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A hurricane is a violent wind storm that threatens shorelines (Pacific and Atlantic oceans) with flooding, excessive rainfall, and vicious gusts of wind. A hurricane can be very deadly, so it is very important to know about the storm and its properties. As you read this paper, you will learn about hurricanes as a general topic and some specific examples such as how the tragedy of hurricanes highlighted flaws in the US government.
Hurricanes begin as tropical depressions when warm, moist air over the ocean rises up and creates low pressure. Higher pressure pushes into it and creates warm air. The warm air rises and causes the air to swirl. It forms clouds that gain strength by the warm air that rises from the ocean. When these clouds reach land, they are accompanied by high waves and harsh winds. These cause destruction to the subjected land(s). Hurricanes form in either the Pacific or Atlantic oceans. Many start as depressions coming off the coast of Africa. Hurricanes happen when the oceans have been warmed during summer months. In the North Atlantic, hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30. Hurricanes lose strength as they pass over land, since warm water in the main source of energy that fuels the storm. Hurricanes are divided into 5 categories, 5 being the strongest and 1 being the weakest. A hurricane is placed into a category depending on how fast its winds were. If a hurricane travels 74-95 mph, it is a category 1 hurricane, 96-110 mph: category 2, 111-130 mph: category 3, 131-155 mph: category 4 and over 155 mph: category 5. Parts of a hurricane are the eye, eye wall, spiral rain bands and rain shield. The average diameter of a hurricane is 600 km (350 mi) and the average diameter of the eye (calm) is 30 km (18.5 mi).
Hurricane Katrina started as a tropical depression over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005. Katrina then crossed the south of Florida as a category 1 hurricane with limited deaths and flooding. Katrina continued its path and headed towards the Gulf of Mexico as it progressed to a category 5 hurricane. On August 28th, Katrina and quickly intensified and became a Category 5 at 7:00am – and the 4th most intense Atlantic hurricane on record. When it hit New Orleans, Louisiana and Mississippi, it had decreased to a category 3 hurricane. This information is displayed on timelines and diagrams.
Katrina hit Georgia, Mississippi, New Orleans, Kentucky, Alabama, Cuba, Louisiana, West Virginia, Bahamas, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, South Florida, and The Gulf Coast. Louisiana and Mississippi had suffered the most, due to vulnerability and how crucial it was. New Orleans, in particular had suffered the most. In total, 1577 people from Louisiana were killed during the hurricane. It was affected most because New Orleans is completely below sea level. This made it vulnerable to the high waves and sharp winds. The levees built to keep the city safe from flooding also broke, causing more flooding than predicted.
A storm surge is wind constantly blowing on the surface of the ocean so strongly that it temporarily rises the sea level around the affected area for a short period of time. Storm surges can be a 3-20 ft above normal. When they occur at high tide, they can be much worse. Flooding is usually the main concern for storm surges. It’s somewhat like a tsunami, but much slower and less destructive. This is part of what happened in New Orleans. As it is below sea level, any small rise of the sea is enough to flood the city. As the sea rose during the storm, high waves hit the shores of New Orleans, expanding into the city and breaking the levees built to protect the city. when the levees broke, more water was let in due to water pressure. The river and canal banks also flooded due to the vast amount of water. The entire city was flooded due to the storm surge.
Hurricane Katrina affected the world Economically and humanly. As of April 2006, the Bush Administration got $105 billion for repairs and re construction of the region, making it the costliest natural disaster in US history. There was severe damaged to the economy caused by interruption of the oil supply and exports such as grain. Before Katrina, the region supported almost one million non-farm jobs. 60% of them in New Orleans. In conclusion, the total economic impact to Louisiana and Mississippi exceeds $150 Billion. New Orleans was also a major shipping port, so this was also lost. 1833 lives were lost to the wrath of hurricane Katrina. Over 100,000 people lost their homes. Many evacuated to Covington permanently. Katrina was also responsible for the increase in world price of oil.
Katrina highlighted many flaws in the US government. One being their emergency response procedures. The US government simply was not persistent enough in demanding complete evacuation of subjected regions. Lives, homes and communities would have been spared if they had taken the outcome into consideration and listened to the climatologists when they were supposed to. The US government lacked preparation in the relief effort in response to Hurricane Katrina and its tragic aftermath. The response to the flooding of New Orleans was delayed and uncared for. This is specifically the fault of F.E.M.A (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Providing food, water, security and sanitary conditions is part of the role of the government in case of an emergency. They did not fulfill their main roles. This left people in subjected areas homeless and hungry. Raising petrol prices did not help the situation either. People were desperate for help and the government did not give it importance.
Hurricane Katrina was a killer storm. With varying wind speeds from 74 mph to over 155 mph, Katrina was the strongest hurricane in the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It struck various places with different strengths and was the cause of a great tragedy. Katrina was responsible for many Economic and human costs. Katrina also proved faults and flaws in the US government and emergency response services.
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