Why the world needs hurricanes such as Isaac

Paul Gross: Yes, it's true, hurricanes are necessary

By Paul Gross - Meteorologist
Headline Goes Here AP

Radar image of hurricane Isaac

Let's face it: Hurricanes get a bad rap, and deservedly so. 

The stronger storms that hit our coast cause incredible devastation and dramatically impact millions of lives.  Even a slow-moving, weaker storm can still inundate areas with mind-boggling amounts of rain. 

On Tuesday, with reporters and journalists reporting live from hurricanes and showing conditions as they happen, you and I see these ferocious storms up-close and personal.  It's hard to believe that there's any good that comes out of these monsters, but there is.

First of all, hurricanes (and typhoons, as they're called in the western hemisphere) are a necessary part of our planet's water budget.  You see, as we warm up in the summer, enormous amounts of water evaporates from the oceans into the atmosphere.  In late summer and fall, we start to cool off, and Mother Nature then needs a mechanism to remove the increasingly excess water vapor from the air...and hurricanes are just the way to do it.  These storms generate incredible rainfall, and help to keep our water budget in balance.

Furthermore, although hurricanes start to spin down quickly once they move over land, the rain just doesn't go away...that moisture is carried far inland.  In the case of Isaac, that moisture will head right over the central U.S. where drought conditions are very severe.  They obviously don't need flooding rains, but good soaking rains would certainly help those folks.

And by the way, Isaac's moisture won't stop there:  we'll get some of its rain this weekend.  So the news isn't all good...Isaac may screw up part of our holiday weekend.  Check out my forecast on JustWeather.com...

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