Hurricane Meaning

Hurricanes are also known as cyclones and typhoons. They are gigantic storms that occur in the tropical seas of the world. This means that they can only occur at the tropical areas, such as the South Atlantic Ocean, Eastern Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea.

Causes of Hurricanes

The key ingredients to the formation of tropical cyclones are warm water, upper-level winds, and moist warm air. Hurricanes are initiated when the warm, moist air from the surface of oceans begins to rise rapidly and collide with the mass of cooler air. This collision prompts the warm vapor to condense, transform into storm clouds, and returning as rain. Latent heat is evolved during this rainfall (condensation) process which warms the cool air above. This causes the cool air to rise and create the way for warmer, humid air from the ocean to rise.

how hurricanes form

As this cycle continues, warmer, moist air is getting involved in the mounting storm and more heat is transferred from the ocean surface to the atmosphere. The continuous exchange of heat develops a wind-like pattern that spins around.

This storm will continue as long as the condition remains the same and there is enough fuel to keep the storm going. The rotating storm will become more powerful and eventually become a hurricane. The hurricane continues to gather strength and momentum, an opening is formed at the center, known as the “eye”.

Consequently, the eye becomes the core center of the storm and the strongest wind occurs near the eye. This means that the wind gets stronger as you move closer to the eye. The area surrounding the eye is called the eyewall. A fully developed tropical storm can reach a speed of 200miles per hour. The speed of a hurricane is the major factor of classifying hurricanes into categories.

Eventually, if the tropical cyclone loses energy, which means that it has reached the cooler waters at the shores, they start to become wean and die off.

Stages of tropical cyclone

  1. Tropical depression: Wind speeds below 38 mph or 61.15 kph
  2. Tropical Storm: Winds speeds ranging from 39 mph to 73 mph or 62.76 kph to 117.48 kph
  3. Hurricane: Winds speed over 74 mph or 119.09 kph

Effects of hurricane

Storm surge and tidal flooding

Storm surge is a notable and the most devastating effect of hurricanes. Storm surge is the rising of the wall of water from the ashore together with the land-falling hurricane and is responsible for about 90% of all deaths during a hurricane.

High Winds

This is an obvious feature of a hurricane. It determines the category of and how strong a hurricane is and how much damage the storm can cause. There are 5 categories of hurricanes according to their speed.

Tornadoes

Probably, this is a rare event during hurricanes. Tornadoes occur during hurricanes due to the immense energy and instability initiated when a hurricane causes landfall. Notable, tornadoes formed during hurricanes are minimal in strength.

Heavy rain and flooding

Heavy rainfall is also an important effect of hurricanes. The rainfall from hurricanes is tremendous enough to make a major impact, such as a flood.

References:

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/hurricanes-facts-storms-weather-science/

https://www.eartheclipse.com/natural-disaster/causes-and-effects-hurricanes.html

You may also read about: Hurricane Safety Facts and Hurricane Categories