Areas Most Impacted

By Allison

An average of 21 hurricanes strike the United States each year. Each storm is different in its own way—some last longer than others, some have different categories, some reach landfall while others don’t. One of the biggest points for hurricanes is the southern end of the United States, such as Texas and Florida. It takes water at or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit for a hurricane to spawn, and since areas like New England are further away from the equator, the water there isn’t warm enough. That is why hurricanes don’t hit as frequently there. However, no matter where they land, hurricanes can be a deadly force.

One of the most recent hurricane-impacted areas is New Orleans. (Hurricanes have always been known to hit there, so many thought they were safe from storms—until Hurricane Katrina. Some meteorologists knew that a “doomsday storm” like Katrina would hit, but hardly anyone believed them). In 2005, Hurricane Katrina was a category 5 hurricane, though it was only category 3 when it hit landfall.Her 28 foot storm surge was part of the reason she was so deadly, killing hundreds and leaving thousands with nothing left. It caused $81 billion worth of property damage, making her the costliest hurricane there was. Still now, everyone is cleaning up the destruction she left behind.

Another well-known hurricane spot is Galveston, Texas. On September 8th, 1900, the unnamed hurricane reffered to as the Galveston hurricane hit. Galveston was a popular town that took years to establish, and everyone thought the city was impenetrable to the storm. About 8,000 people died; 2,000 from the storm itself, and the other 6,000 from the massive 20 foot storm surge. The storm surge was the highest on record until Hurricane Katrina.

Even though many costly storms tend to hit southern United States, that doesn’t mean that other areas aren’t impacted by storms, either. On September 11th, 1992, Hurricane Inkiki struck the island of Kauai in Hawaii. It caused four deaths and about $3,258,000 worth of property damage, with maximum wind speeds of 130 mph. This may not seem very high, but it was one of the costliest hurricanes ever to hit there.

Even though Hurricane Katrina was the costliest hurricane there was, second and third place cost plenty as well. The second place most affected by hurricane costs was towns in Florida and Los Angeles. The category 5 Hurricane Andrew caused approximately $26,500,000,000 worth of property damage in 1992. Not as many people think of this as they do Hurricane Katrina, but Andrew was a terrible storm. Also, in 2005, soon after Hurricane Katrina hit, the category 3 Hurricane Wilma came to Florida. It caused $20,600,000,000 worth of damage. This may be about $60,000,000,000 less than Katrina, but still a staggering amount. These are only some of the places greatly impacted by storms in the United States.

References: www.nch.noaa.gov/ ; The Old Farmer’s Almanac Book of Weather and Natural Disasters © 1993, Yankee Publishing Inc., New York

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Hurricane Katrina as seen from space
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