Tropical storms and hurricanes have been affecting people for centuries, and there are no signs of them slowing down. It’s time to get prepared for inevitable storms by understanding their strength and what they can really do.
20: The center of a hurricane, called the “eye” can reach up to 20 miles across. The weather in the “eye” is actually oddly calm, with low winds and clear skies.
19: Hurricane Floyd, which hit in September 1999, was barely a Category I hurricane. Still, it ripped down 19 million trees. (Photo by TOM MIHALEK/AFP/Getty Images)
18: A relatively small storm like Hurricane Ivan, which hit in September 2004, caused more than $18 billion in damages. Hurricane Katrina, in contrast, resulted in about $108 billion in damages.
17: The power outages during Hurricane Sandy spanned across 17 states, as far west as Michigan, leaving 8.1 million homes without power.
16: During Hurricane Sandy, electricity employees in the New Jersey area worked 16-hour shifts for the two and a half weeks leading up to Thanksgiving to respond to the 1.3 million reported power outages.
15: When people evacuated their homes during Hurricane Katrina, many stayed in the Reliant Astrodome in Houston. The facility housed 15 thousand refugees.
14: During Hurricane Sandy, storm surges in New York and New Jersey were 14 feet above the average low tide. (Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
13: Days after Hurricane Katrina, Jabbar Gibson, a 20 year old man with a serious criminal past, stole a school bus, picked up nearly 70 stranded people and drove 13 hours from New Orleans to Houston. That was the first bus to arrive at the large makeshift shelter, the Astrodome.
12: The smallest recorded tropical cyclone was the 1998 Tropical Storm Marco, which hit with gale force winds extending out only 12 miles.
11: The longest lasting tropical cyclone, Hurricane John, lasted 31 days. It started on August 11 and ended on September 11, 1994.
10: Every second a large hurricane lasts, it releases the energy of 10 atomic bombs. (Photo by National Archives/Getty Images)
9: Hurricanes reach Category 3 wind speeds (between 111 and 129 mph) nearly nine hours earlier than they did 25 years ago.
8: In a four year period (between 2003 and 2007), there were eight Category 5 hurricanes. Between 1924 and 2007, there were only 35 total. The eight were: Isabelle (2003), Ivan (2004), Emily (2005), Katrina (2005), Rita (2005), Wilma (2005), Dean (2007) and Felix (2007).
7: August is the month hit with the second most hurricanes over the course of the year — with an average of seven hurricanes. September takes the number one spot with 20.
6: Names given to hurricanes are recycled every six years. The names of the most significant storms, however, like Katrina and Sandy, are retired. Seventy-six hurricane names have been retired from the naming list.
5: The United States ranks fifth in the world for frequency of tropical cyclones. China is number one.
4: The deadliest weather event in U.S. history was an unnamed hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas in 1900, and it was ranked a Category 4 storm. Not even a Category 5, the hurricane killed an estimated 8,000 people. (Photo by Thomas Shea/Getty Images)
3: The longest lapse between U.S. hurricane landfalls is three years. This happened twice: between Hurricane Ike in September 2008 and Hurricane Irene in August 2011, and between Hurricane Irene in October 1999 and Hurricane Lili in October 2002.
2: Two hurricanes were named Alice in 1954, once in June and once in December.
1: Only one percent of Jersey Central Power & Light customers remained without power the evening before Thanksgiving, according to the company.
By Miriam Rosen
Complete photo slideshow available at The Weather Channel