Have you ever experienced a hurricane? If you have, then you will soon not forget about it.
There is something terrifying in the harsh sounds of the wind and rain beating on your roof. The flood waters washing away everything in its path or the devastation left behind is chilling and often life taking.
If you live anywhere in the tropical regions, then hurricanes are an all too common occurrence. Countries like Haiti, Antigua, Jamaica, Cuba and others continuously experience devastation.
According to the National Geographic Society, “Hurricanes are giant, spiraling tropical storms that can pack wind speeds of over 160 miles (257 kilometers) an hour and unleash more than 2.4 trillion gallons (9 trillion liters) of rain a day. These same tropical storms are known as cyclones in the northern Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal, and as typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean.”
- The Atlantic Ocean’s hurricane season peaks from mid-August to late October and averages five to six hurricanes per year.”
It is essential to note, these storms are no different when they form in various parts of the world. The first important fact about hurricanes is to understand they only have a different name.
- “These storms are called hurricanes when they develop over the Atlantic or eastern Pacific Oceans.
- They are cyclones when they form over the Bay of Bengal and the northern Indian Ocean.
- And they are typhoons when they develop in the western Pacific.”
Recent Devastating Hurricane Effects
You have not seen the devastation on a national level until you have seen the after effects of a major hurricane. The United States, the Caribbean and Central American countries are all too familiar with the loss of life and destruction caused by these agents of death.
Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Sandy
Even after several years, Haiti is still recovering from their major storms Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Sandy, which decimated the land and killed thousands of people.
- As if they were not reeling from a terrible earthquake in 2010, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy returned to Haiti the island to an even worse disaster zone.
The United Nations released a statement that the Hurricane Matthew disaster “has affected 350,000 people and left Haiti facing its worst humanitarian crisis since the devastating earthquake … years ago. More than 300,000 people … in shelters across the country.”
Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria
In Puerto Rico, their island and national power grid were devastated by a Hurricane Maria in the summer of 2017. They still have not returned to 100% capability or operation.
But what was even more controversial were the statistics released about Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria death toll during that time. It was said 64 persons died. However, a grosser statement has not been said.
- Numerous studies, research and tallies put the death toll from Hurricane Maria to well over 5000 people. “The Category 4 hurricane was the worst natural disaster ever to strike the United States territory and the third costliest storm on record, after all, having caused an estimated $90 billion in damage.”
The New York Times released in an article, “Residents of Puerto Rico died at a significantly higher rate during the three months after the hurricane than they did in the previous year, according to the results of a new study by a group of independent researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other institutions.”
The Top Five Costliest Atlantic Hurricanes in the U.S.
These figures will have your head spinning. The Atlantic Hurricanes left billions in damage and havoc in their wake.
- In 2005, Hurricane Katrina was a storm no one expected to expose the US government to a pile of shame while leaving the people of New Orleans to experience their worst nightmare. This storm was estimated to cost the US government $105,840,000,000.
- Hurricane Katrina is also considered the third deadliest in the Top 5 Deadliest U.S. Hurricanes.
- In 1992, bad boy Hurricane Andrew left the United States with $45,561,000,000 of expenses from the storm.
- Then in 2008, Hurricane Ike took its toll leaving many dead and bill of $27,790,000,000.
- Back in 2005, Hurricane Wilma cost the government $20,587,000,000.
- And rounding off the top five lists is Hurricane Ivan, which hit in 1992. Its tally was just under 20 billion, with $19,832,000,000.
More Interesting Facts about Hurricanes, Typhoons or Cyclones
There is so much to learn about these deadly storms. The information you read here may save your life. Here are a few more interesting facts about hurricanes:
- “The term ‘hurricane’ is derived from ‘Taino’, a Native American word which means the evil spirit of the wind.”
- Hurricanes produce intense rain along with tremendously powerful winds.
- Hurricanes are born over hot deep-sea waters close to the equator.
- They spin around a round center wall, which is referred to as the ‘eye.’ In that region, called the eye wall, it is eerily calm compared to the chaotic wind and rain swirling about it.
- Closest to the eye wall is the most perilous region of the storm. It has the heaviest rain, thickest clouds and strongest winds.
- When hurricanes occur out on the water, they are typically harmless to those on land. Nevertheless, when they travel towards land they usually cause serious damage and loss of life.
- “The difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane is wind speed – tropical storms usually bring winds of 36 to 47 mph, whereas hurricane wind speeds are at least 74 mph.”
- The physically powerful and amplified winds of this type of storm are able to surpass of 320kmph in speed. This is how they are able to tear through buildings and throw trees around like toothpicks.
- “A huge hurricane can release energy equivalent to 10 atomic bombs per second.”
- Hurricanes rotate in a clockwise direction in the southern hemisphere.
- However, they rotate in an anti-clockwise direction, in the northern hemisphere because of the Coriolis Force, which is generated by the Earth’s rotation.
- “Storm surge” are usually produced when a hurricane makes landfall. Remember those devastatingly strong winds from the storm? Well, they force the seawater onto the seashore. It then causes the level of the water level to get higher and forms huge rolling waves, even tsunamis.
- A storm surge from a hurricane can get as high as 6m. But, it can also reach out to over 150km.
- The biggest hurricane known to man was Typhoon Tip. It got to a size of 2,220km in diameter, which is half of the United States.
- Typhoon Tip happened in the year 1979 in the northwest Pacific.
- The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) assigns the names of Hurricanes. This is necessary so each storm is distinctively identified from the others.
- Depending on the probability to cause damage and their wind speeds, there are five categories to group hurricanes.
- Hurricanes are given names in an alphabetical order. This remains unique to that storm if it forms into a hurricane.
- The name of a storm is never reused if it gets to a hurricane. But the storm’s (not a hurricane’s) name can be used again after six years.
- Hurricanes can generate mild tornadoes. They typically last for a few minutes.
- Slow moving hurricanes create more rains, which do more flooding damage than a quicker moving hurricane.
- C. Wragge, an Australian weather forecaster, was the first person to give names to hurricanes in the 1900s.
- Hurricane season starts June 1, in the Atlantic, “while in the Pacific it starts May 15. Both end on November 30.”
- In the United States, 40% of the hurricanes, which occur, hit Florida.
- Starting in 1953, the National Hurricane Center gave all hurricanes female names. However, this practice ended in 1978.
- The names Katrina, Mitch and Andrew are retired, because they were gigantic and destructive hurricanes.
- From the time when pilots started flying into hurricanes about 1944, no more than four planes are unaccounted for and their crew has ever been found.
- Hurricanes form when there is a particular depth of water. This is about 200 feet or 60 meters. Furthermore, the ocean has to be hotter than 80º F (27 º C). The hotter the waters are then the stronger the storm and greater the possibility of a hurricane developing in the ocean. Then, it moves up in the category listing.
Take Great Care When Weathering a Hurricane
As these 40 facts about hurricanes have taught us, hurricanes are massive and escalating tropical storms, which can pack wind speeds of over 160 miles. They bring flooding, tsunamis and even tornadoes.
If you have to weather a hurricane, make sure you are not in a flood-prone area. If so, evacuate to higher ground and a safer shelter. Weak structures are no match for the force of a hurricane. As you have learned, the wind speed is strong enough to root up a massive tree.
Protect life. Material goods can always be replaced, while life cannot.