Tropical Storms - formation and case study

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Formation and key phrases

- Hurricane Katrina case study

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Tropical Storms
Huge spinning storms with strong winds and torrential rain ­ they develop above water
Develop above sea water with a temperature of 26.5° or above
Warm, moist air rises and condenses as this occurs energy is released which
increases wind speeds
Tropical storms lose strength when they move over land because the energy supply
from the warm water is cut off.
They occur between 5° and 30° north and south of the Equator ­ any more than 30°
away from the equator, the water is not warm enough.
Spin due to the Coriolis effect/force ­ deflects the path of winds due to the Earth's
Coriolis effect causes tropical storms to move away from the equator
Tropical storms move westwards due to the east-west winds in the tropics.
E.g. trade winds move tropical cyclones westwards across the Atlantic Ocean
towards the Caribbean Sea.
Tropical storms cannot occur 0-5° north or south of the equator as the Coriolis effect
isn't strong enough to cause spin
Naming of Tropical Storms...
Hurricanes ­ tropical storms that occur in the Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea
Typhoons ­ tropical storms that occur in the Pacific Ocean
CASE STUDY: Hurricane Katrina ­ 2005
Developed in the South-Eastern Bahamas in August and moved over land in Florida which
caused the hurricane to weaken. It then began to strengthen as it moved over warm waters
of the Gulf of Mexico and struck land again in Louisiana, USA.
Category 5 storm (but predicted to be category 3)
Costliest hurricane in USA's history ($108 billion)
Over 1,800 deaths
Insurance companies paid $41 billion
1 million + people in the Gulf region were displaced
40% deaths by drowing
Population of New Orleans fell to 230,170
70% of housing in New Orleans was damaged


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