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Q: To Umiat--Hurricanes influences on coastal areas and urban centers ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: To Umiat--Hurricanes influences on coastal areas and urban centers
Category: Science > Physics
Asked by: bevans1234-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 28 Mar 2006 14:38 PST
Expires: 27 Apr 2006 15:38 PDT
Question ID: 712904
Is there any information on what would happen to a nuclear power plant
if there were damage due to a hurricane or other natural forces, such
as release from the plant, direction, dispersal, geographic
distribution? Also, how would a hurricane effect huge urban centers
like NYC or Washington,
D.C.? Where would it come ashore? Track and damage? Longshot or
unexpected/unanticipated occurance. What about buildings and pressure?
Debris and glass in large urban centers? What about an airplane or
ship caught in a hurricane? What happens when lightning hits water?
How far does the charge go? I'm concentrating on what would happen to
large uband areas along the mid-Atlantic coast into the Northeast as
far as a major hurricane. What happens to the beaches, structures,
infrastructure and effects on densely populated urban centers? Does
the pressure and winds suck out from some buildings and blow into
others? Can pollutants or natural substances change the track or
intensity of a Hurricane, like an oil spill or eruption of undersea
methane beds?  I know it's alot. Thanks.

Clarification of Question by bevans1234-ga on 31 Mar 2006 03:46 PST
This can be to anyone who is available to answer my question. Thanks


Request for Question Clarification by umiat-ga on 31 Mar 2006 05:37 PST
Thank you, bevans1234-ga. I will be working on this question. I may
not have it locked all the time as I will have a short period of
travel tomorrow, but I will try to finish it up as soon as possible.
If I cannot find enough information, I will open it up to the
researcher community at large.

Clarification of Question by bevans1234-ga on 31 Mar 2006 05:45 PST
That's fine. Keep going!
Subject: Re: To Umiat--Hurricanes influences on coastal areas and urban centers
Answered By: umiat-ga on 31 Mar 2006 21:50 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello again, bevans1234-ga!

 Thank you so much for your patience. I am so sorry I did not see this
posting earlier. Yes - you do have a lot of questions here. I have
found many interesting references for several of the questions, and a
total dearth of information pertaining to others. I have compiled what
I have been able to unearth, but please be aware that some parts of
the question simply cannot be answered. I hope the references below
help to shed some more light on research for your book! This has been
a very interesting project for me so far!


There is not too much to report, here, since nuclear plants are quite
well protected from hurricanes, tornadoes and the like (of course
there is plenty of material regarding vulnerability from terrorist
attacks, but that is another subject entirely!)

The following articles provide some insight into evacuation
preparedness and vulnerability from hurricanes - mostly in terms
"station blackouts."

"Nuclear Reactors and Hurricanes."

"When faced with a hurricane or other foreseeable severe weather
event, nuclear reactors are required to manually shut down as a safety
precaution when certain conditions exist. The South Texas nuclear
power station in Bay City, Texas and the Waterford nuclear power
station near Baton Rouge, LA are required to shut down when hurricane
force winds speeds reach 73 and 74 miles per hour, respectively.
Nuclear reactor operators will also shut down the reactor in advance
of the arrival of hurricane force winds. In some cases, where
utilities do not have a sufficient amount of non-nuclear back-up
power, this will cause a loss of electrical power before the storm
even arrives. While most nuclear reactors built in potential hurricane
zones are designed to structurally withstand high winds and modest
flooding, they are vulnerable to other effects of severe storms. The
most significant event is the loss of offsite power, a problem that
can lead to a "station blackout."

Read further...


"Nuclear Plants? Structural Strength, Emergency Plans Perform Well
Through Hurricane Katrina." September 2005


Nuclear Power Plant Emergency Respondedness - Protecting Our Neighbors
in the Event of an Emergency."




From U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission - History

1992 - "Hurricane Andrew strikes the Turkey Point nuclear power plant
in Southern Florida. Several onsite emergency preparedness resources
are damaged. FEMA mobilizes a response team to assess offsite
radiological emergency preparedness capabilities. NRC Inspection
Manual Chapter 1601 , "Communication Protocol for Assessing Offsite
Emergency Preparedness Following a Natural Disaster," is created to
address nuclear plant restart plans and establishes restart criteria
for plants shutdown after significant events. In addition, the
NRC/FEMA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is revised to address
recovery from natural disasters affecting offsite emergency."

"Nuclear power plants stand in Floyd's path." CNN. 1999

"The plants are designed to sustain maximum hurricane sustained winds
of 194 mph," said plant manager Art Stall. The site's two reactors are
fortified with nearly four feet of reinforced steel and concrete and
are built to withstand Category 5 hurricanes....As a precautionary
measure, FPL's procedures require sites to shut down nuclear
generating units within two hours of the anticipated onset of
hurricane-force winds

"FPL also has the Turkey Point nuclear plant, 30 miles south of Miami,
which sustained a direct hit when Hurricane Andrew swept ashore in
August 1992. The plant shut down for that storm, and its exterior
buildings suffered extensive damage, but the nuclear reactors, behind
the walls of concrete and steel, survived unharmed."

On a side note (shuttles, rockets, subs): 

 "Seeking to avoid an emergency at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape
Canaveral, Florida, NASA has secured four space shuttles -- worth a
total of $8 billion --into hangars. But there are fears that Hurricane
Floyd could rip apart the launch pads and hangars. The hangars are
designed to withstand winds of 125 mph, but Floyd's sustained winds
are 140 mph. There was not enough time for NASA to move four rockets
-- two with military payloads and two carrying communications
satellites. Instead, NASA secured the rockets as much as possible. At
U.S. naval bases in Port Canaveral, Florida, and Kings Bay, Georgia,
nuclear powered submarines have been re- positioned. Some of the 10
Trident submarines stationed at King's Bay will ride out the storm at
the bottom of the ocean

Other Impacts

The possibility of floodwaters attendant to hurricanes might cause damage:

Read "Advice on nuclear safety set for update in wake of floods."
Nature. Published online: 31 August 2005


Tornados (not hurricanes!) and stored radioactive waste:

From "Illinois sues nuclear plant over tainted water." March 16, 2006

Tornado worries - "Meanwhile, it is storing tritiated water on site
rather than discharging it through the pipe to the Kankakee River. But
prosecutors said the company was "disingenuous" in explaining the
situation to the public and authorities, and may be endangering the
public further by storing radioactive waste outside in steel tanks
where they could be vulnerable to a tornado. State prosecutor James
Glasgow said the storage system in place for tritiated water was
vulnerable to tornadoes, which strike frequently in northern Illinois
and which could jettison steel tanks loaded with highly radioactive
waste and cause a radiological disaster."



"Japan nuclear plant ordered to shut down," From Richard Lloyd Parry.
March 24, 2006.,,25689-2101871,00.html
"A Japanese nuclear power station was ordered today to shut down
because of the danger it could spew radiation after being ruptured by
an earthquake."


New York City

The following article contains some fascinating information about the
potential destruction that could be caused by a major hurricane
hitting New York City:
"Digging into Hurricanes," By Michael Carlowicz. From Woods Hole
Currents, Fall 2002.
"Most hurricane researchers look at the atmosphere to study their
subjects. Some look in the history archives. Jeff Donnelly looks in
the mud. In Succotash Marsh, Rhode Island, on Whale Beach in New
Jersey, in Long Beach, New York, Donnelly unearths the history of
intense hurricanes in the Northeast. By digging up sediments from back
bays and coastal marshes, he can reveal the past and perhaps the
future of hurricanes. A sediment core allows Donnelly to chronicle the
landfall of historic hurricanes, such as the 1635, 1938, and 1954
storms that struck New England."

"After Miami and New Orleans, New York City is considered the most
troubling target for a major hurricane disaster. Recent research using
theoretical models suggests that a modern category 4 hurricane would
drown John F. Kennedy International Airport under 20 feet of water and
would flood the Holland and Brooklyn-Battery tunnels and the subways.
That is frightening news to the insurance industry, which has
liability for more hurricane-endangered property in New York than in
any state besides Florida."

