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  • - [Narrator] Europe hasn't had a hurricane

  • reach its shore in over 50 years.

  • Now don't get the wrong idea.

  • Hurricane season still brings a hefty dose of wind and rain.

  • But Europe has something that North America doesn't,

  • when it comes to protection against hurricanes.

  • Location.

  • (light music)

  • Hurricanes usually form off the coast of West Africa,

  • where warm water near the Equator and high humidity

  • create columns of rapidly rising rotating air.

  • It's the perfect recipe for a storm.

  • Now the more warm, moist air that the system picks up,

  • the stronger it becomes.

  • That's why a tropical storms can quickly grow

  • into a full on hurricane as it marches across the Atlantic.

  • (soft music)

  • Now normally hurricanes are propelled

  • on a westward track by the trade winds,

  • caused by the Earth's rotation.

  • That's why Europe as well as the West Coast of the US,

  • rarely experience full on hurricanes.

  • But that's not the whole story.

  • After all, since the year 2000,

  • remnants of around 30 hurricanes have reached Europe.

  • For comparison, Florida has seen 79 real hurricanes

  • over the same time frame.

  • By the time these remnants make landfall,

  • they've went from a hurricane force,

  • to a tropical storm or weaker.

  • And that's where Europe's location comes into play.

  • In order for a hurricane to head towards Europe,

  • something crucial has to happen.

  • It has to travel really far North by about 200 miles.

  • Once a storm system reaches 30 degrees north,

  • it encounters the subtropical jet stream.

  • Which moves in the opposite direction of the trade winds.

  • And therefore, blows the storm East

  • But because the storm is now farther North,

  • the waters underneath are colder

  • by up to about five to 10 degrees Celsius.

  • Which means less energy available to feed the storm.

  • And as a result, it starts to die down by the time

  • it's headed for Europe.

  • Even though it's no longer a hurricane,

  • it still packs a punch when it hits shore.

  • In fact, most of these hurricane remnants

  • will combine with other nearby cyclones and weather fronts,

  • that create high winds and rain

  • that mainly hit Ireland and Great Britain.

  • But have been known to reach as far as Greece

  • or even farther in Northern Russia.

  • Typical damages include power outages,

  • flooding, and occasionally casualties.

  • Most recently the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia

  • made landfall in Ireland and Scotland in 2017.

  • About 50,000 households in Northern Ireland lost power.

  • Three deaths were reported and downed trees closed many

  • of the public roads and highways.

  • This was the worst storm that Ireland had seen in 50 years.

  • And it may be a sign of what's to come.

  • As global surface temperatures rise,

  • it will also increase the sea surface temperatures

  • in the Northern Atlantic.

  • Which researchers estimate could contribute to an increase

  • in the number of hurricane force storms that reach Europe.

  • Some experts predict that by the end of the 21st century,

  • Europe could experience, on average,

  • 13 powerful storms each year during hurricane season.

  • Compared to the two per year it sees now.

- [Narrator] Europe hasn't had a hurricane

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Why Hurricanes Hardly Ever Hit Europe

  • 8 1
    joey joey posted on 2021/04/18
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