My little brush with hurricane Isaac, and very close brush with a tornado it spawned, and the wreckage of the neighborhood where I was, made me especially interested in this image from Astronomy Pic of the Day:
Explanation: Should you be worried about hurricanes? To find out, it is useful to know where hurricanes have gone in the past. The above Earth map shows the path of every hurricane reported since 1851, Although striking, a growing incompleteness exists in the data the further one looks back in time. The above map graphically indicates that hurricanes — sometimes called cyclones or typhoons depending on where they form — usually occur over water, which makes sense since evaporating warm water gives them energy. The map also shows that hurricanes never cross — or even occur very near — the Earth’s equator, since the Coriolis effect goes to zero there, and hurricanes need the Coriolis force to circulate. The Coriolis force also causes hurricane paths to arc away from the equator. Although incompleteness fogs long term trends and the prevalence of hurricanes remains a topic of research, evidence is accumulating that hurricanes are, on the average, more common and more powerful in the North Atlantic Ocean over the past 20 years.
I was in Bay St. Louis to help out just short of a year after Katrina and stayed for three months. What an experience. The antebellum houses which had stood around the Bay for 140 years had been destroyed, as well as much of Waveland. The famous bridge was just being made again when I was there. The shrimp industry was just staring up as well, after a year of waiting.
The people of the area are fantastic. However, when I was working with young people, mostly Catholics, I discovered what many know about the area along the Gulf from New Orleans to Florida, and that is the great influence of voodoo. At one Mass, a priest from Ireland from the pulpit said that there had not been one vocation from local boys in almost 100 years. The Irish had provided priests for a long time, but no more.
As a Walker Percy fan, having taught his books for many years, I was glad to be in the area. If one reads “The Moviegoer”, one of my favourites, one can travel Binx’s route from New Orleans to visit his mother.
As to hurricanes, over 20 tornadoes spawned from Katrina in Mississippi. One could see the forests with wind tracks and damage when I was driving down from Iowa. God bless the Gulf and her people.
Isaac continued to spawn tornadoes long after it had ceased to be a hurricane, or even a tropical storm — there were at least 12 tornadoes reported in central Illinois last Friday and Saturday. Fortunately, they were all weak and short-lived and, aside from one that ruined a car repair shop, did very little damage. On the bright side, Isaac also brought badly needed rain to drought areas.
Isaac caused more flooding outside of New Orleans than Katrina did. This article points out how many homes were flooded just in Louisiana and I am sure there are many more along the Gulf Coast.