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What are Hurricanes?

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What are Hurricanes? Hurricanes are violent tropical storms, an atmospheric movement in which the wind blows spirally round towards a centre of low barometric pressure. They are characterised by very strong winds and torrential rains. Hurricanes kill more than 20,000 people a year. Worldwide, that is more than any other form of natural disaster. A large hurricane can release more energy in one day than all the energy used in a year by the USA. How are they formed? Hurricanes develop in tropical areas, over the sea. The sun's rays heat the air and water, which are more concentrated at or near the equator. The hot air rises up, carrying with it large amounts of water in the form of fine droplets (water vapour). The warm air spirals upwards, leaving an area of calm in the centre, called the 'eye of the storm.' This 'eye' can be dangerous because as it passes over, people are fooled into thinking that the storm is over, when in fact the worst is still yet to come. ...read more.


Then a deluge of rain fills the air. * People move to higher ground * Supermarkets become packed with people rushing around to buy food, preparing themselves for the coming event. * Roads also become packed with people very anxious to leave and get to their homes. * Radio stations constantly broadcast information (in several different languages). * Factories close * Schools close * People board up their windows trying to avoid the glass smashing, which may fall into their eyes. (This is very dangerous). To prepare for high winds, it may be a good idea to install hurricane shutters. Make trees more wind resistant by cutting off any damaged limbs. It is also a very good idea to stay indoors, away from the windows. Decide in advance where you will go if told to evacuate. Keep to hand emergency telephone numbers and road maps. Always listen to the local radio or TV stations for evacuation advice. ...read more.


What do we do afterwards? The first step after a Hurricane occurs is to organise immediate relief for the people in the area. Boats, rafts and helicopters are used to rescue people and temporary shelters need to be set up to care for the homeless. Often floods, by interfering with river sewage disposal and contaminating city water supplies, increase the danger of epidemics. Then whole communities sometimes have to be protected against diseases by things like immunisation. If the flood cuts off all the usual means of transportation, helicopters can carry necessary supplies to the isolated regions. The cost of rebuilding ruined homes, public building s and factories is enormous. It takes a lot of money to restock farms and replant crops. The government can help by offering loans, especially to those who hadn't been insured. For future safety, it might be a good idea to build something like an underground shelter. It might cost quite a bit but should be worth it, if it prevents from as many lives being lost next time. Farzana Jalil ...read more.

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