Published on: August 30, 2021
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- A hurricane is a large rotating storm with high speeds of wind that gust at least 74 mph that forms over warm waters in tropical areas.
- Hurricanes begin as tropical disturbances in warm ocean waters with surface temperatures of at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.5 degrees Celsius). Those low-pressure systems are fed by energy from warm seas.
- A storm with wind speeds of 38 miles (61 km) an hour or less is classified as a tropical depression. It becomes a tropical storm—and is given a name, according to conventions determined by the World Meteorological Organization—when its sustained wind speeds top 39 miles (63 km) an hour.
- Hurricanes are enormous heat engines that deliver energy on a staggering scale. They draw heat from warm, moist ocean air and release it through condensation of water vapor in thunderstorms.
- Hurricanes spin around a low-pressure center known as the eye. Sinking air makes this 20- to 40-mile-wide (32- to 64-kilometer-wide) area notoriously calm. But the eye is surrounded by a circular “eye wall” that contains the storm’s strongest winds and rain.
- The size of Hurricane is mainly measured by the Saffir-Simpson scale – other scales are used in Asia Pacific and Australia.
- The system divides storms into five categories:
- Category 1: Winds 74 to 95 mph (Minor damage)
- Category 2: Winds 96 to 110 mph (Extensive damage — Can uproot trees and break windows)
- Category 3: Winds 111 to 129 mph (Devastating — Can break windows and doors)
- Category 4: Winds 130 to 156 mph (Catastrophic damage — Can tear off roofs)
- Category 5: Winds 157 mph or higher (The absolute worst and can level houses and destroy buildings)
- Hurricanes are given names by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) so that they can be distinguished.
- Each year, tropical storms are named in alphabetical order according to a list produced by the WMO.
- That name stays with the storm if it develops into a hurricane.
- The names can only be repeated after six years.