Hurricane Irene

Hurricanes are a serious natural threat that Nature can throw at us at a moments notice. To be prepared for a Hurricane, we must first know what a Hurricane or Tropical Cyclone is.

A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor contained in the moist air. They are fueled by a different heat mechanism than other cyclonic windstorms such as nor’easters, European windstorms, and polar lows. The characteristic that separates tropical cyclones from other cyclonic systems is that at any height in the atmosphere, the center of a tropical cyclone will be warmer than its surroundings; a phenomenon called “warm core” storm systems.

The term “tropical” refers both to the geographic origin of these systems, which usually form in tropical regions of the globe, and to their formation in maritime tropical air masses. The term “cyclone” refers to such storms’ cyclonic nature, with counterclockwise rotation in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise rotation in the Southern Hemisphere. The opposite direction of spin is a result of the Coriolis force. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by names such as hurricane (UK: /ˈhʌrɪkən/, US: /ˈhɝːəkeɪn/), typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone.

While tropical cyclones can produce extremely powerful winds and torrential rain, they are also able to produce high waves and damaging storm surge as well as spawning tornadoes. They develop over large bodies of warm water, and lose their strength if they move over land due to increased surface friction and loss of the warm ocean as an energy source. This is why coastal regions can receive significant damage from a tropical cyclone, while inland regions are relatively safe from receiving strong winds. Heavy rains, however, can produce significant flooding inland, and storm surges can produce extensive coastal flooding up to 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the coastline. Although their effects on human populations can be devastating, tropical cyclones can also relieve drought conditions. They also carry heat energy away from the tropics and transport it toward temperate latitudes, which makes them an important part of the global atmospheric circulation mechanism. As a result, tropical cyclones help to maintain equilibrium in the Earth’s troposphere, and to maintain a relatively stable and warm temperature worldwide.

Many tropical cyclones develop when the atmospheric conditions around a weak disturbance in the atmosphere are favorable. The background environment is modulated by climatological cycles and patterns such as the Madden-Julian oscillation, El Niño-Southern Oscillation, and the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. Others form when other types of cyclones acquire tropical characteristics. Tropical systems are then moved by steering winds in the troposphere; if the conditions remain favorable, the tropical disturbance intensifies, and can even develop an eye. On the other end of the spectrum, if the conditions around the system deteriorate or the tropical cyclone makes landfall, the system weakens and eventually dissipates. It is not possible to artificially induce the dissipation of these systems with current technology.

Be warned that although Hurricanes can cause massive damages and even deaths, they also can just pass by with just some heavy winds and storms and do not pose a serious threat. Be very careful to what media you rely on for updates on a storm as the media can cause unnecessary panic and wide spread pandemonium so that the ‘un-informed’ will go out and buy tons of items. This is a ploy by cities and governments in order to boost the economy. They will show images of past hurricanes in an attempt to scare the public into over spending on items that are not needed. Take heed and be warned. Knowledge is power.

Hurricane preparedness is an essential aspect to be prepared for in case of any emergency. There are many things to take into account when preparing for a hurricane. Sometimes, there may be mandatory evacuations that are passed by your City but if you decide to stay, Here are some of the items you will need during a hurricane:

  • Non-Perishables (Canned Foods)
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Candles
  • Water
  • Gas (vehicle)
  • Generator
  • Grill
  • Charcoal
  • Matches or Lighter
  • Lighter Fluid (For Grill)
  • Ice Box (Cooler)
  • Ice
  • Reading Material (Books, Magazines)
  • First-Aid Kits

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