When Hurricane Katrina touched land on August 29, 2005, it was a Category 3 rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. On the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, wind power was a punishing 100-140 miles per hour. Considering the damage a hurricane can leave in its path, thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes and travel to safer areas of each state. In the end, Hurricane Katrina caused an estimated $100 billion in damage across the Gulf Coast of the United States (History.com, 2009).
Why do hurricanes have categories and why is that considered useful information? What do these storms look like and what kind of weather can they create? The following is a description of each Hurricane category to better understand this extreme weather (AccuWeather, 2014):
Category One Hurricane: Sustained winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt or 119-153 km/hr).
Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.
Category Two Hurricane: Sustained winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt or 154-177 km/hr).
Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
Category Three Hurricane: Sustained winds 111-129 mph (96-112 kt or 178-208 km/hr).
Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.
Category Four Hurricane: Sustained winds 130-156mph (113-136kt or 209-251 km/hr).
Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Category Five Hurricane: Sustained winds greater than 156 mph (136 kt or 251 km/hr).
Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
“First she roars through Miami Beach as a strengthening Cat-1 Hurricane and sandblasts the entire shoreline. Then she gains strength and causes the highest storm surge in recorded history and our mission was to capture it from the most intense part of the storm, The Eyewall. We deployed the Theiss-Device Storm Cam inside the lobby of the hotel capturing moments too dangerous for any human to survive. The TD Storm Cam provides a rare close-up view that helps illustrate the raw power of water when unleashed as Storm Surge.” – Hurricane Katrina Battle of the Beachfront.
Follow the Ultimate Chase Productions team, along with Jim Reed Photography, in this dangerous video capture of Hurricane Katrina as it first hits land.
(Ultimate Chase | SchoolTube)
LEARN MORE: HISTORY – HURRICANE KATRINA
LEARN MORE: HURRICANE FACTS FOR KIDS
- Enlarge the image provided by the Lawrenceville Weather report: Hurricane Katrina storm track 2005. The circles represent Hurricane Katrina’s path. What important details can you learn from the illustration and color key?
- In the video we see a timeline of the storm surge using handheld and wall mounted cameras known as Theiss-Device Storm Cams. What are the advantages of using storm cams to study hurricanes?
- Study the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. What are the major effects associated with a hurricane?
- The video crew want to capture images “from the most intense part of the storm, The Eyewall.” What is The Eyewall? Explain.
Categories: In The News