Tropical Weather FAQ
Will Tallahassee be evacuated?
Because of its distance from the coast, state emergency managers have no contingency for evacuating the Tallahassee area. In fact, Tallahassee is an area of refuge for other parts of the state that have mandatory evacuation plans.
What should students do if they don't want to stay in their off-campus apartment during hurricane-like conditions?
Students are welcome at local Red Cross shelters. The local Red Cross has more than 30 shelters located throughout Tallahassee. For locations of available shelters, call (850) 894-6741.
What if special circumstances warrant missing class?
Any student who does not attend class while the College is in operation should contact his or her instructor by e-mail or phone and discuss the implications of missing class with the instructor as soon as possible.
What is the difference between a tropical depression, a tropical storm, and a hurricane?
All forms of a tropical cyclone, a tropical depression has maximum sustained surface winds of 38 mph or less; a tropical storm has maximum sustained surface winds between 39 mph and 73 mph; a hurricane has maximum sustained surface winds of 74 mph or greater.
What determines the strength of a hurricane?
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 categorization based on the hurricane's intensity at the indicated time. The scale provides examples of the type of damages and impacts in the United States associated with winds of the indicated intensity. In general, damages rise by about a factor of four for every category increase. The maximum sustained surface wind speed is the determining factor in the scale.
Category One Hurricane:
Sustained winds 74-95 mph. Damaging winds are expected. Some damage to building structures could occur, primarily to unanchored mobile homes (mainly pre-1994 construction). Some damage is likely to poorly constructed signs. Loose outdoor items will become projectiles, causing additional damage. Persons struck by windborne debris risk injury and possible death. Numerous large branches of healthy trees will snap. Some trees will be uprooted, especially where the ground is saturated. Many areas will experience power outages with some downed power poles.
Category Two Hurricane:
Sustained winds 96-110 mph. Very strong winds will produce widespread damage. Some roofing material, door, and window damage of buildings will occur. Considerable damage to mobile homes (mainly pre-1994 construction) and poorly constructed signs is likely. A number of glass windows in high rise buildings will be dislodged and become airborne. Loose outdoor items will become projectiles, causing additional damage. Persons struck by windborne debris risk injury and possible death. Numerous large branches will break. Many trees will be uprooted or snapped. Extensive damage to power lines and poles will likely result in widespread power outages that could last a few to several days. Hurricane Erin (1995, 100 mph at landfall in northwest Florida) is an example of a Category Two hurricane at landfall.
Category Three Hurricane:
Sustained winds 111-130 mph. Dangerous winds will cause extensive damage. Some structural damage to houses and buildings will occur with a minor amount of wall failures. Mobile homes (mainly pre-1994 construction) and poorly constructed signs are destroyed. Many windows in high rise buildings will be dislodged and become airborne. Persons struck by windborne debris risk injury and possible death. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks. Hurricane Katrina (2005, 125 mph at landfall in southeast Louisiana) is an example of a Category Three hurricane at landfall.
Category Four Hurricane:
Sustained winds 131-155 mph. Extremely dangerous winds causing devastating damage are expected. Some wall failures with some complete roof structure failures on houses will occur. All signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes (primarily pre-1994 construction). Extensive damage to doors and windows is likely. Numerous windows in high rise buildings will be dislodged and become airborne. Windborne debris will cause extensive damage and persons struck by the wind-blown debris will be injured or killed. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted. Fallen trees could cut off residential areas for days to weeks. Electricity will be unavailable for weeks after the hurricane passes. Hurricane Charley (2004, 145 mph at landfall in southwest Florida) is an example of a Category Four hurricane at landfall.
Category Five Hurricane:
Sustained winds greater than 155 mph. Catastrophic damage is expected. Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings will occur. Some complete building failures with small buildings blown over or away are likely. All signs blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes (built in any year). Severe and extensive window and door damage will occur. Nearly all windows in high rise buildings will be dislodged and become airborne. Severe injury or death is likely for persons struck by wind-blown debris. Nearly all trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Hurricane Andrew (1992, 165 mph at landfall in Southeast Florida) is an example of a Category Five hurricane at landfall.
What is the difference between a tropical storm or hurricane watch and warning?
A Tropical Storm or Hurricane Watch means tropical storm or hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours.
A Tropical Storm or Hurricane Warning means tropical storm or hurricane conditions are expected in 24 hours or less. A Hurricane Warning can remain in effect when dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves continue, even though winds may be less than hurricane force.