3 of 10Image
Most of the conditions that contribute to the formation of hurricanes are menacing: considerably warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures, lower wind shear, reduced sea level pressure, and an active African easterly jet stream.
Hurricanes can only develop when sea temperatures are above 82 degrees Fahrenheit. This Aug. 28, 2006, image shows the temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico that were above 82 degrees Fahrenheit (orange-red) when Hurricane Katrina struck. The path of Katrina and its storm severity levels are indicated in black. The other lines indicate the tracks of other 2006 hurricanes.
FloodingWhat are the major hazards of a hurricane? First is the storm surge. A storm, coupled with normal tides, can increase the water level by as much as 15 feet. Since most of the populated Atlantic and Gulf coastlines are 10 feet above sea level (not to mention New Orleans), major flooding can occur.
New Orleans was under water in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.