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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published January 05 2013

Weather Talk: Bombing a tropical storm like spitting into the wind

The widespread destruction along the Atlantic Coast caused by Hurricane Sandy was, of course, personally devastating for the people who live there. But it is also very expensive.

Whenever a major hurricane hits the United States, the question arises about whether it would be cost-effective to use either nuclear or conventional weapons to weaken tropical storms. It would not. The energy released in a major hurricane is roughly the same as detonating a 10-megaton nuclear bomb every 20 minutes.

Not only that but the primary effect of a nuclear bomb would be to set off a shock wave that would only cause a brief ripple through the storm, after which the barometric pressure and wind field would return to its previous state.

Not only would the bombing have little or no effect, it would be senseless and reckless to detonate a nuclear weapon into a major storm because of the inherently unpredictable winds distributing fallout. To bomb a tropical storm would be analogous to spitting into the wind.


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