A hurricane is a large storm that develops over the warm waters of the tropical waters. The word hurricane comes from the West Indian god of storms named Hurracan. A hurricane begins as a tropical depression. A tropical depression is a strong organized area of low pressure with sustained winds of 36mph or less. As the tropical depression develops and gain strengths it becomes a tropical storm. A tropical depression becomes a tropical storm when the storm wind speeds reach 39mph. When a tropical system becomes a tropical storm, it receives a name. It will keep this name for the rest of its life. As a the tropical storm continues to grow, it may become a hurricane. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its wind speeds reach 74mph.
Hurricanes form in warm tropical waters. The warm, moist ocean water acts like a gasoline for the storm. The hurricane feeds on the warm, moist air. The longer the storm stays over the water, the stronger it can get. In order for a hurricane to form there must not be a lot of strong winds blowing in the upper atmosphere. This will cause the storm to weaken due to wind shear. Once a storm becomes a tropical storm it gets a name. Storms were first named by a meterologists in Australia who named them after people he did not like. In the United States, hurricanes are named after different people's first names. A list is developed each year by the National Hurricane Center. The names are in alphabetical order. When a storm becomes a tropical storm, it receives a name. It keeps the same name if and when it becomes a hurricane. The storm keeps the name until it is no longer a tropical storm.
Hurricane damage occurs from strong winds, tornadoes, strom surge, and rainfall induced flooding. Tornadoes occur in hurricanes as the Hurricane moves ashore. The storm surge is the increase in the tide that occurs because of the winds on the sea. As a hurricane moves closer to shore a lot of rain may occur. The amount of rainfall that occurs depends on the speed of the storm. The slower the movement of the storm, the more reinfall that occurs. The chart below indicates the storm damage that occurs during a hurricane. It is a scale developed by Herbert Saffir a consulting engineer and Robert Simpson the Director of the National Hurricane Center. The name of the scale is called the Saffir-Simpson scale.
CLICK HERE to see a video of a showing a view from space of a hurricane.
CLICK HERE to see a video of a time lapsed radar loop of a hurricane.