"Though hurricanes in New England don?t have the notoriety that they
do in the Florida Keys, the Carolina Coast, or the Gulf States, the
region has taken its share of hurricane hits. Intense hurricanes -
category 3 or higher - are relatively rare in New England because the
cooler sea surface temperatures and prevailing winds weaken the storms
or bend them eastward. But when intense hurricanes do strike New
England, the wind speed on the eastern side of the storm is often
accentuated by the fast forward motion of the whole system, creating a
greater storm surge. Because Long Island and New England jut out into
the western Atlantic, they are a mark for fast-moving tropical storms
tracking north. Donnelly?s research suggests that a fast-moving
category 3 hurricane hits about every ninety to one hundred years."

"Since 1938, development has exploded along the North Atlantic Coast.
A Northeast-bound intense hurricane would threaten billions of dollars
worth of property, along with one-seventh of the US population. If a
modern version of the Great New England Hurricane were to strike the
exact same spots as in 1938, it would result in at least $18 billion
dollars of property damage."

"Most people have short memories," says Donnelly. In fact, it is
estimated that three-quarters of the population of the northeastern US
has never experienced a hurricane. Donnelly?s research provides
evidence to be heeded. "The geologic record shows that these great
events do occur," he says. "We need to make people aware that it can
happen again. We?ve got to have better evacuation plans and we need to
equip people to react to a big storm."


"THE BIG ONE - Experts say it?s only a matter of time before a major
hurricane strikes New York City. When it comes, you may want to have
your evacuation plan nearby. If not, meet the fishes." By Aaron

"Though it is rare for big hurricanes to hit the New York metropolitan
region, there are a variety of "oceanographic, demographic and
geologic characteristics that greatly amplify any hurricane" that
comes our way, according to Nicholas Coch, a professor of coastal
geology at Queens College. In many ways, Coch explains, "The New York
City area is the worst possible place for a hurricane to make a
landfall.".... "New York's first vulnerability is psychological. This
is a city where children playing in the dirt are told by their mothers
to "get up off the floor." We tend to forget that we have any
connection whatsoever to the natural world. The vast majority of the
city's eight million inhabitants simply have no idea that a hurricane
can happen here." "We live in a complacent coastal city," Lee says. "A
lot of people don't even think that there are beaches here," never
mind 478 miles of coastline........New York's second vulnerability is
demographic. During the decades of calm between major hurricanes, the
city grows and forgets. During the great hurricane of 1821, only
152,000 people lived in New York City. When the next major, direct hit
came in 1893, the city's population was 2.5 million. At the time of
the 1938 storm, Long Island wasn't a densely populated suburban
sprawl; it was a rural home for oyster fishermen, potato farmers and
wealthy industrialists. The same storm today would wreak incredible
havoc. AIR Worldwide Corporation estimates $11.6 billion in New York
losses alone. More than 20 million people live in the greater
metropolitan region. Many live on coastal land, reclaimed swamp and
barrier islands. Much of Lower Manhattan is built on landfill. Places
like Rockaway, Coney Island and Manhattan Beach "are stretches of land
that nature has created to protect the mainland from hurricanes," Lee
says. "In our civilization this is also the most desirable land to
develop and build on. We're not going to undevelop it. So we now have
to deal with the threat.....To get a sense of the damage that storm
surge can do to New York City, call 311 and ask them to send you a
full-color copy of the New York City Hurricane Evacuation Map. It is a
truly mind-boggling document. If a storm like the Long Island Express
makes a direct hit on the city, everything below Broome Street will be
inundated, some parts under as much as 20 and 30 feet of
water.....Then there are the winds. The city's two million trees will
be a huge problem. "New York City's trees haven't been stressed in
years except for an isolated severe thunderstorm or two," Wyllie says.
They've had plenty of time to grow and wrap their roots around
underground phone, electric, gas and water lines. As they are uprooted
in the heavy winds, a lot of infrastructure both above and below
ground is going to get wrecked."


An interesting presentation:

"Major Hurricane Strikes New York and New England: How Large Will the
Losses Be?" Presented to the National Catastrophe Insurance Summit.
November 15, 2005. San Francisco, CA. Karen M. Clark.


Some Opinions from the Uplink forum:

"Hurricane threat to New York."

