Where Hurricanes Go

An interesting map / graphic from here:


Where Hurricanes Land

Where Hurricanes Land

There’s a bunch of ‘close up’ maps on that page as well.

Worth a look, especially if you live there, will visit there, or like watching news about the present hurricane season and predictions.

If folks know of similar graphics for other continents, give me a pointer and I’ll add them, too.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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22 Responses to Where Hurricanes Go

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks like NASA has a ‘preparedness’ link with links to other sources as well.


  2. When I’ve seen hurricane paths on the news, they always seem to go further inland than these graphics seem to show. I can’t see a definition as to what is counted as a strike – is this deaths from hurricanes or some severe level of damage?

  3. Hurricane strike, as defined by NOAA:

    For any particular location, a hurricane strike occurs if that location passes within the hurricane’s strike circle, a circle of 125 n mi diameter, centered 12.5 n mi to the right of the hurricane center (looking in the direction of motion). This circle is meant to depict the typical extent of hurricane force winds, which are approximately 75 n mi to the right of the center and 50 n mi to the left.

    I was unaware of the offset, and of the diameter used. This definition implies that a “strike” could (and likely does) happen in multiple counties for the same occurrence — though that should be called out more explicitly.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  4. BobN says:

    This is a bit off topic, but the subject triggered a memory. I was on Kauai some years back when the Hurricane Iniki hit the Island. It was a Cat 5, the most powerful to ever hit the US. It was one heck of a storm, luckily we went inland to a cement shelter in a grade school building. After the storm was over the Red Cross came and set up, but after a day the sanitary conditions were so bad we decided to see what was left of the condo we were staying in. It was 2 story, 4 up and 4 down. The top units were gone and the end units were in bad shape, luckily ours was usable.

    No Food was the problem, it soon ran out. Hiked to the local store, but they were sold out except for a couple cans of beans. The national guard soon showed up and blocked beach access, they were protecting the big hotels from looters. We had taken knives and affixed them to poles hoping to catch some fish, The the guard wouldn’t let us onto the beach. Every few hours the guard food patrol would come by and deliver full meals to the guards.We tried to buy a few meals and they said get lost. Next door was the Weston Hotel that was cooking everything they had as the electricity was out and the food was about to spoil. We walked over to the hotel and was stopped by their guards who wouldn’t let us get near. We said we just wanted to buy food, but it was for guests only, so we were turned away.
    We resorted to eating coconuts that had blown down. A local guy that had a wave come through his wall and pushed him into the next room said their were a few fish left when it was over, he gave us one, which helped (their were 6 of us). The locals were great!

    We listened to the radio and they kept saying do not go to the air port as nothing was getting in or out. A helicopter landed on our lawn and Don Johnson and wife came running and got out.
    One of the locals told us there were boats at the local bay, so we siphoned out our now empty rental car and got some gas and headed out. We got a boat out to Honolulu which was a 5 hour trip from hell. I think there were 2 of us that didn’t get sea sick out of about 200 people. They ran out of barf bags and it was pretty bad, but we got there and caught a plane out.

    What we discovered is there were planes out almost immediately, but they were lying, not wanting to have unmanageable crowds at the airport. The national guard were unreasonable, absolutely would not allow us into the water even though they could see us. The Hotel would not sell food that was about to rot as it was theirs! I lost 20 pounds in 5 days and am very thankful to the locals sharing their food even though they were wiped out themselves.

    I learned a very valuable lesson, don’t trust what you hear on Radio or TV, they were flat out lying about various things. The military there to protect and help was our worst enemy. A few more days without food and we would have gone Rambo on the food runs. I know your thinking, why not go back to the Red Cross shelter, we did, but it was closed down because everyone was getting sick.
    I no longer make assumptions about survival, you’re on your own. I now always have a plan.

    Sorry if this is so off topic, but the hurricane topic just made me.

  5. E.M.Smith says:


    This is just where they make landfall. As they typically weaken shortly after, that will be the most destructive time / place. Some ways after landfall they will still be doing a lot of damage, but may well have lost hurricane status and will certainly have lost a bit of magnitude.


    Interesting, I’d not known about the offset either, though it does make sense.


    Not off topic at all, and good to know. I’d sometimes suspected, but figured folks would be more, um, ‘reasonable’. Then New Orleans happened and the police / authorities were ‘less than helpful’ in many cases. Watching that was when I decided “I’ll depend on me”…

    Surprising that the Natl Guard didn’t work “for everyone” on one level; not surprising that they worked to protect the monied interests on another…

  6. Pascvaks says:

    Any insights on Pre-Storm goings-on. How much warning did you have? What could you, would you, have done differently (besides fly earlier) that you’d like to pass on. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Jason Calley says:

    @ BobN “I no longer make assumptions about survival, you’re on your own. I now always have a plan.”

