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By Stacy Bodin Hurricanes: The Mightiest of Storms

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by stacy bodin
By Stacy Bodin

Hurricanes: The Mightiest of Storms

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Have you ever heard of a hurricane? Do you know what it is or how it can affect people? Hurricanes are a part of life along the coastal regions of the United States. Many hurricanes have hit the United States. States that lie along the Gulf of Mexico like Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama and Florida have experienced devastating hurricanes for centuries.

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The eastern coast of the United States also has dealt with Hurricanes and their fury as well. Hurricanesrotate counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

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What is a hurricane? A hurricane is a very destructive and dangerous storm. It forms in stages. Strong wind, rain, tornadoes and storm surges often occur in areas the places where hurricanes make landfall.

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To help distinguish between storms, in the early fifties, hurricanes were named. Until 1978 only the names of women were used. In 1979, that system changed. At that time, both of men and women’s names were used.

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Some are small and others quite large. But whatever the case, hurricanes are the mightiest of all storms. In the center of a hurricane is an eye. Warm water helps hurricanes gain strength. When the hurricane makes landfall, they normally weaken.

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The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a scale which divides hurricanes into five categories depending on how strong they are and by their wind speed. The scale was created in 1969 by Herbert Saffir and Dr. Bob Simpson of the National Hurricane Center.

When thewindsin this type storm range from 35 to 54 miles an hour, it is called a tropical depression. When the winds are from 55 to 74 miles an hour then it is called a tropical storm. When it reaches 74 miles an hour, it is called a hurricane. The storm surge is also measured into the Saffir-Simpson Scale

On the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, a category one hurricane has winds ranging from 75 to 95 miles an hour with a 4 to 5 foot storm surge. Category two have winds from 96-110 miles an hour with storm surges from 6 to 8 feet. Category 3 hurricanes have winds from 111-130 miles an hour with storm surges from 9-12 feet. Category 4 hurricanes have strong winds from 131-155 miles an hour with storm surges from 13-18 feet. The strongest hurricane is a category 5 storm. It has winds 156 mile an hour winds with storm surges 18 feet and above.

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One key factor about hurricanes is the importance of hurricane safety. The people were encouraged to listen to the warnings and prepare for the storms. In 1900, Galveston, Texas was the target of a hurricane and storm surge. The town was flattened overnight and 6,000-12,000 people died because they were not prepared for the storm. The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 is known as the deadliest Hurricane ever to hit the United States.

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Technology through the years have helped hurricane areas prepare. Hurricanes evacuation announcements can be heard and seen on the television, radio or even on the internet.

When hurricanes hit, problems range from trees and power lines knocked down, ruined agricultural crops, accidents of all types and even death.

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So, the most important thing to remember is to be prepared and listen for weather updates as hurricanes move toward your area. Evacuation is the key factor that may save your life during a hurricane headed toward you and your family.

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Photos from the NOAA and CIMSS Sites.

Sources sited include Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Discussion: Name ways hurricanes have affected “your area” or other areas in the USA.