-
x

Meet New Friends!

Recommended friends are based on your interests. Make sure they are up to date.

Friends ff8c072dd79a91c1300f032d674241a8d64367100ffb1f25fa3f9bec4a05319f
Kidzworld Logo

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.

12 Comments

Related Stories

Micro hurricane science micro
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...
Hurricane poll

Have you ever shared your name with a Hurricane?

  • Yes
  • No

General In The Forums

AnnaOfExquizurd
"zapsap" wrote: "AnnaOfExquizurd" wrote: Ahh, that's so cool! :D I'm learning Spanish and a little bit of Korean, but @Zyro is putting more effort into self-studying Korean than I am XD (He's also learning a Korean martial art :P) Oh that's awesome, I also want to learn Spanish eventually but I get so unmotivated haha XD Dang~
reply about 3 hours
zapsap
zapsap posted in Say Anything:
"AnnaOfExquizurd" wrote:Ahh, that's so cool! :D I'm learning Spanish and a little bit of Korean, but @Zyro is putting more effort into self-studying Korean than I am XD (He's also learning a Korean martial art :P) Oh that's awesome, I also want to learn Spanish eventually but I get so unmotivated haha
reply about 3 hours
RawrImacat
It haunts me to this day. I read it and want to throw my phone
reply about 3 hours
AnnaOfExquizurd
Ahh, that's so cool! :D I'm learning Spanish and a little bit of Korean, but @Zyro is putting more effort into self-studying Korean than I am XD (He's also learning a Korean martial art :P)
reply about 4 hours
Arabiakiss
Arabiakiss posted in Random:
Dear Kenzie,I know i know this is such a cheesy forum but i had to make it cause your one of the most trustworty people in KW ever. I love you so much...youve alwyas been there for me.....and never judged me....Kenzie there should be more people like you. And dont stress over that boy...if he likes you,,,hed contact you....but you know what i say....staying single is best...but ur kenzie..the most beautiful gurl ever so go and find a boy if you want..but remeber,ill always be here for you. I love you so much you gorgeous gurl....even if i am jealous of you. I care bout you and want you to tell me if someone ever upsets you.Love ArabiaPS. KENZIE YOU ARE AWESOME ILY
reply about 4 hours