanes even after the hurricane is well inland. Hurricane Camille, Category 5, is remembered for it’s impact to Mississippi when it made landfall  but there were over 150 people that lost their lives in Virginia due to flooding.

10. You can get your name added to the list of hurricane names.
The World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland creates the list of potential hurricane names. They rotate six lists season to season, and they only retire a name if that storm is so deadly and costly that the future use of its name for a different storm would be insensitive.


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6 Comments


  1. Why do hurricanes seem to hit FL. and NC. and often do not impact the southeastern coast of SC. ?

  2. I live in Lewiston, Maine about 30 miles from Casco Bay in Portland. For many years now, the beaches and businesses have up and down the coast line but only in the line from Casco Bay, Camp Ellis, and that immediate area have seen major destruction in the last 10-15 years. 30 miles inland we get wind and rain but nothing really damaging,