Hurricane: Terror from the Sea

How is a Hurricane Formed?

Weather Machine

The term weather machine doesn't refer to an actual machine. The weather machine uses energy from the Sun, Earth and atmosphere to create weather.

Formation of a Hurricane

A hurricane always starts out as a thunderstorm that is caused by warm, moist air condensing. The thunderstorms can form a tropical disturbance. This can grow into a tropical depression that can become a tropical storm if winds reach 39 mph. If winds reach 74 mph, the storm will be called a tropical cyclone, or hurricane. Not all storms become hurricanes. Most tropical storms die out in time. The name of the storm depends on where it's formed. The storms are known as typhoons in the Pacific, hurricanes in the Atlantic, and cyclones in the Indian.

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Tracking and Preparing

Tracking a Storm

Hurricane Hunters fly into hurricanes to gather data. They also use satellites, radar, and ocean buoys. Meteorologists track and rate the storm using a 1-5 rating (with 5 being the strongest) on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.
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Once meteorologists know the track of a storm, they can warn people in its path. They issue a hurricane watch if it will make landfall in 24-36 hours, and a hurricane warning if it will hit land in less than 24 hours. If one of these warnings goes out most people will leave the area or board up their windows and stay. If people choose to ride out the hurricane at home, it's useful to have a hurricane survival kit. Some things in this kit are water, food, a radio, flashlights and batteries, phones, and a first aid kit.

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest hurricanes in US history. It was the costliest by far with more than $100 billion dollars in damage. Over 1,000 people died and millions were left homeless. Katrina formed about 200 miles south of Bahamas and made its way over Florida. It weakened, but became stronger after crossing the Gulf of Mexico. It hit land on August 29 as a category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds. The waves and storm surge of 28 ft collapsed the levees and flooded 80% of New Orleans. Thousands of people went to the SuperDome and the Convention Center. It was one of the largest displacements of people since the Great Depression. Many people blamed the levee system and the New Orleans mayor for not issuing evacuations sooner. After Katrina, the levees were rebuilt and New Orleans has improved ways to alert their residents of evacuations, but 10 years later the city is still recovering.

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