For example, landfalling tropical storms can be an important source of water, water that can lessen droughts and recharge underground aquifers.
For example, take tropical storm Isaac. As many of you know, there has been a major drought in the mid-section of the nation, as illustrated by the graphic below:
Severe drought extends from northern Louisiana, through Missouri and Iowa, into Illinois and Indian. And west into the Great Plains. The Mississippi River has been running very low, with serious impacts on marine transportation, and the effects on agriculture have been profound.
The latest forecast models indicate that Isaac will bring soaking rain though much of this drought region. For example, here is the predicted cumulative rainfall through Sunday at 11 AM PDT from the National Weather Service GFS model. Note that a band of 4-10 inches extends through much of the drought zone. The impact of this rain will be substantial and positive.
The benefits of tropical storms and hurricanes doesn't end with rainfall. It turns out the such storms can help maintain and build barrier beaches, such as those that line the East Coast. Orrin H. Pilkey, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology at the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke, noted that "Barrier islands need hurricanes for their survival, especially at times of rising sea levels such as now. It's during hurricanes that islands get higher and wider. From a purely natural standpoint hurricanes are a blessing for islands, even though they're a curse for people who live there."
Hurricanes and tropical storms produce overwash of sand, and without that the islands get skinnier and skinnier and might disappear as sea level rises.
|Overwash During Tropical Storms Can Help Maintain Barrier Islands|