    Yes, absolutely. While your choices are somewhat constrained on an island, the best plan is to leave the area. If you can get a vehicle (truck, car, sail boat), drive. If not, get a bicycle (or kayak, or canoe, or…). If not, walk. If they are stopping even foot traffic, then walk at night and stay off the roads. The important thing is do not stay in a place where your survival is dependent on the good will or humanitarian instincts of either soldiers or bureaucrats.

  8. adolfogiurfa says:

    Where do hurricanes go during Solar minimums?…First they become “named” tropical storms, then they lose its name, after they disappear and leave only droughts behind its trails…

  9. Pascvaks says:

    Sooooo… with the data we have at our disposal (strike chart above) we can say that Isaac is likely to hit Key West, track toward Miami as she moves over the Glades, regain strength over the Atlantic and slam into North Carolina near Kitty Hawk. OK Ladies and Gents, get out those nice big Quatlo Notes and place yer bets! Any takers? Hello? Where did everyone go?

  10. adolfogiurfa says:

    If it lands it will as category 1, no matter how help from NOAA it receives… :-)

  11. BobN says:

    @EM – Yes, the national guards behaviors was most troubling. They were rigid beyond belief. We even asked if we could run down to the beach and get a couple buckets of water to use on the toilets, not a chance. My view of the guard and life threatening situations have been altered forever.
    @Pascvaks – We had about 24 hour notice, but they were downplaying everything as not to worry. We tried to get a flight out, but nothing could be booked. If I had it to do over I would have chartered a plane, got a boat out, whatever it took to get off the island..
    @Jason Calley – The best decision we made was to get off the beach. We were located on a small hill and debated weather to leave. The ocean tore the lawn up only yards from our back door and the debris would have been very bad, the roof tiles were stuck everywhere like headstones.
    We should have stocked food and not gone by what was directed by TV. If at all possible get out of the public shelters and make no assumptions on anything. When I go anywhere now I always have a map and a plan.

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    On the islands your options are more limited. On the continent, the general rule is just gas up the car at the first warning, then head inland one day before everyone else ;-)

    Oh, and I keep a “bug out bag” in a ‘ready to grab’ location. It has some cash in it (one tank of gas, one night in an expensive hotel, meals for a couple of days). Also a minimal camping kit ( small pocket sized stove, cooking cup, space blankets, etc.) and I have food in a grab-able form (basically all the dry food is more or less ‘good to go’ but I also have a box of ‘dry goods’ in the kitchen ready to grab. Add a bottle of multi-vitamins. Oh, and take some water… I have a 2 qt canteen and a plastic jug. Plus iodine water purification tablets for ‘found water’)

    On an island, you basically want to get to the side away from the hurricane / cyclone and inside something made of concrete… or get off the island ‘by any means possible’ (for a cat 4 or 5).

    My family sometimes thinks me a bit odd when I pack for trips due to bringing a ‘bug out’ kit, but it’s nice to know that even if you are 600 miles from nowhere you have 4 pounds of rice and lentils. ( Good for 4 days of full rations or a week of 1/2 rations and fits in a shoe box…) In quart jars put in a box with crumpled paper around it, will survive a 7.2 quake or more and is waterproof, bug proof, and rodent proof.

    Priorities are “physical security” then things are in inverse order by density. Air is most important, you have minutes. Warmth is next, you have hours (or cool if in a hot place). Water is next, you have a couple of days. Food is actually last. Most folks can make it for weeks to months on water and vitamin pills…

    BTW, a bottle of multivitamins lives in my ‘travel bag’ that has the laptop, minimal lighting kit, micro-stove,etc. I can assemble an “Aw Shit” kit with 10 minutes and a grocery store. (Bottled water, variety of food products, etc.) If stuck off “somewhere” at the first warning I’d “make the kit” if I didn’t already have it. 1 lb of dry food (or solid food like candy bars or trail mix) per person per day plus one big bottle of water per person per day minimum. You can put a weeks worth in a modest sized suitcase with room to spare. Pick some day to ‘try it’. Just go to the grocery store and buy a variety of stuff. From SPAM to Nuts to tuna (in oil, more calories) or sardines to a loaf of bread to Chef Boy r Dee ravioli in the can to Oreos. Anything you can eat without cooking is easier to use than dry good that need cooking. Go for things that are more calorie dense (like SPAM or the ravioli) than things like canned green beans (though anything canned can be eaten as is). If it takes more than 20 minutes and $40 to be ‘set for a week’ you are in need of more practice ;-) Make sure you have a 2 L bottle of water or soda for each day.

