What Are Hurricanes?

Hurricanes are one of nature’s most fearsome forces. They are rotating tropical storms that contain strong, destructive winds and deliver excessive amounts of rainfall. The warm, moist waters near the equator spawn these incredible beasts that have the ability to threaten small islands and coastal communities.

How Hurricanes Form
The equator provides an abundant supply of warm, moist air that fuels the power of the hurricane. An area of low pressure is formed as the warm air rises and cools forming clouds. Consistent winds that vary little in speed or direction coupled with a constant supply of warm, moist air gives birth to hurricanes.

The rotating characteristic of a hurricane results from high pressure attempting to push into the low pressure center, high winds, and heat from the oceans surface. This vortex of mayhem builds in intensity under the right conditions and can result in the destructive force of a tropical cyclone. When hurricanes move over coastlines they lose their source of fuel which is the warm, moist energy source of the ocean waters. But despite this hurricanes are still extremely dangerous when they hit land. They can cause extensive damage and even death to those caught in their harrowing paths.

Specific Parts to a Hurricane
Eye of the storm – The eye of a hurricane is the low pressure center. The winds are usually quite mild and their is typically minimal amounts rainfall.

Eye Wall – This is the most dangerous part of the hurricane. It contains a ring of thunderstorms that rotate around the eye. It is here where the winds are strongest and the rains are at their heaviest.

Rain Bands – From the eye wall of the hurricane there is a line of clouds and rain that extend outward. In these bands tornadoes and thunderstorms occur.

Dangerous Effects of Hurricanes:
* Excessively strong, destructive winds
* Flooding
* Dangerous thunderstorms (lightning strikes)
* Storm surges – large walls of water created as a result of a rise in ocean levels due to high winds.
* Tornadoes
* Torrential Downpours

When are Hurricanes at their Peak?
Peak hurricane season begins in the summer and extends to early fall. Late August to October are the most active hurricane months.

Hurricane Categories
Hurricanes are divided into five categories. These categories are determined by wind speed. Tropical storms are not officially considered hurricanes until they have reached a minimum of 74 miles per hour.
Category 1: 74 – 95 miles per hour
Category 2: 96 – 110 miles per hour
Category 3: 111 – 130 miles per hour
Category 4: 131 – 155 miles per hour
Category 5: 155 + miles per hour

A Category 1 storm has the potential to be just as destructive if not more so than a Category 5 depending upon where it hits when it approaches land and the hazards it poses.

Hurricane Watch vs. Hurricane Warning
It is important to know the difference between a watch and a warning in order to avoid potential disaster. A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible in a specific area. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected to exist in a specific area.

Keep yourself informed by staying tuned in to your local news station or radio station for constant updates. Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio for severe weather reports. Have a hurricane safety plan available for you and your family in case hurricane conditions are reported. Be aware of the storm vulnerabilities in your area. If your area is prone to hurricane activity be aware of the evacuation plan in effect for your city. Keep a disaster preparedness kit readily available and updated.

Hurricanes are a very fascinating and dangerous weather phenomenon. With the threat of a hurricane looming take the necessary precautions to prevent tragedy from striking you and your family. It is always a good idea to err on the side of caution when it comes to severe weather situations.






People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *