Severe Weather

Terms to Know

  • FLASH FLOOD WATCH – means a flash flood is possible in the area; stay alert.
  • FLASH FLOOD WARNING – means a flash flood is imminent; take immediate action
  • HURRICANE WATCH – issued for a coastal area when the storm is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours.
  • HURRICANE WARNING – issued when hurricane conditions are expected in a specific coastal area in 24 hours or less.  Hurricane conditions include sustained winds of 74 miles per hour (64 knots) and/or dangerous high tides and waves.  Actions to protect life and property should be rushed to completion after the warning is issued.
  • HURRICANE EYE – the relatively calm area near the center of a hurricane, which takes from several minutes to an hour to pass, depending on how fast the hurricane is moving and the size of the eye. The calm ends suddenly as the winds return from the opposite direction, possibly with even greater force.  The most intense winds blow closest to the eye and are the strongest Northeast of the eye.
  • SMALL CRAFT ADVISORIES – when foul weather threatens a coastal area, small craft operators are advised to remain in port or not to venture into the open sea.
  • STORM SURGE – a great dome of seawater, often 50 miles across, that seeps across the coastline inundating that land with up to 15 feet of water.  The ocean level rises as a hurricane approaches; peaking where they hurricane eye strikes the land gradually subsiding after the hurricane passes.
  • TROPICAL CYCLONES – are cyclone circulation originating over tropic waters, classified by form and intensity as follows:
    • TROPICAL DISTURBANCE – a moving area of thunderstorms in the tropics that maintains its identity for 24 hours or more, a common phenomenon in the tropics.
    • TROPICAL DEPRESSION – rotary circulation at surface, highest constant wind speed 38 miles per hour (33 knots).
    • TROPICAL STORM – distinct rotary circulation, constant wind speed ranges 39-73 miles per hour (34-63 knots)
  • HURRICANE – pronounced rotary circulation, constant wind speed of 74 miles per hour (64 knots) or greater.
    • CATEGORY 1 - wind speed 74-95 miles per hour, minor damage
    • CATEGORY 2 - wind speed 96-110 miles per hour, moderate damage
    • CATEGORY 3 - wind speed 111-130 miles per hour, extensive damage
    • CATEGORY 4 - wind speed 131-155 miles per hour, extreme damage
    • CATEGORY 5 - wind speed over 155 miles per hour, catastrophic damage
  • TORNADOS – spawned by hurricanes, tornados sometimes produce sever damage and casualties.  If a tornado is reported in your area, a warning will be issued.


Hurricane Preparation

  • The hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30.
  • Businesses should be aware of measures they can take to protect their facilities and employees.  The primary objective should be to ensure that the business can continue to function after a hurricane has threatened the area.  Without a complete plan to protect the business, a quick recovery from a hurricane will be difficult.
  • All business-hurricane plans should include employee’s responsibilities at work and home, an emergency management team, communication lines and insurance coverage.

Earthquake Preparation

  • Click here for the FEMA recommended response during an earthquake.
  • Click here for the FEMA recommended response for after an earthquake.

Business Protection

  • Identify and protect vital records and electronic equipment.  Back up all key files.
  • Employees should be informed when they’ll be released from work and when they should return.  Give employees enough time to secure their homes and families.
  • Develop a 24-hour Emergency Contact List with phone numbers of key employees.
  • Review the company’s insurance policy and make sure it provides adequate coverage.
  • Establish a temporary location for business operations in case your facility is damaged.

When severe weather conditions become apparent, the U.S. Weather Bureau describes conditions by two (2) classifications, a Watch or a Warning. This applies  to the reporting of severe thunderstorms, the approach of weather conditions favoring the formation of tornadoes, a hurricane, a winter storm condition, etc. A Watch becomes effective when atmospheric conditions are present that can produce the particular weather phenomenon. A Warning means that the weather condition has been spotted and prompt action must be taken to enhance safety.

Except in very rare circumstances, the decision to evacuate the building based on the above weather reports will not be made by Property Management, but rather by each Tenant Company. However, in the event these conditions do exist, the following guidelines should adhered to:

  • Move away from outside windows. The greatest danger in these situations will be flying glass and objects.  Therefore, tenants are encouraged to locate refuge areas offering the least amount of exposure to exterior window glass.  If the windows in your offices are supplied with blinds, close the blinds (this will provide protection from broken glass).
  • Do not panic.
  • If evacuated, lock all desk drawers and take all items of value with you.
  • If evacuated, use a route that is in the building interior and stay away from large expanses of glass and windows.
  • Use the stairwells rather than the elevators.
  • If evacuated, do not return to your office until advised to do so.

Note: Public warning of severe weather will come over the radio, television, or five minute steady blasts of sirens by the Municipal Defense warning system.