What Would 200 mph Winds Do?
The Devastation of 200 MPH WindsThe wind is a powerful force of nature, capable of causing immense destruction when it reaches speeds above 200 miles per hour (mph). The destructive potential of such strong gales has been known for centuries, with stories of shipwrecks and destruction on land attributed to them since antiquity.
Today, most people know that storms with winds over 200 mph are extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs, but few understand the true extent of the devastation they can cause or how they form in the first place.
This article will explore the dangers posed by these formidable storms, as well as provide practical advice for anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves in their path.
What Causes Winds Over 200 MPH?In order for wind speeds to exceed 200 mph, certain conditions must be met that are rarely seen outside of a tropical cyclone – also known as a hurricane or typhoon depending on its location – such as those seen in the Atlantic Ocean or Pacific Ocean respectively.
These storms form when warm air rises rapidly and is replaced by cooler air below it, creating an area of low atmospheric pressure which causes the surrounding air to rush inwards towards it as a result of atmospheric pressure differences between high and low pressure systems in the atmosphere – a process known as convergence.
This convergence causes an increase in speed and intensity of the wind, which can eventually reach speeds greater than 200 mph if left unchecked long enough – usually around the eye wall region near the center of a hurricane’s circulation pattern where the most intense surface winds can be found.
The Dangers Of 200 MPH WindsA windspeed of over 200mph is classified as a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale – this scale is used to measure hurricane intensity based on its maximum sustained surface windspeed and classifies hurricanes from Category 1 (windspeeds 74-95 mph) up to Category 5 (windspeeds 157+ mph).
Category 5 hurricanes pose an extreme risk to both life and property due to their incredible destructive power, entire cities have been devastated by them in past decades, such as when Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida in 1992 and caused over $25 billion worth of damage (in 2021 USD).
Damage To InfrastructureOne would expect that any structure not built with extreme weather conditions in mind would be destroyed by winds exceeding 200 mph – this is true for both residential buildings and large-scale infrastructure such as bridges or roads leading into coastal areas prone to tropical cyclones.
Any building not built with reinforced concrete or metal frames would likely be destroyed due to their lack of stability against high speed winds, even those designed with storm protection measures would likely suffer severe damage due to flying debris propelled at high speeds which could easily break windows or damage external walls/roofs if not adequately reinforced against such threats.
Power poles are especially vulnerable too due to their lightweight design, power outages can occur even before landfall during tropical cyclones if these poles fall during periods of high wind speed due to inadequate anchoring techniques used during installation or simple wear-and-tear after years exposed outdoors (see Figure 2).
Damage To VegetationVegetation is also vulnerable against high speed winds, trees can easily be uprooted or snapped depending on their size/age and level of growth around them if exposed directly against wind speeds surpassing 100+ mph – much less ones exceeding 200 mph!
Smaller plants are even more vulnerable due to their shallow root systems, most will simply be blown away entirely if exposed long enough against such strong gusts while larger plants may remain intact but still suffer severe damage depending on how much force they were exposed too (see Figure 3).
Impact On Sailing VesselsFor sailors out at sea when a Category 5 hurricane makes landfall, they must immediately seek shelter wherever possible while making sure they anchor their vessel securely so it doesn’t drift away during high speed gusts, most marinas are equipped with moorings that can keep smaller vessels safe from these storms (see Figure 4).
Larger vessels have more options available depending on their size/type, some may opt for open ocean anchoring techniques while others may make use of specialized ports/harbors equipped with more secure berthing arrangements specifically designed for large ships capable of providing adequate shelter during stormy weather (see Figure 5).
Advice For Anyone Exposed To 200 MPH WindsAnyone unfortunate enough to find themselves exposed directly against winds exceeding 100+ mph should seek shelter immediately by either staying indoors or finding cover under something sturdy like a carport roof/garage door etc., these objects provide better protection since they’re able to absorb impact from flying debris much easier than someone standing out in open space without any cover nearby (see Figure 6).
Avoiding windows is also important as these are easily shattered by debris propelled at high speeds, if no suitable cover can be found then crouching down low against flat surfaces like walls/floors can help protect you somewhat since these objects provide slightly better protection than standing out in open space without any cover nearby.
Measures To Take To Prevent Damage From 200 MPH WindsIn areas prone to tropical cyclones, there are certain precautionary measures one can take beforehand in order minimize potential damage caused by such storms: building homes using reinforced concrete/metal frames instead of wood provides better protection against flying debris propelled at high speeds while installing shutters and installing proper anchoring techniques for power poles help reduce chances of them being toppled over during periods where wind speeds exceed 100+mph – both measures help reduce chances significantly reducing risk posed by powerful storms like category 5 hurricanes/typhoons etc..(see Figure 7).
Potential For Destruction From 200 MPH Winds In The FutureAs global temperatures continue rising due partly due human activities like burning fossil fuels, more energy will become available for forming tropical cyclones which could potentially reach category 5 intensity levels under certain circumstances, this could mean more frequent occurrences where one finds themselves directly exposed against winds exceeding 150+mph which could lead potential widespread destruction over large areas along coastal regions especially if proper precautionary steps aren’t taken beforehand (see Figure 8).
In conclusion, it’s clear that windspeeds exceeding 200mph pose an immense risk both life and property due mainly its ability cause widespread destruction wherever it goes – anyone unfortunate enough find themselves directly exposed against one should seek shelter immediately while taking measures beforehand minimize potential damage caused future events involving strong gales like category 5 hurricanes/typhoons etc..
Unfortunately, global warming could result more occurrences involving very intense storms future so everyone should stay informed always remain prepared just case nature throws us another surprise!