Stories tagged hurricanes


2005 hurricane season summary map: (Image courtesy National Hurricane Center)

The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 and runs through November 30. The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active in recorded history. How will 2006 compare?

Check back often for updates and the latest news.


Overnight, hurricane Wilma became a Category 5 storm with sustained 175-mile-per-hour winds and the lowest recorded barometric pressure of any Atlantic hurricane. Meteorologists expect it to weaken over the next few days, although it could dump huge amounts of rain on Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and Cuba.

10-19-2005 Hurricane Wilma: Hurricane Wilma, 10-19-2005

The current forecast has Wilma dropping to a Category 3 storm before it makes landfall somewhere in southwestern Florida over the weekend. (Florida has been hit by six—count 'em! Six!—hurricanes since August 2004, and many people are still in the process of rebuilding from the last storm.) Wilma is the third Category 5 hurricane this year (after Katrina and Rita). The National Hurricane Center doesn't know if that's a record because they don't track the number of Category 5 storms in a season. Wilma does tie two other records, though—the most hurricanes in a season: 12; and the most named storms in a season: 21. And Wilma is the last name on the National Hurricane Center's list of names for 2005 storms. The hurricane season doesn't end until November 30; if any other tropical storms or hurricanes develop this year, they'll be named using letters from the Greek alphabet, starting with Alpha. (If that happens, it would be the first time since we started naming storms in 1953.)


Just on the heels of the deadly Hurricane Katrina, Rita hit the gulf coast with 120mph winds. The storm grew to enormous force out at sea with winds in excess of 155mph but then slowed down some as it came inland.


It appears that Rita has caused flooding in New Orleans. Water is pouring over the levees in the lowest lying part of the city.

Is New Orleans in danger also?

The hurricane is came on shore near Lake Charles, TX which is very close to the Louisiana border and about a 5 hour drive to New Orleans. But the storm is was so big that the storm surge was easily able to top some of New Orleans' fragile levees. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that after Hurricane Katrina, the levees could handle only 6 inches of rain and a storm surge of 10-12 feet.

Watch the waters rise

As the hurricane comes ashore, it will push massive amounts of water inland, causing a "storm surge." To watch the water rise in real-time, check out the Texas USGS stream-flow gauges. The gauge near Freeport is likely to show an effect (depending on where the storm hits). These gauges measure the water level in streams and rivers in real-time. Watch for a huge increase as the hurricane moves inland.

Get to higher ground

Right now, more than 1.3 million people are under mandatory evacuation orders. Texas Governor Rick Perry, having learned Katrina's lessons, is preparing the state for a worst-case scenario. President Bush has declared states of emergency in Texas and Louisiana, allowing FEMA to coordinate plans, and workers at the South Texas Project nuclear power plant are shutting the facility down before Rita arrives.

And watch for rising gas prices. The threatened oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico produce more than 25% of total U.S. oil output.

See a diagram of New Orleans' levee system
Levee break from the Sky

As the weather cleared in New Orleans officials were able to move in and begin rescue operations. However, a hole in the levee holding back the salty waters of Lake pontchartrain has been widening throughout the day. This hole is causing flood waters to steadily rise, flooding areas that had originally escaped inundation.

New Orleans's Ray Nagin said, "We're not even dealing with dead bodies...They're just pushing them on the side." This is a very gruesome situation. Although the bacteria that start the decay process when a human body dies is not dangerous to other humans, many other toxic substances pollute that waters flooding New Orleans.


A huge category 4 hurricane (winds 131-155 mph) named Katrina struck the US gulf coast Monday morning, August 28th. Many of the major news outlets will have stories covering the hurricane.  Science Buzz will strive to bring you a perspective on the science behind this awesome force of nature and its human effect.

Waters rise quickly

For a unique perspective on storm's surge, check out the live USGS stream-flow gauges in the New Orleans, LA area.
The stream-flow gauges measure the water levels at various places around the state and are updated by computer every 15-60 minutes. As Hurricane Katrina came inland it brought with it enormous surges in the water level. At several of these gauges around the area you can see the sharp rise in the water levels starting near the middle of the day on Sunday (28th).

Unique images of the storm

NASA's MODIS satellites captured this amazing high-res image of the storm on Sunday (28th) while the storm was still many miles out from the shore.  This unique image allows you to see great detail in the clouds that swirl around the eye of the storm.

As the storm grew closer to the coast people started to feel the horrible effects of the energy wrapped up in this weather system. There are several sets of photos on the community photo sharing website, Flickr, that show what people in the area are experiencing.

Photos tagged: hurricane + katrina

Photos tagged: hurricane + louisiana

Have you ever been in a hurricane? Can you imagine what it might be like?


Last year's hurricane season sprouted an unusually high number of tropical storms — 15 in all. Some folks have blamed global climate change. But researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the increase is perfectly natural. Hurricanes follow a natural cycle, peaking every 15 to 40 years, then dropping back and becoming rarer again.

Other researchers disagree. They say rising global temperatures lead to warmer water, a key ingredient in forming hurricanes.

Few people doubt that the Earth's climate is growing warmer. But how much of that is just a natural cycle, and how much of it is caused by human activity? And what will all the effects of this change be? No one knows for sure. Meanwhile the debate, and research, go on.