"Yet the fear is growing that sooner or later, the human cost of a
large hurricane is going to hit home. Literally. This year's storm
season has started earlier and more violently than any in recent
history and the feeling is that New York is long overdue for the big
one. Mike Lee, a director of New York's Office of Emergency
Management, says the region can expect to witness a major storm every
70 or 80 years. The last one was in 1938 - a category three storm
remembered in the film Long Island Express. "So do the math. Whether
it happens this year, next year or in five years, it's going to
happen." The impact could devastate the financial heart of America.
"It's a very real threat," said Mike Wyllie of the National Weather
Service. "New York would be particularly vulnerable because of its
geology. The right angle formed by Long Island and the Atlantic coast
means that the water would have nowhere to go." Nowhere, except for
Manhattan itself. The best guess is that a hurricane of category three
or above would leave Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange and most
of the financial centre of New York under 30ft of water.
While most recent skyscrapers were built to withstand prolonged gusts
of strong winds, many older buildings were not, and Lee is not sure
they all could withstand such a battering. After all, hurricane winds
may be strong at sea level but 300ft above street level, 75mph turns
into 120mph. Tree roots, which have had years to wrap themselves
around phone, gas, electricity and water lines, could be ripped up,
taking out much of the infrastructure that keeps New York's financial
community alive."

Re: Hurricane threat to New York

"New York has a lot of things going for it that other cities lack. The
water offshore is colder near the coast, this causes a rapid weakening
of warm-core storms. There is more danger from severe winter storms
which happen with a lot more frequency. The tropical storms that have
hit New England have all degraded badly in the last 12 hours before
landfall. The wind and surge damage from 1938 and Carol in 1954 was
mostly to the east of the track. Flooding from rainfall was the big
killer in both, as far north as Canada. Remember that you have to add
the speed over ground to the sustained wind on the eastern side, and
subtract it to the west. They may be moving over ground at 50 mph as
they reach the latitude of NY. So a 'weak' 50 mph storm has 100 mph
effective wind on the eastern side, (like '38 and '54 and others,) and
NOTHING on the west. There is a sharp damage/no damage line. Last year
the hurricane barriers were closed with an 11 foot storm surge
expected at New Bedford. The center passed right up the Cape Cod
Canal. Cape Cod took a lot of wind and water damage but here, 20 miles
north it was a dead calm all night.
New York City could never be on the eastern side of a healthy
hurricane. The center would already be over land, quite hilly land."


Promo for a new weather channel show, but interesting!

See "It Could Happen Tomorrow: Weather Channel 'Forecasts' Hurricane
for New York." The Weather Channel. January 16, 2006

From "Ready New York." NYC Dept. of Emergency Management

"Many people believe that hurricanes only affect areas far south of
New York. But coastal storms, including hurricanes, can and do impact
the City. Unlike most coastal areas, New York City?s immediate
coastline is densely populated and highly developed, making the City
among the most vulnerable to hurricane-related damage. Recent research
indicates that due to regional geography, hurricanes in New York City
- though infrequent - can cause far more damage than hurricanes of
similar strength in the southern United States. It?s important to be
prepared to respond quickly. The New York City Office of Emergency
Management works to ensure the City is prepared for coastal storms and

..."Additionally, storm surge, the dome of seawater pushed forward by
the oncoming storm, is among the hurricane?s most hazardous features.
In a major hurricane, storm surge could reach more than 30 feet in
some parts of New York City. Aided by the hammering effect of the
breaking waves, the surge acts like a giant bulldozer, sweeping away
everything in its path."


Read "A Hurricane Would Devastate Our Area," By Deborah Brown-Volkman.
South Shore Press.

"The barrier island that protects the Mastic Peninsula is badly
eroding. If we have a storm like we did in 1938, or even a less severe
one, our area could look like New Orleans."

