(Originally published on Huffington Post)
What was your first experience with “disaster?” Did you watch the aerial footage of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina? Are you a New Yorker who lost power or a car during Hurricane Sandy? Lose power during an ice storm? Everybody’s story is personal — my first taste of disaster was a tornado wrecking my home in 2011. You dust yourself off and move on.
Hurricanes are giant, ocean-based, spinning storms that can carry wind speeds of 150 mph or more. You can’t recognize a hurricane from the ground. They are so big — often hundreds of miles across — that we can only recognize their distinct swirling shape and eye with radar and satellite imagery. However, if they come onto land, there’s no mistaking how powerful and dangerous they can be. The United States is under threat from hurricanes every year, and scientists continue to improve forecasting models to help keep us safe.