Tropical storms are natural hazards that can be unpredictable, but there are a number of strategies that are used to reduce the risk.
Monitoring and prediction
Satellite and radar technology are used to track the development and approach of a tropical storm. These, combined with weather charts and computer software, can be used to predict the path a tropical storm could take.
Satellite image technology is used to monitor and predict tropical storms
High-income countries (HICs), such as the USA, have an effective hurricane monitoring and prediction system. All tropical storm activity over the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific are tracked by the National Hurricane Centre, located in Florida. A hurricane watch is issued when hurricane strength winds are detected to alert people and give them time to prepare. This information is publicised by the National Weather Service.
Low-income countries are often less prepared for tropical storms. This is because monitoring equipment is expensive and they may not have the ability to communicate information to people likely to be affected.
One of the most reliable methods of reducing the loss of life during a tropical storm is storm shelters. They are strong enough to withstand hurricane force winds because they:
- have windows covered with metal shutters;
- are often built off the ground with deep-pile concrete pillars that dissipate energy;
- are made from reinforced concrete.
High sea walls can also be constructed along the coast to protect communities from storm surges.
Preparation is very important in reducing the impacts of tropical storms. People who live in areas prone to tropical storms are advised to stock up on food and water as they may be housebound for several days following a storm. Governments and NGOs, such as the Red Cross, advise people how to prepare for and respond to tropical storms. Early warning systems have been installed in countries such as Bangladesh which has helped reduce the number of deaths.