Posted: October 17th, 2013
Synoptic Description of Hurricane Katrina
On 23 August 2005, on the southern Bahamas, Hurricane Katrina started forming as a Tropical Depression Twelve. This was as an outcome of the contact between the remainders of Tropical Depression Ten and another tropical wave. On the morning of 24 August, the system was advanced to the status of a tropical storm. It was named Katrina at this point. The storm continued finding its way towards Florida, traveling as slow as six miles per hour. On the morning of 25 August, the storm became a hurricane two hours before landing between Aventura and Hallandale. This was in Florida and it was still a category one (Davis 129).
When it hit the Gulf of Mexico, it advanced to a category five from the category three it was. This was within nine hours of entering the gulf. The rapid growth was due to the unusual heating of water (87ºF), thus the speed of the winds increased. The speed increased to about 160 miles per hour. The hurricane attained category three on the morning of 27 August. This was according to the Saffir-Simpson Scale. It struck to the third major in that particular season. However, the intensification was disrupted by an eye wall replacement. Nevertheless, the storm did not reduce but became twice its size (Approximately 150 ft).
On the morning of August 28, it reached category five once more and its peak strength at around one o’clock in the afternoon, CDT. The winds had a central pressure of at least 902 mbar and a speed of about 175 miles per hour. This pressure recording placed the hurricane on the fourth position of the hurricanes with the highest intensity in the Atlantic Ocean. The hurricanes Wilma and Katrina surpassed this pressure later. The hurricane had also been placed as the strongest hurricane to take place in the Gulf Mexico. Rita also surpassed this strength.
On August 29, which was a Monday morning at around 6.10 am CDT, a second fall of the hurricane took place in Buras-Triumph in Louisiana. This hurricane was at category three and had the speed of 125 miles per hour. When the hurricane fell on the land, the winds made an outward extension of 120 miles. The pressure was now at 920 mbar. The hurricane made a third fall at the Mississippi/Louisiana border after passing southeastern Louisiana. The speed has fallen to 120 miles per hour and the intensity was still at category three.
When entering Mississippi, the hurricane was still with the same immense strength. When it was near Meridian, 150 miles inland, the hurricane started losing its strength. By the time it was at Clarksville, Tennessee, it had already been turned into a tropical depression. On 31st August, the remains of the storm entered the region of the Great Lakes and then the winds were taken in by the frontal boundary. As a result, an extra tropical was formed, which went to affect Canada on the eastern part by moving into the northeast.
Causes of Hurricane Katrina
Hurricanes are areas of low pressure, which are created over the warm waters of the oceans in the summer or during the early fall (Abbott 117). Water vapor is their main energy source, which evaporates from the surface of the ocean. The water vapor is released into the air and then condensed in order to form the rain and clouds. The condensed vapor releases latent heat, which in turn warms the air around. Thus, the water vapor acts as a fuel. In normal circumstances, wind shear carries away the heat in the tropical thunderstorms. However, when the wind shear is too little, low pressure forms as heat builds up. Due to low pressure, wind begins spiraling inward. This usually takes place towards the low centre.
As described in the above activity, the hurricane Katrina was also caused by a similar kind of action. The water surface in the Bahamas started heating up at a temperature of 85ºF. Warm moist air started rising into the atmosphere and then condensed to release more heat (Hoffman 219). The heated air then heat the surface of the ocean water, which rose to the atmosphere. This continued sequence caused a motion and lowered the pressure, which brought forth winds. The winds started traveling at an average speed of thirty miles per hour. Although some hurricanes just end in the seas/oceans, there are those hurricanes, which are destined to reach the land. Hurricane Katrina was one of them. It span from being category one, to category five and back to category three. By the time it was ending, it had really caused a lot of destruction.
Since the hurricanes are caused by temperature and water bodies’ activities, they are not preventable. The areas around Florida have been prone to hurricanes for a long time, as another hurricane had occurred in the 1940s and 1950s. Since the Atlantic is one of the largest bodies of water in the world, hurricane activity is most likely to take place. The United States is in the Northern part of the world where extreme weather takes place. During summer, the temperatures are very high and are much higher with the coastal regions. This is the reason why the hurricanes are more likely to take place in the Atlantic of the United States than in the Indian Ocean of Africa.
Occurrence of the Hurricane
Hurricanes take place on water surfaces. However, the extreme ones move to the land and are thus fatal. The hurricanes are more likely to take place in areas of higher temperatures as they derive their energy from the heat. Hurricanes have been known to take place in Asia and America. The Indian/ Pakistan regions of Asia have experienced the worst cases of hurricanes in Asia and the United States has experienced the worst cases in both North and South America as a continent.
