Archive for March, 2014
Posted by cat5shuttersllc on March 31, 2014
Hurricane FactsHurricane GraphicHurricane HistoryHurricane NamesLinksPrepare NowSaffir-Simpson ScaleStorm SurgeSections»Emergency Management»Severe Weather» Hurricanes Hurricane Facts Hurricanes usually start in the tropics as a low pressure system accompanied by powerful thunderstorms. A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, the general term for all circulating weather systems over tropical waters (counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere). Tropical cyclones are classified as follows:
An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 mph (33 knots) or less.
An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph (34-63 knots).
An intense tropical weather system with a well defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher.
In the western Pacific, hurricanes are called “typhoons,” and similar storms in the Indian Ocean are called cyclones.
Hurricanes are products of a tropical ocean and atmosphere. Powered by heat from the sea, they are steered by the easterly trade winds and the temperate westerlies as well as by their own ferocious energy. Around their core, winds grow with great velocity, generating violent seas.
Moving ashore, hurricanes sweep the ocean inward while spawning tornadoes and producing torrential rains and floods. Each year, on average, 10 tropical storms, of which six become hurricanes, develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico. Many of these remain over the ocean; however, about five hurricanes strike the United States coastline every three years. Of these five, two will be major hurricanes, category 3 or greater on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
Hurricanes can be as much as 200 miles wide and eight miles high with winds from 74 mph to more than 155 mph. The storm surge itself can be as high as 18 feet above the ocean’s tide.
Hurricanes typically move at a forward speed of eight to 25 miles per hour. While this may seem quite slow, such movement can advance an approaching storm up to 200 miles during the course of a normal workday.
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Posted by cat5shuttersllc on March 27, 2014
A new report from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center suggests changes could be on the way for weather patterns across the U.S. and the globe.
According to the report, the chance of an El Niño reemerging this year has increased. And, if the models from the report play out, that could mean fewer named storms in the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season and potential drought relief for parts of California later this year.
An El Niño cycle can occur every two to seven years, when weaker trade winds allow warmer water around the equator in the far eastern Pacific Ocean to emerge. That warmer water changes wind patterns and alters storm cycles around the globe.
In general, the eastern tropical Pacific ocean cycles between three phases: El Niño (warmer than average sea-surface temperatures), La Niña (cooler than average sea-surface temperatures) and a neutral phase in which sea-surface temperatures are generally near long-term averages.
Since spring 2012, the eastern Pacific ocean has been in the neutral phase, but according to the latest NOAA/CPC report, there’s now a 50 percent chance that equatorial waters in the Pacific will warm sufficiently to meet the criteria for an El Niño. As a result, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has issued an El Niño Watch for summer 2014.
(MORE: NOAA: January 2014 Was 4th Warmest on Record)
Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center, explains, “A watch simply means that conditions across the tropical Pacific are favorable for the development of El Niño during the next, roughly, three to six months.”
He noted that a watch doesn’t guarantee an El Niño will occur, but the models are leaning that way.
A plot of the model data listed in the report shows a marked warming trend in tropical Pacific waters by mid-summer. The average of all the models suggests a 0.5ºC temperature anomaly is probable around August.
According to Halpert, that would place this El Niño event on the weak end of the Climate Prediction Center’s spectrum.If El Niño Develops, It Might be Good News..
Researchers have found that instances of Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes are usually reduced during an El Niño year. Based on the current model data, it appears that El Niño could develop near the height of the Atlantic hurricane season — potentially inhibiting some tropical development.
But Halpert said even with El Niño, strong tropical cyclones are still possible. “I always like to remind people of the 1992 hurricane season, which was an El Niño year and only featured seven named storms. But the first one was Andrew.”
Also, despite development of a weak El Niño, Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne raked parts of Florida during the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season.
If El Niño develops, beneficial rains could bring much-needed relief to some drought-stricken areas, most notably California.
If you need Hurricane protection contact CAT 5 Shutters, LLC. Call us toll free at 1-877-CAT-FIVE or visit us on the web at www.cat5shutters.net
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Posted by cat5shuttersllc on March 24, 2014
Keesler Air Force Base’s 10 WC-130J aircraft, known as the Hurricane Hunters, are being equipped with commercial Iridium satellite phone systems through Lockheed Martin. Keesler chief meteorologist Lt. Col. Jon Talbot told The Sun Herald the new system will allow for direct communication with both the air traffic control and National Hurricane Center.
“The problem we were facing was when we’d do the hurricane flying, we’re out there in the middle of the ocean in places we can’t communicate with air traffic control guys and they can’t talk to us.
