Kw-logo-smaller

What is a Hurricane

Nov 12, 2012

With the advent of Hurricane Sandy hitting the East Coast, it’s hard to open the paper without seeing some hurricane news, so it’s a good idea to get to know exactly what a hurricane is. Hurricanes are what scientists call "strong tropical cyclones." They're a large, rotating system of clouds, wind and thunderstorm activity that wreaks havoc wherever it goes. Get the goods on one of the world’s most deadly natural occurrences in All About Hurricanes.

What happens in a Hurricane?

A hurricane, tropical cyclone, or typhoon is a severe tropical storm that forms in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico or Pacific Ocean. When large parts of the ocean become heated, the air pressure over that area drops, causing thunderstorms, incredible waves and violent winds that start at 74 mph (miles per hour). Hurricanes rotate in a counter-clockwise direction around an "eye." When they come onto land, the torrential rains, winds and waves can damage buildings, trees and cars. In the US, the official Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, and the Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30. However, hurricanes can happen at any time of the year.

Hurricane Classification

Based on their wind speeds and damage potential, hurricanes are ranked according to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. It starts at one (lowest winds) and goes up to five (highest winds).

  • Category One: 74-95 mph winds.
  • Category Two: 96-110 mph winds.
  • Category Three: 111-130 mph winds.
  • Category Four: 131-155 mph winds.
  • Category Five: Winds greater than 155 mph.

The Naming Process

A tropical storm is given a name once its winds reach 40 mph. Originally hurricanes were only given girls’ names (like Sandy, or Katrina). The first storm of the year was assigned a name beginning with the letter "A," the second with a "B" and so on. However, boys names were introduced in 1979 and now, the names are alternated. Some male hurricane names in the past have been Andrew and Hugo.

American Hurricanes: Sandy and Katrina

The most recent hurricane to hit American shores was Hurricane Sandy. Sandy was the largest Atlantic Hurricane on record. It was the tenth Hurricane to happen in the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season. It was formed on October 22nd, 2012 and had completely dissipated by October 31st. Sandy devastated portions of the Caribbean, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeastern United States. The total people who died because of Sandy so far is 191. Sandy started out as a tropical wave in the western Caribbean, but resurfaced as a powerful Category Two Hurricane and took roofs off houses in Jamaica and left 70% of residents without electricity.

On August 24, 2005, a Category One Hurricane formed in the Atlantic Ocean and hit Miami, FL, causing major flooding, loss of power to more than one million residents, and 11 deaths. This hurricane, named Katrina, later became a Category 5, with winds of 175 mph, and hit Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Nearly 2,000 people died as cities were flooded, buildings were destroyed and hundreds of thousands of residents were forced to flee their homes. Hurricane Katrina was one of the four fiercest US storms ever seen.

Important Terms

  • Hurricane Watch: A hurricane is possible within 36 hours. You should stay tuned to the radio or television for more information    
  • Hurricane Warning: A hurricane with winds of 74 mph is expected within 24 hours. You may have to prepare to evacuate your home.

Find out more about hurricanes in "Hurricanes 101," by National Geographic below!                                                                                

 

Have Your Say

Did you experience Hurricane Sandy or Katrina? Let us know in the comments section below.

>
>

readers voted!

Comments

brunostar

brunostar wrote:

ewww hurricanes ;_;
commented: Wed May 22, 2013

katrinakaif123
hurricanes
commented: Thu May 02, 2013

katrinakaif123
i am scared of it
commented: Thu May 02, 2013

there are 12 more comments

Please login or register to add comments


like this article?
Sign up now to get more just like it!

latest videos

Hurricane_poll

Have you ever shared your name with a Hurricane?

  • Yes
  • No

related stories

Want a REALLY COOL science fair project? Look no further than Mother Nature, who's known to have ...
Australia has been hit by yet another natural disaster as floods swamped parts of the south east ...
Experience the wild ups and downs of Hurricane Season with the fast-paced board game, H...
A severe tropical storm must have wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour (119 kilometers per h...

