By Joohan Kim
From Haiti to North Carolina, Hurricane Matthew has wreaked havoc across scores of cities and left many wondering how they will ever recover from this major disaster. One of the most calamitous storms in over a decade, the hurricane left a considerably devastating impact in North America and was
“I want everyone to be safe,” Paul Kim (12) said. “I am just wondering what made the hurricane so strong.”
How does a hurricane become so strong? Warm ocean water is one of the ingredients for a powerful, destructive hurricane. It provides the energy that fuels a growing tropical storm—the higher the water temperature, the more energy the storm can tap into, and the faster its winds can blow. Another important factor that fuels hurricane strength is an abundance of moist air. While hurricanes form in the Tropics—where moist air is generally abundant—dry air from Africa and western Europe frequently finds its way into hurricanes and weakens them.*
After causing the death of hundreds in Haiti, Hurricane Matthew moved north and spiraled parallel to the U.S. coast, from Florida to the Carolinas. The most catastrophic impact in the United States occurred inland in North Carolina, where the area is still inundated with stormwater. At least twenty people died in North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, bringing the U.S. overall death toll from the storm up to at least thirty-six people. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory warned residents to “stay away from the water.”
According to CNN, the federal government has declared disasters in thirty-four of North Carolina's hundred counties. Through this declaration, federal aid can supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts. However, the flooding in North Carolina is far from over, as the stormwater has yet to recede, with the state struggling to clean up after the hurricane.
In addition, the economic damage is just as harrowing. North Carolinian emergency officials have estimated that the destructive and deadly Hurricane Matthew caused $1.5 billion worth of damage to more than 100,000 homes, businesses, and government buildings in the state. Officials say with floodwater still in some areas, cost estimates will likely fluctuate. Hurricane Matthew may be one of the most expensive and devastating storms in recent American history.
*The information is obtained from Live Science.
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