“We tend to fly fairly low and a lot of times we’re not in their radar coverage, so they can’t see us and they can’t talk to us because we’re too low and all this stuff is line of sight,” Talbot said.
Talbot said the Hurricane Hunters often need to clearance to venture into a specific region to ensure another aircraft isn’t near, but can’t because their communication has failed.
He said it’s not uncommon for Hurricane Hunters to relay messages to control towers through other aircraft in the area.
“We would talk to a lot of the commercial airliners, or whoever is out there flying, and their pilots would relay the information. That’s a normal thing that happens all the time. That’s the way we typically had been doing it, but some places there is no one else out there flying or we’re out there at 2 a.m.,” Talbot said.
The new system will be a backup to the traditional radio communications, but it will ensure the line of communication isn’t severed during a mission.
Talbot said Lockheed Martin equipped the first of 10 WC-130Js last fall and ran tests to assure the new system wouldn’t interfere with existing equipment. He said Lockheed workers will arrive at Keesler in April to install the system on the remaining aircraft.
Hurricane season begins June 1.
So make sure your home is ready for the upcoming hurricane season. Contact CAT 5 Shutters LLC toll free at 1-877-cat-five or visit us on the web at www.cat5shutters.net. We offer free estimates and have a wide variety of hurricane products to fit any budget.
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Posted by cat5shuttersllc on March 21, 2014
…while water temperature is the most important factor in tropical cyclone dynamics, many other environmental factors affect these storms. These include: the deep warm water; moisture availibility; weak wind shear; a source of rotation, and no land interaction/landfall. Only when all these factors exist can a hurricane reach its maximum potential intensity for a given water temperature. In fact, few hurricanes reach their potential because some inhibiting factor exists. Furthermore, global warming could enhance some negative influences regionally; an ensemble of 18 global climate models show that wind shear and dry air will increase in the Atlantic, while in contrast the opposite occurs in the west Pacific where environmental factors favor more hurricanes. Therefore, anthropogenic warmer oceans do not necessarily correlate to increased tropical cyclone activity or stronger hurricanes globally. Climate models give mixed results on whether the average storm intensities will change, but most show evidence for some increase in intensity.
One inhibiting factor is the El Nino, a body of relatively warm equatorial water in the eastern Pacific. Absent for the past few years, it is expected to bring weak to moderately warm water to the South American west coast. A characteristic of El Nino is westerly winds in the upper troposphere that act to shear the tops off Atlantic easterly waves coming off the African Coast, preventing them from growing into named storms or hurricanes…
However, this (weak to moderate) El Nino will fall well short of the one that occurred in 2007, limiting the season’s total named storms to seven.
From William Gray’s 2001 hurricane forecast
Working in a strategically located lagoon off Puerto Rico, Donelly and Woodruff compiled the long record (cores, 2007) of strong hurricanes in the Atlantic region. The 5,000 year record identified two factors that appeared to heighten Atlantic activity: weak El Ninos in the tropical Pacific and strong monsoons in West Africa.
Scientists have established that strong El Ninos can stunt hurricane activity by causing strong high-altitude winds that inhibit hurricane formation.
Other reseaqrchers have identified that storms over western Africa generate atmospheric waves that move into the Atlantic and provide “seedlings” for hurricane development…
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Posted by cat5shuttersllc on March 19, 2014
The official season begins on June 1 and runs through November 30. Long range forecasts can predict the intensity of the season, but not individual storms. Such forecasts are useful to gauge what to expect, but can’t offer insight into where storms will hit or how often. They are often publicized because they are newsworthy and help governmental agencies prepare for the worst.
Examining the records for Atlantic Basin Tropical Cyclones reveals that storms form during every month of the year, not just during the storm season.
Tropical Storm Risk, an organization headed by Prof. Mark Saunders and Dr. Adam Lea of the University of London Department of Climate and Space Physics, issued their long-range prediction for the 2014 season in December. This season could see as many as five intense hurricanes (category 3-5), nine hurricanes (category 1-2), and 18 tropical storms.
Now is the time to take action and get ready for hurricane season. Formulate an evacuation plan if you live on or near the coast. Know the evacuation routes and put together an evacuation kit that includes non-perishable food, clothing, water, and personal items to take with you.
Understand the dangers of tropical cyclones as they pertain to where you live and how they will affect you, so that you can be prepared ahead of time. Stock non-perishable food supplies and a minimum of 1 gallon of water per person, per day, for at least one week. Provide for an alternative source of electrical power. Standby generators are best; portables offer a less-expensive option, but fuel for portables may be scarce during a widespread power outage.
if you need any type of hurricane protection contact CAT 5 Shutters LLC in west palm beach. Visit us on the web at www.cat5shutters.com or call us toll free at 1-877-CAT-FIVE.
