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Comparisons Between Hurricane Sandy And Hurricane Katrina

931 words - 4 pages

According to the “ The handy weather answer book” by Kevin Hile a hurricane is defined as a tropical storm formed in the Atlantic Basin. Winds reach speeds of 74 miles per hour or more. Frequently, hurricanes occur during the months of summer. This allows energy to build from the warm surface of the ocean. Wind speeds, clouds, and the Coriolis effect all contribute to the formation of a hurricane (123). Hurricanes produce fierce winds. Nonetheless, it is the water that creates the most harm. “They can raise tides as high as 20 feet, and dump as much as 20 inches of rain inland,” (Douglas, 107). In fact, the development of Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina caused a tremendous ...view middle of the document...

Wind, physical size, lowest central pressure and speed are all crucial when it comes to the intensity of a hurricane. In the article “ Is It Possible to Rank Hurricanes In a Unique Matter?” Nirupama argues that there is no distinct way to rate a hurricane. In fact, ranking can be different according to specific criteria. For instance, when ranked for physical size Sandy was ranked number one at 1,600 km where as, Katrina ranked at number seven 668 km. Hurricane Katrina ranked number six for maximum speed of 280 km/h and number five for central pressure of 902 hPa. However, Sandy did not even rank on either of those two. Therefore, it goes to show that each hurricane is contrasting (Nirupama, 965). To simply say one hurricane is the most intense based on wind, size, pressure and speed would be invalid.
Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale
Created by engineer Herbert Saffir and hurricane specialist Robert Simpson in 1971, the Saffir- Simpson Hurricane Damage-Potential scale rates hurricanes on a scale from one to five. Where one is the least intense, minor damage and five being the most severe. This scale is commonly used to rate the wind and damage of hurricanes (Hile, 127).
Hurricane Katrina started off its course as a Category 1. “Category 1 is defined as winds 74 to 95 miles per hour, causing no damage to structures with most destruction towards mobile homes, shrubbery, and tress,” (Douglas, 110). However, once Katrina passed through the Gulf of Mexico, the warm water gave off immense energy causing it to reach a rare category 5. Luckily, it diminished into a category 3 before striking the Louisiana coast (Fragile Earth, 54). Douglas defines Category 3 hurricane as, “ Winds 111 to 130 miles per hour and storm surge 9 to 12 feet above normal, causing structural expense to small residences, large trees blown...

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