A record-breaker: how 2 hurricanes affected a single island

The cyclone – a tropical cyclone packing hurricane-force winds, or a cyclone with strong winds and heavy rain – is associated with a narrow band of energy wrapped around the center of the storm,…

A record-breaker: how 2 hurricanes affected a single island

The cyclone – a tropical cyclone packing hurricane-force winds, or a cyclone with strong winds and heavy rain – is associated with a narrow band of energy wrapped around the center of the storm, rather than a wider area in which a storm can be named.

The big three are that a cyclone exists, that it becomes a hurricane, and that it leaves a swath of destruction across an area. The most common of these is cyclone Bruce, but there are others including Cyclone Patricia, Earl, Isaac, Julia, Darrell, Helen, Miriam, and Meg (see a full list at the National Hurricane Center’s website).

While there are few variations of an unusually named cyclone, and most you’ll find in different regions of the world, there are also some that are more significant. The American state of Texas, for example, is often hit by “snorkels” (named storms) because they contain highly unusual combinations of large tropical cyclones occurring at the same time.

The mountain range can see more than three cyclones a year, with the most recently known occurrences in the Rocky Mountains of North America and the northern portions of the Western Canadian Rockies.

Hurricane Dean hit the remote desert hamlet of Vanyavilas in the Dominican Republic in 2005. This 2,000-foot high bowl of sand has seen the frequent occurrence of lashing storm systems. Photograph: Dave Pickof/AP

But the biggest displacement of physical energy is found in the Leo Islands, which are located north of Cuba and south of Haiti. Once they are hit by a storm, the islands lose enough energy to bring a storm system closest to Haiti for a total energy loss of 28 Kilograms (95.6 pounds) per square meter in the shortest period of time. This puts them on par with effects of two hurricanes hitting a single nation.

This is by far the most destructive cyclone on record in these islands. The powerful Hurricane Gilbert, a category 4 hurricane with winds of up to 155mph, swept through the area in 1988 with a huge wind effect of approximately 180km/h. The storm affected the entire island of Hispaniola, where Haiti and the Dominican Republic reside, and left a trail of destruction in its wake.

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