The unlikely birthplace of the most destructive hurricanes

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Tropical cyclones draw their devastating power from the warmth of the ocean, but many of these storms can be traced back to a desert thousands of miles from where they cause damage. “If you have ever been in a car crash and remember the screeching of brakes, the impact of the metal scraping, the glass breaking, the groaning of objects smashing,” says Jane Higgins, from her home in the US Virgin Islands. “That is just a titbit of what Irma sounded like.”