Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Evils of Weather: Hurricanes

As part of our Pseudo-Monthly Online Community Awareness Campaign, here is a public service post on that most malicious and diabolical meteorological phenomenon: the hurricane.

Hurricane season is upon us, and due to the national tragedy of 9-11, misinformation and urban legends about these vicious giant tornadoes are literally flooding the internet. We at Very Little Known Facts are here, as always, to set the record straighter.

MYTH #1: Leaving windows “cracked” open will help equalize the air pressure and prevent breakage.

FALSE! Leaving windows open, even a tiny bit, gives free passage to the negative pressure or “bad air” of the storm cell. Once inside, this negative pressure or “bad air” will react violently with the positive pressure or “good air” inside your home, causing an explosion. Be sure to never, EVER leave your air conditioner running during a hurricane, as the air conditioner will fill the house with positive pressure (“good air”) which will inevitably react with the negative pressure (“bad air”) of the hurricane and cause an explosion so virulent it will blow the roof off the house.

MYTH B: Hurricanes only hit coastal areas.

FALSE! Although coastal areas are the most exposed due to beach erosion, no place on the globe is safe from these killer storms. Here are just a few historic disasters caused by hurricanes, some of them miles from the ocean:

  • Atlantis, Greece, 200 BC—38 dead from hurricane flooding

  • The Great Chicago Fire, USA 1871—17 dead from hurricane-related fire

  • Krakatoa, Indonesia 1882—82 dead from volcanic eruption which caused a category 5 hurricane

  • Galveston, Louisiana, USA 1902—4 dead from debris and sadness

  • Flanders Fields, France 1916—18 dead from wind-borne viruses including avian flu

  • Tennessee Valley Authority, USA 1935—many minor injuries due to hurricane flooding

MYTH #3: Typhoons are hurricanes located in the West Pacific and Indian Oceans.

FALSE! Because typhoons spin the opposite direction of hurricanes due to the Coriolis Effect, they are in effect anti-hurricanes. Scientific theories vary wildly about the consequences of a collision between a typhoon and a hurricane. Many meteorological conferences have ended in fisticuffs between the Nihilists (who claim that the two storms would “cancel each other out”) and the Catastrophists (who postulate global cataclysm.) Splinter cells of weatherpersons actually believe a hurricane/typhoon collision would create wormholes, tesseracts, and other tears in the time-space continuum, but that is merely absurd.

BONUS MYTH: Hurricanes, the Silent Killers, are impossible to defend against.

FALSE! Unlike volcanoes, hurricanes do not attack without warning. Watch for the signs:

  1. Red sky at night

  2. Red sky in the morning

  3. Red sky at noon

In Conclusion

Always practice being in a state of preparedness. It might just save your life!

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