Discover Magazine offers an interesting component of hurricane development and intensity. It referenced Hurricane Irene, hitting Vermont in August 2011, destroying roads and historic covered bridges. A tropical storm passing over the ocean not only churns water but brings cold seawater to the surface. This process cools down not only the ocean but the hurricane, reducing needed heat to fuel the storm and lessens its intensity. The blocking mechanism preventing the cold water from reaching the surface is a barrier layer. The cooling water that sets up the barrier comes from either a large river system or heavy rainfall moving into the ocean. Oceanographers and atmospheric scientists have studied recorded data on storms, determining a storm passing over a barrier layer cools more than salty seas. Fastcast: Showers.