Random in the forums

Kelly partygirl 24
A Walk To Remember
reply 7 minutes
-Karpov-
-Karpov- posted in General:
Kalevala
reply 22 minutes
XxneonhipsterxX
archcast let max in max look at archcast rly big house and it look beautiful too archcast open the door to his training ground  archcast:welcome to the training ground ★ max was shocked how big and awsome it was  max:woah this is so cool  archcast: 20 push ups max: haha funny archcast  archcast: did i say it was a joke do 20 push up NOW LET GO max:oh god....... after all the warm up they now do the main part of training  archcast: alright your going to do straights your traget is me go  max went over used his powers and ran to hit archcast but he failed by archcast failing strike  max: AAAAAAH THAT HURT STOP STRANGELYING ME GAAAA archcast: i said straight everyone should do this max again  max: ow ok......i should have listened to him  max did the move 20 time and failed but then his last one archcast told him to do a lap  max: im done  archcast: - strangely max- i can believe you cant even do a straight stupid  max: ok im sorry you keep strangely me  archcast: you know why i do this......cause it get you to get more mad plus get you stronger if you can do a straight show me now  max: alright i show you  max use his electronic power and ran across and quickly electric archcast chest archcast heal fast after max did his attack  archcast: see it take focus to do a attack we start 6:00 am dont be late  max hugs archcast  max: thank you archcast hey wanna go to my house my mom and you can totally meet  archcast: OH um..........-blush- um sure  with kenny  kenny look at the mirror his eyes where mostly depressed and his face was too until kenny snap kenny wanted to kill vanguard for what he did kenny got dressed and flew out of his room to vanguard lair  kenny: im gonna distroy you FORGOT YOUR DEAL  to be continued
reply about 1 hour
Charulata
Charulata posted in Say Anything:
YeS
reply about 2 hours
XxneonhipsterxX
supernatural adventure  episode 8  rose appeared with her water powers as she burts away the darkness however vanguard was defeated vanguard was mad mostly after that he left and ditched kenny kenny woke up until the boys woke up tanner got up and went up tp  kenny kenny got up too tanner was not happy at all  tanner: I WANNA HURT YOU -hands burts up in flames-  tanner body was full a fire his eyes and the fire of anger and his hand where balls of fire  tanner: YOU ARE SO DEAD  mason: tanner calm down it gonna be ok  kenny: tanner im sorry and everyone im sorry i... tanner: OTHER QUESTION WHY WAS VANGUARD BEING NICE TO YOU PLUS HELPING YOU TELL ME  david: tanner it all right kenny i believe is being with vanguard or something like that  kenny: guys.....david is maybe right I MEAN O.O  max: WHAT  rose came up to the boys  david: WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT YOUR WITH VANGUARD  tanner: -growl- that explains EVERYTHING!!!!!!!! LET FRIGGIN HURT THIS JOCK  mason: GUYS CALM DOWN TANNER PLZ CALM DOWN  tanner: WHY CANT I WHY CANT I HIT THE #### OUT OF HIM  mason: cause it going too far calm down tiger.............calm down -a heal power of cold and peaceful has been put on tanner-  tanner:........fine  mason: so your with vanguard  kenny: i did a deal with vanguard -cries- im so sorry guys plz dont leave me i did a battle with him and we went there it all my fault -cries harder- Vanguard THAT JERK THIS IS ALL MY FAULT WHY DID I DO IT I DONT KNOW IM SO SORRY I CANT THIS THIS POWERS ####  mason:.........kenny i understand but i dont think your friend would trust you this time because of what you did but kenny what you done is hard to explain  kenny: i just wanna kill myself  tanner: plz dont say that -tears falls- JUST DONT  kenny see most of his friends cry but not rose rose is shocked on what happened  rose:it gonna be ok kenny -hugs-  kenny: im just so sorry i just dont know what happened to me -cries-  everyone came over and hugged kenny it was about to rain everyone walk together home no one rly talk to each other like alway everyone was just quiet until max david and rose got to max house max got in the house  david: well sorry about today  rose: oh it ok i get these sometimes myself  david: yea hey rose you know i like you right   rose: yes.... david and rose went close to each other and then kissed  max came but he saw O.O he akwardly went back inside  next day  max knocks on archcast door  max: ARCHCAST ARCHCAST !!!!!!!!!  archcast: -opens door- what do you want kid T_T  max: i want you to train me  archcast: HA! you dont even have the guts kid max: ARCHCAST LISTEN TO ME I NEED MORE HELP ALL MY FRIENDS GOT IT BUT I DONT GOT IT WITH MY TRAINING  archcast: you wanna go my way well it evolves pain,laps,painful push ups,fighting beating up,me giveing you a little abit a pain everytime you fail and MOSTLY DEATH AND SUPERNATURAL -sips coffee-  max: ARCHCAST COME ON I WILL LET YOU MEET MY MOM SHE STILL SINGLE ;-)  archcast: -sigh- look kid i dont wanna hurt you  max: ARCHCAST IM NOT LEAVEING UNTIL I HAVE A APPROVAL  archcast: -sigh- fine come in  ☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆★☆
reply about 2 hours

play online games

Candy-100

A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

Big_icon_(7)

Have you ever fancied being a ranger like those fantasy characters you love so m...

Hour-of-code-tumb

Millions of Students will be doing an Hour of Code with Tynker December 8th-14th...

Big_icon_(4)

You run across the city in a car chase with the police officers.

Big_icon_(6)

The evil master kidnapped all of your friends!