Houses in Orange Beach, Alabama, a barrier island community before (top) and after (bottom) Hurricane Ivan, which hit the coast in September 2004.
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Courtesy of USGS
Hurricanes are powerful and can cause lots of damage. They can change natural environments. They can also damage the places where people live, work and play.
When a hurricane is over the ocean, wind and large waves made by the storm are dangerous for boats. Now that we have forecasting and warning systems, boats can avoid hurricanes.
When a hurricane gets to land, the winds, storm surge, and rain cause great damage to buildings, power lines, roads, and automobiles. During hurricane Katrina in 2005 levees broke causing much of the city of New Orleans, LA to flood.
A hurricane can change the natural environment along a coast too. Sand is eroded from some places and deposited in other places. The waves and storm surge are able to carry large rocks and even boulders. Many areas are flooded by storm surge. Strong winds and floods can damage forests too.
After a hurricane hits the coast, it can travel inland. At this point, the storm has typically weakened, but it can still cause serious damage. Rains from the storm can cause flooding and mudslides.
Many people die each year in hurricanes and tropical storms. Because they can be very dangerous, it is important that you know how to prepare for a hurricane in you live in a hurricane prone area. Visit the Hurricane Preparedness web site at the US National Hurricane Center for tips on how to prepare for a hurricane.
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