Remember that Hurricane Preparedness Week begins May 25th. The time to begin preparedness is now, before the season begins.
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Posted by cat5shuttersllc on March 18, 2014
To minimize the adverse look, many associations will require that the shutters must be neutral in color such as clear or white or match the color of the home or building. If possible, they will prohibit the installation of corrugated steel or plywood.
To minimize duration of shutter deployment, many associations will require that the shutters cannot go up before June 1 and must come down by Nov. 30 of each year. Other associations will say that they cannot go up before the first named storm of the year and must come down by Nov. 30 of each year.
Some associations will require that they cannot go up until a storm is named and must come down after the named storm is no longer a threat. In these neighborhoods or buildings, the shutters may go up and down five to 10 times a hurricane season, which can be quite a bit of work for the aesthetic trade-off.
If your association wants to implement or change any current house rules concerning shutter deployment, to be effective, the new proposed rules must be sent or delivered to the home or unit owners at least 14 days before the board meeting to approve same along with a copy of the notice of the board meeting.
Many associations will also adopt house rules requiring owners to remove all personal property from their lanais or balconies if they will be gone from their unit for an extended period (say more than four days) during hurricane season. This can minimize damage that can be caused by their personal property becoming flying projectiles or missiles in a hurricane or sever storm.
Sometimes right before an impending storm, an owner who does not have professionally installed shutters will nail up some tacky plywood. Although such action may be in violation of an association’s shutter rules, we usually suggest that an association not interfere with the owner putting up the plywood to protect his property so that the association does not assume liability of any damage to the home that may occur. However, after the storm threat is gone the owner should be required to remove the plywood immediately and be informed that he cannot do it again if it’s against the association’s shutter policies and that if he wants shutter protection he needs to contract for and install professional shutters. If he then puts up the plywood again when the next storm approaches, the association should then take legal action against him for a permanent injunction to prevent such plywood installation in the future. If such action becomes necessary, usually the owner will be responsible for the association’s attorney’s fees in addition to his own. This can become much more costly to the violating owner than to cost of professionally installed shutters. It is a balancing act between providing hurricane protection and keeping aesthetics of the community at a high standard. However, well thought out and adopted rules can allow for such balance.
CAT 5 Shutters, LLC has been dealing with HOA’s since we opened our doors. Call us today for a free estimate. Toll free at 1-877-CAT-FIVE or visit us on the web at www.cat5shutters.net.
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Posted by cat5shuttersllc on March 11, 2014
Get a list of discountsInsurance companies offer discounts to homeowners for improvements that make their homes a better risk. These include safety features such as indoor sprinklers, smoke detectors and dead bolt locks. Discount programs change frequently, and we can’t list all the possible discounts here. If you haven’t spoken to your agent within the past year or you’ve made a major home improvement, you may be missing out on significant discounts.
Raising your deductible—the portion of a claim that comes out of your pocket—is the easiest way to cut your insurance cost. Bumping your deductible from $500 to $1,000 can save you up to 25 percent on your premium. Raising it to $2,500 can save you 30 percent, and raising it to $5,000 can save you 35 percent or more. The downside, of course, is that you’ll be stuck with a bigger bill if you file a claim. But consider this: If you raise your deductible from $500 to $2,500 and your premium decreases by $500 a year, your savings will cover the deductible increase in four years. If you put those savings aside, you’ll have a cash cushion to pay the higher deductible. And after the first four years, you’ll save $500 every year without any extra financial risk. DIYers can often offset the impact of a higher deductible by doing part of a repair project themselves.
Replace washer hoses.Washing machine hoses that leak or even burst are a common cause of water damage. Some insurance companies offer a discount of up to 10 percent on your premiums if you replace the rubber hoses on your washing machine with no-burst stainless steel hoses (available at home centers and hardware stores). In 10 minutes, you could save five times the cost of the hoses on your next bill, but this is a smart move even if your insurer doesn’t offer a discount.
Drop additional structures coverageMost insurers assume your house isn’t the only building on your property. If you don’t have a stand-alone shed, garage or other structure on your property, remove this coverage and save yourself 5 percent.
Inform your agent about upgradesInsurance companies like to insure homes with newer plumbing and electrical systems as well as burglar alarms and sprinkler systems because these features reduce the risk of fire and water damage. If you make upgrades to any of these systems in an older home, let your insurance agent know. One homeowner we spoke with called her insurance agent to report some recent plumbing upgrades, and after a 15-minute conversation, the agent raised her overall coverage by $50,000 and reduced her annual premium by $400.
