September 2017 marks worst hurricane month on record

By Stephanie Lingenfelter
Editor-in-Chief

Recently the world has been hit by hurricane after hurricane. There have been four in little over a month’s time, Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria, causing billions of dollars in damage in many cities.

Earth and Space Science teacher Ryan Love explained what a hurricane is.

“A hurricane is a low-pressure storm system that forms over tropical waters. It earns the title hurricane when the sustained wind speed reaches 74 mph,” Love said.

According to Love, the Saffir-Simpson scale is used for measuring hurricanes.

“The Saffir-Simpson scale is used to measure the intensity of hurricanes. It takes into account the pressure, wind, and storm surge. The strong winds and flooding from the storm surge are the parts of a hurricane that cause the most damage to coastal areas,” Love said.

It all started with category four Hurricane Harvey when it hit parts of Texas. According to Washington Post, winds from Harvey reached 130 mph, causing $180 billion in damage and making Harvey the worst disaster in Texas history. After Harvey came, another category four, Irma, hit the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Florida, causing $70 billion in damage. According to weather.com, Hurricane Harvey and Irma marked the first time in 166 years that two category four hurricanes hit the Atlantic coast in the same year, but it doesn’t stop there. Hurricane Jose started brewing with Maria right behind it.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Maria hit as a category four in Puerto Rico, hitting where Irma had before and causing another $85 billion in damage. Jose has been switching between a tropical storm and hurricane for the entire month of September, so meteorologists don’t know when the hurricane will hit. According to Nola, there is also Hurricane Lee, a category three hurricane starting to form near Bermuda and moving Northeast.

There are many different theories about what caused this hurricane season and some are even saying it’s the end of the world. Love doesn’t believe those theories and thinks it’s just human nature.

“In the time I’ve been on the planet, there have been quite a few times where people thought the world was ending. Some were taken more seriously than others, but so far we’ve made it through them all. I think it’s a natural tendency for people to want to believe the time they are living in is the end because it’s hard to imagine the world going on without us,” Love said.

According to Love, there have been an influx of hurricanes in 2017, but it’s not the worst that it has been.

“We have had eight in 2017, the average is about six, but the record is 15 in 2005,” Love said.

According to PBS, the multitude of hurricanes is caused by three different factors.
The first is weak wind shear. Hurricanes’ potency is lessened when the winds on the ocean blow at one speed and direction, while winds in the upper atmosphere blow at another. The difference causes hurricanes to actually tilt, but right now the shear is low, so the hurricane doesn’t tilt and instead stays symmetrical. The other two reasons are higher temperature water that goes far below the surface and high levels of moisture in the air. Higher temperatures and moisture levels are ideal for hurricanes. Organizations are holding fundraisers to help the victims of the hurricane, including some at school. Senior FCCLA President Ashley Collins explained why and how FCCLA decided to help.

“FCCLA is collecting school supplies and school clothes such as polos, socks, etc. to take to a school in Texas over fall break. We recently collected these items at our Fall Leadership Rally on Sept. 27 as well. We decided to support this cause because we feel that no one should have to go through such a tragedy as a hurricane that completely strips their lives away and we wanted to help in anyway possible,” Collins said.
Collins says it’s very humbling to help those in need and students should donate because the victims have nothing.

“FCCLA has made it our goal this year to do many community service projects. So being able to help families that are all the way in Texas makes us feel amazing! We are able to help more than just our community. We are starting to help people around the country. And that is a very humble feeling. Students should donate because these families have almost nothing and could really use as much help as possible,” Collins said.

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