Entries in Hurricanes (2)


Special Domes May Protect Buildings From Hurricanes

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hurricanes may have met their match.

A U.S. based company, American Business Continuity Domes (ABC), has begun building disaster-resistant, steel-reinforced, thin-shelled concrete domes as shelters from hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters.

Federal emergency management officials said they have appropriated $50 million in Texas alone to build a series of the shelters along the Texas coast to protect residents from hurricanes.

These domes are strong enough to withstand hurricane winds of up to 250 mph, said ABC’s CEO, Peter Fedele.

“The community needs safe shelters and these safe shelters are becoming more popular with the increase of natural disasters,” Fedele said. “People are flooding shelters more and more and there are not enough of them. There is a greater need and the government has started to realize this.”

The average size of a dome shelter is 20,000 square feet and can accommodate 1,400-1,500 people. If stadium seating, wheelchairs and beds are needed, the dome can hold 800-1,000 people.

The dome is designed to have a rounded top to withstand high winds. Though the roof is thin, it is reinforced with steel and concrete for extra strength. The roof is also inflated through air pressure.

“If you’ve ever had an egg and squeezed either end, it is hard to break it, even with the shell being thin,” he said. “The dome gives a natural design that allows for optimum stretch with the least amount of material.”

The total cost for a completely customized dome is $2.5 million. These domes are not just shells, but rather are custom-built for schools, churches, and other communities.

Over the past 25 years, ABC Domes has built more than 500 shelters in 80 countries around the world, including China, Korea, Brazil and Canada.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tracking Hurricanes on Your Smartphone

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Hurricane Irene, now moving through the Caribbean and perhaps threatening the Southeast by week's end, is only the latest sign of one of the most active hurricane seasons in years. So you want to know where the action is and whether you're in the line of fire. Your smartphone could be your most valuable tool during or after a hurricane, with dozens of apps available to provide crucial information.

Here are a few apps:

Hurricane HD: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch. $3.99Hurricane HD lets you track storms, with moving radar and satellite imagery from the National Hurricane center. It provides tropical bulletins, forecasts, and advisories for the Atlantic and Pacific Basins. You can watch video updates for storms currently underway or forming, and find data on major storms of the past, like Andrew, Hugo and Katrina.

The Weather Channel: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, Android. FreeThe Weather Channel has fully customizable weather maps, animated radar maps, detailed weather conditions and forecasts, severe weather alerts, and a notification bar with the current temperature and severe weather alert indicator. In addition to the popular location-based local video forecasts, the video section now includes the "Must See Six" videos each day from a national collection. It allows you to get weather forecasts for your location or search by city, ZIP code, street address or landmark. The app also includes interactive maps that are fully customizable and feature the functionality of Google Maps. Customers can decide to display layers such as radar, clouds, UV index, rainfall and more.

Global Alert Network: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android Blackberry. Free
– The Global Alert Network delivers hands-free national traffic and weather alerts. See iTunes for Apple devices, or go to BlackBerry for a download. The Global Alert Network is a location-aware network platform that automatically broadcasts audible hands-free alerts to mobile devices.


National Hurricane Center – Tips on hurricane preparedness, storm surge, marine safety, with archives so you can track the past accuracy of storm forecasts.

The American Red Cross has an app called Shelter View that tells you what shelters are open and how close they are to capacity. After the storm is over, this free app from the government helps you locate and apply for relief.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio