A hurricane named “Sandy” struck the eastern coast of the United States on October 29. The storm has caused an immense amount of damage in some areas in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and some other states. Sandy brought winds with speeds of about 80mph (130kph) and created waves that were over 12 feet (3.5 meters) tall. Winds could be felt up to about 500 miles (800 km) from the center of the storm. Sandy has been referred to as a “superstorm”.
The hurricane caused flooding, destroyed homes, uprooted large trees, and led to power outages. Some roads looked like rivers. There were parts of the underground train system in New York that were flooded as well. Schools, businesses, and the public transportation system were shut down in some areas for a few days. The government has estimated that the repairs are going to cost over US$10 billion. Before hitting the United States, Sandy had already caused damage in a few other countries including Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Haiti. In Haiti there is concern about food shortages because Sandy destroyed a large percentage of crops. Here is a video of Sandy.
Hurricanes are very large storms with winds swirling around at a very fast speed. The center of the storm is called the “eye” of the storm , and is actually quite a calm area. The wind rotates around the eye of the storm in one direction, causing a large amount of water to pile up at the center. This water (called a tidal surge) is carried by the storm and is eventually dumped on land causing flooding.
What’s the difference between cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons? Not much! They are all the same type of storm – the only difference is what part of the world the storm strikes. In Australia and the Indian Ocean, they are called cyclones. In the Western Pacific Ocean, they are called typhoons. In the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Eastern Pacific Ocean, they are called hurricanes.