Storms, a natural phenomenon caused by violent atmospheric disturbances occurring over land and water, represent a major potential threat to the entire population of the earth because of their prevalence, the size of areas devastated and the scale of the resulting damage.
There are several different types of storms distinguished by the strength and characteristics of atmospheric disturbances. These are tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes), extra tropical cyclones (winter storms and blizzards), monsoon type storms, tornadoes and thunderstorms.
Certain violent winds, which affect limited areas and the names of which vary from country to country (for example, Bora, Chinook, Faehn, etc.) can be regarded as storms and calI for special preventive, protective and intervention measures.
The different types of storms, their frequency, the seasons during which they occur and the areas usually threatened can be established with some precision but their occurrence and trajectory cannot, until they are already developing. The preventive and protective measures are decisive in such cases and the establishment of meteorological institutes and observatories in each country is necessary to enable the risks to be predicted and the political authorities, firms and population to be warned and advised accordingly.
Preventive and protective measures
The damaging effects of different types of storms are generalIy known to the authorities and inhabitants of the various regions and areas at risk. It is recommended that, if need be, new arrivals’ and tourists contact the public services to find out about the likely risk of a storm in the season when they usually occur and the preventive measures and instructions relevant to such situations.
At the community level the damage caused by storms can be avoided, or at least limited, by:
Permanently monitoring weather conditions and appraising the atmospheric turbulences that could affect the national territory or particular areas.
Co-operating with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) of the United Nations (UN) to strengthen technical and technological assistance and to implement appropriate measures against destructive natural phenomena.
Establishing construction regulations requiring more resistant structures and prohibiting building on areas particularly at risk because of exposure to violent winds, etc.
Determining the probable outcome of a particular event and issuing information bulletins (alarms, protective measures) to the authorities and the general public.
Establishing weIl-equipped management and rescue teams trained in the preventive, assistance and rescue measures needed to respond to the different types of storms likely to strike a built-up area or region.
Training the population, and those in charge of security in companies, in the principles and application of preventive, protective and behavior measures, with a view to reducing the damage caused by a storm.
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