Plan now for hurricane season
by Randy Ray
We are now into the start of the 2004 Hurricane Season. As you have probably noticed, just a routine thunderstorm causes water to back-up on many of our streets. A quick look at the attached map shows the effects flooding from a Category 1, 2 or 3 hurricane could have on our base.
The problem we face at MacDill is the elevation. The elevation of much of the outer area of the base is less than 10 feet above sea level. Here at MacDill a Category 1 hurricane could cause a storm surge of six feet over high tide--enough to put Bayshore Boulevard and most of base housing and base facilities under one to three feet of water. Not to mention how high waves could be.
The higher the hurricane category, the greater the amount of storm surge and flooding. In a Category 2 hurricane, storm surge could be up to 11 feet above the normal tide and for a Category 3 up to 16 feet. The flooding from this surge will put the entire base under three to 13 feet of water.
The best protection from flooding is to be prepared. Find out if your home is in a flood plain. If you live in base housing, the answer is "yes!" After determining if your home is vulnerable, plan on how you are going to minimize the damage. You may consider caulking or sealing doorways or some other method for slowing water entering the lower levels of your home.
You can protect yourself and your family by evacuating when directed, and staying off the roads during heavy rains and flooding. Before you evacuate, move valuable equipment and appliances up as high as you can off the floor. If you have a second floor, move items there. You also may consider wrapping valuables in plastic or placing them in plastic bags.
All of these items are part of good hurricane planning. The time to start your planning is now. The local counties in the area have developed hurricane guides to help you prepare for hurricanes and the associated hazards. If you need a guide or have questions, contact your unit's Full Spectrum Threat Response Representative. You can also contact the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness Flight at 828-4321.