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IMPACT OF HURRICANES IN FLORIDA INTRODUCTION According to the National Hurricane Center a hurricane releases heat energy at a rate of 50 trillion to 200 trillion watts which is equivalent to the energy from exploding 10 megaton bombs every 20 minutes With such strength it is no wonder why these natural disasters have such large destructive impacts on the environment Furthermore hurricanes are of extreme importance to Florida since they have historically plagued the state especially in 1992 with Hurricane Andrew Since it is certain that hurricanes will hit Florida and equally certain that biological populations including people will exist in Florida there is a need for researching methods to coexist with these monstrous storms IMPACTS OF HURRICANES First to be able to create solutions to hurricane damage experts must understand the physical manner in which hurricanes actually cause damage Roger Pielke in his hurricane book The Hurricane identifies four impacts of a hurricane storm surge extreme winds tornadoes and rainfall These impacts are not completely separate from each other they interact but are different in scope Storm surge refers to the rapid rise of sea level as a storm approaches a coastline This is the biggest impact of a hurricane and accounts for 90 of hurricane deaths Pielke 1990 Storm surges are caused by three factors First the overlying atmosphere pressure drops Second strong onshore winds cause a piling up of water at the coast Third the decreasing sea depths as the ocean approaches the coast causes the surge to get steeper A storm surge of 15 feet corresponds to a level 5 hurricane and a surge greater than 5 feet can cause major damage and loss of life Since surges diminish as they move inland surges are mostly destructive to beaches Extreme winds which carry a lot of kinetic energy can cause significant structural damage and even endanger life with dangerous debris The damage of winds is proportional to the kinetic flow which
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