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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.
High windsHurricanes are measured by their wind velocity, according to the Saffire-Simpson Hurricance Scale. A Category 1 Hurricane has winds of at least 75 mph, while a Category 5 Hurricane has winds of 156 mph and up.
Before it headed toward Louisiana, Katrina paid a wet, windy visit to Florida. One person trying to drive through the storm in Fort Lauderdale called it "easily the most harrowing yet exciting 10 minutes of my life."