Hurricanes are giant, spiraling tropical storms that can pack wind speeds of over 160 miles an hour and unleash more than 2.4 trillion gallons of rain a day. These same tropical storms are known as cyclones in the northern Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal, and as typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean.
The Atlantic Ocean’s hurricane season peaks from mid-August to late October and averages five to six hurricanes per year.
When they come onto land, the heavy rain, strong winds and heavy waves can damage buildings, trees and cars. The heavy waves are called a storm surge.
Storm surges are very dangerous and a major reason why you MUST stay away from the ocean during a hurricane warning or hurricane.
Hurricanes rotate in a counter-clockwise direction around the eye. The rotating storm clouds create the "eyewall”, which is the most destructive part of the storm.
The difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane is wind speed – tropical storms usually bring winds of 36-47 miles per hour, whereas hurricane wind speeds are over 74 miles per hour.
Hurricanes are classified into five categories, based on their wind speeds and potential to cause damage.
Category One -- Winds 74-95 miles per hour
Category Two -- Winds 96-110 miles per hour
Category Three -- Winds 111-130 miles per hour
Category Four -- Winds 131-155 miles per hour
Category Five -- Winds greater than 155 miles per hour
Hurricanes are named to help us identify and track them as they move across the ocean. For Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, the names may be French, Spanish or English, since these are the major languages bordering the Atlantic Ocean where the storms occur.
Sometimes names are "retired" if a hurricane has been really big and destructive. It's like when a sports jersey or number is retired after a really great athlete leaves a sport. Retired names include Katrina, Andrew and Mitch.
The costliest hurricane to hit landfall was Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm that hit Southeast Florida and Louisiana in August of 1992. Andrew cost the U.S. $26.5 billion.
The deadliest U.S. hurricane on record was a Category 4 storm that hit the island city of Galveston, Texas, on September 8th, 1900. Some 8,000 people lost their lives when the island was destroyed by 15-foot waves and 130-mile-an-hour winds.
Hope is enough.
· 8 years ago