Maritime Museum Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Manual

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3. Hurricanes and tropical storms. Although more powerful than

nor'easters, hurricanes and tropical storms typically threaten only a small stretch of coastline about 100‑150 kilometers in width. A tropical storm is defined as a tropical depression with cyclonic wind circulation (counter‑clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere) of 39 to 73 miles per hour. A hurricane is defined as a tropical storm with cyclonic wind circulation of 74 miles per hour or higher. Any rotating storm is technically a cyclone, though such storms are called hurricanes in the Atlantic, typhoons in the Pacific, and cyclones in the Indian Ocean. Hurricane Barbara in August 1953 severely damaged the lantern of the 1791 Cape Henry Lighthouse in Virginia. The repairs took five years to complete.

Potential regions of concern: The east coast of North America and the Gulf Coast, especially low‑lying coastal areas. Inland flooding is also a potential problem. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 each year, although a Category 1 hurricane (winds 74 to 95 mph) hit Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on November 17, 1994.

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