Devastating Impact of Storms
Into the Eye: Hurricanes!
1. The main parts of a hurricane are the eye, the eye wall and the rainbands. The hurricane’s center or eye is a relatively calm area usually 20-40 miles across. The eye wall, the dense wall of thunderstorms surrounding the eye, has the strongest winds within the storm. The outer rainbands can extend up to hundreds of miles from the center and can range from 50-300 miles in length.
2. Florida had a record of four hurricanes in 2004: Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. Charley was an extremely dangerous category 4 storm when it made landfall at 3:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13 at Cayo Costa with sustained winds of 145 miles per hour.
3. Three of the most important global climate features that affect hurricane development, movement and landfall are the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the El Nino/La Nina.
4. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation occurs in 20-30 year cycles and is thought to change the location of the jet stream.
5. Storms can create significant coast changes. High energy storms move sediment, erode beaches, create new inlets and create or destroy islands by transporting sand.
6. Coastal changes are measured using a combination of several high-resolution techniques including: laser altimetry or Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), aerial photographs and video and ground measurements of elevations using standard survey methods and Global Positioning Systems (GPS).
7. Wind is measured with an instrument called a “dropsonde,” comprised of sensors, a receiver, a transmitter and a battery pack. The dropsonde is released into the hurricane structure from altitudes between 10,000 to 40,000 feet and tracked for 200 miles.