"What Would The Impact Be If The Barrier Island At Smith Points Beach
Breached? - "A lot of flooding," says Terchunian. "Since the 1950s,
over 8 million yards of sand have been lost. That?s 400,000
dumptrucks? worth of sand. If we brought in one dump truck per hour,
it would take 16,667 days to replenish the lost sand," according to
Terchunian. By these calculations, that is nearly 50 years of back

Anther factor that determines the level of damage is where the exact
landfall of a storm occurs. According to Mandia?s website on the 1938
storm, a pair of more recent category two storms (winds 96 - 110 mph)
varied greatly in their effect on Long Island. "Hurricane Bob [August
19, 1991] brushed the eastern tip of Long Island and moved into
southeastern New England," causing a minimal storm surge on Long
Island;  "Hurricane Gloria  [September 27,1985] moved across the
center of Long Island causing much tree damage and beach erosion."

"There is a misguided sense that Long Island can withstand strong
hurricanes with only minor inconveniences because few have ever
experienced a major hurricane," according to Mandia. He cites public
complacency, the number of people who would have to be evacuated, the
few evacuation routes off Long Island and the considerable area that
would be affected by storm surge, as reasons why "more lead-time is
needed for a proper evacuation than in other parts of the country."

Read further..


Also read "Storm scenario for 2100: havoc on Mass. coast," By Scott
Allen, Globe staff. 1998 Boston Globe


"Coastal Storms and Hurricanes: Storm Surge." Ready New York.

Hurricane Evacuation Locator -- New York

"Flooding: Coastal Flooding." Ready New York

 "In 1991, the Halloween Nor'easter - popularized by the movie "The
Perfect Storm" - stranded several southern Queens residents as the
primary Coastal Evacuation Route from the Rockaway Peninsula was
inundated by coastal flooding. In December 1992, another powerful
nor?easter with hurricane-force winds left a forceful mark on New York
City when its flooding knocked out electrical service to city subways,
forced LaGuardia Airport to close and submerged uptown parts of the
FDR Drive in Manhattan in four feet of water.
Coastal flooding from the 1992 nor?easter damaged as many as 20,000
homes and forced almost 2,000 people to take refuge in 36 Red Cross
emergency storm shelters."

Communities most at risk of coastal flooding include:

Bronx: Edgewater Park, Silver Beach, Locust Point, Classon Point and Throggs Neck
Brooklyn: Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay
 Lower Manhattan - Battery Park City and South Street Seaport area 
 Lower West Side - Battery Park to Midtown 
 East Side - Entire FDR Drive 
 Lower East Side - East of Avenue C, East 14th Street to Houston Street 
Queens: Rockaway Peninsula, Broad Channel, Howard Beach and West Hamilton Beach
Staten Island: New Dorp Beach, Oakwood Beach, Foxwood Beach, Great
Kills and Tottenville


From "The Long Island Express."

"What's In Store For New York's Future? The Long Island Express

"A major obstacle to overcome is public complacency. Approximately
78.5% of current New York State coastal residents have never
experienced a major hurricane (Hughes). One must remember that in
1938, Long Island was mostly undeveloped. The next time a major
hurricane hits, it will be impacting a highly-urbanized region........

"Given public complacency, the amount of people needed to evacuate,
the few evacuation routes off Long Island, and the considerable area
affected by storm surge, more lead-time is needed for a proper
evacuation than in other parts of the country. However, east coast
hurricanes are normally caught up in the very fast winds aloft, called
the jet stream, so they can move up the coast at great speeds - much
faster than hurricanes that impact the southern U.S. In fact, the 1938
Hurricane moved at forward speeds in excess of 60 mph. To this day the
Long Island Express holds the forward speed record for any Atlantic

** "All of these factors point to a possible future disaster." **


Read account of Hurricane Carol - "HURRICANE CAROL - August 31, 1954."

Washington, D.C

 I didn't find anything in relation to predictions or potential
catastrophes concerning hurricanes and Washington, D.C. I have posted
two brief articles about the effects from the 2003 hurricane.