Think twice before filing a claimEvery time you file a claim, you risk higher insurance rates in the future. So in the long run, filing a claim can cost you more than you receive in a payout. Paying for a smaller loss yourself will almost always cost less than the premium increase you’ll face later. A good rule of thumb is don’t file a claim if it’s worth less than $1,000 over your deductible. Statistically, if you file two claims in a three-year period, or make claims related to maintenance issues such as a chronic leak or some missing shingles, you risk triggering a rate hike or worse. Your insurance company may even drop you completely. Just inquiring about a claim (without even filing it!) could raise your rates.
Make automatic payments.Many insurance companies will discount your premium 2 percent if you pay your premiums by “automatic withdrawal” from a bank account.
Beef up your garage door.Strong winds often wreck garage doors. So a tougher door might cut your premiums by 10 percent. You have two options: Install a new hurricane-resistant garage door, or use a retrofit kit with horizontal and vertical bracing to strengthen the existing door. A retrofit solution for a double-door garage can be ordered online or special-ordered from a home center. If you have a $1,000 premium, your payback would be about five
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Posted by cat5shuttersllc on March 11, 2014
Hurricanes are another deadly Natural Disaster we cannot shield ourselves from. It also happens to be another topic discussed in my Natural Disaster class.
And this is one of the biggest threats for us here in the Valley.
This past year we didn’t see such an active hurricane season.
Before we get started on discussing whether 2014 hurricane season is shaping up to be another quiet one, lets review when and how hurricanes are formed.
We all know Hurricane season ends around October and it starts as early as June.
Hurricanes are basically a big ball of energy.
The ocean releases all the latent heat it builds up from the sun and spits it out in the form of Hurricanes.
Hurricanes can only form in warm water, that is why they form in the Atlantic ocean, and usually come off from the coast in West Africa.
Once they start moving toward the Caribbean, they build up force and can become very deadly.
The reason we see hurricanes mainly toward the end of the season is because as the ocean bakes in the sun, it builds up heat all through the summer, and once it can’t hold any more heat, it releases it as a hurricane usually by October.
The biggest threat to hurricanes are dry and cold air. If there are strong winds above the ocean, a hurricane can not form.
This also goes for when it makes landfall. If there is a cold front tracking close the the coast, the cold air will definitely weaken the storm.
Remember Hurricane Katrina in 2005? It may not have been the most deadliest hurricane, but it certainly was the one of the costliest.
It started off far in the Atlantic and began moving toward North America. There were no strong winds at that time, a perfect recipe for the birth of this storm.
It wasn’t as intense at first, and as it approached Florida, it began building up power.
The biggest nightmare for meteorologists at the time was that Katrina would cross Florida and build up power in the Gulf of Mexico.
And that’s exactly what happened.
It began losing power once it crossed Florida, but the minute the hurricane landed in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it gained force and became a category 5.
Once it it made landfall in Mississippi and Louisiana, it turned to a category 3 with winds of a category 5. At that time there weren’t any storm systems to weaken Katrina or to stop it from spreading any further, and that’s what caused so much damage.
This past hurricane season wasn’t as intense.
The total of 13 named storms was one more than the 30-year average of 12 named storms.
Last year, the equatorial Pacific was in a neutral state, neither El Niño, or its opposite, La Niña, was in play.
Increased wind during stronger El Niño events tends to suppress tropical cyclone development.
So are we expecting a La Nina or El Nino this year?
According to Meteorologist for Weather Underground, Tyler Standfield, at this point, it looks like there will be an increase in EL Nino events which means those winds will build up over the ocean decreasing the chance for major hurricanes to develop during the season and decrease the chance for a hurricane landfall.
This doesn’t mean we are in the clear. Just because not many hurricanes are being forecasted this season doesn’t mean we are in for a “good hurricane season.” It only takes one major hurricane to make landfall to turn a “good” season into a “bad” one.
According to Stanfield’s blog, these are his forecasted numbers of hurricanes this season.
“For the upcoming season I foresee nine to twelve named storms, three to six hurricanes, and zero to two major hurricanes. My targeted numbers are ten named storms, three hurricanes, and 1 major hurricane.
9-12 Named Storms (10 Named Storms)
3-6 Hurricanes (3 Hurricanes)
0-2 Major Hurricanes (1 Major Hurricane)”
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Posted by cat5shuttersllc on March 7, 2014
When it comes to many home improvement projects a lot of people are fearful or apprehensive about doing them on their own just because they have never done it. When it comes to installing your own shutters this doesn’t need to be the case, installing your shutters isn’t a difficult process at all. The main thing to remember here is to work with shutters that are specifically built for each individual window opening in unison with the detailed instructions from the manufacturer.
