In southeast Louisiana, hurricanes are a fact of life. We all know the basic precautions to take when it comes to hurricane precreation. Here are a few more facts to help you understand those monster storms that plague our area.
- Hurricanes are a severe tropical storm that produces heavy rain and very strong winds.
- Hurricanes form near the equator in warm waters. The moist, warm air causes air from surrounding areas to be pulled in and form clouds. The clouds then rotate as the Earth spins. If there is adequate warm water to fuel the storm, a hurricane will form.
- The “eye” of the hurricane is the center of the storm and is usually clear and calm without cloud cover. The “wall” of the hurricane is the most dangerous part and contains the strongest winds and heaviest rain.
- Most hurricanes dissipate before making landfall and occur harmlessly at sea.
- Wind speeds of a hurricane can exceed 198 mph. This is strong enough to uproot trees and level buildings.
- South of the equator hurricanes rotate clockwise. North of the equator hurricanes rotate counter-clockwise. This is caused by Coriolis Force produced by the rotation of the Earth.
- Hurricanes making landfall often produce a “storm surge” causing water levels to rise and large waves to crash. Storm surges can reach more than 19 feet and stretch over 90 miles.
- Hurricanes are also called cyclonesand typhoons, depending on where they occur. In the Atlantic Ocean and Northwest Pacific they are hurricanes, in the Northwest Pacific they are typhoons and in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean they are cyclones.
- The largest hurricane on record is Typhoon Tip. The diameter was approximately 1,379 miles. This storm occurred in 1979 in the Pacific Northwest.
- Hurricanes are given names by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) so that they can be distinguished. Each year, tropical storms are named in alphabetical order according to a list produced by the WMO. That name stays with the storm if it develops into a hurricane. The names can only be repeated after six years.
As a reminder, If a storm is in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s too late to ensure that an area home is sufficiently insured. Homeowners can contact Darryl Murphy Insurance in Port Vincent for comprehensive homeowner’s, mobile home, and flood insurance quotes. Even those who have existing coverage can get expert advice about whether their policy will cover necessary costs in the event of a storm.