With the beginning of hurricane season and because a)there has been a prediction of an active season and b) we're concerned about the oil in the Gulf of Mexico right now and through the end of the year (by Sarah Nelson):
1. Hurricane season takes up nearly half the year. Typically it last from June 1 through the end of November. Approximately 97 percent of all hurricanes occur during the official hurricane season.
2. Across the country, 12 percent of Americans live in hurricane-prone regions.
3. Hurricanes are categorized by their wind force and storm surge (the height of water pushed ashore). The weakest hurricane has winds ranging anywhere from 74 to 95 miles an hour. A category five hurricane has winds of more than 155 miles per hour. Major hurricanes are ranked as either category three, four or five storms.
4. Experts anticipate an active 2010 hurricane season. Current estimates predict 14 to 23 named storms, and three to seven major hurricanes. The annual average is 11 named stormed with six hurricanes – two of which are major.
5. The year 2005 was the most active hurricane season in recorded history with 28 named storms. Including Katrina, 2005 had 15 hurricanes, seven of which were major. Prior to that year, the most active season on record was 1933 which had a total of 21 storms.
6. The longest category five hurricane was Hurricane Allen in 1980. The storm lasted 12 days and moved from the coast of Africa all the way to Northern Mexico before dissipating into a tropical depression.
7. Hurricane evacuation orders are serious business. If local authorities evacuate a region, following instructions can be a matter of life and death. Ninety percent of hurricane-related deaths are caused by storm surge, not winds.
8. When a hurricane causes severe damage to region, a request is often made to retire that hurricane’s name. Retirement means the name cannot be used for at least ten years after the storm. In 2005, five hurricane names were retired – the most names ever retired in a single year.
9. Most hurricanes occur in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, and less frequently in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Major storms that cross between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are renamed. Only nine storms have ever crossed oceans. The most recent major hurricane to cross oceans was Atlantic Hurricane Cesar, which became Northeast Pacific Hurricane Douglas, in 1996.
10. The frequency of tropical cyclones (a term that includes hurricanes and typhoons) over the last 35 years. Whether or not global climate change is driving the increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes and other stories remains a topic under debate – much like the ongoing and highly politicized struggle over climate change science itself.
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