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Read winning entries from earlier writing topics. Friends of Math Cats,
we are very sad for
the victims of Hurricane Katrina
and other hurricanes
and we try to understand
as we share writings about
See the page for the current Math Cats Writing Contest.
Hurricane Math

Read about hurricane math.
Write about hurricane math.
Who may write about hurricane math?
Find past writing contests.

It can be hard to find words to describe the impact of a hurricane like Katrina. Some news reports zero in on one person or family to help us feel the impact on a very personal level. Some news reports turn to numbers to give us a sense of the huge scope of a disaster.

Numbers can only give us part of the story. But numbers combined with stories and descriptions can help us begin to grasp the power of a hurricane and what happens in the path of a devastating hurricane.

Please join us in researching and writing about the math of a hurricane.
Here are possible writing topics:

  • Hurricane formation and movement:
    What is the math behind the water temperature, moisture content of the air, barometric pressure, and movements of wind and currents?
  • The power of hurricanes:
    What is the wind speed and effect of a hurricane in Category 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5?
  • The power of Hurricane Katrina:
    Compare Katrina's size, power, and damage to that of another hurricane.
  • The scope of Hurricane Katrina:
    How much land was affected by Katrina? Roughly how many homes were damaged or destroyed? What is the estimated cost of property damage from Katrina? How many homes lost power in the storm?
  • The human toll of Hurricane Katrina:
    Roughly how many people were displaced by Katrina in the affected states? What was the death toll?
  • Other effects of Hurricane Katrina:
    What are estimates of the number of pets or other animals separated from their owners or killed by the hurricane? Roughly how many trees were brought down by the storm? How many acres of wetlands or barrier islands were lost to the storm?
  • New Orleans ahead of the storm:
    Why was a mandatory evacuation ordered? How is the height and effect of a storm surge predicted? What is an estimate of how many people evacuated and how many stayed behind?
  • The actual effect on New Orleans:
  • How much flooding was there (in terms of estimated land under water, depth of water, number of affected homes)? How long did it take to dry out the city, and why?

  • The response to Hurricane Katrina:
    How many people were evacuated to temporary shelters? Where? How long are they likely to be displaced? How many military personnel joined the relief effort? How many volunteers? How much money was pledged to the relief effort by the government? by individuals? by other countries?
  • The ripple effects of Hurricane Katrina:
    How were gas prices affected? Why? Do you think the hurricane will have a lasting effect on the population or the economy in the affected areas? Why or why not?
  • The personal toll of Hurricane Katrina:
    Can you describe the hurricane's effect on you or someone you know?
    (Please include some math if you can, since this is Math Cats. But if you cannot connect your hurricane experience to math, we'd still like to hear from you.)
  • Other:
    Feel free to suggest and write about another hurricane math-related topic.

How do I submit my research and writing about hurricane math?

There are 3 ways to send your writing, but please think carefully and be sure to write in your own words. Also be sure to tell us the source(s) of your information. (Include the web address for online information or the name, date, author, and article title for information you find in print). You may either:

     1) Send your entry in an e-mail message. There is an e-mail link at the bottom of this page. This is the best method for sharing tables, charts, maps, photos, or drawings along with your writings.

     2) Send your entry by snail mail to the address at the bottom of this page.

     3) Use the entry form at the bottom of this page. (You may copy and paste if you write it somewhere else on your computer, but do NOT copy and paste anything you find online!!)
Go to the entry form.

Even if you use the form below, be sure to include an e-mail address so that we may contact you if we have questions and to let you know if we post your writing. If you do not have an e-mail address, please give the e-mail address of your teacher or a parent.

Whichever way you enter, be sure to include all the information asked for on the form.

* Who may share?

Anyone may share writings about hurricane math: kids, teens, adults. We will post worthwhile writings as we receive them. This is not a contest. We are sharing together.

The writings will become the property of Math Cats, but we promise we will never make any money from them personally. If the writings are ever reprinted in a book or article, any money that the Math Cats might ever receive for the writing contributions on hurricane math will be donated to the American Red Cross and designated for Hurricane Katrina and/or for the National Disaster Relief Fund.

(You are certainly welcome to use your own entry in other settings; by sharing with Math Cats, you do not lose the right to share or publish your own writing elsewhere.)

Use this entry form or the e-mail or snail mail addresses below to enter the contest. Or use the form to write your entry and send an e-mail attachment later to show us a drawing that goes with your entry. Be sure to include all of the information, whichever way you enter (unless you are an adult and school information does not apply).      Math Cats' Privacy Policy

Here is my writing about hurricane math.

Write your entry here.
You can copy and paste this from writing you've done on another page but be sure to write in your own words.
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List your sources here
(web addresses; authors, titles, and dates of articles; etc.).

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first and last name
age grade
town, state, country
e-mail address

Math Cats
Box 34808
Bethesda, MD 20827

Read winning entries from past writing contests.
© copyright 2005- 2006   Wendy Petti.   All Rights Reserved.
   Hurricane photo courtesy of NASA.