Kw-logo-smaller

All About Hurricanes

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 most damaging and deadliest natural disasters of the world.

What is 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 areas of the ocean become heated, the air pressure over that area drops, causing thunderstorms, incredible waves and violent winds that start at 74 mph. 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. In keeping with the English practice of referring to inanimate objects (like cars and boats) as female, hurricanes were named after girls. The first storm of the year was assigned a name beginning with the letter "A," the second with a "B" and so on. However, guys' names were introduced in 1979 and now, the names are alternated. Some hurricanes names are Andrew, Fran and Hugo.

Hurricane Katrina

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 Lousiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and may even reach parts of Canada. 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.

Terms to Know

  • 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.
Related Stories:
373 Comments

latest videos

F1032828262062

Deadliest Hurricane of All Time?

  • Hurricane Andrew.
  • Hurricane Isadore.
  • The Great Galveston Hurricane.
  • The hurricane of 1812.

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 ...
A severe tropical storm must have wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour (119 kilometers per h...

Random in the forums

AlphaT
AlphaT posted in Debating:
"catsrcute9" wrote:. Sure, some people think they are in love when really it is lust but there are plenty of people, gay and straight, that love each other. I believe that it would be beneficial if we kinda cut down on the baby making. The more people on earth, that means that more resources are being used. In a way gays are doing you a favor. Odds are, early on, gays were most likely killed for being different. So it wasn't like they had to chance to evolve .   If gays/lesbians we made to have babies then gays would not even exist. Just because a century old book says that gays cant be married doesn't mean people are going to listen to it. Modify you bible to the now times. Rules change, so should your's. So....much....wrong.....
reply 19 minutes
mickey256
mickey256 posted in Say Anything:
cheating is a form of bullying. bullies are every where it is a nuisance we have to fight be the one to stand up
reply 24 minutes
Teh_Skittlez
Teh_Skittlez posted in Debating:
"tweenblogger" wrote:Yes, times have changed.  The feeling that most poeple feel is lust, commenly mistaken for love.   :annoyedBut also take in consideration that I am doing this from a christian standpoint. Why were the first poeple on earth adam and eve , man and women. And if gay poeple were supposed to marry, why werent they designed to make children? If everyone was gay we would have NOOOO children.  So I guess it's a good thing homosexuality isn't an infectious disease. It isn't contagious, you aren't going to catch the gay because we make it legal for them to marry.  In the United States, we have laws that are there to prevent you forcing your religious beliefs onto others. Those same laws protect you from having other religious beliefs forced on you. For the same reason it wouldn't be fair to ban you from eating pork because Islam teaches you not to eat pigs, it's not fair for you to say that gays shouldn't be allowed to marry because of the Catholic church's teachings. I don't care what your religion says, this debate is about what should be legal. Legally, there's no reason to prevent gays from getting married. The only reason is because of religion, which should have no influence on a secular government like that of the United States. 
reply 24 minutes
Teh_Skittlez
Teh_Skittlez posted in Debating:
"tweenblogger" wrote:I am a catholic and therefore it states in the bible it is man and women. What is the point for marriage? CHILDRENSOOO....YEAH! Dont be offensed So, we should then also deny marriage licenses to the elderly, women who are infertile, and couples who don't want kids. Since, you know, the point of marriage is just children, and not the bond between two people who love each other. 
reply 44 minutes
catsrcute9
catsrcute9 posted in Debating:
"tweenblogger" wrote:Yes, times have changed.  The feeling that most poeple feel is lust, commenly mistaken for love.   :annoyedBut also take in consideration that I am doing this from a christian standpoint. Why were the first poeple on earth adam and eve , man and women. And if gay poeple were supposed to marry, why werent they designed to make children? If everyone was gay we would have NOOOO children.  Sure, some people think they are in love when really it is lust but there are plenty of people, gay and straight, that love each other. I believe that it would be beneficial if we kinda cut down on the baby making. The more people on earth, that means that more resources are being used. In a way gays are doing you a favor. Odds are, early on, gays were most likely killed for being different. So it wasn't like they had to chance to evolve .   If gays/lesbians we made to have babies then gays would not even exist. Just because a century old book says that gays cant be married doesn't mean people are going to listen to it. Modify you bible to the now times. Rules change, so should your's.
reply about 1 hour

play online games