f01u5p4 - Unit Five COAST/Hurricanes COAST W ritten by...

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Unit Five COAST/Hurricanes Project Oceanography Fall 2001 92 COAST Written by Howard Walters On the cutting edge… On average, every three years approximately five hurricanes strike the United States coastline, killing from 50 to 100 people from Maine to Texas, Hawaii, and Caribbean and tropical territories. Massive in scale, the winds and rains associated with a hurricane can extend as far as 400 miles from the calm center or eye of the storm. A single hurricane making landfall on a southern coast of the continental United States can impact the lives of tens of millions of people, and wreck havoc resulting in billions of dollars in property damage. Scientists are striving to understand the meteorological phenomena which guide the formation and strength of hurricanes to better predict the path of these killer storms to save lives and reduce property loss. Coastal Hazards: Hurricanes Lesson Objectives: Students will be able to do the following: ± Describe how and where hurricanes form ± Discuss the negative impacts of hurricanes on coastal communities ± Indicate appropriate preparation action when at-risk from an approaching storm Key Concepts: latitude and longitude, sustained winds, low pressure zone, Coriolis effect, Saffir-Simpson Scale, Federal Emergency Management Agency, mitigation. What is a Hurricane? Hurricanes are widely considered the most destructive storm systems on our planet. A hurricane is a tropical storm with winds that have reached a sustained speed of 74 miles per hour. Sustained winds are defined as a 1-minute average wind measured at approximately 33 feet (10 meters) above the surface of the ocean. All hurricanes—even the most catastrophic—begin over warm oceanic waters where atmospheric conditions result in low-pressure zones. These generally form in the tropical zones of the planet and are accompanied by severe thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, and— in the northern hemisphere—a counterclockwise circulation pattern around the low pressure “ eye ” of the storm. This rotation results in an uneven distribution of storm damage due to coastal waters being pushed onshore on the east side of the
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Unit Five COAST/Hurricanes Project Oceanography Fall 2001 93 storm, but offshore on the west side of the storm. Further, this rotation results in a difference in the speed of the winds in a storm due to rotational force with the winds being strongest on the east side of a storm (assumed to be moving due north) and slightly weaker on the west side of the storm. In the northern hemisphere, the winds in a hurricane rotate counter-clockwise due to the Coriolis effect . When a low pressure front starts in the northern hemisphere, the surface winds will flow inward trying to fill the low pressure and will be deflected to the right as a result of the rotation of the earth. This results in the counter-clockwise rotation. The opposite deflection occurs south
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This note was uploaded on 07/31/2011 for the course OCB 6050 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at University of South Florida - Tampa.

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f01u5p4 - Unit Five COAST/Hurricanes COAST W ritten by...

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