From "Recovery Continues as D.C. Declared a Disaster Area," By David
Nakamura and Christian Davenport. Washington Post. September 20, 2003

"More than 700,000 homes and businesses were still without power this
morning in the Washington area, as residents struggled to restore a
sense of normalcy to their lives and clean up from the damage left
from Hurricane Isabel.....The death toll attributed to the storm
continued to mount with reports that three more people died after
carbon monoxide poisoning caused by poor ventilation of home
generators...Flooding continued today north and west of Washington,
and the Potomac River was expected to continue to rise, cresting above
flood stage at Harper's Ferry tonight at 11 p.m. and at Little Falls
by noon on Sunday....Even as utility crews fanned out throughout the
area making repairs, officials have said that some residents might
have to wait several more days -- even a week in some cases -- before
power comes back on.....About 25 jurisdictions were reporting problems
with water or sewer plants at daybreak today, officials said. In
Fairfax County and the Richmond area, the water has been turned on to
most customers, but officials were still urging residents to boil
their water before drinking...

From "2003: Washington DC swept by hurricane."

"A massive hurricane has swept through the area around Washington DC,
the capital of the United States...By early today, most people in
Washington had already taken shelter. The streets are largely empty,
and much of the city has simply shut down, including federal
buildings. Uprooted trees are blocking several roads, and many streets
are covered in leaves, branches and fallen power lines. Flights in to
the capital were cancelled or diverted, and all three airports in the
Washington area have been shut down. Many train services have also


From Killer Hurricanes. Time Collection,21428,c_hurricanes,00.shtml

"Manhattan's piles of steel and stone, its solid brownstone houses
stood firm, but the city's intricate, antlike pattern of existence
failed. The hurricane moaned between skyscrapers in 95-mile-an-hour
gusts. Water crept into the subways and trains stalled; thousands of
people stayed in downtown buildings, watching the storm crash through
the stone canyons. Up & down Long Island and through Westchester
County huge old trees were uprooted bodily, usually falling south."
From The Great Whirlwind Sep. 25, 1944



Glass was blown out of skyscrapers in downtown Houston...


"Hurricane Alicia." Wikipedia

"Houston suffered millions of dollars in damage. Thousands of glass
panes in downtown skyscrapers were shattered by gravel blown off of


HURRICANE HUGO - September 22, 1989.

"Although the severest conditions in Hugo were experienced just to the
northeast of Charleston - the city was battered. Charleston City Hall
and the fire station lost their roofs during the hurricane, while a
dozen or more historic churches, and the City Market had severe
roofing damage. More than half the cities 4,000 historic structures
suffered some type of damage. Tidal flooding along the Battery was
severe, with many historic structures receiving flood damage.....
After Hugo had passed, damage reports slowly came in. From the air -
news helicopters showed whole swaths of buildings roofless and gutted.
Several buildings had been swept right off their foundations - as if
hit by a tidal wave. As local and national media coverage of the
destruction increased, residents soon realized the enormity of what
had occurred out on the islands. Hurricane Hugo had run over the
barrier island communities of South Carolina like a freight train. The
combination of tides 20-feet above normal and winds gusts in excess of
160-mph caused some of the worst cyclone damage along the South
Carolina coast ever experienced.Folly Beach suffered some of the worst
destruction wrought by Hugo. About 80% of the homes on the island were
destroyed. The main scenic road that runs along ocean (Arctic Avenue)
was stripped bare of its pavement - a mass of house wreckage strewn
across it. Hundreds of beachfront homes were gutted or flattened. In a
pure demonstration of power - The Atlantic House, an over the water
restaurant, was completely swept away, only the pilings of the 13,000
square foot restaurant were found the morning after the storm."

"Almost two hundred miles inland Hugo still had 100 mph wind gusts.
The major metropolitan area of Charlotte, North Carolina suffered
extensive damage. Thousands of large trees fell into homes and
business around Charlotte, and glass was shattered in downtown


"Tougher requirements called for on skyscraper windows," BY CURTIS

"It wasn't just Hurricane Wilma's winds that shattered the gleaming
glass facades of so many South Florida skyscrapers. It was the junk
flying around in that wind 40 stories off the ground -- jagged shards
of glass and fist-size chunks of stucco. That's something South
Florida's high-velocity wind code doesn't address. High-rise windows
are designed to survive ''small missile'' impacts from debris like
roof gravel, a standard tested by shooting pea-size metal balls at
glass. But after three weeks of surveying hundreds of blown-out
high-rise windows in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, building inspectors,
engineers and glass consultants believe that the bulk of the damage
was caused by high-flying debris -- bigger, heavier and more
destructive than anything the highly touted code contemplates.
Underscoring concerns is the fact that many windows failed in Wilma, a
storm whose sustained winds were generally no more forceful than 100
mph -- well below the threshold that high-rise buildings are supposed
to meet."

