Cyclone Survival Guide: How To Prepare And Survive A Tropical Cyclone (2024)

Cyclone Survival Guide: How To Prepare And Survive A Tropical Cyclone (1)

Cyclones are often underestimated. By the time you realize the damage that’s being done over its duration, it’s too late.

Are you confident that you know exactly what to do before, during, and after a cyclone? This disaster is worth taking the extra time to make sure you’re prepared ahead of time.

In this survival guide, you’re going to learn how to prepare for and survive a tropical cyclone disaster. You’ll see what to do beforehand so you’ll be prepared, what to do during the event to be as safe as possible, and what to do afterward.

Like with everything we talk about, it starts with preparation.

Table of Contents

How to Prepare

Cyclones can cause catastrophic damage to property, ecosystems, and cause many fatalities if not properly prepared for. Preparing for a cyclone has become easier through the help of scientific research to learn the patterns and trends of cyclones. These patterns can be used to predict future storms giving residents the time to prepare.

When preparing for a cyclone it is important to know what a cyclone is, how to stay safe before, during, and after a cyclone, and what to have readily available in case of an emergency. Knowing these important facts can be a key to surviving a cyclone.

What Are Cyclones?

In order to prepare for something, you need to know everything you can about them.

Cyclones are a natural phenomenon that occurs in the South Pacific region of the world. The winds of a cyclone rotate clockwise and can be accompanied by thunderstorms, flooding, and strong winds.

There are three major types of cyclones:

  1. Tropical Depressions
  2. Extratropical Cyclones
  3. Tornadoes

Tropical Depressions

The weakest of the bunch. Tropical cyclones have winds of at least 39 mph, thunderstorms, and form of the warm water in the ocean.

Extratropical Cyclones

Extratropical cyclones are formed from western winds outside of the tropical region. The extratropical cyclone has a region that has different temperatures known as a front. These fronts are common characteristics of extratropical cyclones.


Yes, tornadoes are classified as being a cyclone.

Tornadoes are the final form of cyclones. Rotating columns of air that form during thunderstorms and spiral downward to the ground. These tornadoes have no course of direction and are accompanied by strong winds and speed.

How To Keep Safe

There are specific things to do that will give you the highest chance of staying safe.

What Should You Do to Keep Safe During a Cyclone?

Many weather experts have learned to predict the patterns of cyclones and determine when the storm will hit. Through the research of past cyclones, there are many known methods of staying safe during a cyclone. Experts have devised a list of instructions to follow during all stages of a cyclone.


When officials warn there is a chance of a cyclone happening;

  • Listen to local broadcasting services to monitor the situation.
  • Inform people in the household where emergency supplies are and where to locate them in the house.
  • Secure any property like outdoor furniture, windows, and vehicles.
  • Remain indoors with any children and pets.
  • Prepare your emergency bags.

When an evacuation order is in place before the cyclone hits;

  • Determine where you plan to relocate too.
  • Put any necessities inside your vehicles like emergency bags and bedding.
  • Shut off electricity in your home and lock the doors before leaving.
  • Make sure all children and pets are secured safely in the car.


What to do During the cyclone;

  • Stay indoors and away from any windows waiting for official clearance before going outdoors.
  • Keep soft items like bedding, mattresses, and pillows near to use as a cover in case the building is damaged.
  • Listen to local broadcasting stations to receive updates about the storm and from officials.
  • Have any emergency supplies at hand in case of an evacuation.


After a cyclone has happened;

  • Wait indoors until an official has advised that it is safe.
  • Beware of downed power lines, gas leaks, debris, and flooding.
  • Do not return to the affected area if the evacuation order is still in place.
  • Listen to local broadcasting services for official updates or warnings.

What Should You Keep in an Emergency Bag?

Having an emergency bag readily available during a time of crisis can help prevent panic. The supplies in a bag differ depending on the emergency, but emergency bags for a cyclone need to contain these essentials for every member of the family.

  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable food
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Personal Hygiene necessities
  • Utility Knife
  • Closed-toed shoes
  • Change of clothing
  • Mobile phone

After the cyclone has passed the damage may be too extensive to continue to live at your home. Other important items that may be needed for relief efforts should be stored in water-proof packing in your emergency bag.

  • Identification documents (i.e. Driver’s licenses, birth certificates, insurance documents, etc.)
  • Property Deeds (i.e. Vehicle registration, rental lease, the deed to your home, etc.)
  • Prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter medication
  • List of emergency contacts
  • Spare batteries
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Battery Powered Chargers
  • Pet supplies

When packing for an emergency it is best to have a bag filled with immediate needs, something that can hold you over for a day to two. The second bag should contain necessities that may be needed in the future or for receiving relief efforts.


After the winds stop howling and the dust settles, what should you do after the disaster blows through your area leaving massive debris, damage, and destruction? What Relief Efforts Happen After a Cyclone?

After the cyclone is over the damage needs to be assessed. Waiting until officials advise it is safe to go outside is recommended as there may be damaged power lines and gas leaks. Officials may communicate through the radio or relief workers to reach the residents.

When the cyclone is over and it is safe to be outside relief efforts may begin. Relief efforts can assist those affected by the cyclone in finding temporary living situations, access to food, water, and clean clothing, as well as providing financial relief.

Cyclones that are not as damaging to the area may only need relief efforts for clearing any debris. Residents can almost immediately return home even as they clean up efforts are underway. Minor property damage may also be present and require repairs.

Cyclones that are damaging may require more extensive relief efforts. Property can be destroyed and the area can be covered in debris. Residents may not return to the area in cases of severely damaging cyclones. Relief efforts can be utilized to find temporary accommodations for those who cannot return home as well as cleaning up the debris.