The first thing you need to do is measure the window opening where you want to install the shutters. Depending on whether you will mount them on the inside or the outside this is where you will need to measure.
If you are going to mount them on the window jamb on the inside of the window opening, which is the preferred method, you will need to know the width and height across the inside of the window framing. The reason this is the preferred method is because it makes for a cleaner installation and doesn’t require additional hang strips or frame strips, you just have to be sure the window you are working with is square and has a solid window jamb to screw into.
Next you need to determine the depth of the window by measuring from the front plane of the window back to the nearest obstruction that will obstruct the louvers and keep them from rotating. If you prefer, the manufacturer you bought your shutters from can also tell you the window depth for the style you ordered. Sometimes the manufacturer may suggest an alternative installation method to use in case the window is out of square or if it has a drywall opening without a solid wood jamb using rear hanging strips concealed behind the shutter panels that will allow adjustment up, down, left, and right for easier alignment.
If you choose to mount outside of the frame you will attaching to the wall or existing trim just to the outside of the opening of the window. Usually the frame will surround the shutter panels on three or four sides, depending on whether or not a lower sill exists.
Hanging strips are used if you decide to install a cafe type shutter style, the hanging strips will be screwed directly to the wall or trim, and the hinge of the shutters attached to the frame or the hanging strips.
The old adage of measure twice cut once applies here too, also be sure to use a steel tape for the most accurate measurement possible.
If you want to know more about window shutters or have a specific question, please contact Cat 5 Shutters.Toll free at 1-877-CAT-Five or visit us on the web at www.cat5shutters.net
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Posted by cat5shuttersllc on March 7, 2014
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service, approximately 1,800 thunderstorms are occurring at any given time, resulting in about 16-million thunderstorms each year. Most thunderstorms last about 30 minutes and are typically about 15 miles (24 km) in diameter. The two biggest threats associated with most thunderstorms are lightning and flash floods. To understand why thunderstorms occur more often during the warm months requires some understanding of thunderstorm basics.
Thunderstorms thrive under certain conditions. The two most basic elements that cause a thunderstorm to develop are:
MoistureRapidly rising warm airBecause moisture and warmth are crucial to thunderstorms, it makes sense that they would occur more often in the spring and summer, particularly in humid areas such as the southeastern United States. The high humidity, in conjunction with warm temperatures, creates massive amounts of warm, moist air rising into the atmosphere, where it can easily form a thunderstorm.
Where does the thunder (and lightning) come from? The basic idea is that thunder clouds can become giant Van de Graaff generators and create huge charge separations within the cloud. Let’s look at how it works.
Clouds contain millions and millions of water droplets and ice particles suspended in the air. As the process of evaporation and condensation occurs, these droplets collide with other moisture that is condensing as it rises. The importance of these collisions is that electrons are knocked off of the rising moisture, creating a charge separation. The newly knocked-off electrons gather at the lower portion of the cloud, giving it a negative charge. The rising moisture that has lost an electron carries a positive charge to the top of the cloud.
As the rising moisture encounters colder temperatures in the upper cloud regions and begins to freeze, the frozen portion becomes negatively charged and the unfrozen droplets become positively charged. At this point, rising air currents have the ability to remove the positively charged droplets from the ice and carry them to the top of the cloud. The remaining frozen portion either falls to the lower portion of the cloud or continues on to the ground.
The charge separation has an electric field associated with it. Like the cloud, this field is negative in the lower region and positive in the upper region. The strength or intensity of the electric field is directly related to the amount of charge build-up in the cloud. As the collisions and freezing continue to occur, and the charges at the top and bottom of the cloud increase, the electric field becomes more and more intense — so intense, in fact, that the electrons at the Earth’s surface are repelled deeper into the Earth by the negative charge at the lower portion of the cloud. This repulsion of electrons causes the Earth’s surface to acquire a strong positive charge.
All that is needed now is a conductive path so the negative cloud bottom can conduct its electricity to the positive Earth surface. The strong electric field creates this path through the air, resulting in lightning. The lightning is a high-voltage, high-current surge of electrons, and the temperature at the core of a lightning bolt is incredibly hot. For example, when lightning strikes a sand dune, it can instantly melt the sand into glass. The combination of the rapid heating of the air by the lightning and the subsequent rapid cooling creates sound waves. These sound waves are what we call thunder. There can never be thunder without lightning
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