[ExI] hurricane physics

spike spike66 at att.net
Fri Aug 25 14:27:57 UTC 2017


Hurricane Harvey is a physics lesson for the public.  They are fretting over it now as it made category 3 last night and is heading for the Texas coast.


Plenty of hurricanes hit Florida and generally turn and move north up the coast because of the way they spin, but sometimes they shoot the alley and go into the Gulf of Mexico.  When that happens, it is always a big deal, as demonstrated by the horrific storms in the Galveston area in 1900 and 1915.


The physics lesson is in how the continental shelf out east of Florida saps the strength of hurricanes.  If a direct hit comes in toward Cape Canaveral, the fury of the storm has often dropped by 2 categories from open sea to landfall.  But the gulf coasts, Texas, Louisiana, Mexico have far less protection from a long stretch of shallow water out there.  So when a storm such as Harvey, which would be a snoozer if it hit the east coast of Florida, is a huge deal in the Gulf.


Nature hands us a free physics lesson, or an expensive one, depending on how you build your house.



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