Kali K., GRB, Breanna S., VES, Gabbi M., VES,
Reba N., VES, Ryan V., VES, Jared M., VES
April 13, 2011

Aerial view of a developed hurricane.

Scientific Description:

A hurricane is a large storm! It can grow to over 600 miles across and has strong winds spiraling inward and upward at speeds of 75 to 200 miles per hour. Hurricanes usually last for a week, moving ten to twenty miles per hour over the ocean. The center of the storm, called the eye, is the calmest part. The most intense storms in a hurricane occur in the eye wall, which is the ring around the eye. Hurricanes form over warm water that is usually 80°F or warmer. A hurricane weakens when it passes over colder water or if it passes over land. Hurricanes are classified on different levels, from one to five. A category five hurricane is the most damaging. The most deadly part of a hurricane is the flooding caused by the extreme amounts of water that the storm brings. Hurricanes can also have tornadoes inside them. Hurricanes are very dangerous and if you know one is coming, you should be prepared.

Interesting Hurricane Facts:

  • Hurricanes have many different names. In the northern Atlantic and eastern North Pacific, they are called hurricanes. In the western North Pacific, they are referred to as typhoons. A hurricane in India is called a cyclone, while one in Australia can either be called a tropical cyclone or a willy-willie.
  • Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean runs from June 1st to November 30th.
  • The first hurricane to hit the American colonies was on August 25, 1635.
  • About 90% of the deaths associated with hurricanes are a result of flooding.
  • A list of new hurricane names comes out each year. It alternates between boy and girl names and alternates between genders from the year before. For example, if last year's hurricanes were named Joe and Katherine. This year they could be Jenna and Kevin.
  • Hurricanes can produce 2.4 trillion gallons of water in one day!

Hurricane approaching a weather station.

external image Hurricanes_2

Noteworthy Example:

One of the strongest hurricanes to hit the United States in the past one hundred years was Hurricane Katrina. Katrina, a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, caused tremendous damage along several states on the Gulf Coast. The most devastating damage occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, because of the flooding that occurred when the levees breeched.

Hurricane Katrina started off as a tropical depression on August 23, 2005 in the Bahamas. A tropical depression is the first step in the development of a hurricane. The next day, the storm developed into the next stage, a tropical storm. This is when Katrina officially received her name. Katrina swept across the southern tip of Florida, losing some of its strength, but regained its power in the Gulf of Mexico. Katrina reached its highest intensity on Sunday, August 28th with wind speeds exceeding 170 miles per hour. The central pressure in the storm dropped to 902 mb, which is the fourth lowest on record in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Katrina was then classified as a category 5 hurricane, being the most damaging. Katrina made landfall again on August 29th, affecting Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and even some of Texas. Wind speeds at landfall were recorded at over 140 miles per hour. Katrina finally weakened back to a tropical storm late on the 29th, but the rainfall was the main problem.

Track of Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina caused a lot of damage. By August 31st, nearly 80% of New Orleans was underwater. Because of the break in the levees and the strong storm surge, some parts of New Orleans were drowned in twenty feet of water. Over 1.7 million homes lost power and drinking water was unavailable for a few days. People were evacuated before the storm, but many were either too stubborn or too poor to leave. The death toll of Hurricane Katrina was 1,836 people, mostly caused by the flooding. Total property damage was nearly $81 billion in 2005. Because of the hurricane, it is estimated that oil production in the Gulf was reduced by nearly 95% of what it was originally at. Hurricane Katrina was a terrible storm that was one of the most devastating natural disasters in the history of the United States.

Wordle: Katrina

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