What are three methods that the United States has undertaken to adapt to cyclones or to manage them, and how effective are they?

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kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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One cannot “manage” a cyclone or hurricane in terms of affecting its course or strength.  Cyclones are one of the greatest forces of nature, and their frequency, pattern and severity have become greater with the changes in global climate over the years.

Since the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the United States has been forced to come to grips with the costs and efforts associated with preparing for more such severe weather.  In addition, hurricanes (the name is used interchangeably with “cyclones” depending upon geographic region of the world) are affecting regions of the country previously untouched by such weather patterns, as was evidenced by the destruction caused to areas of New Jersey and New York by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  Preparations for severe weather like hurricanes is what is meant by the term “managing” such incidences.  In this regard, the United States has greatly increased the financial resources dedicated to predicting, tracking, and preparing for hurricanes along the U.S. Eastern and Gulf coasts. 

When Hurricane Katrina struck along the Gulf Coast in August 2005, it destroyed much of the city of New Orleans, which sits below sea level and is protected by a series of levees, all of which proved insufficient for the scale of the hurricane.  Subsequent to that disaster, the National Hurricane Center in Miami received additional resources, and the levees protecting New Orleans were rebuilt to higher standards.  Additional measures included “reforming” the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s policies and capabilities for preparing for hurricanes and for responding to them afterwards.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operates a National Hurricane Center that watches for and tracks hurricanes and maintains a “National Hurricane Operations Plan” that is used in training government agencies and military units (the Air Force maintains a small fleet of specially-equipped WC-130 aircraft called “Hurricane Hunters,” that penetrate the hurricane for the purpose of gathering data needed to better predict its severity if and when it comes ashore). 

These, then, are the measures the government takes to “manage” hurricanes.  In addition to domestic considerations, the U.S. Navy frequently deploys its medical support ships – floating hospitals – abroad to assist other countries in responding to the effects of cyclones and can, in emergencies, use the nuclear reactors aboard its aircraft carriers to provide electricity to coastal areas the power grids for which were damaged by the winds.

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