7 Reasons to be Grateful for Hurricanes

By Ryan M.
Image of a rainbow at the beach after a storm

 

You may have heard the phrase "you have to be cruel to be kind" before, but probably not in relation to hurricanes. What most people don't know is that despite being capable of massive destruction, they actually provide necessary services to our planet. We fall into the common trap of focusing on the bad things, but not the good. In reality, hurricanes are one of nature's greatest gardener! Here are 7 specific things that we should be grateful to hurricanes for. . .

A person's hands catching rainfall
  1. Rainfall can be very needed some years, and obviously a hurricane is a great way to put lots of water into the ground. Granted the flooding causes an incredible amount of damage, but keep reading and you'll see even more benefits.
  2. Hurricanes can maintain islands by dumping large amounts of sand on the beaches, restoring lost dirt due to erosion. Keeping islands in tact is important because there are "barrier" islands such as Long Island in New York that can help shelter the inland from storms and lessen the effects of them.
  3. With strong winds, hurricanes can balance the world's temperature by sharing tropical heat with the rest of the world. It blows hot tropical air from the equator north, keeping the equator a little cooler and us a lot warmer.
  4. They also cycle nutrients from the seafloor to the surface, revitalizing and renewing wild life in the ocean.
    Underwater image of the ocean
  5. Hurricanes give genetic diversity to many ecosystems because they help spread and plant seeds. Scientists speculate that many tropical plants in Florida came from seeds farther south in the tropics.
  6. Yet another benefit is that hurricanes add variety to nature through a process called ecological succession. Through this process both large and small plants go through cycles, maintaining the variety of plants. When large trees are blown over, the smaller plants and bushes start to flourish in the new sunlight. However, the trees will eventually come back. Because of this process, the smaller plants don't completely die off, and neither do the trees.
  7. Flush saltwater from hypersaline lagoons, which benefits life there. Hurricanes can make a hypersaline body of water have less chloride and sodium, making them much more livable.
So next time you suffer through a hurricane or even if you just watch the aftermath on T.V. you can feel a little better. Not that the destruction is a good thing, but there is hope in the idea that in the midst of destruction there is cleansing and rejuvenation.

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