Hurricanes and Earthquakes

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Hurricanes and earthquakes are two of the most dangerous natural disasters in the United States. They can be very disastrous and deadly. In the United States, there have been 73 hurricanes since 1954. Earthquakes are harder to detect because they have to have at least a magnitude of 5 ("Earthquakes per year," 2009). The amount of earthquakes detected in the United States was 1656 in the past 10 years ("Earthquakes per year," 2009). The World Meteorological Organization is the organization that can choose the names of hurricanes. At the beginning of the year, the first hurricane always begins with an A name, and continue down the alphabet (NHC, 2003). The letters not used to name a hurricane are, Q, U, X, Y, and Z (Netting, 2003).

HurricanesHurricanes are one of the most dangerous natural disasters for an area to endure. Hurricanes consist of powerful fast winds and heavy rain. A hurricane is a low tropical storm with winds exceeding 74 MPH that can easily damage property and buildings or even kill individuals in its path. A hurricane occurs when heat is released in the form of large amounts of water vapor condensed that heat up the air and reduce air pressure close the ocean surface. This action causes air to move quickly inward creating a circular motion around the low pressure area. The circular winds form an upright cylinder that can extend upward for many miles. Most hurricanes initiate out in the ocean and gain strength, speed and energy as they travel across the ocean waters. Once a hurricane hits land, it usually loses its strength and speed as a result of friction from items that it encounters in its path.

EarthquakesEarthquakes are known for their damaging and unparalleled forces that have caused destruction to entire cities and deaths to many individuals. Usually there is no notice about when an earthquake will strike. The earth's crust is made up of several plates that float and slowly move, due to convection currents, on molten lava, called magma. Friction occurs when two or more plates meet creating a fault. Tension constantly builds up on the fault when plates push together. Shock waves that create vibrations occur when two plates slip resulting in the ground around the fault line to move and shake. This occurrence is an Earthquake.

Catastrophic Disasters Caused by HurricanesOn Monday, August 29, 2005, the United States experienced one of its most catastrophic disasters to date by Hurricane Katrina. In addition, Hurricane Katrina is predicted to be the most costly and catastrophic disasters the United States, where "…105 Billion was sought for repairs." (Discover Communications, 2009) However, Hurricane Katrina is not alone in its costs to the American taxpayers. According to RMS, "…hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne" (RMS, 2005) had claims totaling "…$13 billion" (RMS, 2005) that had yet to have been addressed when Hurricane Katrina had hit.

Hurricanes, if not monitored closely may have catastrophic affects on any environment in its path and this was the case with the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans levees could not hold the water and a breech occurred on the 17th Street Canals as well as two other canals. Due to the fast moving water people were either unable to escape and climbed up to their rooftops or trees, with some falling to their death. In the end the death toll of Hurricane Katrina was "…1800 people" (Discover Communications, 2009). In addition, there were affects on major economical areas such as for six months after the disaster of Hurricane Katrina, oil production had dwindled to "…24 percent of the annual production" (Discovery Communications, 2009). The damage continued with damage to 1.3 million acres of Mississippi's forests, at the cost of five billion (Discovery Communications, 2009). Residents affected by Hurricane Katrina lost their homes along with local businesses going out of business due to the hit areas slow redevelopment. This caused missed...
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