Hurricane Destruction

Destruction by hurricanes is created by:

  • winds
    • often the winds surrounding a hurricane are stronger on one side than the other.... why?
  • the storm surge:
    • high winds generate large waves - up to 50 feet high!!
    • combined with lower pressure over the ocean surface, the high winds create an abnormal rise in sea level.
    • the higher sea level creates a surge of water onshore producing coastal flooding.
    • most hurricane fatalities are related to the storm surge......
    • Here is a close-up view of a storm surge
    • another picture of a storm surge
  • hurricane-produced tornadoes

Damage from Hurricane Andrew:

Damage photos from Katrina are readily available on the web


Suppose in the North Atlantic, an eastward-moving ocean vessel is directly in the path of a westward-moving hurricane. What would be the ship's wisest course - to veer to the north of the storm or to the south of the storm?

You are in Darwin, Australia (on the north shore), and a hurricane approaches from the north. Where would the highest storm surge be, to the east or west? Explain.