According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a hurricane is “any storm or tempest in which the wind blows with terrific violence.” Hurricanes only form over warm waters; wind is pushed in from surrounding, high pressure areas towards the low pressure center. The storm grows and forms an eye as it moves faster and faster (“How Do Hurricanes Form?”). If a colossal hurricane was approaching your community, what would you do? How would you prepare? In a survey I conducted of 12 people who have endured one or more hurricanes, about 92% prepared by buying extra food and water (Colosimo). Did the people who faced three destructive hurricanes prepare similarly as well? Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina, and Sandy will always be remembered for their destruction. Hurricane Andrew struck Southeast Florida in 1992 and was first classified as a category 4 hurricane, upgrading to a category 5 years later. In New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina struck in late August 2005; it was also considered a category 5. In late 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey at a category 3. Although they may seem very similar, Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina, and Sandy, three devastating natural disasters, are different in their characteristics, preparation, damage, and recovery/resulting changes.
Hurricane Andrew had different characteristics from both Katrina and Sandy. Andrew’s winds still remain unknown; the winds could have reached well over 164 mph, as evidence from the National Hurricane Center’s anemometer that broke at this level (Burkholder-Allen). However, we know more or less the winds of Sandy and Katrina. Hurricane Andrew even developed small tornadoes that destroyed many homes in Homestead (Sotolongo). According to Potter, a certified meteorologist, Andrew’s diameter was only 90 miles (11). Andrew covered less area and moved faster than Katrina and Sandy (Allen). Overall, Andrew was a short, quick moving storm that caused damage mainly by strong wind force; but what are the characteristics of Katrina and Sandy?
Unlike Andrew, Katrina was a larger storm. Hurricane Katrina’s diameter was around 300 miles; its main energy was the warm Atlantic Ocean (“Comparing the Winds of Sandy and Katrina”). Katrina’s winds were symmetrical around the center of the storm; in addition to this, the winds were more intense in a smaller area, compared to Sandy (“Compaing the Winds of Sandy and Katrina”). In New Orleans, Katrina had wind speeds over 100 mph (“Hurricane Katrina”). This wind speed is less than that of Hurricane Andrew. The diameter was about 3 times the size of Andrew, allowing it to cause damage to more places. How do Hurricane Sandy’s characteristics compare to those of Andrew and Katrina?
As opposed to Andrew and Katrina, Hurricane Sandy had bizarre characteristics. There were snow and blizzard warnings, and it had its strong winds misplaced about 100 miles west of the eye (Borenstein, A.12). Winds for Hurricane Sandy were in the low 100’s. Hurricane Sandy was an extra tropical...