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WhatIs A Hurricane?

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What Is A Hurricane? A hurricane is a tropical storm that has winds of 74 miles per hour or more. The winds can sometimes reach up to 155 miles per hour. Another characteristic of hurricanes is their massive size that measures from 200 to 300 miles in diameter. In the center of each storm there is what is called the eye of the storm (Image to Right). The eye of the storm is usaually between 20-30 miles and is the calmest part of the storm. Winds here may only be 74 miles per hour. Some hurricanes can last for two weeks or more over open water and can run a path across the entire Eastern Seaboard. Hurricanes that develop in the Northern Hemisphere rotate in a counterclockwise motion and in the Southern Hemisphere they rotate in a clockwise motion. The direction of rotation all has to do with the rotation of the earth. Hurricanes only develop in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Indian Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. The major factors that effect the development of a storm, in the Atlantic Ocean, are ocean temperature, atmospheric pressure, the Gulf Stream, and wind currents. ...read more.


Andrew also claimed 26 lives and left more than 250,000 people homeless. It lasted eleven days from August 16-27, 1992 and hit land in the Bahamas, southern Florida, and southcentral Louisiana. This particular hurricane originated off the West Coast of Africa in early August, 1992. On August 17, 1992 it became a tropical depression halfway between Africa and the eastern islands of the Carribean. Later on that day thunderstorms began to form within it and shortly after, the storm reached tropical storm status. The storm then began to move very quickly and it's strength fluctuated for the next few days. On August 21 it gathered more strength and at 5AM on August 22 it reached hurricane status. At 12:48PM on August 23 the hurricane reached Category 4 status. Later on that evening the eye of the storm passed over the Bahamas and the maximum wind gust was measured to be 120 mph. However, when it passed over the Bahamas it began to weaken. Finally, on the morning of August 24 it struck southern Florida. The winds were reported to be up to 140 mph. Eventually, on August 25 Andrew entered the Gulf of Mexico. ...read more.


Florida is the home of the wetlands and Andrew managed to pass right through the center of them. The most obvious damage caused there, like everywhere else, was the structural damage (i.e. uprooting trees). The most damage to trees was done in Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park. In those parks many of the Mangrove trees, on approximately 70,000 acres, were severly damaged or knocked down. All in all, almost any large tree in the storm's path was badly damaged. Andrew did not have much effect on the wildlife, however. Most of the animals survived through the storm and the regrowth of vegetation. The Northern Florida Keys did not escape do as well as the Wetlands. The Northern Keys were completly stripped of vegetation. On the coast of Louisiana 70 kilometers of sand was stripped off the barrier islands exposing old coastal marsh. Also, over 80 percent of the oyster reefs off the Louisiana coast had between 0.3-0.9 meters of sediment taken away. Finally, more than 70 percent of the dunes used to protect the wetlands and coastal population were also swept away. This just shows that not only were people's homes, communities, and businesses effected by this storm, but many other things were too. ...read more.

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