Hurricanes are tropical storms that are formed over warm bodies of water like the Southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific Ocean. As soon as any warm wind reaches speeds of over 74 miles per hour, it it considered a hurricane. Hurricanes contain lightening, rain, and most of all strength and power. Hurricanes also cause heavy waves and storm surges. This will cause a sudden increase in water level of the ocean and can lead to 5-20 ft waves. With their path, they bring devastation to all forms of life.
Although Hurricane Katrina is seen more widely as one of the worst hurricanes in the US history, it is important to remember the hurricane in Galveston was extremely destructive and had a higher death toll than Katrina. It is also important to realize how as a country and government we didn't progress from Galveston to Katrina. Rather, the government didn't have as much of a role in the lives of the victims as it should have had. Hurricane Katrina and the Hurricane in Galveston are tragic events that occured in our history but in the 100 year span from Galveston to Katrina, we didn't learn. Starting now we must make sure not to repeat the same mistakes and make these disastrous events a little more easier on the citizens.
In earlier years Hurricane's used to be named after the Saint on which Saint's Day it occurred. Now however we name our hurricanes alphabetically. The first hurricane of the season starts with an A and progresses to B, then to C.
Category One storms are the weakest and have winds from 74-95 miles an hour. The waves caused by a Category One storm will probably be only 4-5 feet above normal. In terms of danger and destruction, buildings are not in harms way. There might however be damage to shrubbery, trees, and unchained mobile homes.
Category Two Storms have winds ranging from 96-110 miles per hour. The waves will be about 6-8 feet above normal. There will be considerable damage to shrubs, trees, signs, piers, and mobile homes.
Category Three Storms have winds that start at 111-130 miles per hour. Their storm surge is from 9-12 feet. With these storms there will be structural damage to small houses and utility buildings. Large trees will also be blown down. With the 9-12 feet of water, it is likely that low lying areas will be covered with water before the hurricane arrives. In Category 3 storms, evacuation is required of people living in low level areas.
Category Four Storms usually are associated with wind speeds of 131-155 miles per hour. The waves created by this storm is from 13-18 feet in height. Roof structure can be blown off and major damage to lower floors of homes near the shore is common.
Category Five Storms are the most powerful and most destructive. Winds are over 155 miles per hour and the waves created are almost 20 feet tall. Whole buildings could be blown down and evacuation 10-15 miles of the shoreline must be conducted.
Hurricanes can be monitored by instruments like weather satellites and doppler radar. However, these innovations aren't full proof. We still haven't understood how to predict when a hurricane could in a matter of hours intensify from a windy thunderstorm into a destructive and devastating Category 5. Forecasters use computer models to help make their predictions about hurricane paths. They use statistical models and numerical models. Numerical models are generally more accurate but they require lots of present time data to fully make their calculations.
Click the links below to learn more about Hurricane Galveston and Hurricane Katrina, as well as how they connect and how the government effected each of them.
The Governments Involvement in the Hurricanes
The Comparing and Contrasting of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Galveston