When it comes to hurricanes, stay informed with HURCON scale

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Devyn Waits
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

In the event of a hurricane, residents of the Gulf Coast should take precautions by knowing the different hurricane conditions.

The HURCON scale is an alert scale used by the Department of Defense and other federal agencies to indicate the state of emergency and the necessary precautions for an approaching hurricane.

There are five levels on a HURCON scale, with the number descending to indicate approaching destructive winds. Each level has a set of instructions that personnel and residents will follow:

  • HURCON 5 (Surface winds in excess of 58 mph (50 knots) could arrive within 96 hours.)
    • Personnel will follow these instructions:
      • Crisis action team implements tropical storm advisory.
      • Commanders and/or first sergeants will be directed to review TSA checklists and take appropriate actions.
  • HURCON 4 (Surface winds in excess of 58 mph (50 knots) could arrive within 72 hours.)
    • Listen to the latest weather bulletins and follow instructions from unit commanders. Off-base and base housing residents should make preparations:
      • Brief family members on their responsibilities. Review actions to take if sheltering is necessary.
      • Keep the radio and television on for information on the status of the storm.
      • Check the supply of food that can be eaten without cooking.
      • Stock flashlights, extra batteries, camp lantern, transistor radio, prescribed medicines and food, baby food, first aid kit, insecticides, water purification tablets, fire extinguisher, tool kit and hardware, boards for windows and plastic bags to cover any broken windows.
      • Tie down mobile homes and disconnect propane tanks.
      • Secure objects in open areas.
      • Fill car tanks with gasoline.
      • Store small boats in enclosed shelters or tie them down.
  • HURCON 3 (Surface winds in excess of 58 mph could arrive within 48 hours.)
    • Dorm residents should take the following actions:
      • Store personal items in lockers and drawers.
      • Move furniture to walls opposite of the windows.
      • Unplug electrical equipment and turn off lights.
      • Close all doors.
      • Secure equipment, motorcycles, trash cans, signs, etc.
      • Stand by for briefings by unit commanders.
      • Plan to brace doors securely.
      • Stack furniture and rugs.
      • Have flashlights within easy reach.
      • Stay away from windows.
      • Keep in contact with the duty section or squadron.
      • Minimize phone calls to base.
      • Pay attention to bulletins and advisories issued by base officials, and to radio and television for information and evacuation or sheltering instructions.
  • HURCON 2 (Surface winds in excess of 58 mph could arrive within 24 hours.)
    • Make final preparations:
      • Fill jugs, bottles, etc., with drinking water.
      • Put important personal papers or valuables in water-proof strong boxes.
      • Everyone is encouraged to evacuate.
      • Mission-essential personnel and students will wait for directions from the 81st Training Wing commander.
  • HURCON 1 (Surface winds in excess of 58 mph could arrive within 12 hours.)
    • Report:
      • Mission-essential personnel and students report to their designated shelters.

Proper arrangements for individuals and their families lowers the risk of facing health, safety and structural hazards in the midst of a hurricane.

To stay up to date on hurricane preparation you can find more information at Air Force Be Ready, Ready and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.