10 Hurricane Facts: Debunking the Most Popular Myths

In many parts of the country, particularly coastal areas, hurricanes are inevitable. (©gguy – stock.adobe.com)

Severe weather is inevitable. It’s important to know the facts about hurricanes — that way, you can make informed decisions to protect your family before, during and after the storm.

Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions surrounding hurricanes because there’s widespread misinformation about the topic.

Read on for the top 10 myths about hurricanes — and the truth behind them.

Hurricane winds blow palm trees as flooding takes over streets
Tropical areas come to mind when many people think of hurricanes, but regarding location, these storms don’t discriminate. (©Satoshi Kina – stock.adobe.com)

Myth #10: Hurricanes only happen in coastal areas

While the drama of a hurricane crashing onto a coastal area makes compelling front-page news, the effects are felt far inland.

In fact, strong winds, heavy rain, tornadoes, and inland flooding can spread hundreds of miles from the coast, leaving behind extensive death and damage.

Hurricane evacuation route sign
Just because you live inland doesn’t mean you’re out of harm’s way — listen to the weather forecast and evacuate as directed. (©marchello74 – stock.adobe.com)

Myth #9: The storm surge is a hurricane’s deadliest part

A storm surge is a wall of water pushed ashore as the center of a hurricane moves on land. That image alone often sticks in people’s minds as perhaps the most threatening part of a hurricane.

Once you visualize an avalanche of water headed straight toward you at hurricane-force speed, it’s easy to consider that event’s impact and underestimate other destruction not far behind.

And rest assured, there will be additional destruction.

Here’s the reality check: While a storm surge can certainly be deadly, more people actually die from inland flooding and flash floods of rivers and streams because they underestimate the power of moving water.

Panoramic view of Sunny Isles Beach in Miami, Florida
You don’t want to be in the top unit of a high-rise during a hurricane. (©oldmn – stock.adobe.com)

Myth #8: An apartment or condominium’s upper floors are safe places to ride out a storm

Think the top of a high-rise apartment or condominium building is the best place to be during a hurricane? Think again. This so-called “vertical evacuation” is a bad idea!

Here are the facts:

  • Wind speed increases the higher you go
  • Hurricane-force winds can blow out windows and rip off siding
  • Rising water can cause structural damage to the building’s lower levels
  • The room you’re in could topple over once lower levels collapse

If that’s not enough to convince you to evacuate your high-rise, maybe this will: high winds and rising water make rescue nearly impossible.

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