Listening for weather updates on local broadcasting services, keeping an emergency bag ready, and staying indoors are all recommended safety measures to take when preparing for a cyclone.

The information presented in this article on what to have in an emergency bag and what steps to take during the stages of a cyclone can help any person prepare for the storm, but does not replace the opinion of an expert. Expert advice should be the first source of information to use when preparing for and surviving a cyclone.

Cyclones vs Hurricanes vs Typhoons

You may be wondering what the difference between cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons are.Fortunately, the answer is short and sweet.

The difference between a typhoon and a hurricane is where the storm occurs. They are both classified as tropical cyclones.

Hurricanes are tropical storms that form over the North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific.

Typhoons form over the Northeast Pacific Ocean.

Cyclones are formed over the Indian Ocean and South Pacific.

A tropical typhoon becomes classified as a hurricane once it’s wind speeds reaches a maximum of 74 miles per hour.


These storms are powerful and are worth learning about so you can prepare ahead of time.

Watch for warnings and alerts for them so you can have the most amount of time to respond appropriately.

If you liked this guide, read theVolcano Survival Guide on how to prepare and survive a volcanic eruption. Also, be sure to visit the complete list of survival guides in the disaster preparedness guide.

Further Reading on Cyclone Survival:

Cyclone Survival Guide: How To Prepare And Survive A Tropical Cyclone (2)

Cyclone Survival Guide: How To Prepare And Survive A Tropical Cyclone (2024)


How to survive a tropical cyclone? ›

Staying at Home
  1. Determine your best protection for high winds and flooding.
  2. Take shelter in a designated storm shelter or an interior room for high winds.
  3. Stay away from glass windows and doors.
  4. Move to higher ground before flooding begins.

How to prepare yourself for a cyclone? ›

  1. Check the roof and repair loose tiles, eaves and screws.
  2. Check for rust, corrosion and general wear and tear.
  3. Clean gutters and downpipes.
  4. Trim trees and overhanging branches.
  5. Secure loose items that could cause damage in high winds.

How can people stay safe during a cyclone? ›

Stay in the interior portion of your house, away from windows, skylights, and glass doors. Keep several flashlights and extra batteries handy. If your house is damaged by the storm you should turn the water and gas off at the main valves.

What not to do during a cyclone? ›

  • Avoid being misled by rumours.
  • Don't leave shelters until informed by the rescue personals.
  • Don't leave the safer place during lull, however minor repairs can be carried out.
  • Don't touch the loose and dangling wire from lamp post, it may have electric current.

What are the 3 basic stages of the life of a tropical cyclone hurricane? ›

Meteorologists have divided the development of a tropical cyclone into four stages: Tropical disturbance, tropical depression, tropical storm, and full-fledged tropical cyclone.

Do you tape your windows in a cyclone? ›

The goal of window taping is to prevent window panes from shattering when they're struck by wind and debris. The myth: tape holds a window together during a hurricane, preventing the glass from shattering. The reality: window taping offers zero protection benefits and can actually make your windows less safe.

Where is the safest place in the house during a cyclone? ›

A small room central in your home with no or small windows is ideal for shelter if you don't have a strong room built. Bed mattresses can provide further protection. Stay away from windows, glass doors and other areas where debris can easily break through.

What kills the most during a hurricane? ›

Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States. Storm surge and large battering waves can result in large loss of life and cause massive destruction along the coast.

What do hurricane victims need most? ›

Hurricane Relief
  • Emergency food.
  • Water.
  • Supplies for shelters.
  • Medical care.
  • Cleaning Supplies.
  • Hygiene Facilities.
  • Infant Care Items.
  • Medications.

How do you stay alive in a hurricane? ›

Stay Safe During a Hurricane
  1. Determine how best to protect yourself from high winds and flooding.
  2. Take refuge in a designated storm shelter or an interior room for high winds.
  3. Go to the highest level of the building if you are trapped by flooding. ...
  4. Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters.

What are some cyclone survival tips? ›

  1. Disconnect all electrical appliances. Listen to your battery radio for updates.
  2. Stay inside and shelter (well clear of windows) in the strongest part of the building, ...
  3. If the building starts to break up, protect yourself with mattresses, rugs or blankets under a. ...
  4. Beware the calm 'eye'.

How to prepare for a tropical cyclone? ›

Before a hurricane/tropical cyclone
  1. Cover windows. ...
  2. Trim trees and shrubs around your home so that they are more wind-resistant.
  3. Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  4. Reinforce garage doors so wind doesn't enter and cause structural damage.

What is the difference between a hurricane and a cyclone? ›

If you've ever wondered what separates hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons from one another, the only difference is that they happen in different geographical locations. "We call a tropical system a hurricane in the Atlantic and northeast Pacific. In the northern Indian ocean, they're called cyclones.

How do you deal with tropical cyclones? ›

If your house is securely built on high ground take shelter in the safe part of the house. However, if asked to evacuate do not hesitate to leave the place. Board up glass windows or put storm shutters in place. Provide strong suitable support for outside doors.

What do you do in a tropical cyclone? ›

If NOT ordered to evacuate:

Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level during the storm. Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can. Stay away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.

What should you not do during a tropical storm? ›

Stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors. ✓ If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane-force winds coming from the opposite direction.

How do you recover from a tropical cyclone? ›

Tropical Storms & Hurricanes: What to do After
  1. Stay inside until the storm has completely passed. ...
  2. If you evacuated, do not return until local officials say you can. ...
  3. Conduct an initial damage assessment of your immediate area. ...
  4. Stay somewhere safe, refrain from sight-seeing.


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