    Remember to buy a packet of plastic cutlery and a can opener ;-)

    @Jason Calley:

    Wise words. A hurricane often as a ‘v made good’ over land of about 10 mph. People can do about 3 mph. So you need to go “sideways”. If it is 100 miles wide, and will pass 1/3 off your location, you need to go 30 miles. That’s 10 hours walking. 15 if ‘head on’. (Though most of us could not do 50 miles of walking… but I figure adrenaline would help ;-)

    So if you start walking 2 days in advance, you can walk off the line of attack in a couple of ‘workdays’ worth of on your feel. But the car can do it in about an hour… and makes a nice mobile rain shelter in the process…

    I got in the habit of having the “Aw Shit Kit” in the car at all times due to the fact that earthquakes give zero warning before you find yourself 20 miles from home with rubble in the way… The 7.2 Loma Prieta Quake happened when I was at work and family were at home…


    Or perhaps veer off toward the PanHandle…


    Yeah. As a 1, it’s a dinky… as Hurricanes go…


    Remember that Authority is there to protect the powerful and the wealth of others, and above all else to be “in power”; not to help you. “Order” is far more important than any need of yours….

    It’s SOP to “keep people calm” by lying to them. Watch the news / weather channel yourself and make your own determination. I usually travel with a very small Sony Shortwave Radio (about the size of a paper back book and works reasonably well) as both ‘alarm clock’ and local news; but it also picks up 50 MW “clear channel” stations from far far away and can do Shortwave if needed ( usually BBC and Radio Havana in most of the USA but DW -Germany is also often on). I can always get ‘the real story’… Sony ICF- SW 7600 GR.

    Most important of all is “situational awareness”. Any time. Any where. Any risk. Be aware of what the situation and what risks are around / approaching. Then make a plan and execute on it (even if the plan is “2 more Margaretas and the dinner menu please” ;-)

    As a reminder, my “full Monty” of emergency kits is here:


    Just add food and water if on the road…

  13. Pascvaks says:

    @BobN & EM – Thanks for the additional feedback. In the FWIW category: When dealing with a guard with a weapon and orders to protect ‘property’/’let no one pass’ (of course every situation is different, DOTS -Depends On the Situation): a) the more the merrier – bigger groups get quicker and more attention, and better treatment when asking for help, b) demand to see the supervisor, don’t argue with the guard, c) people, even guards, are human so beg, cry, get a little mad, best to put the most pitiful among you up front. Anyway, whatever, the bottom line, guards follow orders, even very stupid orders; demand to speak to the idiot who gave the stupid orders, guards love to call for help, they really do (it’s part of their orders and guards love to follow orders), especially if the idiot who posted him has to get off his backside and come out and deal with the little problem ;-). PS: Don’t ever challange the guard, challange the stupidity of the orders and idiot(s) who gave the guards their orders, and ask to speak to that idiot, immediately. PPS: Control your group, have an XO or two, don’t let someone do anything stupid when you’re dealing with guards with guns.

  14. Jason Calley says:

    @ Pascvaks Good advice about armed guards, and applies with some small modifications to bureaucrats as well.

    Also in the FWIW category, here is an odd hurricane story, but true. Ten years ago, when Hurricane Andrew disappeared a good chunk of Homestead, Florida, I was living a few hundred miles away. Not close enough to see any damage firsthand, but close enough that some people from my area took part in the rescue efforts afterward. Officially, about 30 people died from the storm. During the approximately two years after the hurricane I spoke to three different people who claimed to have been in Homestead for the rescue work. All three (and with no pointed questions or coaching from me) volunteered essentially (with small variations) the same information, roughly, “You know that there were a lot more people killed down there than they are saying?”
    My response was along the lines of “Oh? How many?”
    “A LOT! Hundreds, maybe even in the thousands. I helped clear some of the condos and apartments. There were more bodies than you could count.”
    My response: “Why would they cover something like that up? How could they even do it?”
    “I don’t know, but there were a LOT more people killed than they say.”

    So, there it is; a bit odd, yes, and I do not know what it means. I can’t think of any really satisfying reason why there would be a coverup, but I also cannot think of an equally satisfying reason why three out of three people would claim to have been there and then told the same unlikely story. I have this info mentally filed under “I do not understand the significance of this.”

  15. BobN says:

    @Jason – I new a couple guys that worked at IBM Florida and they told me the numbers were much higher. I asked why it wasn’t being reported and they just shrugged..

  16. Jason Calley says:

    @ BobN
    Very odd, I guess it was not just me hearing such things. I read similar things online after Hurricane Katrina but did not personally speak to any first hand witnesses.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley & BobN:

    I may be able to help…

    Once upon a time, I was the admissions clerk at a small (60 bed) hospital sort of in the country. Every so often an accident would happen or a local notable would be admitted. The news paper would call… “What is the status of FOO?” they would ask.

    Me, a college kid working part time, would answer solemnly “The condition of FOO is stable.”

    Why? Because the nurse always told me “Just tell them he’s in stable condition if the press calls”. Now at some point, there were in “unknown” condition. Then they were “being assessed”. Then sometimes in surgery or in a basket. ( I think all of once I got to say someone was in ‘critical condition’ even though dozens were in very bad shape and about the same.)

    Not Once did any reporter ask anything beyond that nor did they care about accuracy or about the ‘canned answer’ nature of the reply. They had an assignment to write and just needed to know what ‘plug value’ when in that part of the formula story… I could have said they were in “lumbago condition” and nothing would have changed.

    So my guess would be that at some point during the event (likely early) some reporter was told “find out how many died” and called the coroner, where some kid clerk had been told “Tell them 30” (either because it sounded about right, or was all they had in the first few hours). From that point on, said clerk will dutifully report “30”. (Several times I dutifully reported the same patient as being “in stable condition” for a week+ as they progressed from “pretty bad” to “exiting on their own power. Malice? Evil Conspiracy? Nope. Sloth. The nurse said tell them “stable” so that’s what I did… and nobody said to change it and I’d not been told to pester them for a new value…

  18. philjourdan says:

    To change the subject a bit, what is going on at the southern end of the San Andreas? I read what the LA times wrote, but do not trust them to post competently.

  19. BobN says:

    My memory is a bit weak, but if I remember right, we had a lot of earth quakes before the Loma Prieta (sp). I would avoid bridges and tall buildings for a while if possible.

  20. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. “The nurse said tell them “stable” so that’s what I did… and nobody said to change it and I’d not been told to pester them for a new value…”

    Very believable. Personally, when I am asked about something for which I have not even a good estimate, I just give some random number without specifying what units I am using. “How long do you think the job will take?” “Hmmm… probably about 32.”

  21. Richard Ilfeld says:

    There were very many Andrew dead among the undocumented. There were a number of bodies not recovered — crabs aren’t fussy. I guy I know who searches out WWII wrecks in florida (there were thousands) says that in south Florida finding skeletons is still routine. If you die in a camp at a drug receiving strip or in a cabins among the cane no one cares. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/bwidner1 Robert Widner if you want to learn more about the wrecks.

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    @PhilJourdan & BobN:

    I’m not a stickler for it, but just note that there IS still an open “Quakes” thread in the right hand margin 6 up from the bottom…. I made a comment there about the 500+ quake count in California and the 5.x sized (with lots of aftershocks) near the Salton Sea. IMHO, ‘energy’ moves from south to north starting down in Latin America and working up to here. To the extent that thesis “has legs”, the large number of 7.x quakes in Latin America a couple of years back is “not good” for L.A. where in the 1700-1800 ( ought to look up the date…) era there was a really big “great quake” that is “about due” given the normal periodicity of that fault…

    @Jason Calley:

    Nice trick…

    @Richard Ilfeld:

    It is the notion that we carefully count and document (and retrieve) all the dead that is broken.

    Some drug war breaks out in the swamp, who’s going to want a body count?
    Some hurricane blows through and EVERYONE is just trying to get water and food, who’s going to care about counting bodies? And how many are sunk in the water for the gators and crabs?
    And earthquake dumps tons of concrete in rubble on a spot that ends up abandoned for a decade until it can be economically interesting again (look at Haiti where they still have tent cities); think every bit of rubble was lifted for a look? Ants aren’t fussy either…

    BTW, posting this from a Chrome browser inside Knoppix. ( 6.7 Knoppix IIRC). Not impressed. Aside from Chrome being very ‘snoopy’ (as are all Google products as far as I can tell) it’s just dog slow. I’ve used older Knoppix releases with other browsers that were much faster on less hardware. ( Pentium III 700+ Mhz 254 Mb for this, AMD 400 Mhz 128 Mb for the older one).

    Frankly, using a smaller Linux and lighter footprint browser inside a Virtual Box is about the same ( 4 core machine, but only one goes to the Vbox…) for speed.

    I think I need to find the old Knoppix and / or “roll my own” to make a more secure AND fast experience on “modest” hardware. It looks like Knoppix has joined the ranks of the Slow Code Bloat express and expects to find 4 GB of memory… or maybe it’s just Chrome… We’ll see.

    (Yes, I’m still “playing”, er, researching ;-) secure ways to interact with the internet and leave little on the local machine…

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