The 2016 Hurricane Season is Over
by: Davis Yancy Clegg
No matter where we settle and make our homes, we are all subject to some sort of natural disaster. In the bible belt of the central eastern United States, tornadic activity is something you learn to expect. In the western parts of the country, earthquakes occur so often that residents don’t even flinch over anything less than a 4.0 on the Richter Scale. If you want to enjoy the sunshine in Florida, one best be ready for a tropical cyclone, or Hurricane.
Hurricanes are one of our planets’ most destructive occurrences. Anywhere you have seasonally warm ocean temperatures, you are subject to these crushing forces of nature. From June to November, hurricane season keeps Florida residents with window boards and hammers readily available. While Amelia Islands’ locale is one that typically thwarts off chances of direct hits, it is still subject to the other factors that come with a hurricane “drive-by.” The heavy rain fall, wind, and storm surges can reshape the Florida coastline at any time. With the stress and struggle that comes with having to evacuate your home, the last thing we are worried about is how these storms happen. In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, let’s take a closer look at the formula for such destruction.
Basically, hurricanes are created and fueled by heat. During the five months of hurricane season, water condensing at high altitudes releases latent heat. The condensation from the latent heat results in the increase of wind speeds. Also, a storm-forming mechanical energy that assists in the formation of these storms comes from a small portion of the process. Faster winds increase the rate of surface evaporation, compounding the amount of condensation. As the energy released causes unusually fierce updrafts, the height of storm clouds will increase. As this loop continues and compounds, the formation of a hurricanes Eye and the inside walls occurs. This can strengthen for however long conditions allow. The Coriolis effect – a force resulting from Earth’s spin – tends to deflect any moving object to the right in the northern hemisphere. Adversely, the effect moves objects to the left in the south. This force is one of the largest factors associated with cyclonic weather systems. Hurricanes form in the Atlantic Ocean. Often, a storm can travel up through the equally warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. With Florida’s location being so near Earth’s dividing hemispheric line (the equator), Florida is ideally set up for being attacked from both sides, proven by the landfall occurrences of Hurricanes Charley and Francis.
Coastal landfall tends to be the most severe form of hurricane hits. For our little slice of paradise, the flooding surge that comes from the manipulation of coastal waters is the main cause of damage to the island. Hurricane Matthew left many of Fernandina Beach’s residents out of work for days, some for weeks. Thankfully, the blow received by Amelia Island came at low tide. Had it come at high tide, the storm surge effects would have been catastrophically compounded. For that, we feel thankful and are blessed to be back in business in such an expedited fashion. We at Amelia River Cruises extend our deepest sympathies and to those who were not so fortunate. We hope for a speedy recovery to all affected by Hurricane Matthew.
Thank Goodness, it looks like Hurricane Season is over for 2016.
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