For Your Consideration: Hurricanes

By / For Your Consideration / Tuesday, 26 September 2017 04:00

Contributing Writer

Hurricanes have always been a part of our climatic system, but they really did not have a grading and naming system until the Safir-Simpson scale was established around 1952. This system established five levels of sustained wind strength, and gave some guide lines for expect damage for each category, There are other factors other than wind that will determine the negative impacts that are associated with the category.
It should be noted that there are a number of actions that can be taken to reduce the number of negative impacts at each of the categories, such as good zoning, better building practices, The cost figures went up considerably when Federal Flood Insurance was established in 1972; people now felt that they could build larger homes in flood prone area because the government, the taxpayer, was backing the loans for the homes. This program is operating in the red, and will have to go through some major changes in the near future.   
Getting back to the main topic; hurricanes were cited by the year and community that they impacted. There have been many advances in our technology since the early 40’s that have greatly improved our ability to follow and forecast the eventual track of each of the individual hurricanes. The next big advance will be an improvement in forecasting the interaction of all the weather systems that are influencing each of the hurricanes, but we will have to get away from using the models that are nothing but a crutch, that imply that we know what we are doing, when in reality we don’t. This will be a treasure trove for meteorologist looking to present a thesis for a Doctorates degree. The variables in a climatic condition are numerous and the inter action of the different system are complex, but it can be accomplished if we tried to really explain what happened but as long as we depend on the current crutch it will not happen.
It might be helpful to look at some of the variables that play a part in producing our weather conditions, The barometric pressure, which is measured in inches in the United States inches of mercury, the average at sea level is 29.54 inches; the lowest ever recorded was 25.70; tornadoes are not included, The highest barometric reading was 32.08 inches, We need to be able to explain all the factors that play an important part in their development; is there a relationship to their position to the equator?  What happens when two low pressure systems collide?
There is a lot of talk about different wind speeds, but the information they present often leads to conflicting impressions of a hurricanes true status. There are a variety of guidelines that are employed; an attempt will be made to simplify the general concept. We will start with the essayist and clearest one; maximum wind speed needs to be a recorded wind speed during a given period of sustained wind speed. The sustained wind speed is a speed that has a mean that is established over a 2-min. period of time. A wind gust is the highest instantaneous speed change in a 10-min. period or more between periods of peaks and lulls.
Another factor that is very important is the amount of rainfall that an area receives in a given period of time. The amount of rain that some locations receive can enhance the damage that an area will sustain; beaches that receive massive amounts of rain can make them more prone to erosion, especially if the tide is high and the community is getting hit by the winds from a destructive quadrant of the hurricane. Certain trees are also more susceptible to being uprooted.
It should be clear that we’ll never have a 100% capability of forecasting what the impact of a given hurricane will have on our communities, but we can lessen their impact if we improve out forecasting, and take into account the impact that a given storm will have in our environment. Having the proper resources in place for the expected threat will go a long way in mitigating the damage and cost associated with hurricanes.


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