Tropical weather Information - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tropical weather Information

   WHAT IS A TROPICAL STORM?

   -- A tropical storm is a fierce storm with strong winds rotating
around a center of low pressure.
   -- When conditions worsen, a tropical storm can be classified as
a hurricane.
   -- Hurricane season is June 1 to November 30.
   -- It's rare, but Atlantic hurricanes have formed as early as
March or as late as December.
   -- Major hurricanes (Category 3 and above) hit almost
exclusively between August and October.
   -- Hurricanes have sustained, maximum wind of 73 miles-per-hour
or more.
   -- The word "hurricane" is regional -- applying to the north
Atlantic Ocean, parts of the northeast Pacific Ocean and parts of
the south Pacific Ocean.
   -- A typhoon is the same thing occurring in the northwest
Pacific Ocean.
   -- Hurricanes rotate counter-clockwise in the northern
hemisphere.

  

   WHAT DETERMINES A STORM'S STRENGTH AND PATH?
   -- Generally, warmer ocean water leads to stronger storms.
   -- Hurricanes are steered by ocean currents, atmospheric
pressures and their own winds.
   -- One expert says hurricane movement is like the path of a leaf
in a stream.



   WHERE DO THEY USUALLY HIT?
   -- 36 percent of all American hurricanes hit Florida.
   -- 76 percent of Category 4 or higher hurricanes hit Florida or
Texas.

 

   DEADLIEST HURRICANES IN AMERICAN HISTORY

   -- Galveston, 1900. A Category 4 hurricane left 8,000 people or
more dead.
   -- Southeast Florida, 1928. A Category 4 storm killed 1836
people.
   -- Great Miami Hurricane, 1926. Category 4 devastated Miami,
killing at least 800 people.
   -- Florida Keys/Southeast Texas, 1919. Some 600 people were
killed by a Category 4 storm.
   -- New England, 1938. Category 3 hurricane killed about 600
people.
   -- Florida Keys "Labor Day Hurricane," 1935. Category 5 storm
left 408 people dead.
   -- Hurricane Audrey. Southwest Louisiana/NW Texas, 1957.
Category 4, 390 killed.

  

 COSTLIEST HURRICANES IN AMERICAN HISTORY (Adjusted for inflation)
   -- Hurricane Andrew. Southeast Florida, 1992. Category 5 storm
cost about $34 billion.
 -- Hurricane Hugo. South Carolina, 1989. Category 4 hurricane
cost $9.7 billion.
-- Hurricane Agnes. Southeast Florida, 1972. Category 1 storm
cost $8.6 billion.
-- Hurricane Betsy. Southeast Florida, 1965. Category 3 storm
cost $8.5 billion.
-- Hurricane Charley. Florida Gulf Coast. 2004. Category 4 cost
an estimated $7.4 billion.
-- Hurricane Camille. Mississippi/Louisiana, 1969. Category 5
cost $6.9 billion.
-- Hurricane Jeanne. Florida, 2004. Category 2 cost estimated $6
billion or more.
-- Hurricane Ivan. 2004. The strong Category 3 storm caused $7
billion in damage.
-- Hurricane Frances. Central Florida, 2004, Category 2 cost an
estimated $4.4 billion.

  
CATEGORY FOUR AND FIVE STORMS

 -- Since 1900, just three Category 5 storms have hit the
continental U-S. There have been 15 Category 4 storms in that time,
including Hurricane Charley.
-- The last time the U-S was hit by two hurricanes of Category 4
or above in the same year was 1915. That year a Category 4 storm
hit Galveston and another one hit New Orleans.
-- Category 5 storms since 1900 (in order of intensity): 1)
Unnamed storm hit Florida Keys in 1935, killing 408 people, 2)
Hurricane Camille hit Mississippi in 1969 and 3) Hurricane Andrew
hit southeast Florida in 1992.

  

 HURRICANE CATEGORIES

 -- The categories are determined by the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

  CATEGORY ONE: winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt or 119-153 km/hr).

-- Storm surge 4-5 feet above normal.
-- No real damage to buildings or structures.
-- Shrubs, loose signs and unanchored mobile homes may sustain
some damage. Coastal flooding is possible.

  CATEGORY TWO: winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt or 154-177 km/hr).
-- Storm surge 6-8 feet above normal.
-- Considerable damage to shrubbery and trees as well as to
mobile homes, poorly constructed signs and piers.
-- Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before
arrival of the hurricane center.

  CATEGORY THREE: winds 111-130 mph (96-113 kt or 178-209 km/hr).
-- Storm surge generally 9-12 ft above normal. Some damage to
small residences.
-- Some large trees blown down. Some mobile homes and poorly
constructed signs are destroyed.
-- Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures.
-- Terrain lower than 5 ft above sea level may be flooded inland
8 miles (13 km) or more.

   CATEGORY FOUR: winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt or 210-249 km/hr).
-- Storm surge generally 13-18 ft above normal.
-- Roofs destroyed on many buildings and residences, Shrubs,
trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile
homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows.
-- Terrain lower than 10 ft above sea level may be flooded.

   CATEGORY FIVE: winds greater than 155 mph (135 kt or 249 km/hr).
 -- Storm surge generally greater than 18 ft above normal.
-- Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial
buildings. Some buildings completely destroyed. All shrubs, trees,
and signs blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes.
-- Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less
than 15 ft above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline.
-- Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within
5-10 miles (8-16 km) of the shoreline may be required.

 Sources: http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Landsea/deadly/index.html