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September 19, 2019
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September 19, 2019

Understanding hurricanes

A satelite image of Hurricane Dorian. Source: physicsworld.com

Since 1970, the North Atlantic has had an increase in hurricane activity. Data is showing that climate change increases the chances of these devastating weather events by creating favourable conditions of warmer ocean waters and higher sea levels resulting in intensified hurricanes.
In the past few weeks, we all witnessed the devastation that Hurricane Dorian left behind. Hurricane Dorian was the strongest storm ever to hit the Bahamas. It intensified to a Category 5 storm and reports confirmed loss of life (50 confirmed deaths and hundreds still missing) and complete destruction of properties.
We are currently midway through the 2019 hurricane season and we need to be prepared for any severe weather events.
Below is a list of some frequently used terms during the hurricane season:
Tropical Disturbance—This an isolated weather system with an area of organised thunderstorm activity existing for a period of over 24 hours or more.
Tropical Depression—The Tropical Disturbance now acquires a spin, and winds over 30 mph. Thunderstorm activity persists.
Tropical Storm—The Tropical Depression has increased wind speed of over 39 mph. Intense thunderstorm activity.
Hurricane—The Tropical Storm has increased wind speed of over 74 mph or greater. Intensified thunderstorm activity continues. The hurricane gathers heat and energy from the warm ocean waters enabling them to gain intensity.
Hurricanes can be further classified using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which classes the intensity on a scale of 1–5. It is important to note that storms that intensify in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific are called Hurricanes whereas in the Northwest Pacific are called Typhoons.
To prepare for a storm or hurricane, ensure that your trees are trimmed near electrical wires, roofs are secured with hurricane straps, emergency supplies such as food, medicines, batteries and water are stored securely.
Keep an evacuation plan in your homes to your nearest shelter. In the event of a storm/hurricane, please remain calm, ensure your family and pets are safe, stay away from windows and falling items and only go outside if told to by the authorities.
Hurricanes are frightening, hence it is important to be prepared at all times during these next three months of 2019.
I am also urging you to please donate relief items to the people of Bahamas. There are several relief projects currently being done where you can make a financial donation or food and water supplies. They need our assistance now more than ever.

Send questions to rayannaboodram@hotmail.com