The land near the water bodies is prone to hurricane destruction and more other lands. For example, Florida was greatly affected by the hurricane. A large part of Florida is situated within sixty miles of the ocean’s reach. This makes a large portion of the land vulnerable to the destruction of the hurricanes. Since the hurricanes are driven by heat, areas with high temperatures are more likely to have hurricanes than the cooler areas or the areas with equatorial weather. This is why the Atlantic Ocean has more hurricane occurrences than the Indian Ocean in Africa. America is hotter in the summer than Africa is all year round.
Social and Economic Impact of Hurricane Katrina
The hurricane killed 1,836 people. Some people died during the hurricane itself while others died during the floods that followed afterwards. The total property destroyed during this event amounted to $ 1 billion. The lives of those who were disrupted include those people living in Louisiana especially New Orleans, Mississippi and parts of Canada. In the western North Pacific, hurricanes are known as typhoons and tropical cyclone in the Western South Pacific and the Indian Ocean. The deaths in the hurricane Katrina were not as many as those that have been recorded in other hurricanes in India and other parts of the world. For example, the 1970 Bhola Cyclone of Bangladesh had a death of between 150,000 and 500,000 people (Pietras 234).
Just like in any other catastrophes, the people affected in one way or another take a long time before they fully recover from the trauma, if they ever do. Apart from losing lives and property, many people had to be relocated to other areas, which were less prone to the other water destructions. Like in the previous hurricanes that had taken place before such as the Andrew Hurricane of 1992, health problems were one of the main aftermaths of the hurricane. Many people had stayed in the floods, in the cold and even on top of the roofs just to stay alive. The exposure to such extreme harsh weather brought health complications to those who were well and those who were already sick. An emergency was declared on the Gulf coast by President Bush during this period.
In relation to the health concerns, medical emergency supplies were sent to these areas by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention within forty-eight hours after the incident. Since the Hurricane did not come as a surprise, medical aide had been prepared in advance. Evacuation of some people had already taken place in order to save as many people as could be saved. This evacuations process, though to the advantage of the residents, was also inconveniencing to the people, especially the children, who were used to their homes.
Economically, the hurricane, like in many other parts of the world, cost the government billions of dollars. The federal government sort $ 105 billion for reconstruction and repair. There was interruption of the oil supply in the gulf, which was of great economic importance to not only America but also other nations of the world (Brinkley 79). The short in oil and gas production was 24% and 18% respectively within a six-month period. Approximately 1.3 million acres of forestland were destroyed by the hurricane. Due to this destruction (equals 5,300 km2), the forestry industry in the United States lost approximately $5 billion. The relocating and settling of people, reconstruction, and employment opportunities lost, all cost the country a great deal economically (Palser 146).
Personal Suggestions for the Preservation and Recovery of the Disaster, Environmental or Biological Problem
Since hurricanes are naturally occurring disasters, people can do little or nothing to stop them. However, there are a couple of things that can be done in order to prevent or reduce the destruction encountered. By now, the governments of the countries where hurricanes mostly strike are aware of the areas most prone to their destruction. The government should discourage over settling in these areas. Fewer people will incur less destruction and deaths. Since there were fewer people in Florida in the 1950s, the destruction was less than the 2005 hurricane destruction.
The population has grown and most parts of the countries have been settled. The coastal regions, which are the most prone to the hurricanes’ destruction, are very economically productive in terms of fishing and tourism. For such reasons, the government can only do its best in evacuating and resettling the people prior to the hurricanes. Hurricanes do not happen suddenly. Most are anticipated by the meteorologists. Their prediction gives the government time to resettle the people and prepare any aide that might be needed after the catastrophe.
The governments should be prepared financially for such catastrophes. This can be done by setting aside a substantial amount of money in the catastrophe kitty. The whole world should also take responsibility of the natural disasters. Some destructions cause severe economic damage for the particular nation to bear the burden alone. This can be done by setting aside a kitty, by the World Bank or any other globally recognized financial institution/organization, which will assist the affected areas prior or post the disaster.
Global warming is feared to play a role in the increase of the intensity of the hurricanes in the recent years. The situation will even worsen in the coming years if the atmosphere continues deteriorating in the rate it is taking place (Mooney 215). If the people do not take responsibility of controlling the amount of carbon fossils being released into the atmosphere, then the intensity of the hurricanes will propel them to continue making landfalls.
Abbott, Patrick. Natural Disasters. New York, NY: McGrawHill, 2008. Print..
Brinkley, Douglas. Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2007. Print.
Davis, Lee. Natural Disasters. New York, NY: Infobase Publlishing, 2008. Print.
Hoffman, Ann. Hurricane Katrina. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2007. Print.
Mooney, Chris. Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle over Global Warming. Toronto: Harcourt, 2007. Print.
Palser, Barb. Hurricane Katrina: aftermath of disaster. New York, NY: Compass Point Books, 2007. Print.
Pietras, Jamie. Hurricane Katrina. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing, 2008. Print.
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