"City and county inspectors, as well as engineering consultants and
glass contractors and makers who examined the damage, said it may be
months before they can fully explain what happened. They say a
combination of factors, including a ''wind-tunnel'' effect that may
have exacerbated Wilma's power, likely played some role in the window

Read further... 


A few technical articles:

Also read "Performance of building cladding in urban environments
under extreme winds," By Tiphaine Williamsa and Ahsan Kareema.

"Lessons Learned from Failures of the Building Envelope in
 ASCE / MARCH 2005



From "Inside hurricanes and tornadoes - Hurricane lightning is muted."

"A hurricane research campaign in 1998 showed that hurricanes
typically don't produce much lightning, but sometimes they can. "What
we want to know is why," said Monte Bateman of the Universities Space
Research Association. "Some longtime hurricane pilots have reported
that when a hurricane does produce lightning, intensification often

 Read further...


"Oceans Rarely Hit By Lightning."

"NASA has shown with satellite imaging that the oceans rarely get hit
with lightning. Apparently the surface water does not heat up enough
to cause the positive charge needed for lightning to
occur......Scientists know little about what happens when lightning
hits water. The electrical current probably spreads in all directions,
weakening as it spreads out. Since large numbers of dead fish aren't
found after thunderstorms move across bodies of water, the current
probably weakens in short distances.


Also read "Lightning Questions."


Does lightning fry fish?" Science Update. 

Matt: "Why is it that we're directed to get out of water during a
lightning storm to avoid electrocution? Do fish get electrocuted when
the lightning strikes a lake?"

We asked Don MacGorman, a physicist at the National Severe Storms
Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. He says that as long as the fish are
underwater, they're probably okay.

Don: "Basically lightning stays more on the surface of the water
rather than penetrating it. That's because water is a reasonably good
conductor, and a good conductor keeps most of the current on the
surface. So, when lightning hits the water, the current zips across
the surface in all directions. And if you're swimming anywhere in the
vicinity, it'll probably hit you. But below the surface, most of the
electricity is instantly neutralized. So the fish are generally
spared. Of course, if the fish happen to be surfacing, they're at risk
just like you are. And Dr. MacGorman adds that some electricity does
penetrate the water, right at the strike point. So fish under a
lightning strike can be killed, if it's close enough to the surface.
But it has to be much closer than you do on the surface of the water."


See "If lightning strikes the ocean while you are in it how close does
the strike have to be for you to feel it?"


See "Lightening and Sailboats."

Trying to stop a hurricane's path 

From "Attempts to weaken, destroy hurricanes." USA Today

See site for answers to the following questions:

Q: Could a large chunk of ice from the poles be towed into the path of
a hurricane to weaken it?

Q: Could dry ice be dropped into a hurricane to weaken it? 

Q: Why don't they destroy or weaken hurricanes when they threaten land? 

Q: I saw a report on television about someone who had a substance that
could be dropped into clouds and absorb water. They did an experiment
where they dropped some on clouds off Florida and the clouds
dissipated. The television reporter said this could be used to weaken
hurricanes. Why isn't this done?

Q: Wouldn't a huge bomb weaken a hurricane? If they are worried about
radioactivity, they could use powerful fuel-oil bombs.

Q: Since ocean heat is a source of hurricane energy, why not cool the
ocean with icebergs or dry ice?

Q: What happened to the idea of seeding hurricanes to weaken them? 

Q: Why not attack a storm when it's still only a weak tropical wave or depression? 

Q: Since hurricanes draw their power from the latent heat released as
the water vapor in humid air condenses, why not find a way to cut off
the supply of humid air? That is, why not reduce the evaporation of
water from the parts of tropical oceans that are supply the humid air
a storm needs?

Q: Is trying to modify hurricanes such a good idea after all? 


An entire forum thread is devoted to a Florida man who planned to dump
an absorbent material in the path of Hurricane Ivan. I could find no
original articles, unfortunately.

