Depending which part of the world you come, from you may here about natures ravaging winds being called tropical cyclones or typhoons, but where I come from in the USA, we know them as hurricanes. Hurricanes can be highly destructive to say the least. Most of the world probably witnessed this more recently with Hurricane Katrina, which was recorded as the costliest and one of the deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States of America.
The hurricane season is well known to the state and residents of Florida and as a consequence they are well equipped and well prepared for any eventuality. This did not seem to be so with Katrina in August of 2005. An estimated 80% of New Orleans was devastated by the immense flooding which was created by the storm surge caused by this giant of hurricanes.
It's not the purpose of this short piece to look for someone or something to blame, as lessons have probably already been learnt from the powers that be, but I just hope that the United States governments and responsible departments do everything in their power to ensure such a catastrophe, as was caused by Katrina, never happens again.
So just what are hurricanes and why do they occur in certain parts of the world and not others? Well, without going into to much meteorological detail, a hurricane is basically a tropical storm so therefore can only be found in the tropics, namely the Southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. But a hurricane is not just any tropical storm. In order to reach hurricane status it has to have sustainable winds exceeding 74 miles per hour. Katrina, by the way, sustained winds of up to 140 mph.
Hurricanes occur over oceans where the water is 27°C (80°F) or above, and the air has to also be extremely humid and thick. Therefore, the perfect conditions for a hurricane to form are basically warm water and humid air. As this warm air rises around the storms center, it cools. Moisture then condenses, clouds are formed, and the rains begin. The condensation releases latent heat and this heat then powers the hurricane.
A characteristic of a hurricane is the eye and the eye of the storm can be anything from 4 to 25 miles in diameter. There is an eerie silence within this eye and often clear blue skies and light winds can be usual. Those caught up in a hurricane know only too well when the eye is above them, and although it can buy a bit of valuable time to move, help, or rescue victims, many often describe this moment as a deafening silence.
If you are interested in learning more about hurricanes, there are many great online resource is that will provide you with facts, details, and Q & A on all things related to storms.
Andy Maingam is an expert writer for the Airwafts dot com where he has articles on Air Mattress & Air Beds and Air hockey games . He also has other ‘Air’ related pieces throughout the site.