Hurricanes are so common in the Gulf region that they are almost a way of life. Once a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico, there are many paths it can take, depending on atmospheric jet streams and other factors.
The winds of a hurricane are typically stronger before making landfall, because the hurricane gains its energy from the ocean. Because of this, the winds tend to be much stronger when they make landfall on smaller islands. These same islands also experience the ocean swell, or higher tides, that are typical of hurricanes due to their low atmospheric pressure.
The majority of destruction in the path of a hurricane is structural damage from winds and flying debris. Flooding is typically secondary, although in the case of Katrina, it was a primary problem, due to the city’s low elevation.
Arguably the biggest destruction, however, is the destruction of human lives and livelihood. Loss of jobs, home, and family are some of the biggest marks that hurricanes leave behind.
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