Some of these storms could hit the US, and experts say New York could be the next city to be devastated. The area around the Big Apple is listed by the Center as the fifth most vulnerable in the country, after New Orleans, the Florida Keys, Tampa in Florida and Galveston in Texas, all targeted by hurricanes in the past two years.
Max Mayfield, director of the Center, told Congress that Katrina "will not be the last major hurricane to hit a vulnerable area, and New Orleans is not the only location vulnerable to a large disaster from a land-falling hurricane".
Local experts say that such a catastrophe is "inevitable", and the New York City authorities warn that it could bring a 30ft-high storm surge crashing into Manhattan.
The city says at least a million New Yorkers are at risk, and has drawn up plans to evacuate those within 10 blocks of the water. But the city could have less warning than Texas or Louisiana, since hurricanes move faster as they head northwards.Reuse content