With the recent weather events in the Atlantic region, some of our student assistants got curious… We dug into Robertson Library, UPEI‘s website, www.islandnewspapers.ca , and found this gem. This piece on hurricanes was published September 12th, 1958 in the Charlottetown Guardian newspaper.
National Geographic News
“In a single second, a typical hurricane releases more energy than several atomic bombs. In less than an hour, it expends more energy than 50 years’ production of electric power in the United States.
In a day, a hurricane can lift two billion tons of water from the ocean and hurl them back on land and sea as torrential rains. Packing a force of a half-trillion horsepower, it can scythe a path of death and destruction 580 miles broad.
For all its terrible strength, a hurricane is born of little but warm, moist air caught in a calm in the tropics and given a twist to set it spinning. Gradually it becomes a large revolving storm, accompanied by violent winds, heavy rains, and high waves and tides.
The same type of storm is called a “typhoon” in the China Sea, a “baguio” in the Philippines, and a “cyclone” in the Bay of Bengal, the National Geographic Society says.
Hurricanes may form at any time of year, but most come in August, September, and October. In an average year, two tropical storms bring hurricane force winds to the Atlantic Seaboard and the Gulf Coast.
The United States Weather Bureau can predict with increasing precision the areas likely to be hardest hit by a hurricane.
The value of warning was pointed up by two hurricanes that passed over Lake Okeechobee in Southern Florida. The first struck in 1928 before the Joint Hurricane Warning System had been set up. Deaths totaled 1,836. The second- with equal winds- followed virtually the same path, but killed only two persons. The chief difference was a warning that gave people time to evacuate.
Scientists have not yet devised a way to stop or divert a hurricane, but researchers have learned how to manufacture miniature cyclonic storms in the laboratory. By studying these pint-sized hurricanes, scientists hope to learn more about how a hurricane develops and behaves. Knowledge gained in this and other researches- such as radar tracking and flying into the actual storms- should lead to even more accurate predictions and perhaps, some day, to control.
BLOWN OFF TRACKS
Weathermen already know that hurricanes usually move from low to higher latitudes with increasing speed, size, and intensity. Winds of a hurricane topple trees, bowl over houses, and even blow trains off their tracks. But the storm takes its greatest toll by drowning. As the hurricane moves forward, it may pile up enormous waves which cover low-lying beaches and islands.”