By: Anisa Siddiqi

Characteristics of Hurricanes

The centers of hurricanes are warmer than the surroundings. Hurricanes can be large or small, and the center of the storm is called an “eye.” A hurricane is a tropical cyclone.

Technology and Instruments

The instruments that meteorologists use to measure hurricanes are weather satellites and special equipped planes. However, since technology is improving, meteorologists are also sending drones that can go inside of hurricanes, giving a perfect view for scientists. Weather satellites that are in space are able to see hurricanes from orbit. They can take pictures of churning clouds, and measure weather patterns with radar. Meteorologists also use supercomputers to track and get information about hurricanes.

Measurement of Intensity

The Saffir-Simpson scale measures the intensity of a hurricane. The different levels are Categories 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Category 1 is the least damaging, while Categories 4 and 5 are the most damaging. Category 1 is 74-95 mph, Category 2 is 96-110 mph, Category 3 is 111-129 mph, Category 4 is 130-156 mph, and Category 5 is 157 mph and up.

Formation of Hurricanes

The main condition needed for this storm to form is warm water. The water has to be 80°F or warmer. The atmosphere’s temperature has to cool off quickly as the hurricane moves higher up. To move air upward from the ocean surface, the wind must be blowing at the same speed and direction. Another main condition is the Coriolis Force, which required to create the spin in a hurricane. This force becomes weak at the equator, so hurricanes never form near there.


Hurricanes are most often found in Pacific Ocean, mostly the western Pacific. Hurricanes occur most often in the summer because this is when the oceans are warm.


Hurricanes, depending on how intense they are, can destroy homes, destroy nature, and kill many people.

Safety Precautions

Some safety precautions that you can take during a hurricane is:
    • Be prepared

    • Know evacuation routes

    • Have the right tools and supplies

    • Leave low lying areas

    • Have plenty of food and water

    • Have a secure room available

Fun Facts!

1. Hurricane Wilma was the most intense hurricane recorded in the Atlantic basin.

2. Weather in the eye of a hurricane is the calmest.

3. When hurricanes move over land, they get weaker.

Hurricane Patricia

Hurricane Patricia was the second most intense hurricane on record in the world. The areas affected were Texas, Mexico, and Central America. Hurricane Patricia occurred in 2015.