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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Amazing Hurricane Ike irate storm

When it hit Ike the northern coast of Cuba and once again a mass evacuation has been implemented. Wind speeds in excess of 120 mph are battering the area with storm surge and torrential rain causing widespread flooding. Nearly 50 people are reported dead on Haiti and Hurricane Ike has destroyed 80% of all homes on the main Turks and Caicos Islands (as quoted by the Turks and Caicos Prime Minister).
 Hurricane Ike

Hurricanes are formed when a strong cluster of thunderstorms drift into warm ocean water. They are known as Hurricanes in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific, and Typhoons in the western Pacific. In the Bay of Bengal and Indian oceans they are known as Cyclones. (Whatever their name, they are all hugely destructive and damaging).  As the cluster of storms drift over the warm ocean they combine to provide a powerful updraft of warm air, creating low pressure at the surface.
 Amazing Hurricane Ike irate storm
The storm now starts to spin as trade winds blow from opposing directions and the continuing rising warm air decreases pressure at higher altitudes. To fill this low pressure air starts to rise faster and faster drawing with it more and more warm, moist air from the sea and driving cooler, dryer air downwards.
Now as the storm continues across the ocean it sucks up more and more warm air, causing wind speeds to rise as air is sucked into the low pressure centre. A fully formed hurricane has an eye of calm winds where cold air descends. Circulating around this eye is the warm, moist and powerful maelstrom winds and clouds laden with heavy rains of the storm.
Hurricane Ike irate storm
As these hurricanes hit land they have a devastating impact and with a sea surge produced below the storm due to its intense low pressure much flooding ensues. This is often the main cause of death in a hurricane. But once they move inland they lose their source of power, the warm ocean,  winds will rapidly decrease but the rain bearing clouds are likely to take a huge amount of precipitation inland for many miles, often hundreds of miles.
irate storm
Ike has now weakened from a category 4 storm to a category 3 as it passes over Cuba. The eye of the hurricane came ashore near Punta Lucrecia, 510 miles to the south east of Havana. The main concern now in Cuba is that Ike will head directly into Havana which is Cuba’s most populated city, and has many precarious and historic colonial buildings which would be under grave threat from a storm like Ike.

Hurricane Ike
Hurricane Ike is about to enter the Gulf of Mexico and here it is likely to strengthen as it is fed by the warm Gulf. Its path is hard to predict but currently could be making landfall anywhere from Florida to Texas, so residents will be getting nervous as they are once again in the path of a potential category 5 monster in what is turning out to be a very active hurricane season.

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