Thursday 3 July 2014

Five family members injured by falling debris as Brooklyn Bridge damaged by Hurricane Arthur.

Five members of of one family received minor injuries as part of a facade on the Brooklyn Bridge, New York, collapsed during heavy rainfall associated with Hurricane Arthur on Wednesday 2 July 2014. Teresa Dilligard, her daughter Kaylah Dilligard (8), stepdaughter LaToya Jackson (30) and Ms Jackson's son Khmani Jackson (10) and daughter Kiara (four months) were hit by falling rocks and mortar and were treated in Bellevue Hospital, though none is thought to be seriously hurt. Inspectors from the Department of Transportation have visited the site and found no signs of structural damage to the bridge.

Inspectors from the Fire Department of New York examining the Brooklyn Bridge after part of the facade collapsed on Wednesday 2 July 2014. Ken Murray/New York Daily News.

Elsewhere parts of Brooklyn were flooded following heavy rainfall, transport networks and other services across New York were disrupted by high winds and heavy rainfall and several prominent buildings were struck by lightning - though without any reports of damage.

Flooding in Brooklyn associated with Hurricane Arthur on Wednesday 2 July 2014. Bryan Pace/New York Daily News.

Tropical storms are caused by the warming effect of the Sun over tropical seas. As the air warms it expands, causing a drop in air pressure, and rises, causing air from outside the area to rush in to replace it. If this happens over a sufficiently wide area then the inrushing winds will be affected by centrifugal forces caused by the Earth's rotation (the Coriolis effect). This means that winds will be deflected clockwise in the northern hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the southern hemisphere, eventually creating a large, rotating Tropical Storm. They have different names in different parts of the world, with those in the northwest Atlantic being referred to as hurricanes.

Despite the obvious danger of winds of this speed, which can physically blow people, and other large objects, away as well as damaging buildings and uprooting trees, the real danger from these storms comes from the flooding they bring. Each drop millibar drop in air-pressure leads to an approximate 1 cm rise in sea level, with big tropical storms capable of causing a storm serge of several meters. This is always accompanied by heavy rainfall, since warm air over the ocean leads to evaporation of sea water, which is then carried with the storm. These combined often lead to catastrophic flooding in areas hit by tropical storms.

Despite the problems it has caused there Tropical Storm Arthur is still a considerable distance from New York, and is not expected to hit the city directly. The storm is currently sweeping up the east coast of the United States, and is expected to make its closest approach to land in North Carolina some time on Friday 4 July.

The path to date and expected future path of Hurricane Arthur. Tropical Storm Risk.

See also...

Twelve people have died when a mudslide buried a bus in Altotonga...

Hurricane Sandy crossed the Caribbean last week leaving at least 21...

Hurricane Sandy, the eighteenth named tropical storm in the Caribbean this season, struck Jamaica five miles east of the capitol...

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