Extreme Natural Disasters: Hefty Hurricanes Essay

2427 words - 10 pages

Hurricanes can be good for the environment with the rain, but they can also destroy a life. Hurricanes can topple buildings, uproot trees, tear down power lines, and create floods. Hurricanes create powerful winds and a substantial amount of rain. Large amounts of water can create mold, which can be extremely dangerous. Hurricanes, or any large storm, affect many countries and families. Hurricanes are immensely unsafe and unpredictable, both because of their own power and the fact that tornadoes can materialize from their circular speeding winds.
Hurricanes form through an intricate process. Before they get the status of “hurricane,” they must meet specific conditions. Meteorologists separate the life of a hurricane “into four stages: (1) tropical disturbance, (2) tropical depression, (3) tropical storm, and (4) hurricane” (Emanuel 453). A tropical disturbance is a region or area where rain clouds are beginning to form. The clouds form when moist air rises and becomes cool, which cannot hold as much water vapor as warmer air, and these clouds may rise to great heights. Meteorologists classify these towering thunderclouds as cumulonimbus. These cumulonimbus clouds normally create heavy rains “that end after an hour or two, and the weather clears rapidly” (Emanuel 453). However, if the set of conditions is correct for a hurricane, more clouds will continue to form, creating more energy. If this build-up produces wind speeds of up to 38 miles per hour, the storm is classified as a tropical depression. A tropical depression is a low pressure area near the ocean that creates wind, which in turn evaporates more seawater, feeding the thunderclouds. The winds swirl slowly at first, then, as the pressure becomes even lower, the winds pick up speed and more ocean water evaporates.
When the circulating wind reaches between 39 and 73 miles per hour, the tropical depression turns into a tropical storm. These storms now have a clear and defined circular pattern. As the storm gains more energy and grows taller, “it hits the stratosphere and flattens out at the top” (Gibson 16). This growth further strengthens the storm because it gains more energy. As long as warm water is plentiful, the storm will continue to grow until it cannot grow anymore because of wind shear. This wind shear would disrupt the budding storm by tipping it over or bringing dry air into the eye of the storm. The winds become stronger near the surface of the ocean and “draw more and more heat and water vapor from the sea” (Emanuel 453). The system continues to grow larger clouds and increasingly strong winds. The increased amount of moisture in the air and powerful winds feed the storm. Each tropical storm is granted a name. The name helps meteorologists and disaster planners to quickly convey information.
Once winds are 74 miles per hour or more, the storm is now classified as a hurricane or its equivalent in another region. By the time the storm becomes a hurricane, it has formed a...

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