Weather and Climate Case Studies

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  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 28-05-13 17:20

Great Storm of 1987 - The Event

When: 15th-16th October 1987

Where: Effected areas throughout Britain but particuarly badly affected were those places on the southern coastline

Physical Geography:

  • Depression formed over the Bay of Biscay on the afternoon of the 15th - warmer air from the tropics met cooler air from the polar regions, the warmer air rose above the polar air causing precipitation, high winds and cooler temperatures
  • MET office believed it would miss the UK but by 10:35pm it became obvious that the storm had changed course and was heading for the UK

The Event:

  • Strongest gust = 100 knots on Sussex Coast
  • London Weather Centre recorded gusts of 82 knots and Gatwick airport 86 knots
  • NOT A HURRICANE as it did not develop over tropics
  • Considerable temperature changes = around 6 degrees decrease per hour
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Great Storm of 1987 - Impacts

  • 19 dead in England
  • 15 million trees blow down including 6 oaks from Kew Gardens
  • Trees blocked roads and railways
  • Power lines went down = 5 million homes without electricity
  • Caravan parks wrecked
  • Fire brigade had 6000 calls in 24 hours
  • Buildings collapsed
  • MV Hengist blown aground
  • Ship capsized at Dover
  • Cost £15 million in insurance claims = higher premiums the next year
  • Fallen trees = new habitats for animals
  • Some plants benefited = closer to sunlight
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Hurricane Charley - The Event

When: August 2004

Strength: Hit Florida as a Catergory 4 Hurricane - storm surge was only 6-7 feet though


  • 4th August: began as tropical wave off the coast of Africa
  • 9th August: 185km from Barbados it developed into a tropical depression
  • 10th August: it was now classed as a tropical storm
  • 11th August: Hurricane Charley as it was moved northwest by a strong ridge of high pressure
  • 13th August: made landfall in Cuba as a catergory 3 hurricane
  • 14th August: made its second landfall in Florida as a catergory 4 hurricane and continued to track across Florida (from the Captiva Islands)
  • Took only 7 hours for the hurricane to track across the Florida penisula
  • Passed through Jamaica on its way back from America
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Hurricane Charley - Preparations

  • 2 airports closed in Jamaica and 2 cruiseships rerouted
  • Cuba issued a mandatory evacuation of 235,000 citizens and 159,000 animals
  • On August 11th an emergency declaration in Florida
  • 1.9 million in Florida were urged to evacuate along the west coast but many did not heed the warning and remained
  • 50,000 Florida residents placed in shelters
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom shut down
  • Rail service shut down between Miami and New York
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Hurricane Charley - Impact

  • Throughout the Atlantic Basin = 15 deaths and $16.3 billion
  • 10 deaths in the USA and total damage of $15.4 billion
  • Cuba: 120mph winds downed 1500 power lines (places without power for 11 days)
  • Cuba: Lost 15,000 tonnes of grapefruit and 57,000 acres of fruit trees
  • Cuba: 95% of sugarcane, banana and bean crops affected
  • Cuba: $923 million in damages = agricultural losses mainly
  • Jamaica: $1.44 million in agricultural losses ($4.1 million in total)
  • Florida: $14.6billion in property losses on penisula
  • Florida: 80% of buildings destroyed and 1/3 of schools demolished in Charlotte
  • Florida: Many public schools remained shut for 2 weeks
  • Florida: Punta Gorda levelled by direct hit = 6 schools and 6 fire stations destroyed plus 11,000 homes destroyed
  • In North Captiva an inlet was created by the 2m storm surge = Charley's Cut
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Hurricane Katrina - The Event

When: Late August 2005

Strength: Maximum sustained winds of 280km/hr = 4th most intense Atlantic Hurricane of all time. Storm surge of around 3-8.2m


  • 23rd August: Embryonic storm over the Bahamas
  • 24th August: Tropical Storm
  • 25th August: Made landfall in Florida as a Hurricane
  • Weakened over land but strengthened again over the Gulf of Mexico = Catergory 5
  • 28th August: Warm waters of Loop Current kept it as a Catergory 5 hurricane
  • 29th August: Made landfall in Lousiana as a powerful catergory 3 before it became only a catergory 1
  • 30th August: Tropical Depression
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Hurricane Katrina - Impact

  • Artificial levees of the Mississippi River burst in 50 places = flooded around 80% of New Orleans
  • 1836 deaths
  • Over $81 billion in damages
  • Damage area = 233,000km squared
  • Over 3 million people left with no electricity
  • 30 oil platforms damaged in Gulf and 9 oil refineries closed = production reduced by 25%
  • Over 5300km squared of forest land destroyed = $5 billion in losses
  • Over 1 million people left the region and by Jan 2006 only 200,000 had returned
  • Coastal erosion
  • Estimated that 560km squared of land in Chadeleur Islands was submerged
  • 20% of marshlands inundated with sea water = loss of breeding grounds for turtles, birds etc.
  • Flood water polluted with sewage, heavy metals, pesticides and oil
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Hurricane Katrina - Responses

  • FEMA made clean-up plans
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Cyclone Nargis - The Event

When: 2nd May 2008


  • Late April 2008 = low pressure development in Bay of Bengal
  • 27th April = Deepening depression
  • 28th April = Cyclonic storm
  • 29th April = Severe cyclonic storm
  • 1st May = Cyclone headed east and rapidly intensified
  • 2nd May = Catergory 4 and hit Burma
  • 3rd May = Last warning and weakened as it moved towards Thailand
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Cyclone Nargis - Impact

  • Burma's worst ever natural disaster
  • Irrawady Delta where it first hit = the densest part of the country
  • Estimated that 1.5 million people were affected in Burma
  • Damage to the Burma economy of $4 billion
  • Approx. 600,000 ha of agricultural land damaged in Burma with 60% of farming implements lost
  • 75% of clinics and hospitals damaged in the area of Burma
  • Diseases such as dysentry made worse by the storm
  • 95% of homes in Bogale (Burma) washed away and around 10,000 were killed by a massive storm surge
  • In Sri Lanka as many as 3000 families were displaced
  • Around 35,000 people were affected in total in Sri Lanka
  • Also in Sri Lanka there was widespread flooding and landslides
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Cyclone Nargis - Responses

  • Lack of information and aid was in a state of confusion due to Burma seemingly refusing to accept the scale of the problem and reluctant to let outside help in
  • Many private companies left aid with the respected Buddhist monks rather than the government
  • ASEAN stepped in to help facilitate exchange between Burma's government and foreign aid
  • Donor countries pledged nearly $50 million in aid
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Effects of Global Warming on UK

  • Warmer and wetter = seasonal rainfall increases in intensity
  • Southern Britain more likley to experience a Mediterranean climate but north and west could be wetter
  • Storms may increase in frequency and intensity
  • Some predict colder winters
  • Coastal flooding will increase as sea levels rise
  • Rivers expected to flood more frequently and worsen in magnitude
  • Changes in agricultural practises and crops to be more Medterranean
  • More irrigation may be needed
  • Water supply may become a problem
  • Increases in pests and diseases e.g. malarial mosquitoes
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Effects of Global Warming on Bangladesh

  • Increase in total precipitation and length of wet season
  • More tropical cyclones
  • Temps. could increase but wet monsoon will become unreliable
  • Increased flooding as sea levels rise = international tension (people moving across borders)
  • Longer wet season = increases length of growing season = multi-cropping of paddy rice
  • Monsoon may become less reliable = drought
  • Many species may become extinct through loss of habitat e.g. Bengal Tiger
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