"Man trying to reduce the strength of hurricane Ivan."

A South Florida businessman says he's going to try to reduce the
strength of Hurricane Ivan by flying a Boeing 747 into the edge of the
hurricane and dumping thousands of pounds of an absorbent material
into the storm. Peter Cordani of Jupiter plans to try to knock the
storm down by one or two categories by dropping tons of powder that
absorbs 3,000 to 4,000 times its weight...

Tornado (not a hurricane) but still interesting

From the Stupid Question website: Q: What would happen if an F5
tornado hit a skyscraper? and Q: Or if a tornado hit a nuclear power

"Concrete Homes Withstand Storms," From Jackie Craven

"Cleaning Up Kennedy Space Center After Frances." Universe Today. Wed, 08 Sep 2004

"Hunting Prehistoric Hurricanes - Storm-tossed sand offers a record of
ancient cyclones," by John Travis. Science News Online

Safety of Hurricane Hunting Jets

I could find virtually nothing concerning commercial or military
aircraft during a hurricane.

Hurricane Hunters question safety of jets." Hurricane Web Log.

The union says that the Gulfstream jets are less stable in a hurricane
and can quickly lose altitude when hit by turbulence.

"The plane could go down in a hurricane and lose the whole crew," said
a union official

Brief Accounts of Ships

The Fantome - 'Nowhere To Run'
"The 282-foot, four-masted schooner S/V Fantome, with 31 crewmen
aboard, disappeared off the coast of Honduras on October 27. Its last
assumed position was overrun by Hurricane Mitch, the fifth-fiercest
Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. Built during World War I by the
Italian Navy, Fantome had since 1969 been part of the Windjammer
Barefoot Cruises' fleet, which specializes in Caribbean sailing
vacations. The US$15 million Fantome, self-insured by its owners, had
cruised various areas including the Bahamas and Leeward Islands before
shifting to the Gulf of Honduras about 2 years ago to sail itineraries
in the Honduran Bay Islands and Belize's Barrier Reef during the
Summer/Fall or hurricane season.

"Fantome, according to a recent New York Times report, was no stranger
to storms, having had brushes with two previous hurricanes during its
years in the Caribbean. Windjammer Barefoot Cruises' founder and
President of Operations Michael Burke says, "We have six ships
operating year-round in the Caribbean. Every year we are threatened by
approaching hurricanes and every year we inevitably have to take
evasive action" Nevertheless, prior to this tragedy, Windjammer had
logged a 50-year history without losing a human life at sea."

"But Burke admitted, "With Mitch and Fantome, we were faced with
circumstances that provided us with very few viable options. Fantome
was boxed in a corner with the Yucatan Peninsula to the west and
Honduras to the south. Fantome had nowhere to run."

Read further...


Caught in Hurricane Aaron."


"CONVERSATION: LOST AT SEA." January 5, 2000


 While I was not able to find answers to all of your questions, I
certainly hope this information proves to be both interesting and
useful background for your book. Please let me know if I can be of
further help in the future. This research has been extremely
enlightening and enjoyable!



Search Strategy

hurricane AND nuclear power plant
tornadoes AND nuclear plants AND radiation
possible effect of a catastrophic hurricane on new york city
damage to skyscrapers in hurricanes
broken windows AND hurricanes
New England hurricanes and damage
catastrophic hurricane AND predict OR prediction AND Boston OR New England 
Hurricane overwash new york city
vulnerability of east coast to a major hurricane
Washington D.C AND hurricane
Boston AND hurricanes
jets OR airplanes in hurricanes
can oil spill change the path of a hurricane?
change OR changing the path of a hurricane
building pressure AND hurricanes
cruiseships OR naval ships and hurricanes
ship caught in hurricane
Fantome AND hurricane Mitch 
what happens when lightning hits water
hurricane storm surge could devastate new england OR east coast
bevans1234-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $25.00
Fabulous! Umiat-ga, thanks for your hard work. 


Subject: Re: To Umiat--Hurricanes influences on coastal areas and urban centers
From: umiat-ga on 02 Apr 2006 20:43 PDT
Thank you once again, bevans! I truly enjoy working with you!

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