St. Croix, structural damage from Hurricane Lenny. - Photo credit: FEMA
When a severe tropical storm reaches winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or greater, it is classified as a hurricane. In meteorology, a tropical cyclone (or tropical storm, typhoon or hurricane, depending on strength and location) is a type of low-pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. While some, particularly those that make landfall in populated areas, are regarded as highly destructive, tropical cyclones are an important part of the atmospheric circulation system, which moves heat from the equatorial region toward the higher latitudes.
Recent Hurricane Activity
Throughout 2004, several major storms struck into Florida and the east coast of the U.S. by the end of the summer, bearing out meteorological forecasts for an active 2004 Atlantic hurricane season.
On Monday, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina ripped apart thousands of lives and left thousands homeless in the southeast U.S. impacting most heavily in Louisiana (especially Greater New Orleans), Mississippi, and Alabama. This was the most destructive tropical cyclone to hit the United States in historic times.